Korg Volca analog synths power retro on-the-go

Chris Davies - Apr 11, 2013, 5:43am CDT
Korg Volca analog synths power retro on-the-go

Korg can’t seem to stop itself putting squelchy analog sounds into portable synths, and its latest grab-and-geek-out playthings are the Korg Volca Series. A trio of true-analog synthesizers – the Volca Keys for loops, Volca Bass for basslines, and Volca Beats for rhythms – each pack a sequencer and recording functionality, and can be daisy-chained into an impromptu studio.

In fact, multiple models from the Volca series can be hooked up, thanks to Korg’s judicious use of sync in/out ports; a MIDI input also means an external keyboard or other controller can be attached. That could come in handy if the touch-sensitive keypads of the Volca Keys turn out to be too compact for your chunky fingers.

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The Volca range will also work with Korg’s SyncKontrol iPhone app to wirelessly control tap-tempo, swing settings, and synchronize playback with any iOS music app that supports WIST. The push for simplicity also includes self-tuning on the Bass and Keys models, correcting the analog drift that can turn off some starter users.

The Korg Volca Keys offers three note analog synthesis and a loop sequencer, as well as support for memorizing and repeating knob movements. It has 27 touch-sensitive keys with three note polyphony, plus ring modulation.

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As for the Korg Volca Bass, that offers a trio of analog oscillators and a new analog filter; up to eight 16-step sequencer patterns can be stored, with an active step function for instantly tweaking rhythms. Finally, the Volca Beats has six editable analog parts – each with its own selection of knobs for direct control – and a stutter function for throwing in dramatic sequence changes.

All three run on six AA batteries and have built-in speakers, with a full set of fresh batteries good for around 10hrs of use. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.

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