Probably one of our favorite synths in the studio is the super-cheap Korg Poly-800. It's not particularly groundbreaking or versatile, but it just has some really really ace noises. For the price and flimsy build, it really packs a massive punch, holding its own with our more expensive polysynths easily. We got this one modded with a pair of Moog filters (Polybeast mod), making it more hands-on and intuitive. You can really take its classic '80s sound and bring it somewhere very dark and distorted!more
I've had my (slightly broken) modded Poly800 MK.I for quite some time, and I love the thing. With the moog slayer mod, you get unlimited filter resonance, overcoming one of the weaknesses of the filter.
I'd have to say the weakest part of this synth has to be the oscillators. They're generated via organ footages, and the DCOs themselves can sound kind of odd.
That being said, this thing can sound killer on bass. I've used it quite a few time to get those kind of harsher, punchier bass sounds. Set that filter resonance at a nice spot, get the filter envelope going, bam.
What can I say about Korg's Poly-800? Its basically a PolySix with 2 more available voices and midi compatibility via its digitally controlled (instead of voltage controlled) oscillators. The DCOs are pitch-stable too. Some say they sound less thick than VCOs. I like them fine. Tuning guitars is one thing, tuning electronic instruments feels like a hassle to me. Also, the internal memory has a better battery that doesn't deteriorate and leak PCB-eating battery acid into your synthesizer like the battery in the PolySix.
Bad news? These are cheap because they have virtually no tweakable controls. Just look at the Spartan front panel. Really lame for an analog subtractive synth in the post-acid-house world. Like the notorious Roland Alpha Juno, this can be remedied by hooking up a midi knob box like a Phat Man. Without that piece of gear this is still a fun performance synth that is easy to program cool patches on. This guy excels at 80s leads.
I absolutely adore this synth. I bought it relatively cheap from a guy on the Dutch version of Ebay and ever since I got it, I've been amazed on how good (and bad) it sounds!
Yes, it's a little bit of a pain in the ass to program it. Yes, the value up/down buttons are annoying. Yes, the DCO's sound a little flat. However, from any synth of/from this age, its charm lays in its imperfections. The chorus sounds really nice (even though it makes your stereo image a little warped), the chord memory function is just a lot of fun and it's very sterile which makes it great from retro synth production.
Get it when you find one, it will not dissapoint you.
I got a Prophet '08 Module a few months prior to buying this and I'm sad to say that I hardly use the Prophet anymore, ever since this unit got in.
Just love it.
I love the Filters on the Poly 800 as well as the ADBSR envelope, it's parametric though and MIDI wise not very handy. I modified my Inverse Poly 800 with the Moog slayer and HAWK800 kit which really brings it up to speed again!