Korg Poly 61 Synthesizer is the Grit!

Korg Poly 61 Synthesizer
Korg Poly 61 Synthesizer

Today I found a used but in near mint condition Korg Poly 61 Synthesizer for $50 at a used music shop located a short drive from my house in Nagano-city, Japan. I must admit that I know very little about the Korg Poly 61, but for the price which included a hard case, I had to plug it in and give it a whirl. All of the presets were in the synth and after about 30 minutes of playing it, I couldn’t find one thing wrong with the synth. The sound for the most part was fantastic. I say for the most part because some of the presets were just ok, but with some tweaking I’m sure they would sound great.

It’s hard to pinpoint with just a short time playing this synth, but there was something about it that I really liked. It was a bit annoying about the lack of knobs for editing the sounds, but quickly I was able to figure out how to program what I wanted. The Joystick is an absolute DREAM!!! I love it! That joystick alone can crank out some wicked sound variations. Plus the arpeggiator is a blast as well. Everything about the synth felt good and just felt for $50 bucks I could have a lot of fun with it. I should also note it’s not the “M” version which has the MIDI connections, however, that doesn’t bother me. I rather enjoy playing the keys straight and recording in real time so I actually don’t use midi all that much in my other keyboards to be honest. It would have been a nice addition, but I certainly can’t complain. It’ll be nice to hook this up alongside my Juno 6 or Juno-106 for sure.

Thus for first impressions, I rather like the Korg Poly 61. I heard it’s really cheap, but honestly I have never seen one in Japan. If I check Yahoo Japan Auction, I do see one listed for over $200, so I feel I got a great price on mine. There seem to be a lot of Roland Juno Synths around, but I really don’t see any Korg Poly 61’s so I for the moment, it’s a rarity in my book. There’s only one “working” Korg Poly-61 on Ebay right now as well for $500. Wow, that’s quite a bit.

There are quite a few Youtube videos highlighting the Korg Poly-61 Synth. Below is a video that I think is one of the best I’ve seen of the Korg Poly-61 Synth simply because the guy knows what he’s doing with regards to synths and he pushes it to the limit.

This video showcases more of what the Korg Poly-61 can do.


45 thoughts on “Korg Poly 61 Synthesizer is the Grit!

  1. Today I opened up the to have a look at the inside of the Korg Poly-61 to specifically check the battery. After reading some reviews about the Korg Poly-61, I found that the original battery is prone to leaks that can destroy the main PCB board.

    I was relieved to find that my Korg Poly-61 has a blue Varta 3/170 DK 3.6v 14 Std. laden mit 17ma battery fully intact. (Varta 3.6v Ni Cad) I also noticed that the screws to the cover had been tampered suggesting that the Korg Poly-61 had been opened previously. Likely it might have been the used shop keeper to blow out any dust. Even better if to replace the old battery with a new one.

    I am not sure if the battery I found is the original or not, but it does look like the same battery used when originally manufactured. Thus it’s either the original battery, or a replacement done likely by a Korg service rep in Japan.

    Either way, the battery looks and works fantastic. The only thing now is to try and find the best way to eventually replace the battery before it goes bad and leaks. I’ll definitely have to keep my eye on the inside of the board and check it frequently.

    There are a few resources on the internet about changing the Korg Poly-61 battery but very few if any are clear and concise. There was one website that everyone refers to, but it’s now offline. I hate it when that happens…laugh.

    For now I’m looking to replace the battery in as simple a manner as possible. The best case idea would be to simply remove the original battery. Then solder in a black and red lead to the PCB board where the previous battery was connected. Then connect the other ends of the wires to the new battery. I first have to find out what batteries are compatible with the Poly-61 in place of the Varta 3.6v.

    Stay tuned!

    1. rich

      When I change the 3 VDC batteries I use two AA batteries wired in series and place it across the batteries contact points a step back from the existing connection point. That way you can safely remove the spent battery without loosing your precious patches. Think of it as a booster battery.

  2. Here a couple of good links with additional specs and info on the Korg Poly-61 Synthesizer.

    1. http://www.onestoneworks.com/synthesizers.html

    2. http://synthpeter.blogspot.com/search/label/Korg%20Poly-61

    Note that the following link is offline. I’m looking for the info that was originally posted which dealt with how to change the battery for the Korg Poly-61. I’ll post the link here, but it’s currently offline.


