The Korg Polysix Synthesizer

Synthesist Marko Ettlich takes a synth voyage, with a vintage Korg Polysix (1981).

The Polysix was among the first polyphonic synths that were relatively affordable. Though it is a one oscillator design, built-in effects can give it a massive sound, as demonstrated above.

Features of the Korg Polysix include:

  • 6 Voice Polyphonic and Unisono Mode
  • 1 oscillator + suboscillator per voice | SSM filter chip based.
  • LFO – 1 LFO
  • Filter – analog lowpass with ADSR envelope
  • 2 Envelopes
  • Arpeggiator
  • Chorus, Phaser, Ensemble

The PolySix has been used by Eat Static, Geoff Downes, Astral Projection, Jimi Tenor, Global Communications, Kitaro, Robert Rich, Keith Emerson and Tears for Fears.

via MusicMarketingTV

8 thoughts on “The Korg Polysix Synthesizer

  1. I own a Polysix. It really only has one envelope. The single ADSR envelope (per voice) is always attached to the filter (though its effect can be scaled to zero) and, via a front panel switch, the same ADSR envelope can be routed to the VCA. Therefore, the VCF and the VCA are using the exact same envelope and there’s only one set of ADSR knobs on the front panel.

    Alternatively, the VCA can be set to simple On-Off (like an organ) with no ADSR functionality. If you want to call this simple On-Off behavior an “envelope” then, yes, I guess it has 2 envelopes. In my book, though, it only counts as one envelope.

    1. I think Knobs Vs Alpha Knob and VCO’s Vs DCO’s probably contribute to the price difference. Alpha Juno sounds awesome though and if you did want knobs and bought the PG-300 then the total price would be more comparable to that of a Polysix. However I do think the main contributor to the polysix being more expensive are those awesome little hooks for wrapping your power cable up.

    2. If you look around you can find good deals. I found a Polysix a few months ago selling for 600 on Craigslist (with a hard case and original manual) and was able to get the guy down to 550 because some of the keys didn’t work and it still had the old NiCad battery in it. I cleaned up the keys and swapped out the battery and it is now in tip top shape! Just gotta be patient and look around.

  2. My first and still my favorite poly. Bought one when it first came out… I’ve owned four over the years. It was very versatile and perfect for 80’s cover music, providing everything from that fat “Africa” sounds to Dreamweaver-like strings. I even managed to coax a near-acoustic piano sound out of it. Logically laid out, nice looking and sturdy. A classic!

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