[ps title]
The PS Series of Polyphonic Analogue Synthesizers

"A Message of Great Importance to Musicians.

Korg proudly announces the most advanced technological acheivement in the history of electronic music: The PLS (Professional Laboratory Systems) Polyphonic Synthesizer Group. Developed by some of the world's most brilliant electronic engineers, the Korg Polyphonic Synthesizers mark the dawn of a new age of musical creativity. You've heard that before. But now for the first time, Korg's made it true.

The Korg methodology is unique. First, we use synthesizer technology, not a restrictive organ-type approach. Then, we don't limit the number of notes you can play simultaneously. The PLS Synthesizers are truly and totally Polyphonic. Play all 48 notes at once and you'll experience the thrill of having 48 mini-synthesizers at your fingertips.

Each key triggers its own dynamic filter, envelope generator and VCA. That means independent articulation of each note. But that's just the beginning. The PLS Synthesizers are modular. Expandable. Totally interfaceable. Patchable. They feature polyphonic, voltage-controlled sample & hold. Plus a host of exclusive, dazzling features we can't begin to discuss.

You'll find the same unparalleled quality, creative technology and outstanding value in every Korg product. If you're looking for a synthesizer, consider Korg, the keys to creation."

- see the original 1977 advertisement

Three models were produced in this series:  ^

[socket] The PS-3100 (1977)
[socket] The PS-3200 (1978)
[socket] The PS-3300 (1977)

Additionally, the following accessories were specified for the range:

[bullet] PS-3010 48-key polyphonic keyboard controller
[bullet] PS-3020 37-key monophonic keyboard controller*
[bullet] PS-3030 Digital Sequencer*
[bullet] PS-3040 Universal dual foot controller
[bullet] PS-3050 60-pin junction box
[bullet] PS-3060 programmer/remote controller (for the PS-3200)
[bullet] PS-3001 60-pin locking connection cable
[bullet] 'Special Hard Carrying Case'

* There doesn't seem to be any evidence that these items actually saw the light of day.

(The PS-3300 Synthesizer was described in the Owner's Manual for the PS-3100 (under 'optional equipment') as 'A 3-System Intergrated (sic) Multi-Capacity Unit')

These synthesizers were unveiled in 1977, and could be considered to be Korg's response to Moog's Polymoog (1975) and Yamaha's CS Series (1977), which were the first widely-available and relatively affordable polyphonic synthesizers*.

Due to limitations in the technology available at the time, some corners had to be cut and Korg were unable to offer full polyphony. Instead, 'divide-down' circuitry for note generation, where voices are derived from a set of 'master' oscillators was used (by contrast, a true polyphonic synth has one set of note generation circuitry for each synth voice).

The PS range was the precursor to the monophonic MS range which used compononents and modules derived from these instruments.

* the PS-3100 cost 490,000 Japanese Yen (equivalent to approximately USD 5,144 / Euro 3,653 / UKP 3,126 in 2013 prices) and the PS-3300 cost 1,200,000 Japanese Yen (equivalent to US $12,502 / Euro 9,006 / £7,611) in 1977.

Here are some outline specifications, along with Korg's marketing blurb, and a few pictures:

The PS-3100 ^

Semi-modular 48-voice polyphonic synthesizer; 48-note keyboard, F-E

Per voice:
1 VCO (triangle/pulse/sawtooth waveforms)/Dynamic VCLPF
Temperament adjust
Voltage controlled 3-way Resonators
2 Modulation Generators (LFOs)
DAR general envelope generator

Voltage Processor
Polyphonic Sample & Hold

"The most completely equipped single-system polyphonic synthesizer designed for high playability and flexible control.

The PS-3100 has a built-in VCO, VCF, VCA, and EG for each of the keys on the keyboard for a grand total of 48 synthesizer circuits. A wealth of versatile controls for complete polyphonic synthesis is arranged with optimum playability in mind. The PS-3100 gives you the freedom to create any kind of sound you want, from polyphonic plucked strings, to the crash of cymbals, to the majesty of a pipe organ. Provided with an easy-to-follow flowchart, the large patch panel lets you go beyond the internal connections and synthesize a truly infinite variety of sounds. Use the amplitude modulator for effects including tremolo and ring modulation. The ensemble switch gives an added richness to strings and voices. Three resonators make for more realistic, more flexible tone color control. Although you may find similar modules available as add-on units for other synthesizers, only the PS-3100 gives you everything integrated into one logically organized system. For live performance, you'll be glad to have the built-in control wheel and momentary switch. And it's easy to patch other external control units since every module of the PS-3100 is subject to voltage control. As the most definitive polyphonic synthesizer built on Korg's original technology, the PS-3100 is receiving high praise from the world's leading musicians."