    Plus I just joined this forum which has a good topic about changing the Korg Poly-61 Synth battery ( Varta 3.6v NiCad ) with a NimH battery.

    Here is another link of how to change the battery on a Korg Poly Six which is very similar to the Korg Poly-61.

  3. I just found this Korg Poly-61 Lithium Battery Kit.

    Korg Battery Kit $18.95 (Part #4447)

    Note that shipping to Japan is $19.95 … OUCH! I’ll have to be sure I have no alternative before I buy from Syntaur. Yikes!

    Korg Poly-61 Lithium Battery Replacement

    Battery kit, for Korg Poly-61 and Polysix synthesizers. This kit allows you to replace the original leak-prone NiCad battery with a 3.6-volt Lithium battery. Installation requires soldering, including the removal of two components on the circuit board, and the installation of a diode as well as the battery (diode is included). In most cases, battery leakage will have damaged the circuit board itself, and this will require repair in addition to the battery replacement. This kit is intended for those with experience at repairing electronic equipment. Instructions are included.


  4. Posting some notes found in the old Korg Poly-61 Yahoo Users Group regarding battery replacement from a gentleman named “Russell Rose”.

    Any one have the procedure for replacing the NiCad to Coin cell? I think you need to add a diode and possibly remove a capacitor.

    According to Korg service bulletin for poly-61.
    1) remove R70(470 ohm)
    2)Remove transistor Q10
    3)Replace nicad with lithium battery in same location
    4)solder one 1N914 diode(or equiv) at location R70 and and another between Emitter and collector of Q10( cathode to C and anode to E)
    5) if the CPU board is KLM475, change R146 to 2.2k ohm. If Cpu board KLM506 disregard R146

    The diode at position R70 by the way, mounts on the PCB with its anode pointed towards Q10, cathode pointed towards(not connected) the positive end of battery.

    Holy Smokes, I took a chance before I got this message and just removed R70 and replaced it with a Diode. It worked, I’m able to store programs and it holds them in memory. That’s not to say,looking
    at your email that doing it my way wont have any long term affects.

    On the same service bulletin that Korg issued on Oct1990 they also outlined battery sub procedure for the Poly-6, which is simply replacing the battery and removing R91(100 ohm) and putting diode in its place. So the point being why would their engineers put a tech to the extra work, unless there was a good reason.

    My guess is this: to reduce the drain current on the backup battery. I don’t have a schematic in front of me but I guess that a precious amount of your battery’s current is being wasted on forward biasing Q10, thereby reducing battery life.

    If you have the means check the refresh voltage at the RAM, with power off, should be around 2.8-3.1 volts Or check the current drain on the battery(power off) should be less than a coupla microamps, ideally less than one microamp.

  5. Here is a photo of the battery inside my Korg Poly-61 Synthesizer. You can see it almost looks brand new, BUT it does need to be changed eventually because I’m sure it will leak some time or another.

    Korg Poly-61 Synth Battery

  6. kb

    Poly-61 is a great DCO analog synth. It’s too bad Korg left so many of the parameters at the coarse resolution they have.

    If you’re gutsy, you might try modding it to give it realtime control:


    More extensive than the battery change, but you transform this synth!!!

    1. Thank you for posting this on my blog. It’s absolutely amazing what you’ve done to the Korg Poly-61 and I’m impressed with your knowledge. I can do minor stuff my boards, but I must admit it would be quite intimidating to match what you’ve done…laugh. Your Poly-61 is fantastic.

      Everyone should check out your Youtube channel:

      I’m also curious what your thoughts are with any of the available MIDI kits out there. Have you considered these?

      Kenton Retrofit Korg Poly 61

      The P61-KBD MIDI retrofit

      Thanks again!!


      1. kb

        Hi Jim,

        Thanks for the links to my Youtube channel!

        By the way, your Poly-61 has some extra knobs/switches on the left hand panel. Unless these were specific to the Japanese model, they are not stock. What do they do?

        Also, you have some red-capped knobs on the main panel. Those are cool!

        Finally, the p6retro is a very good, very simple DIY midi retrofit for the P61. There’s at least 2 Youtube demos of it.


  7. rich

    For MIDI conversions, I pickup these cheap MIDI keyboards and use the circuit board to monitor the key status for Korgs and Rolands. It means a separate box sometimes but it works.
    Stoney Creek, ON Canada

  8. oscar

    Thanks for this post jimdatwood!

