Synth Site: Korg: POLY800 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.8 out of 5
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Mattias Bergdahl a hobbyist user from Sweden writes:
My first synthesizer back in 1986. Paid 4700 swedish crowns back then

(about $800). The main contender in this pricerange was Casio CZ1000. At this

time nobady wanted something that wasn't MIDIfied. You could get a new TB303 for

about $200. I later sold my Poly800 for a about 3000 crowns and bought a D50

instead but I missed some of the sounds and bought the rack version. Programming the Poly is a great way to learn analog basics but since

it's a one-parameter-at-a-time interface it's not as quick or intuative as

on a Juno-106 for example. The sound is kind of thin and the filter is using only one envelope. If

you play one note first and then play another note while holding down the

first one you either retrigger the envelope for both notes or play the second

note in the envelope stage as the first note (depending on how you set the

retrigger settings). This was done to save on manufacturing cost but it adds a

certain character to the sound. The filtersweeps are firstclass, you can get

some usefull basspatches out of it and it's good for square wave sounds. It's not

velocity sensitive and you can't do any serious realtime manipulation of

the sound. The sequencer is 256 step, step entry and non transposable. It can be synced

and I used to connect it to a TR505. The problem is that 256 steps is kind

of short if you want to make a bassline for a hit tune. The rating 3 out of 5 is partly of sentimental reasons. It's a worthwhile

addition if you find it relly cheap.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:43
JDALTON a part time user from USA writes:
Great sounds from such a simple synth. Really unique sounds.

I'm using a korg T3, Roland D5, Roland jx8p and the korg NS5R

sound module and I still find myself going back for the poly800

sounds. There are some good third party patches available and

you can get the factory presets on cassette from for pretty cheap.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:43
Leffe a hobbyist user from Sweden writes:
About my Poly 800 ? I think it´s a great synth. I´ve owned mine since

1989, and I will never sell it (I think). A little bit noisy then, but

I´ve made such nice sounds on it.......Pity that this synth doesn´t

respond to touch sensibility. A great buy, for a little money.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:43
Billy Spiropoulos a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I really don't like synths that throw extra layers of muffling complexity between you and the sounds you want to create. Therefore, I despise the poly-800, the second most slapdash synth I've used so far, next to the Yamaha YS200. Why this synth gives you organ-stop-like setings for the VCOs will always be a mystery to me, as they don't even appear to work like organ stops. Besides the confused oscillator setup you get a cheezy filter, an overly complex set of envelope gens, not enough keys, and a terrible alphanumeric interface that has to be one of the worst ever envisioned. Pass this one up, sez I. 1.5 sawtooth-wave farts.

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:43
Phil Robins a part time user from UK writes:
The Poly 800 is indeed a great synth, which I bought a year ago for £100 but I first used one back in 89. Firstly I'll explain the problems I've had. When I bought it and turned it on the sounds worked ok for a couple of days, but then were all lost. I contacted Korg UK, and they sent me the sounds on cassetteto be loaded in (a bit like the old Sinclair ZX81 and Spectrum). This worked fine, but I still lose the sounds every now and then, but it only takes a minute to reload. I've had the synth looked at by Cimple Solutions (repair company nr Wembley) and they replaced the battery on the board, but it still happens (just one of those things I s'pose). It does not respond at all to SYSEX as its an early implentation of the MIDI spec, I have to change the MIDI receive channel every time I turn it on as it sets itself to omni mode where it responds to every channel, so changing the MIDI channel from 8 to 7 and back to 8 again fixes this. After all these problems its still a lovely sounding synth for just £100 and I find myself sweeping the filter manually (Parameter 41) on lead sounds as they are played from my sequencer, or parameter 42 (resonance I think). Its great fun....

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:43
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