Synth Site: Korg: POLY800 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.8 out of 5
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fishi writes:
lovely. I love this very 80's sounding synth. Fun for electro and techno. mine works fine, no memory problem for now (i hope never), the only thin that bothers me is there are no knobs. Just stupid up&down buttons. arrgh. Please tell me where can I get the detailed described modification. cutoff, reso...... Thanx.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-23-2001 at 03:24
Mike a part-time user from New Orleans, LA, USA writes:
1993-ish: The Poly800 was one of the first "real" synths I ever used. It belonged to my roommate. I didn't know anything about it, and I didn't know much at all about synthesis in general. I did manage to get some cool sounds out of it at the time. I kinda liked it.

That didn't last long. He decided rather than pay rent he wanted to go see Bjork, get hammered and buy a t-shirt. So I went my way and he went his.

Flash forward: I've been playing guitar for ages, and tinkering with synths whenever I've had decent opportunities...come close to buying more than a couple, and finally dropped $200 on a Korg DS-8. But I want more. I'm tinkering with soft-synths, computer-based sampling and recording and such, and it isn't giving me much satisfaction. Finally I get another Poly-800 on eBay. I get home from work and it's arrived, I tear open the box it's in, hook it up, and I'll be damned, it's better than I remember.

Now I've had it for a few months. I haven't had any problems, other than losing the 8th bank - someone else mentioned the same problem. I haven't modded it, I see no real need to. If I want to play with the filters, I'll plug it into a filter that's MIDI controllable.

I've created some seriously killer basses, some cool organs, disgustingly smooth string pads, filtered lead sounds, etc. The basses are awesome. Everything from silky subs to resonant short attack/short decay to raunchy detunes to grindy things...It's really surprisingly versatile considering it's limitations. I've gotten this great Orbital-esque chord thing going on, set the DCO interval to 7, and set the chord to root/min3rd/5th/octave...I should experiment with other chords, but that alone makes for some cool jazzy ravey fun chords.

When I need to squeeze something extra out of it, I run my DigiTech RP-12 on a send from the mixer and I can have all the delay I need, swishy chorusing to fatten up pads, distortion to make the leads scream like banshees, wah to emulate a filter type effect, flangers, eq, panning, you name it and I can do it.

I've written several pieces since acquiring this little beast, some using the Poly-800 as the only synth in the mix. Just noodling with parameters becomes inspiring.

Sure it has it's shortcomings, but I'll tell you what - All you nearsighted twits out there who insist that the Poly-800 isn't a respectable synth: Show me where I can find a better synth for the price. Someone said for a little more you can find a real analogue....Hmm...Arp Axxe on eBay, $250 with 5 days to go. I figure it'll go for about $400. Moog MG-1, $255 with two days to go, 14 bids. Probably go for $300-350. SH-101s are going for about $500-700. Junos are going for $350-500. Jupiters are fetching about a grand. Sequentials are way the hell up there. And so on, and so forth. What are you smoking? For $200 or less you will not find many better synths - of ANY variety, much less analogue. Yes, you may stumble across one in a pawn shop or garage sale, but that's not a very sure way to shop. Gems like that are, in my experience, rare.

And you wanna talk about the construction? You mean the $700 SH-101 I had my eye on wasn't plastic? Yeah right...and what about that yellowed old ragged out 909 you're willing to pay $1200 for? What constitutes a well-made synth? My Poly is at least 15 years old and mint. MINT. Nothing loose, nothing broken.

The MIDI issue? Hmm. It works okay for me. I can back up my sounds as .wav files, others seem to be doing okay with .wav, samplers, cassettes. Yeah it has limitations. Again, look at the age, look at the price. Does your $1500 TB-303 have MIDI? Can you SysEx your patches? Does it respond to velocity and aftertouch? Oh wait, that's right. It has NO MIDI AT ALL. Get over it.

And sounds? Lots of people besides myself seem to be getting perfectly useable sounds out of their Poly800s.

For what it is and what it costs, I would give the Poly-800 4.5 out of 5. Because yes, it has limits. But in spite of them, maybe even because of them in some cases, this little synth rocks.



Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-10-2001 at 17:06
benni a hobbyist user from germany writes:
I modified the resonance of my poly800. now the filter is self-oscillating and the sounds really kick ass!

this piece of gear is a must (especially in regard to the price, I payed DM300=$150)

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jun-19-2001 at 06:52
Koos Fockens a hobbyist user from Devon, England writes:
The poly 800 was my first synth, I bought it second hand for approx.$200,- 10 years ago. I have the inverted keyboard version, which was a limited edition Korg issued(does anyone know how many were built and when?). I like it. It has a nice sound, is good at synth leads, synth organ, and some effects,and drones but not so good at basses. It does go very low and if you beef up the resonance you better be careful of your speakers. But the main problem I think is that the envelopes( AHDSR types!) are not fast enough, so punch basses are not working very well. I will never get rid of it for sentimental reasons but I will modify it, I found some great mod's that get rid of the battery back-up problem as well as real filter control knobs. It is a bit awkward to operate with all these menu numbers, but very straight forward. Buy one, just for the fun of it!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-09-2001 at 08:21
Sandro Binetti a part-time user from Bari (ITALY) writes:
Great fat analogue pads. Still today it can be succesfully used to layer a digital sound. Use it with a good limiter, if you want to record it into a digital recorder track, to avoid the chorus to cause unexpected clippings.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-May-04-2001 at 03:47
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