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. It has a very dirty sharp sound much like the Yamaha DX7. This is good if you are into the lo-fi sound of electronica. 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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89 Visitor comments
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!
Pepe
September 15, 2008 @ 7:10 pm
Thanks, Gazdatronik! I always wondered why OSC1 sounds better than OSC2. For example, sawtooth sounds with OSC1=16' and OSC2=4' sound very different from OSC1=4' and OSC2=16'. The low resolution of the second oscillator is the answer. But again: I like the sound!
 
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  • The link above will take you to a 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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