    I also got a fully working poly61 for 80 euro on ebay germany. Everything works fine (but the joystick is broken).
    I was also worried about the battery thing so that’s why I didn’t play more than 3 min with it yet. It still has the original presets. Mine also had some screws out so it looks like somebody had opened it before I got it.

    I just opened it now and it looks like this:

    The battery is already leaking. I also saw that there are some yellow condensers that are a bit brown… so I guess I won’t plug it again until I change the battery. I might get that kit from the link you sent.

    About the joystick… it looks like one part is missing. Do you think I can get one on ebay or somewhere?

    By the way, I think my battery looks exactly the same colour and brand as your, so probably they’re the original ones. I guess your keyboard was used less hours, so that’s why the battery is still in such good shape, but I would recommend you to change it asap cause it’s like a ticking bomb!

    I’ll keep you updated!

    1. Hello Oscar,

      Thanks for the message and congrats on acquiring a Korg Poly-61. Indeed we both need to change the batteries on our Poly-61 synths asap. Your battery looks like it’s started to blow, but you definitely caught it before damage could be done. I think if you remove that soon you should be safe from any problems.

      I plan to remove mine and will likely replace it with the solution I posted above. I keep searching for an easier or cheaper solution but I haven’t found one yet. I do know that removing the battery will just remove the capacity to store sounds. The synth itself will be fine. However, I definitely would like to get a new battery in there of course.

      With regards to the joystick, I’ll keep an eye out for one and post the info here if I see one anywhere. I’m sure one will come up on Ebay, but I think it’s also likely one will pop up on several synth repair sites online. I’ll see if I can find one.

      Is your Korg Poly-61 the “M” version by chance with Midi? Or is it like mine, one of the early ones. Just curious.

      Stay tuned! Thanks!


      1. oscar

        Hi Jim! Yeah is the same as yours (without midi).
        I also think that the repairing kit is a bit expensive… maybe you can just buy the same battery and diode and resistors there in an electronics shop from japan.
        I am thinking about finding a NiMh battery similar to replace the original one, so that i can just replace it without having to remove resistors and do other changes on the board. It might last for 5 to 10 years at least, isn’t it?

  9. Hi Oscar!

    Yes, I have also thought about replacing the Poly-61 battery with a NiMh drop in replacement. I actually asked a similar question about it on the Circuitbenders forum and got the following reply:

    “Any 3.6V NiMH battery. They’re a drop-in replacement for NiCad so just get one that looks about the same and fit it.”

    My only question now is that I’m not sure what mAh it should be (700 mAh, 1200mAh, 850mAh, etc). I don’t know my batteries all that well…laugh.

    I also don’t know if you can buy NiMh batteries that “look the same” as the NiCad on in the Korg Poly-61. Most I see look like cell phone batteries that are flat or that have three batteries connected together. I’m currently searching right now on the net and will post some photos of what I might buy.

    Also, I received a reply from Syntaur about shipping for the Korg Poly-61 battery kit to Japan and they quoted me $9.95 (half from before). So that would be about $28.95 for the Korg Poly-61 Lithium Battery Kit. I noticed some of the “NiMh” batteries sell between $10 to $20. The Lithium is more expensive but not by that much. I just may spring the extra and go for the Lithium. Geez, decisions decisions…laugh.

    Like yourself, I’ll probably replace with a NiMh battery first and go from there as it’s probably the cheapest and easiest. I’ll keep you posted.


  10. Ok, I just found some info that helps me with my previous questions. It sounds like I can use a NimHh battery with any mAh value in the Korg Poly-61 without issue.

    mAh is an appreviation for milliamphours, its a rating for how much charge a battery can store. The larger the number the longer they will go between charges. NiMH means that the type of battery is Nickel Metal-hydride cell construction.

    The mAh rating should have no bearing in the peak voltage and currents generated by the battery, so any type of NiMH battery of the same size and voltage output should be safe.

    I think what I plan to do is simply remove the original NiCad battery by either desoldering or clipping the legs. I then will solder red/black wires to the appropriate points and then solder a NiMh battery to that. I can then place the battery away from the main board for added protection. I actually did a similar thing with my Yamaha DX7IID using a Lithium Battery. The process worked great.

    Now I just have to review how to store and retrieve patches with tape.

