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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90 Visitor comments
planetplayer
January 12, 2009 @ 11:00 pm
I tried this when it first came out. The Juno was far too much better.
I remember programming this the filter is not that great and is stepped resonance. The Junos are better and the JX-3P was better closer comparison than the Poly61M since the JX-3p had 2DCO also.
Harry Purser
November 20, 2008 @ 11:19 am
This is to agutsymove - the soldering in these synths is pretty bad. Mine wouldn't start up and when it did, the pitch kept wandering. I opened it up and found two loose wires. A 5 minute resolder and it was A1. Worth a look.
mezzo
November 14, 2008 @ 11:20 am
This was my first poly as well. Capable of decent gritty lo-fi pad and bass sounds particulaly with the help of an external chorus. I recently grabbed another broken one for spares and i'm thinking of doing some circuit bending on it. Any suggestions as to adding pots for VCF /Res / cutoff etc?
Eddie Random
October 15, 2008 @ 5:15 pm
I found one on Ebay a couple of years ago in perfect condition and remains so to this day. Very gritty sounding and great for one-fingered chord riffs. I was able to pick up a MIDI sync box to lock with the arpeggiator to control with my sequencers. I'm fairly old school and use it alongside my Juno 1 and MS2000 for a nice retro feel.
Dr. Science
October 8, 2008 @ 5:21 pm
I purchased mine in '83 for $1100.00 and it is basically worn out. I've cleaned the key contacts so many times.... oh well - now when I turn it on she just blinks at me. I love the poly 61. it was my first true polyphonic synthesizer. It lived in my rack next to the Crumar DS2(dead), SCI Pro One(still alive) and DX 7 - a decent mixture of knobs and buttons. I now have one of those "Work Stations" (talk about work). I miss the fat sounds and simplicity of the Poly61 and plan to find another one. Thanks for the sight it brings back great memories!
 
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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

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