Korg brought out their PolySix synth in 1981 and it was fabulous. Despite only having one oscillator for each of its six voices, it sounded excellent and could give the Prophet 5 a good run for its money for most bass, pad and leadline sounds. It was also programmable and with a price of around $1,200, for the first time, here was a polyphonic synth that most of us could afford.

A year later, Korg transplanted the guts of this excellent synth into their new Trident. As the name implies, it was capable of playing three sounds simultaneously.

The three sections on offer were synth (essentially an enhanced Polysix), strings (a typical swirly string synth) and brass (a simplified synth for creating brass-like sounds) and these could be stacked up on top of each other for a truly big sound. The Trident also had built in effects such as chorus and flanging.

The synth section of the Trident was improved over the Polysix by adding an extra oscillator for each voice. Although this only had a single sawtooth waveform, it did allow a greater range of sounds to be produced. Initially, the Trident was shipped with 16 memory locations but their later Trident MkII (shown above) was given 32 and added a second ADSR envelope generator so that the filter and amplifier had their own, separate envelope shaping. Aside from these refinements, the two instruments are pretty much the same.

Of course, these were pre-MIDI days but retrofit kits for the Trident were available to bring the magnificent sound of the Trident into the modern age.

I have been lucky to be given some sounds from an original Trident by Davide Ruggerini from Italy. He says:

"The Trident has been a very kind gift from a friend of mine called Salvo Geraci from Sicily -Italy- who has sent by mail this monster synth across the country to the north of Italy where I live. I made some restorations: a new bending arm, new backup battery, deep cleaning"