  11. While searching for an appropriate NiMh battery replacement for the Korg Poly-61, I ran across this Energizer NiMh battery as an example that should do nicely. It’s 1000mAh.

    The interesting thing now is that these are rechargeable. So one needs to likely first charge the battery with some sort of charger. That could add an additional cost. Once charged, I wonder how long it would hold the charge because you could still lose all of your patches in the Korg Poly-61 over time. One would have to keep a regular tape backup it seems.

    Would anyone know how long a battery of this sort could hold it’s charge in a powered off state with a Korg Poly-61 synth? Are we talking months or years maybe?

    Korg Poly-61 NiMh Battery Replacement

  12. Gordon over at CircuitBenders seems to have answered my question about the life expectancy of a NiMH battery charge.

    NiMH is a drop-in replacement for NiCad. It *shouldn’t* self-discharge in a month. My Polysix has probably not been on for over a year, but still has its patches. I replaced its leaky NiCad with a NiMH a couple of years ago, and it’s been fine ever since.

    The last time I fired it up (about three months ago) the Polysix still had all its patches. Prior to that, I hadn’t run it for over a year, and even then only for about half an hour.

  13. oscar

    great! thanks for such accurate infos jim!
    I think I will also go for the NiMH.
    One last question would be:

    Doesn’t the “New” battery get charged through the poly 61 when you play it? (so you don’t need to charge it appart), maybe just leave the poly 61 on for 10 hours or so, and then play it a bit during the following days? 😛

    cheers! and greetings from berlin!

  14. oscar

    did you already mount the new battery?
    They told me to be super careful when you get out the old one. It’s corrosive and kind of dangerous if you make it hot when you solder, so they said to use protective glasses in case small acid sparkles might get in your eyes!
    Do you know which specific kind of new NiMH battery should I buy?
    Thanks mate!

  15. Hello Oscar,

    I haven’t mounted a new battery yet, but I plan on getting one like the Energizer one pictured above. I then plan to cut the battery legs and remove the old NiCad Battery without any De-Soldering. After that I will likely just solder black and red wires to the pins sticking out of the PCB board OR or holes if I can access them.

    I will then attach those wires to the battery. You’ll notice there is a plastic connector on the NiMH battery above. I could perhaps solder wires with a plastic connector on the other end to the PCB board. Then I might be able to simply connect the two plastic connectors which would make removing the battery easier next time.

    Plus if the wires are a bit longer I can move the new battery away from the PCB board. I think that will be my initial approach. I am just finishing up some other projects and will likely dive into this shortly. Thanks! Jim

  16. In preparation for removing the battery for my Korg Poly-61 I did some testing with the tape save, verify, and load functions of the Poly-61. It was a very interesting experience. First I did testing with my Roland Juno 106. I used my trusty Win98 2nd edition computer and followed the procedures for saving to a wav file in Cool Edit Pro 2.1. I used Win98 and Cool Edit Pro because a couple of other people had positive experiences with that setup. Indeed with the Roland Juno 106, everything worked beautifully.

    With the Roland Juno 106 testing 100%, I decided to follow suit with the Korg Poly-61. I used the exact same specs but this time I had to use Mic Boost in Windows advanced controls from the Mic in jack on my computer. The Korg Poly-61 transmits a much quieter signal or sound than the Roland Juno 106. I then did verify and I got the “good” message no problem. Finally I tested again by creating a factory backup wav file and then restoring it back into the Korg Poly-61. Everything worked great.

    The only problem is that I have download a collection of about 6 wav files of Korg Poly-61 patch sets around the internet. None of them work when verifying with the Korg Poly-61. It seems I can ONLY save and then load when I create the files and not when they are downloaded from elsewhere. I tried many different ways in Cool Edit to get the files to work and so far no success. I also burned the Wav files to CD and all failed as well.

    My research suggests that if you are looking for factory patches in WAV format on the Internet you might not have much luck. Luckily I have a good factory WAV file for my Poly-61 that works but I had to create it instead of getting it from somewhere else. I also noticed that my Korg Poly-61 WAV file looks dramatically different from all of the other WAV files I found on the internet.

    Has anyone else tried loading WAV files to their Korg Poly-61? What software do you use?



