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Korg PS-3300 Polysynth

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The Korg PS-3300 is one of 3 polyphonic modular synthesizer models made by Korg in the late 1970's. The high production costs and complexity of the instrument gave it a price tag that was out of reach for anyone but the wealthiest musicians of the day. Bob Moog was so impressed with the PS-3300 that after he was given a demonstration of it he is quoted as saying that it was "the best synthesizer for fat sounds".

The Korg PS-3300 is actually three complete synthesizer units in one. It has the unique feature of 48 voice polyphony with 48 oscillators with low-pass filters, envelopes and amplifiers, which is the equivalent of 144 oscillators, 144 filters, 144 envelopes and 144 amplifiers.

Each oscillator section has 6 waveforms that are Triangle, Sawtooth, Wide Rectangle, Narrow Rectangle, Pulse and Pulse Width Modulation. The unit has 6 LFO's that offer Triangle, Sawtooth, Ramp, Rectangle, Pink Noise and White Noise waveforms.

There are 12 filters available and offer Attack, Decay and Sustain control knobs as well as an unconventional Release function which can be controlled by a foot switch.

Global tuning is available via knobs with an octave switch with footages 16, 8, 4, 2 and there are separate control knobs for coarse and fine tune as well. An additional set of individual miniature tuning knobs referred to as "Temperament Adjust" are used for each of the twelve notes in the octave, making it possible to tune it to scales other than the Western standard of Equal temperament. Exotic scales such as the Byzantine scale or Eastern scales are available by these settings.

All audio is routed through a mixer and modulation section with 3 audio channels from the synthesizer units are mixed into a single channel with separate outputs and volume control for line and headphones. Each individual synth unit has its own individual audio output and CV output and input options for oscillator, filter, envelope and LFO's. There are also three external mixer inputs for effects loops or other sound sources. The mixed level can be modulated by control voltages from an LFO or envelope.

The synthesizer is controlled via the PS-3010 Polyphonic Keyboard which is a specialized 48 key keyboard with a proprietary 60-pin connector that connects to the Korg PS-3300 the Korg PS-3001. The keyboard has a trigger mode dial selector switch with 5 different trigger modes as well as a momentary switch for retriggering of envelopes during sustained notes, plus three on/off sliding switches. There is also an X-Y joystick with calibration sliders and separate CV outputs for X and Y direction movements.

The PS-3040 Dual Foot Controller is a two CV control pedal unit with variable range, which also can be connected to any parameter with a CV input.


Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Subtractive
Oscillators: 3
Waveforms: Pulse, Pulse Variable, Triangle
Osc Modulation: Envelope, Glide / Portamento, Knob, LFO, Ring Modulation
Envelopes: 3
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Filters: 12
Types: Band Pass, Low Pass, Resonance
Filter Modulation: Envelope, Knob, LFO
LFO: 6
LFO Parameters: Noise, Saw Up, Saw Down, Triangle
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 48
Tuning: Atonal, Micro, Standard
Modes: Polyphonic
Patches RAM: 1
Case: Keyboard, Module
Case Details: 48 keys
Keyboard: Metal, Wood
Controls: Buttons, Knobs, Switches, Mod - Wheel 2, Joy Stick, Modulation 1/4" Jacks
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out, Mono Headphone
Audio Output Count: 2
Inputs: 3 x 1/4" inputs
CV Ports: CV IN, CV OUT, Gate In, Gate Out
Year Released: 1977
Year Discontinued: 1981
Units Made: 20
Used By
Aphex Twin Matt Black Depeche Mode Yazoo Erasure Paul Davis Keith Emerson François Evans Jean-Michel Jarre Kraftwerk Lightwave Vangelis Papathanassiou Ryuichi Sakamoto Klaus Schulze spAce Gino Vannelli Stomu Yamashta Yellow Magic Orchestra
Design Notes:

The Korg PS-3300 is one of the biggest and rarest analog synthesizers ever made, and it has become one of the most collectible synthesizers as well with auction sale prices exceeding £30,000 in the UK in 2016. Less than 50 units were produced 1977 to 1981.The high production costs gave it a price tag that was out of reach for anyone but the wealthiest musicians of the day. It is a much coveted synthesizer by professional musicians and collectors alike as it has a big and unique sound which has been described as an orchestra of synthesizers.

The PS-3300 has attained near mythical status due to its rarity and the fact that it was adopted and revered by many of the artists that were the synthesizer pioneers, such as Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze and Keith Emerson. Even Bob Moog was so impressed with the PS-3300 that after he was given a demonstration of it he is quoted as saying that it was "the best synthesizer for fat sounds". At its release back in 1977, along with the smaller PS-3100, it was a landmark synthesizer in many respects. It was in fact the world's first fully fledged polyphonic synthesizer where all 48 keys could be played at once and articulated independently of each other. Still to this day, the Korg PS family of synthesizers (PS-3100, PS-3200, PS-3300) remains the only fully polyphonic analog semi-modular synthesizers in existence.

Manuals & Documents

Virtual Software
Retail Street Price: $174,000 - convert
Used Price: $25,000 - convert
References & Sources

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