-the PS-3100

The PS-3200 ^

96 VCOs (2 per note), with some extra modules, 16 user memories, and separate polyphonic keyboard. It came out a year after the PS-3100 and -3300; perhaps the technical difficulties involved in implementing the early user memory system was responsible for the delay ?

"Memorizes the tone color you want - the perfect completely polyphonic synthesizer for live performance.

This programmable polyphonic synthesizer has built-in microprocessor circuitry that lets it memorize the tone colors you synthesize on the control panel. Including all the capabilities of Korg's amazing PS-3100, the settings of all 32 control knobs and switches are accurately memorized. And they stay memorized even when you turn off the power. Unlike other units, you can quickly override the memory by just pulling out any of the 32 control knobs for temporary readjustment.

For the multi-keyboard artist this means a new level of expressive freedom. Since you can cancel the memory and alter the tone color at any time, you no longer need to be burdened with several keyboards at once. In fact, the PS-3200 has such enormous flexibility that it can take the place of 16 ordinary polyphonic keyboard units in a live performance situation. To give you the capability to synthesize even more complex effects, we have added to the PS-3100's group of modules a completely independent extra EG section, a 7-element equalizer for final control of tone color, and a modulation balance module that lets you mix the cyclic changes of the modulation generator with the stepped changes of the sample and hold, and simultaneously modulate the oscillator frequency and tone color. All this makes the PS-3200 a strikingly flexible and easy-to-play unit that realizes its full potential under the most demanding live performance conditions."

"For professionals, the only fully polyphonic synthesizer with patching system and tone color memory in the world.

This programmable polyphonic synthesizer has a computer memory that can store up to sixteen original sounds that you create. Tone colors synthesized by 32 different knob settings are memorised and stored even when the power is turned off. Temporary readjustment of recalled sounds is possible by simply pulling out on the appropriate control knobs. Plentifully equipped with every type of module including modulation generators and sample & hold, this advanced unit also has a patch panel that lets you route signals in any way you like. Each voice has two signal sources, plus there is a 7-element equaliser, and ensemble effect for even greater versatility. The temperament adjust controls permit tuning to other keyboards, other instruments and other scales."

-the PS-3200

The PS-3300 ^

Effectively equivalent to three PS-3100's, with no less than 144 VCO/VCF/VCA/EG circuits (the PS-3300's three VCO's per note were generated using the cost-effective divide-down method, as they were on the other two instruments in the range), plus a global control section. That's 3 complete synth circuits per note! No memories though.

Perhaps only 50 of these were made, making them one of the most desirable (highly-priced, on the second-hand market) of all synthesizers.

"The world's first integrated 3-system completely polyphonic synthesizer - the peak of the PS-series.

Each of the three source modules is equipped with 48 synthesizer circuits for a total of 144. The sophisticated mixing module gives you complete and highly flexible control over all three systems to make this synthesizer the peak of Korg's amazing PS-series. With independent VCO's, VCF's, VCA's, and EG's for each note on the keyboard, you can get exactly the effect you want. Separately adjustable tuning from C to B lets you go beyond equal temperaments and use other scales like mean tone and just intonation. Using the mixing modules general envelope generator, sample and hold, and other total modulation modules, you can patch the SG (Signal Generator), DLPF (Dynamic Lowpass Filter), EM (Envelope Modifier), and RESO (Resonator) modules for glides, polyphonic glissandos, and other exciting effects. Keith Emerson of E.L.P. started using the PS-3300 in 1978 for studio recording.

Featuring highly stable VCO circuitry, excellent sound quality, and operating convenience, the PS-3300 is receiving wide attention from top musicians around the world."

-the PS-3300

The PS-3001 60-pin Locking Connection Cable ^


The PS-3010 48-key Polyphonic Keyboard Controller ^


"Complete with multi remote control capability.

A wide variety of switches and controls are located to the side of the keyboard for convenient access. The X-Y manipulator 'joystick' gives you simultaneous yet independent control of two control voltages. This precision polyphonic keyboard lets you bring out the full potential of the completely voltage-controlled PS-series synthesizers."

The PS-3040 Dual Foot Controller ^


"Ideal for live performance."

The PS-3050 60-pin Junction Box ^


"Designed for 60-pin connectors."

The PS-3060 Programmer/Remote Controller ^

[ps3060 2]

- PS-3060 on top of the PS-3010 keyboard

"For remote control of the PS-3200 programmer.

The PS-3060 lets you select, by remote control, any of the tone color programs in the PS-3200 memory. There are also eight additional remote control jacks that let you use an X-Y joystick and other external units to control the modules in the main control panel of the PS-3200 via a 60P connection cable."

Korg PS Synthesizers Owners Manuals

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