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.

Lookup Korg Poly-61 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Korg Poly-61? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

90 Visitor comments
Geir Helgi Birgisson / hageir (on the forum)
July 20, 2009 @ 12:59 am
another underrated synth!
This one's a true bargain right now.

The sound of the oscillators is so amazingly cool!
Especially the 2nd osc. which is this lo-fi 4-Bit Osc = AWESOME!
I wish osc. 1 had the option to turn it off, like osc. 2.. (Mod? Yes probably!)

"The unique sound if the Poly-61 is because under the hood, there is nothing at all like it. The fliters used were a run of SSM chips that were not produced very long and only used in a few devices."

This ^^^ is just awesome as well :)

Also, I think I can sync the arp with a constant Impulse-Machine click from my Machinedrum..
(If it's like the SH-101's syncable trigger input)

Anyways, awesome, awesome synth, DX-7 comparison is way beyond me, haha.
Thumbs up!
July 6, 2009 @ 12:13 pm
To korg6512:

Ooops. I wrote that first paragraph, THEN found the schematic . . . duh. Anyhow, that service manual out to help. There's no space in "Ko rg" as shown, don't know why that got in there, in the link.
July 6, 2009 @ 12:12 pm
To korg6512:

I don't know, because I've not looked at the schematics, but in that era, most electronics used battery-bacekd RAM, as Flash hadn't been invented, and EEPROM had limited writecycles.

To anyone who had a Poly61 . . . and needs to replace a battery. There's a tech manual posted at http://www.dompselaar.org/Korg/Poly61/Korg_Poly-61_Service_Manual.pdf

The service manual lists a battery partcode 52000900, description "3/170DK (3.6v 170 MAH) KLM-509" so there's a battery in there. I'll bet it looks like this: http://www.zbattery.com/3-6V-170mAh-NiCad-Cordless-Phone-Battery_6

This is what I find when I search for 3/170 batteries . . . a cordless phone battery. Verify it, and then grab one at your local electronics store, and your good old Poly61 should remember presets again (and not load ROM defaults!)

I had to do something similar with my old Yamaha DX-100, as well as some ham radio gear I have.
June 16, 2009 @ 1:42 pm
yes it is possible to add some nice knobs...........
June 10, 2009 @ 9:32 pm
For some reason the write button on mine doesn't work. After i write a new sound, then turn the synth off, the patch is reverted back to normal. Any help would be appreciated. Even so this is an amazing synth. Great for stabbing leads, pads, and growling basslines.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 4.37 (1079 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.