The Korg Mono/Poly Synthesizer (1981)

Saturday Synth Porn: This video takes a look at the classic Korg Mono/Poly – a unique synth from 1981 that could be used as a 4 VCO monosynth or a 4-voice paraphonic synth. 

via AnalogAudio1:

The Korg MonoPoly came out 1981 and was the last analogue monophonic synthesizer from Korg. Actually, the MonoPoly is a monophonic synth – but you can play it polyphonically, too – if necessary.

The Korg/Mono Poly is a very flexible synthesizer: It has 4 oscillators, oscillator sync, cross modulation, PWM, noise generator (white noise), 24 dB Filter, 2 ADSR envelopes, 2 LFO’s with many waveforms, ARPEGGIATOR, CHORD MEMORY and portamento. The built in microprocessor makes many things possible: chord memory, arpeggiator, key assign and polyphony.

It is built around SSM chips like the Korg Polysix. I think, with the MONOPOLY Korg wanted to produce a synth as an alternative to the Minimoog and Sequential Circuits Pro One.

The most characteristic thing on the MonoPoly is the arpeggiator, when it triggers the oscillators in poly-mode. Every step of the arpeggiator triggers a different oscillator – unique patterns can be produced.

The MonoPoly sounds great – it produces fat basses and leads – but also FX sounds, bells, like you can hear in the video.

I played the Korg MonoPoly sometimes with a Roland DEP-5 for delay effects and a Lexicon MPX-500 for reverbs.

12 thoughts on “The Korg Mono/Poly Synthesizer (1981)

  1. Owned one of these beasts back between 1986-1990…..nice versatile analog synth…..hope who ever has it, is enjoying it.

  2. I had one as a kid. I became a master in programming it. I remember the great arpeggio in poly mode. I made a voice saying ‘allah, a cacaphony of crawling insects, the most foul d**rrhea sound ever and quite some music too. I want one too continue my explorations…now!

  3. Owned one of these beasts back between 1986-1990…..nice versatile analog synth…..hope who ever has it, is enjoying it.

    Maybe Korg will come back with it again. I for one will support that. I enjoyed working with it.

    Maybe arturia will come out with something similar …..with patching like it has in the micro brute.

    1. I got both the PolySix VSTi and the real PolySix. Not the same synth, but the architecture is similar in some respects. Even though the plugin and the synth sound similar on the surface, the real PolySix has this otherworldly spacey feeling to it, that you can hear in this video of the MonoPoly too. As always it’s a very subjective topic, but I wouldn’t trade my now Kiwisix for any VSTi out there.

  4. The mono/poly is my favorite va software plug-in (for a recreation of a past synth) Please re-issue this korg!

  5. I’ve had my Mono/Poly since I bought it new in 1982, but this video reminds me that I really should get mine repaired… it suddenly crapped out on me about 10 years ago! What was I thinking letting this beast remain silent for so long?!!

  6. I bought one of these in 1989 for £150. Sold it in 1991 to a friend for £150. Bought it back off him 20 years later (2011) for…..£600. i’ll never sell it again.

    I own the VST also and really, they don’t sound the same. Sometimes i’ll get a nice sound on the VST and then try the same sound on the real thing and they only ever bear a small resemblance to each other. The VST is much brighter, and sounds like a soft synth. The original can create some stunning string sounds that you can’t get on the VST. If Korg remade this, I’d buy another.

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