    1. rich

      I repair vintage keys and synths and I had one customer with two Poly 61’s. I loaded them both with the default media player in Win 7 to reproduce the wav file in an analog form. I also did a calibration of the adjustments and the customer commented that either unit never sounded so good. Originally he was going to sell both but after playing them he added them to his keyboard arsenal. I have a spare if anyone need spares, anything but the joystick assy.

      1. Hello Rich,

        Thanks for the blog visit and comment.

        I’m curious if you might know if patches can be loaded into the Korg Poly-61 without a battery “temporarily”. I’ll likely be able to answer this question myself shortly since I’ll be removing the battery, but thought I’d ask anyway. I understand the battery is required to “save” the patches when powering off. However, I’m really curious if one can create new patches, save them in the internal banks, and then finally save them to tape before powering off the system. Then when later powering back on, one can load the patch set into the Poly-61 for playing without requiring the internal battery.



  17. Here are a couple of excellent blog pages on some excellent Korg Poly-61 repair topics.

    Battery Replacement

    Troubleshooting the Envelope Generators

    I contacted Rich the owner of the website and he replied with the exact battery used in the photos above.

    Dantona COMP-16-3P NimH Battery


    Unfortunately they don’t ship abroad to Japan, so I’m still looking for another solution. Those 3.6V NimH phone batteries are now looking mighty tempting.

  18. Wow! That was fast. I just opened up my Korg Poly-61 for my bi-weekly check on the battery and it’s now just starting to leak. It just started so I caught it at a good time since no material has run down the battery at all and touched the PCB board, BUT, this battery is coming out tonight!!! I backed up my patches last week so I’m ok there. I don’t have a replacement solution yet but I’ll feel better just getting it out. It looks like I’m going to have to remove the PCB board, turn it over, and desolder the battery in order to get it out. I’ll have to be careful with this. I’ll update later with some photos. – Jim

  19. Hi everyone,

    Just an update on the battery repair of my Korg Poly-61. I removed the CPU board from the Poly-61 and successfully desoldered the battery from the PCB board. It was not that difficult and everything cleaned up really nicely. Until I get a new battery, I decided to re-assemble Korg Poly-61. I read somewhere that the Korg Poly-61 could be operated without the battery. I actually find this to be untrue. Yes, I can “get sound” from the Korg Poly-61, but many of the parameter buttons, especially the DCO2 “interval” parameter causes the synth to lose sound.

    I tried a couple of things for test purposes.

    1. I loaded my wav files that I saved with the presets. They did load and “good” appeared on the Korg Poly-61 but none of the sounds were usable. When I tried to tweak them, the sounds just didn’t sound right.

    2. I tried manually entering the parameters from the manual that lists the presets. I got decent results, but again DCO2 “interval” reduced the sound to almost zero.

    Many of the parameters have a “_” bar instead of a number. The interval parameter always has a “_” and when you change it to 1,3,4,5,-3 it completely zaps the sound.

    It’s important to note that my Korg Poly-61 was working “flawlessly” before I removed the battery. Without the battery, everything continues to power on and work, but now the sounds are all out of whack. I “thought” the battery was “only” for supplying power to store the presets. However, I’m finding out the battery does more than that and in my case is crucial to the operation of the Korg Poly-61. So far my Korg Poly-61 does not operate well at all without the battery.

    Fingers crossed that when I do get a new battery in place that it will function properly. I was very careful when removing the CPU in disconnecting/reconnecting the wire plugs. I feel I did a good job with desoldering the battery and I was careful about being properly grounded to prevent any static harm to the CPU board.

    We’ll see what happens when I get the new battery in. I’m curious though if anyone has ever really successfully operated the Korg Poly-61 ( in full ) without a battery. My experience so far suggests it’s nearly impossible.

    Thanks and I’ll update this comment shortly.


    1. David

      I actually got the same problems, trying to load original patches to my Poly61 without battery.
      Every patches show “_” on first values, the others are at their maximum value.

      Glad to find that it can be “normal” without battery, I can’t wait for my new one to come !!

      Thanks for those tests !

      oh and if I can contribute, I had troubles with keyboards tuning (full keyboard tuned a less one octave, and unable to tune Poly with the Service Manual procedure, VR5 tuning didn’t have any action on sound) days ago, in fact I got my Poly without joystick assembly. I thought joystick was an isolated part of the synth and wouldn’t affect the whole sounds if it were not there. Well I was wrong, now that I got one back from a french mate, the synth works (sounds) perfectly, I’m now able to tune it wright !

