Korg Poly-800, is it good ?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
515 posts since 24 Sep, 2004 from Neverland

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:29 am

Hi, I might be able to get a Korg Poly-800 from a friend for a low price.
My question is is it worth it ?
What kind of sounds does it do best ?
Pros and Cons ?
I will be using it for music like Goa, Drum & Bass, Acid, etc

2 posts since 15 Aug, 2003

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:43 am

It has a great filter that I wouldn't describe exactly as raw or hard (that you would need for music styles you mentioned I think) but more like creamy and silky. You can only choose between saw or square oscillator types though the saw oscillator has a squarewaveish tone to it too. The oscillators are DCO and don't sound very powerful.
Despite all this, I like Korg Poly-800 and use it quite often though I'm more into vintage electronic sounds. I think it does those 80s type pads, bleeps and blops best.

18682 posts since 2 Oct, 2001 from England

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:50 am

515 posts since 24 Sep, 2004 from Neverland

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:57 am

I think I can fix the Raw and Hard problem with a bith of FX :wink:
My friend said I can use it as a MIDI controller, is this true ? and how good is it at that ?
Now I don't need anything fancy, just entering notes and the ability to tweek the hell out of some knobs in my VSTis :D :wink:

515 posts since 24 Sep, 2004 from Neverland

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:00 am

Kriminal wrote:Try the VSTi instead :wink:

Did't know of this one, thnx :wink:

2 posts since 15 Aug, 2003

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:04 am

I don' think it's very good as a midicontroller and the midi implementation is very rudimentary. It doesn't have any knobs but up/down push buttons. But the joystick is great (though it doesn't send midi messages) :)
Oh forgot to mention that it's great machine for modding, there is for example this moog-slayer mod for it that supposed to make it scream like a bastard ;)

367 posts since 29 Dec, 2004 from east coast, usa

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:14 am

I owned one....sold it shortly thereafter. Cheesy sounds, limited polyphony and cheap build. Don't pay any more than $50 for it.

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1138 posts since 24 Dec, 2004 from Adelaide, South Australia

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:25 am

I have one. It's a cheaply made synth, in that it is very plastic. The sounds are quite nice though. Very bloopy and fluid but not overly powrful or screaming. I think it's got a nice warm character to it though that makes it an interesting synth if you get it fairly cheap.
Mixcraft 8 Recording Studio : Reason 10

44 posts since 12 Oct, 2004

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:30 am

Well, if it`s cheap and it`s sounds are god to you, maybe it is OK. I loved it in 1984, but now I would not buy it...
Just take care is it Poly 800 or Poly 800 MkII (with digital delay), and notice that you better change memory battery first thing as you (eventually) buy it.

Some good opinions and prices:
http://www.harmony-central.com/Synth/Da ... II-01.html



http://www.electrobel.be/bargains.php?v ... r+Hardware

2891 posts since 31 Oct, 2000 from "Where I'm to, There I'll be"

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:38 am

I had one a few years back.
If i recall i don't think it has velocity sensitivity on the keys ...Is it not just all full Velocity?

This would make it not so good for a controller if so, so check that out as it is nice to have vel on your Midi controller.

They should be going very cheap too.

495 posts since 26 Feb, 2003 from Vancouver BC

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:41 am

I have one and actually use it all the time in my Hawkwind Goes Surfing rawk band...not much of a midi controller (it ain't touch sensitive)but... On the plus side, two words, brothers and sister...

Strap lugs.

2 more words:

Reverse keys.

Other than that, it's just a synth.

Heya Steve...glad you could make it...

eccentric genius

"It's not my goddamned planet, monkeyboy"
-John Bigboote

204 posts since 31 May, 2003 from Germany

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:45 am

i have one and also the VSTi.
Both are good for Pads and Background sounds, but
not for hard / agressive sounds imo.


1337 posts since 21 Dec, 2004

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:01 am

I had an EX800, the rackmount version of the poly. It was my first synth that I could program my own patches on. Used a tape recorder to transfer patch information. Kid Nepro has some patches for it. It was kind of a beast to program with the buttons and all that, but the sound was very smooth. Very clear sounding synth. No real grit to it. A couple of my songs on soundclick have the ex800 in it. If I remember correctly, it has 5 point filters in it ADHSR or something. I tended to like the sound of it through my guitar effects. I don't miss programming patches on it at all, but it was useful. Very warm sounding for a cheap synth.
"I am a meat popsicle"
Soundcloud Vondragonnoggin
Soundclick Wormhelmet

86 posts since 30 Jul, 2003

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:12 am

Here is a song I recorded with one:


This was when my studio was all hardware. Its the 2nd sound that comes in.

Some other things you hear are a TR-909, Juno 106 through a Mackie 1604, Boss SE-50 and Korg SDD-2000.

The good old days!

I like the Poly-800 but dont pay more than $100.
MAC 12' PB 867, FIREWIRE 410, OXYGEN 8

5080 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:43 pm

Yeah, what they all said.

It's OK, but nothing amazing. I'd be wary about using something from that era as a controller
1)Most of those synths had gone over to buttons, which makes them fairly useless.
2) No aftertouch etc.
3) Often a pretty poor midi spec. Dunno about the Korg, but alot of synths those days were pretty slow to transmit midi data. Strangely enough my Juno106 is probably the fastest out of my old synths - which is why I use it as a controller if I'm not bothered about using velocity/aftertouch/modulation etc.

I remember an old SoS article that did measurements of the actual transmission speed of midi data, and many 80s/early 90s synths were slow - my Wavestation can be noticeable, and that was faster than many.

Still...if it's cheap, it's probably worth buying. I can't remember anything that made me go "wow" about the Poly800, but it is still true that many VCFs have certain sweet spots. I vaguely remember Korgs as having good filtering in the lower mids, whereas Rolands tended to be sweeter in the mids. And there's only a handful of VSTi that can be as sweet as a true VCF (whatever Bones thinks on the subject). However, that doesn't mean that a VCF is good at everything.

And I don't remember the Poly800 as having particularly fast envelopes either - not easy to to really spikey patches, although boingy is OK. :hihi:

I'd used a Poly800 of a mate, but never bought one specifically because of the lack of knobs - those synths are a pain in the arse to program.

It boils down to if you like VCFs - whatever the limitations of some 80s synths, a Poly800 will make certain types of sounds that are probably difficult to reproduce on your average VSTi. If it's cheap it's OK - Polys were pretty reliable too, from what I remember...I never heard of anyone's breaking down.

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