Possibly working Poly-800 for $65? What the heck.

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Alex E
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Possibly working Poly-800 for $65? What the heck.

Post by Alex E » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:11 am

I have a little extra spending money from selling some stuff and while I was browsing the 'bay I found a poly-800 for $65 including shipping. The ad read:

KORG Poly-800 Synth For Parts or Repair , been sitting, untested, missing battery cover. shipping is $15.

(http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... %26fvi%3D1)

So I thought ok, it's cheap, I won't mind fixing it if it's broken. So I bought it.

It actually looks to be in okay cosmetic condition, though it's really dirty.

Good catch, huh? I'll be looking forward to seeing if this thing works.
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Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:22 am

Nice one, the Poly 800 is the punk rockest of all keyboards.

There's a good chance it won't make any sounds when you power it up because the memory has been wiped because the batteries went flat and all parameters have returned to zero. There's a mod somewhere on the web that tells you how to install a memory battery so it doesn't happen again.

You can get sounds back either by programming in your own from scratch or by finding a copy of the preset tape and playing it in. Have a little search of the forum, it's been covered a couple of times before.

Good luck with it, and make sure you run it through some guitar pedals! It takes fx like distortion a lot better than many other synths because it just has one filter for all the oscs.

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Post by Alex E » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:30 am

Ah thanks for the warning. :) I wouldn't have thought of that.

I'll check out how it sounds run through some stuff, I'll start with it into my ms2k!
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Post by sheepmusic » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:50 am

the poly 800's dead memory was the reason i joined this forum in the first place, theyre fun, and as stab said, they like guitar pedals, some nice distortion and delay/reverb goes down well with them. also, if you dont want piles of 80's cheese, think of it as a blank canvas, because most of the presets are cheesy...

also, if you are loading the presets, its very picky about input volume, so you may have to try several times, with different settings.
anyways, good luck fixing it up, and have some fun with it!
have a good one,
Alex

PS. if you don't want it at some stage, i'll buy it off you if it doesnt cost too much to ship... i was thinking of taking Hoax's advice from when i first joined the forum, and getting 2 poly 800s, my reverse key, and a normal one and modding them so i have a black key only and white only :D just for shits and giggles :lol:
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Post by ryryoftokyo » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:26 am

mmmm....the korg poly-800.

That board gets way too much hatred it's way.

It plays very well with EFX pedals. I have a DOD phaser (the second model they ever made) and an Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress Filter/Flanger I love running it through. Finish it off with a light yet warm distortion and you're in heaven!

Have fun!
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Post by krushing » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:31 pm

The Moog Slayer mod might be worth looking into. I've still got an EX-800 waiting for this to be done - looks easy enough for even a electronics-n00b like me to do.

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Post by OMNI26 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:33 pm

The Poly-800 was at the bottom of the synth pile when it was released back in the 80's. But, at least it was semi-affordable (although as a poor high school kid in the early 80's, even I couldn't afford it!).

I have never been that impressed with them sound-wise. Ryryoftokyo has a good idea to run them through effects pedals, though....makes anything sound good! :) The worst thing about them was the difficult editing process.

I found one at a pawnshop here in town about a year ago for $65, in nice shape with case, and I think that was fair. I don't think they are ever worth more than $100, though.

The Poly-800 II (that added a few things like digital delay, etc.) is quite a bit cooler overall.

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Post by Sir Ruff » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:32 pm

I'd say 65 is a fine price for one (hopefully it works!), but I feel like the poly800s retro heyday has come and gone... a few years ago, these were the bees knees in terms of "affordable" analogue, but these days, I just can't see the appeal when there are SO many other cheap boards out there (the dw8000/esq-1 for a start). I guess there is something kitsch about the whole strap-on keyboard thing, but it really irks me when people try to hype these as the "unknown" beasts they aren't...
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Post by metrosonus » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:06 pm

I wouldnt call them unknown, just different and more likely forgotten. as for hype, i certainly don't detect any .. it's not a microkorg or keytar.

they are no more difficult to program than an alpha juno and the CZ gets way more hype than the 800. programming them by turning intervals on and off, I guess, confuses people and it also gets written off alot because people expect a budget minimoog, juno 60 / 106 or something. It gets more of a bad rap then hype I'll tell you that much.

as I said, it's just different . .. theres really no value judgment you can put on that since it's all subjective anyway.

tbere does seem to be a bit of a buzz though when people find out about it. I think that mostly comes from younger people hoping to find something off the beaten path thats affordable and may be serendipitous in the vein of the 303. I guess you could call that hype, but I wouldnt ..

