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Sound Quality

This synthe has a very different sound to it's main competition at the time- the Roland Juno series. These to me sounded warmer but the Korg definetly had a 'sharper' sound- This does not imply that it sounded cold or 'sterile' as I managed to get some really nice fat string, pad and synthe brass sounds from it after much programming. It also excelled at certain types of organ patches and could do some nice cutting techno/euro bass sounds and nice synthe lead sounds. Forget about any decent type of acoustic simulations however- the limited synthesis functions didn't help here either! However like I said above, I programmed some killer accordian sounds for this synthe! On its own (without outboard effects) this synthe didn't have a huge fat sound (only 1 mono output didn't help here either!) so adding some reverb and chorus beefed things up considerably and really made the sounds come to life. I used to run it through my JVC KB800 'stereo' keyboard which had some very basic onboard flanger and delay effects and boy did it fatten up things alot!! You wouldn't ever have this as your only synthe either in the studio or at a gig. However, it would have covered alot of bases with something such as a DX7 (which had all the tinkly digital sounds at the time) or even something such as an ESQ1 with it's digital waveform synthesis. Oh it had the usual Korg joystick for pitch bend and modulation also- I mustn't forget to mention that! This synthe has one of the crappiest keyboard actions ever put onto a synthe (and this is me complaining even before I started playing piano!). It is very mushy and it offered no velocity or aftertouch sensitivity. However I did get use to it (as I had no choice!!!!!).


It never let me down and was built very solidly.

General Comments

I didn't even buy one as I was using the one that was at my secondary school (which I attended between 1985-1990). I would not buy one today unless someone gave me one for free as I don't think it is a very competitive synthe (and it certainly wasn't back in the 80's either!). No I'm not bagging this synthe because it WAS MY FIRST FORAY INTO SYNTHES AND MUSIC TECHNOLOGY AND I MUST SAY I PROGRAMMED THE {censored} OUT OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!! I saw this synthe as an extension of my electronic organ playing during that time. This synthe was not (and will not) become a classic like the Korg Poly 6, Mono/Poly and MS20 have. I think people weren't sure what to make of this synthe- one one hand it looked like a new digital synthe but it had an 'analogue' sound which was definetly not the in thing during this time of DX7 tinkly digital sounds. None the less, I managed to teach myself to program some very nice patches into this thing. It's main competition at the time was the Roland Juno 6/60/106- the 106 has become the classic synthe (but I don't know why?) Mabey if Korg used knobs/sliders instead of the digital access system perhaps it could be a classic in the same way as the Juno is as both these 2 synthes a limited in terms of synthesis power. It could be argued that Korgs newer DW series (particularly the DW8000 which I own and LOVE!) developed on this synthes weaknesses but I disagree as the DW contains a totally different technology (DWGS with 16 digital waveforms per oscillator). It certainly helped me make music at the time because I had nothing else but I surely would have been dumped very quickly if I was able to afford what I wanted at the time (I couldn't decide between an Ensoniq ESQ1, Yamaha DX7s, Roland D50 or Korg DW8000- these were all the top synthes at that time 1986-87)- and yes- I nearly spat on the thing after the 1st time I played a Korg M1 (refer to my Korg T3 review as to what I though I was experiencing the 1st time I played a Korg M1!!!!!!!). I think the Poly 61 is the synthe that has given me the special 'affection!' that I have had for Korg synthes because it was the board that I learn't all my first synthe playing/programming chops on.

PS- I don't think Korg will re-release this synthe in physical modelling fashion like they have done with the new MS2000 (year 2000 version of the old MS20!).

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