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
April 26, 2009 @ 10:39 am
This synth was the start of my keyboard collection. It was not my first synth per se - I owned one of those awful Casio VL-1 as a kid - but it sparked my interest. Soundwise, this excels at dirty and cheezy sounds and I'd rank it ahead of the Poly800. Control-wise this is not a very fun synth due to the lack of knobs, but then that was the trend at the time. While a Juno-106 would blow this out of the water, for the $150 AUD that I got this for its a real steal. Certainly not a classic but definitely underrated, I'll never get rid of mine if I can help it.
March 5, 2009 @ 6:41 am
Just acquired one of these. You can tell it came out around the same time as the Juno 60 as the back panel is almost identical. It doesn't sound too different to a Juno 106 imho. The great thing I've just discovered is that the arpeggio trigger in works through my 60's DCB midi box so I've been able to midi sync the arpeggio.
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.
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?
VSE Rating

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User Rating

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
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