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Post by Sir Ruff » Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:58 am

metrosonus wrote:I wouldnt call them unknown, just different and more likely forgotten. as for hype, i certainly don't detect any .. it's not a microkorg or keytar.

they are no more difficult to program than an alpha juno and the CZ gets way more hype than the 800. programming them by turning intervals on and off, I guess, confuses people and it also gets written off alot because people expect a budget minimoog, juno 60 / 106 or something. It gets more of a bad rap then hype I'll tell you that much.

as I said, it's just different . .. theres really no value judgment you can put on that since it's all subjective anyway.

tbere does seem to be a bit of a buzz though when people find out about it. I think that mostly comes from younger people hoping to find something off the beaten path thats affordable and may be serendipitous in the vein of the 303. I guess you could call that hype, but I wouldnt ..
I guess I didn't mean "hype" in the juno-106 sense, more the "RARE VINTAGE ANALOG MOOG KORG SYNTHESIZER" sense :D prices were up in the +$250 range for a while, but then reality set in, and they settled down again. they are certainly not unknown..
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Post by nitkov » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:25 pm

poly-800 was my first real synth. we've gone through many phases, him and i... as a kid, i was fascinated [it could hardly have been different with the first synth]. but as soon as i learned how to make strings, basses, percussions or any other type of sound, i realised how weak they were: nothing was convincing, basses were thin, and nothing sounded full and wide enough. only years later, when i acquired 'better' synths and therefore stopped trying to create rich and full sounds on poly800, i discovered how neurotic, raw and irritating it can be - in a good sense! just don't waste your time trying to make it sound nice! [or anything like a moog :shock: ] - and enjoy its wickedness.

although it isn't the best choice for a beginner, it did me much good because i learned synthesis the hard way - without knobs. it put me in a position to think about how the synth actually generates the sound.

today i keep it only because it's lightweight and practical for carrying on gigs.
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Post by metrosonus » Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:38 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:more the "RARE VINTAGE ANALOG MOOG KORG SYNTHESIZER" sense :D prices were up in the +$250 range for a while, but then reality set in, and they settled down again. t
that's just .. stupid. I never understood why they'd go from 80$ to 250$ as you said. That's always baffled me. I personally don't think they are worth more than 80-120$ given condition and accessories.

Most people approach it with a typical OSC > ADSR > LP mind set, which is an incorrect approach for the 800. Most people complain that it has a buzzing, annoying sound, which I can only say "duh" to if you really understood the architecture. And it doesn't help that it's described as having DCOs and saw waves either. This puts it in peoples minds that it's a traditional analog style, when it's not really.

For me, the best way to describe the 800 is to say that it's almost an attempt at taking a consumer "toy" style keyboard like the Yamaha Portasounds (which use similar style architecture) and giving it enough features and programmability to appeal to the low end "prosumer" market. Obviously using such "work around" technology isn't going to give it a sound that appeals to everyone, nor is misleading copy. But it does attract a loyal following, sort of the SK1 and portasound modifiers. I'd have to say it's place in history goes right above those two and right below the higher lower end casios, CZ101.

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Post by michael stein » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:37 pm

I picked one up for about $85 a few months ago. The Poly800 sometimes finds a role in my songs and fits the bill perfect, other times not so much or at all. I love battery powered equipment alot so thats a plus 1. I use it alot layered behind my SQ80 for bigger poly sounds. I f**k love step sequencers, i believe im one of the few that likes programming that way. My poly800 sits next to my other strap on, battery powered, step sequencing SH-101. They are like best friends now.

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Post by ColorForm2113 » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:45 pm

there are alot of really sweet mods for it like the moog slayer mentioned before, makes it alot more fun to use live. there is also an FM mod which run one of the DCOs into the filter cutoff i believe, this can add sone nice grit and noise. and the noise mod which basically just gives you an external volume adjust for the noise sorce.

and this guy--> http://patrioticduo.tripod.com/korgpoly ... index.html
is making abunch mods to add more memory, more lfos, portamento and bunch of other stuff. im going to order his kit soon i think.

enjoy the 800, its a really fun synth

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Post by Sir Ruff » Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:45 pm

metrosonus wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:more the "RARE VINTAGE ANALOG MOOG KORG SYNTHESIZER" sense :D prices were up in the +$250 range for a while, but then reality set in, and they settled down again. t
that's just .. stupid. I never understood why they'd go from 80$ to 250$ as you said. That's always baffled me. I personally don't think they are worth more than 80-120$ given condition and accessories.
It's called supply/demand and it can happen with anything, but you notice it the most on the cheapest gear (in terms of initial price versus inflated price)... A few people with too much cash on their hands blow their wad on one for the above "retro vintage blah" hype, then suddenly everyone else wants in, and well, there just aren't that many at any given time, so people start paying more and more, etc...then people take a step back and say, wait a minute, what the h**l am I paying for? and (hopefully) prices go back down again...
people were paying over $100 for unmodded Sk-1s not too long ago, now you can get them again for under $50... this is the beauty (and evil) of the 'bay...


I would love to just fiddle around on one (sealed's demos are great), but I don't think I'd ever buy one...
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