An 8-voice polyphonic analog/digital hybrid synthesizer with a 49-note keyboard and a built-in sequencer. Manufactured between 1984 and 1986.

The Poly-800 features one DCO per voice, with sawtooth and square waveshapes for building your own waveforms. Single-DCO sounds are quite thin, but the two 4-DCO oscillator banks can be layered to play separate patches for a much thicker sound, while limiting the polyphony to 4 voices. A noise generator is also available. The DCOs have their own 6-stage ADBSSR envelope generators.

For a filter, the P800 offers a single resonant low-pass VCF. It features keyboard tracking and its own EG. Unfortunately, the filter has no function for every oscillator, and won't for example be re-triggered for each note when playing legato.
A sine-only LFO is available, with controls for speed and delay. It can be used to modulate both the DCOs or the VCF. Also included is a simple chorus effect.

Furthermore, there is a a 256-event step-time sequencer capable of holding both notes and chords. P800's patch memory holds up to 64 user patches with up to 50 editable parameters.
MIDI support is included, and the P800 can even run on batteries.
The Poly-800 is noted as Korg's first international succeess and it offered heavy competition to Roland's Juno line, mostly due to its surprisingly low price.

back to Korg

If you want, you can set the filter to re-trigger for every note you play by flipping parameter 46 (trigger). I like the non-retriggering filter, though. It lets me play legato melodies with filter sweeps without having to turn the cutoff knob manually and do sounds almost but not entirely unlike Hammond's percussive sounds.

Those who have actually seen a Poly-800 may now ask "what knob?". The synthetizer's biggest problem is that it, as it came from the factory, does not have anything that resembles real-time control. Fortunately, for cutoff and resonance controls there is a quick and easy fix that makes the instrument much more flexible. On the synth's main circuit board there are some potentiometers, of which VR2 is used to trim filter cutoff and VR5 to trim filter resonance. You can remove them and connect their slots to potentiometers installed on synthetizer's case.

There are rumours that Depeche Mode has used a Poly-800. Jimi Tenor has also owned one.

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