Monday, April 11, 2011

Korg Polysix, Keyboard 1982

Korg Polysix synthesizer advertisement from back inside cover page in Keyboard Magazine April 1982.

There's just no stopping the Korg-love that's been happening around here. Well... in my head anyways. And to help me wrap my head around all the Korg posts lately, I had to go back and read a few past ones.

When I did that, I realized just how much I had been jumping back and forth in the space-time continuum. First with the KPR-77 ad from '84, and then jumping back to '81 with the KR-55 ad. Then back to '84 with that Poly-800 2-pager and poster/brochure, and finally back to '82 again with the Family of Products ad and accompanying poster.

I don't write this all out to try and generate page views, but to get an idea of where the gaps are. Believe me, Korg was pumping out ads, and my jumping around created more than a few gaps. I thought I would start with this Polysix ad since it has so much in common with other recent Korg ads I've posted.

The ad began appearing in Keyboard in April 1982, and continued to run pretty much monthly until January 1983. It follows the same basic design style introduced in January's Family of Products ad that included a dark background, neon glows (this time appearing around the central Polysix photo) and a column of text traveling down the right side of the ad.

It also appears to be the first ad to include that odd hey-lets-draw-some-lines-directly-through-the-main-photo design element. This design trend continued through to 1984, including in that KPR-77 ad. In that post, I commented:
"I'm not sure I like the fact that there is a solid white line running vertically through it [the photo in the ad]. It doesn't really get in the way of any detail in the photo, but whoever the designer was had some big balls to try and get away with it."
And if I thought the designer had big balls for drawing a single line through that photo, then the person who approved the 16 lines going through this Polysix photo is the Ron Jeremy of art directors.

The ad-copy is quite interesting. I'd use the word "strategic" - but I would just be guessing ( like - when am I NOT just guessing :D ) As mentioned, this ad started running in April, two month before Roland's Juno-6 ad appeared. And although the Polysix was quite a bit cheaper than previous polyphonics, it was still quite a bit more expensive than the Juno-6. But it also offered a lot more features than the Juno-6 - and Korg had the foresight to make sure they didn't skimp on the ad-copy to explain all the features that the Polysix had: Six voices, 32 program memories, arpeggiator, and on-board effects. In fact, as I mentioned in a previous post for the Roland Juno-60, there was just so much packed into the Polysix that Roland had to replace the Juno-6 with the Juno-60 just to keep up with Korg.

The Wikipedia page for the Polysix is quite well done with a lot of good reference information, links to other Polysix pages including Vintage Synth Explorer (with a relatively good comments section!) ,, and even a link to the manual (PDF). A Wikipedia page doesn't get much better than that.

One of the most interesting sites I found through Google was "Old Crow's Synth Shop: Korg Polysix Upgrade and Repair Overview". It contains some great step-by-step instructions for keeping your Polysix in top notch shape. Nice photos too.

I also found a great YouTube video that really gives viewers a good indication of what the machine is capable of:

What a versatile machine. Yummy.

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