Korg PS-3300 FS Synthesizer Hands-On Demo

Composer and synthesist Anthony Marinelli shared this hands-on demo of the Korg PS-3300 FS, a reissue of the classic vintage polyphonic synth from 1977.

Marinelli says that the PS-3300 featured in the video is currently the only one of it’s kind in the world, and was going back to Japan after the show.

Check out Marinelli’s preview and share your thoughts on the Korg PS-3300 FS in the comments!


00:00 Playing the 1st Sound I made
00:30 Introduction by Korg’s Luke Edwards
01:13 Anthony’s overview breakdown of the 3 Basic Modules
02:09 Anthony’s overview breakdown of the Modulator Section
03:02 Anthony’s overview breakdown of the Utility & Output/Mixer Section
05:01 Anthony’s overview breakdown of the MIDI/USB and Librarian Section
05:34 Anthony’s overview breakdown of Patching and Normals
06:00 Anthony Plays & shows how to Patch Your Own Sounds
08:08 Let’s Hear the “Amazing” 3 Band Resonators
09:20 Exploring the Envelope Generator & Long Release Times
10:25 Creating a Multi-Timbral Sound from “Scratch”
12:01 Anthony breaks-down Luke’s Favorite Preset Patches
14:42 Anthony Shows how to trouble-shoot when you can’t hear the sound (trouble-shooting)
15:58 Anthony Breaks-down how to make a “Monster Pad” Sound
17:43 Luke shows us 2 more presets
18:03 Anthony’s Summary – Why the PS 3300 FS is so powerful!
19:07 Anthony Explains How You Can Program the PS-3300 & some extra functions
21:30 Discovering the Damper Pedal Feature
22:03 Discovering the Librarian & MIDI
22:24 Closing Remarks

17 thoughts on “Korg PS-3300 FS Synthesizer Hands-On Demo

  1. Anthony’s the real deal. I loved this video. I posted 2 questions in the comments.

    1) is there a way to sweep the filter cutoff of all 3 synth voices at the same time?
    2) we hear talk of aftertouch, but what about velocity? It’d be great to control those awesome filters by modulating their envelope amounts via velocity…

    Anyone know or heard anything yet?

    1. Assuming it works like the original… can sweep filter cutoff on each of the three voice panels simultaneously, but I assume you’re asking if you can use a single env generator to sweep all three voice panel cutoff frequencies at once… you can’t using the voice panel ADSR’s. You could do it by patching/multing the global env generator to (in the master panel) to all three EXT CUTOFF CONTROL jakcs , but this is just a single “paraphonic” env generator, so you couldn’t get sep filter articulation for each note (like a string machine). Your best bet would be to just try to match the env timing for each voice panel.

      I have no idea how (or if) velocity or AT is implemented. 🙂

      1. In theory yes, but the voice panel envelope generators don’t have CV output jacks (because there are 144 separate voice panel envelope generators – one for each key x3 voice panels). That’s why the only way you could do it would be to use the single/mono “general envelope generator”… and yes, you’d route it to the mult then to each panel’s EXT CUTOFF CONTROL jack.

        The PS-3300 has a lot of oddball limitations like this as a result of the separate VCF/ENV/VCA-for-every-key (x3) architecture. Instruments like it, Polymoog, and ARP Quadra were all on a weird cusp between super-powerful string synth and full-blown polysynth.

  2. I’m not going to get in line for one of the reissues, but I’d sure love to sit and sample it for a few hours. Its like an alternate-universe version of a Moog IIIC with real polyphony.

  3. This synth is an engineering failure, how can you use 140 osc env vca. Even if you lay on the keyboard, its not possible. Just make it 30-40 voice and sell it 1/3 of the price. Bad synth design from 1970s.

    1. That’d be impossible without redesigning the entire way it works (unless it had a 30-40 key keyboard). Unlike any modern analog poly (i.e. anything after the Prophet-5), the PS-3300 has no keyboard scanning/voice assign circuitry whatsoever. This is the basis of pretty much all analog polysynths after the Prophet, where there is a limited number of voices, and a computer assigns and prioritizes the voices depending most recently played keys.

      Conversely, a PS-3300 has no computer or key scanning at all – the oscillators are divide-down like a string synth and generate all 48 keyboard notes at once (x3 sets!), and there are individual VCF, VCA, and envelope generators for every single key for all three voice cards (hence the 144 of everything). Instead of the keyboard being constantly digitally scanned to see what keys are most recently played, the keyboard on a PS is like a string machine where each key is an on/off switch for that key’s individual voice circuit. You make a valid point that no one’s gonna play 48 notes at once, but there’s no way to do a divide-down oscillator instrument combined with keyboard scanning. I’m not saying the way PS works is the greatest idea – there’s a good reason Prophet-5 (and Oberheims polys, Jupiters, etc.) came along and instantly made instruments lzike the PS, Polymoog and ARP Quadra obsolete. But they do behave a little different and can be fun. (Take it from me, I own a Polymoog. I also designed the Cherry Audio PS-3300, which is why I know so much stupid useless information about it!)

    1. PS-3300 has three separate banks of 12 divide-down oscillators (that’s how/why it has the little individual “temperament” per-note tuning controls at the bottom of each voice panel). Since divide-down can only make square waves, each key has its own dedicated waveshaping circuitry (x3) in order to get saw waves and variable-width pulse waves.

      1. I had this question pending for a while.
        Does that mean that the 12 temperaments pots act for the whole divided-down oscillators ? I had the feeling (& fear) the temperaments would only apply to one octave per module… and that would be a pitty.

  4. Celebutante, you do nice work. Your description of it residing between stringers and full polysynths describes it perfectly, even with its modular aspects. The oddball hybrids & false starts of synth history are fascinating. I recommend Cherry Audio’s Polymode, which is an alternate-universe upgrade of the Polymoog. Its my go-to stringer, but it also has some beefy Moog biceps.

    1. Thank you Dave. The real Polymoog is highly quirky and I wouldn’t recommend it to any sane individual… we tried to tone down the confusing UI without sacrificing any of the original (dis)functionality. In one of my replies above, I was paraphrasing what I always say about the Polymoog, which is that it’s best to think of it as the world’s greatest string synth, as opposed to a real-deal polysynth, so you were right on there.

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