      1. Great job David! Indeed the Poly-61 kind of needs everything intact in order to function properly. Everything seems to be interconnected in some fashion. Having a good battery and the joystick no doubt would have solved your issues. Enjoy! – Jim

  20. After further research, I’m getting the feeling that the RAM may be corrupt after removing the battery. This makes sense to me with the oddities that are occurring when powered on and used without a battery inside. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any way to reset or initialize the Korg Poly-61 to flush out the Ram if that makes sense. My hope is that with a new battery in place things will become normal again. If not, then something seriously went “nuts” when the battery was removed. Just my luck!

    Today I may pick up and install a 3.6V NimH phone battery to see if I can get something connected inside the Korg Poly-61. I don’t have access at the moment to a proper replacement battery nor do I have any of the components necessary to install a CR2032 battery. That requires a couple of changes to the CPU board and I don’t have the materials yet.

    It’s amazing. Japan is like one of the electronic havens of the world, but it’s supply is mainly export and not domestic unless you are in certain areas of Tokyo. Japan is not like the US for example where you can go to local shops and pick up Electronic components. In Japan it’s very difficult to find do-it-yourself parts. It’s interesting.

    Stay tuned.

  21. UPDATE:

    I successfully changed the Korg Poly-61 with a 3.6V NimH 600mAH Phone battery. I soldered a black and red wire to the CPU board and then spliced the ends of that to the phone battery. When I powered the Korg Poly-61 on I noticed right away that it sounded different then when I used it without the battery. I also checked the Interval parameter on DCO2 and it was now working properly. I programmed about six different sounds and wrote them to memory. I then powered off the Korg Poly-61 and had some lunch. When I returned and powered the Korg Poly-61 back on, the six patches I created were all there and played as they should. I should also note that the phone battery was fully charged when I installed it.

    The obvious question will be how long the battery will last. Perhaps in the morning, next week, next month I may power up the Poly-61 and it will no longer have the patches. That’s entirely possible, but for now I know it at least works and can replace the battery with a better solution in the future. I also now know that my Korg Poly-61 sounds like utter crap without the battery inside. It sounds perfect with the battery installed. I have no idea how or why people are reporting their Korg Poly-61 works without the battery. My guess is that they may not be entirely programming the synth and therefore are not checking all of the parameters. Sure most work, but some don’t as in my case. I also understand that no two Kor Poly-61 synths are alike perhaps.

    I’m just happy to have my Korg Poly-61 back in action and working as it should. Thanks!

  22. One little interesting thing is that instead of loading up the preset sounds via tape or WAV, I have elected to manually enter them using the Korg Poly-61 Factory Patch data tables. So far, I have found this to be very useful for understanding better how sounds are programmed into the Poly-61. Moving from left to right I simply enter in the values and test the keys as I go. It’s amazing how just one or two parameters can give a preset patch it’s distinctive sound. I highly recommend to manually enter presets if you have the time and need better understanding of how the original patches were created. It’s very helpful. Just a tip.

    1. C S

      I agree! I found scans of the patch sheets on synthmania and programmed in my favorites after I replaced the battery and it really helped me understand the synth 100x better. I wish there were more patch sheets out there instead of just regular sysex and wav files–especially for some of the more complex synths like the D-50.

  23. Ok, I FINALLY figured out my problem with loading sounds into the Korg Poly-61. After reading the manual several times I realized that one shouldn’t be using the “Verify” command before loading sounds into the Korg because it will likely “error” every time. The reason I found is that when any slight change to the current memory is made, the sound WAV file will not match. Apparently an “error” code is given when what’s in memory and what’s on the WAV file do not match. In my case, I changed the battery which basically corrupted the memory. I then programmed a couple of patches to check things out. Thus my memory was now different then what was saved on my previous WAV file.

    Thus there is no way the internal memory will match what I previously save on my computer before the battery change. I spent the entire day tweaking my volume and the WAV file because I was getting constant “error” messages when verifying. I’m glad I finally figured out in the manual because it NEVER would have matched. It’s impossible because the memory after the battery change is different. So… You just have to move to the “load” procedure and either get a “Good” or “Error”. If you get “Error” just up the volume and it will eventually appear as “Good”. You will then notice your patches will sound perfectly. My Korg Poly-61 is now good as new.

