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Korg Polysix vs Korg Lambda

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 4:38 am
by milkbath
Hello! I currently have a Polysix, but I have an opportunity to pick up a Korg Lambda. I understand there are some major differences between the two such as the Polysix has a single VCO and a more flexible synth architecture and the Lambda being a three VCO, divide down, preset string machine with some modulation. What I am curious about is, if overdubbed, will the tonal characteristics of the Polysix and its Ensemble effect able to get me to the magical glory that is the sound of the Lambda?

Re: Korg Polysix vs Korg Lambda

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 11:51 am
by nathanscribe
Oooh, interesting question. I haven't used a Polysix, but I can say with certainty that there are some happy quirks to the Lambda's operation that would be difficult to get right with a 6-voice polysynth. Not the least of which is full polyphony. The Lambda's characteristics include:

- 3 oscs, each detunable, each with their own different-phase LFO modulation
- layering of presets has unexpected effects on the sound; for example, mixing Percussive and Ensemble sounds thins the Ensemble automatically so it doesn't get too cluttered
- presets are made using nearly-but-not-quite-sawtooth waves, made from layered squares
- presets are made using fixed filter banks instead of your typical poly's 24dB low-pass
- only the Brass preset has its own 12dB low-pass filter with preset resonance
- chorus effect can be added to Percussive and/or Ensemble parts separately
- envelopes and trem/vibrato for each bank are set independently

Bearing in mind you can do all this with no layering/overdubbing and all that, the Lambda makes its kind of thick, creamy, layered pads very easy indeed. The equivalent with a 6-voice would require several takes, and you'd want to pay attention to the way the notes decay with full poly as opposed to 6-voice poly when starting new notes beyond the voice count.

If you're wanting to mimic a stringer, you can do some of the things a stringer does with a regular poly. But not all of it, and certainly not all at once.

Perhaps try your hand at doing a stringer-type thing with the Polysix, and see how it goes. If it's a drag, you know what to do.

Of course, I'd always recommend buying a Lambda anyway, 'cos I think they're great. :D