Korg Poly-61

Korg Poly-61M Image

The Korg Poly-61 was released in 1982 as the successor to the Polysix. It was somewhat of a step up from the Polysix, as it has 2 DCOs for better reliability. It also retained the arpeggiator of the Polysix. The Poly-61 can provide cool gritty basses or trippy analog sounds and fx.

Korg Poly-61M Image

Also added is the familiar Korg joystick, which can be used to modulate the VCO or the VCF. However, its filter only has 7 steps of resonance and is not as fat as the Polysix's filter. It also uses the same method of programming the Poly-800 and Yamaha DX-7 use, so it's not a very useful synth for real-time-tweaking junkies. The first Poly-61s didn't have MIDI, but the Poly-61M released in 1984 corrects this. Overall, the Poly-61 is still a decent synth, and it can be acquired for practically nothing! It has been used by FM Static and The Faint.

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92 Visitor comments
Paul Smith
August 11, 2013 @ 3:48 pm
This review is pure garbage - look elsewhere for a pro review. This synth has no relationship whatsoever to the digital DX7. This analogue synth sounds as different as could be and programming is COMPLETELY different. Seriously BAD review by a DX7 lover I think, or somebody who has no experience of either synth.
April 8, 2013 @ 12:44 pm
Recently bought a midi version from ebay out of curiosity. I owned a juno 106 and sold it before buying this one and I have really been enjoying it. Ive been using it in mixes more than i thought i would. I sound even better using on board fx in abelton live. Its not a jupiter 6 or monopoly that I own but it has its own character that you might be interested in. I could have been my lack of programing knowledge when I owned a juno 106 but to my ear the poly61 is all around more appealing to my ears.
February 27, 2013 @ 2:40 am
@tom: I fully agree!
Go and find a decent analog (stereo) chorus (stomp box) and add it to the Poly61. The sharp sound of the Poly61 let the analog choruses, phasers, etc. shine at their best. Give it a try!

Also try any kind of distortion or overdrive pedal for an agressive but shining lead guittarr sound.
(see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=8wcrNXu_L80 which includes a nice Poly61 lead)

I even prefer it over the Polysix (oh yes...)
February 26, 2013 @ 9:50 am
Bought a pristine P61M last September for 200 $. I was first disappointed as I found it rather thin compared to my Trident, but it finally found where it sounds at his best: all kind of ostinatis & arpegios. MIDI implementation is basic: notes and prog change, no more.
As other said, keep the battery under strict control: don't let it spreading its nasty guts on the boards, as it will litteraly eat the tracks.
February 13, 2013 @ 7:10 pm
The definition of underrated. Punchy envelopes, a super grainy 4 bit DCO2, and a discreet filter like the ms20 with a strong and haunting resonance gives this instrument a character of its own - sort of like the Jupiter 6. Far from the sound of Poly 800, this is a very gritty, analog sounding machine. If Korg had added a chorus/ensemble effect, I believe it would have been much higher in regard today. Still, push button programming is never optimal, but I feel it works well enough here. Too bad about the battery leakage, so beware.
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Rated 4.37 (1083 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 Voices
  • Oscillators - DCO1:sawtooth, pulse, and square; DCO-2: sawtooth, square
  • LFO - 1 LFO can modulate the DCOs or the Filter
  • Filter - 1 lowpass filter w/ ADSR
  • Memory - 64 patches
  • VCA - ADSR
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator with external sync
  • Effects - Chorus
  • Control - MIDI (on later Poly-61M models)
  • Date Produced - 1982 - 1986
  • Resources & Credits
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