Korg Poly 800 Mk II

Toyish construction, laughable MIDI implementation, but hey, you gotta love the sound! A shame that it wasn't just a little more than it was - no portamento, no mono mode (although you could fake it with the chord memory), and only the most rudimentary of MIDI control...

From the Manual


There were apparently two factory patch sets available for the Poly 800 MK II - "Set 1" is the same as the tape that I got with mine, "Set 2" is allegedly the other factory set, "Custom" is the same as "Set 2" with the exception of a different patch at location 2.8

These patch sets are provided in sysex format. To load into your synthesizer, simply feed the sysex file to your synth with your favorite sysex utility.

To get patches out of your Poly 800-II via sysex, you need to send it a dump reguest - Cakewalk can do this pretty handily if you include this line in your cakewalk.ini file.

Korg Poly 800 II=F0 42 21 0C 10 F7

Of course this request will work with any sysex loader - I leave it to you to know where it should go.

If anyone has any custom patch sets they would like to share - by all means pass them along.

Patches in .WAV format

Copies of original load tapes are available on the net in .WAV format. The Korg Zone is a good place to look for such things.

Loading Patches in .WAV format

  1. Connect soundcard output to the FROM TAPE jack.
  2. Load .WAV file into your favorite playback utility.
  3. Set PROGRAM WRITE, SEQUENCER WRITE, and TAPE switches to the ENABLE position.
  4. Press the LOAD key.
  5. Start playback of the .WAV file.
  6. If the .WAV successfully loads, the display will give a "Good" indication.
  7. If the display shows "Err" or does not change after about ten seconds, hit the CANCEL key, adjust the soundcard level and/or the LOW/HIGH switch on the rear of the Poly and repeat this procedure from step 4.


The Poly 800's really aren't too hard to program - click here for an instruction file written by Andrew Utting. Andrew claims to have never seen a Poly 800 manual, testament to just how understandable these machines are.


Still on the subject of programming - it occurred to me that you could probably use a program to create random patch sets. So I did just that. The following script is written in Active Perl. To date it hasn't really generated anything that's made me go 'wow!' - but it has created some of the best helicopter sounds I've ever heard. Have fun with it. If you have any ideas to make it "better", let me know...


The only mod I'm aware of that gets brought up from time to time is adding external controls to the filter. Click here for the page with the mod info.


Comments to Bob Smith