    Verifying sounds is ONLY IMPORTANT RIGHT AFTER you save your sounds to tape or the computer. If you get a “Good” then you can load it back into the Korg Poly-61 at anytime regardless if the memory is the same or not. Don’t try verify again because the slightest change in your memory like tweaking a patch and saving it will ALWAYS result in “error” upon future verifying. My confusion was that verifying meant checking that the WAV file is good. It’s not. It’s only verifying that the WAV file is EXACTLY the same as what’s in your current Poly-61 memory. Forget it! You will never get a “good”. Just load it! You’ll be fine. Hope this helps someone avoid all the hours of time I wasted in figuring this out…laugh.

  24. You seem to be scoring classic gear for super cheap or even free! Getting those 80’s analog synth less than u.s. $100 seems to be impossible here in New York area (I live in New Jersey, but still…) You are a lucky guy! Those Japanese synths go at least 200 bucks, even if it is labeled as a non-working unit in the U.S.

  25. matt

    can someone please help me?

    i bought a poly 61 in a very bad way… it had bad battery damage, a smashed case, broken joy stick and just made a few fart like noises with no controls working at all.

    I have spent the past 6 months working on it when i had the chance, re capping the pcb, replacing any problem resistors and of course the rusty old battery. i have checked every single mm of the korg and replaced nearly every connection.

    it really was a state!!!

    on boxing day i bravely turned her on and if i am honest… i was suprised with the sucses!!

    she appears to work.

    a few of the programs seem almost blank, making a static mid to highpitched drone which i guess is not right.

    i am aware that there is a tape to add the lost sound that the korg works on but cant find it in wav format

    the more i look, the more complex it seems.

    i can fix physical problems but this programing seems tricky

    i cant even play a synth 😦

    can someone be very kind and email me an “idiots guide” to resetting it to a “as new” set up and direct me to the wav files i need.

    otherwise this classic will spend the rest of its life in bits 😦


  26. Neal

    I’m going through a similar headache with my Korg Poly-61. The previous owner had put in a 3v button style battery and it won’t retain patches after it’s been powered off. Did the 3.6v Ni-MH phone battery work out for you long term? trying to decide if I should go with that, or another replacement option.

    1. Hello Neal,

      Yes, my battery is still working and even after a month or so, when I power it on, it still works retaining the patches. I’ve had the battery in there since the time I first posted about it here. I’m not sure how long that is, but it seems quite a while. I do sometimes worry that one day I’ll turn it on and it won’t work simply because the battery may have discharged completely, BUT, I then simply have to attach a newly recharged battery. If correct, I heard that if I power on the Poly-61 every once in a while that it can recharge the battery on it’s own. That may be happening, not sure. I just know that so far everything has been golden!

      I know it will at least work for a while and is quite easy to replace again if need. The important thing is that I know I won’t be spilling any battery acid all over the place with the original battery. There could be better options out there, but for now I haven’t had any troubles.

      Jim 🙂

      1. Customcomp

        Wow, what a coincidence, I am refurbing a Korg Poly 61 this week for a customer. It is kind of a Frankenstein, Value Village unit for $50 missing stuff, a keyboard and joystick from the Sounddoctorin and some TLC and voila, It’s alive!

        Keep up the interesting posts. Your name comes up in many of my customers conversations.

        rich wirth customcomp Stoney Creek ON Canada

  27. Neal

    Got a 3.6v Ni-MH battery and it worked great! This site has been a huge help, thanks!

    Has anyone tried any of the Korg Poly-61 mods out there?

  28. C S

    There is so much great info here. One thing I would like to add is that the F-106 filter from Mode-Machines really completes this synth. I highly recommend one.

  29. Hi Jim! This is an excellent post, props for documenting all of it. I have a Poly61m that I am planning to do a battery replacement on and i’ve already taken out the CPU board. Luckily the OG battery hasn’t started leaking yet and I would like to perform the replacement exactly the way you did. However, I have a couple questions first:

    1: From what i understand, the battery which you used was a phone type battery pack with TWO black and red wires. The old battery, which has THREE legs connects directly onto the pcb. I would like to know exactly how to solder the TWO battery leads onto the pcb since it actually has THREE (one extra) holes from the old battery.

    2. I was also wondering if you soldered a separate battery connector to the pcb for easy replacement, as opposed to soldering the battery leads straight in.

    If possible I would absolutely love to see some pics of your work if you have any available. Hope to hear from you soon, thanks!

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