Unique percussion machine with a wide range of digital sound variation and rich resonancesBuy from Amazon More info
Create new sounds that don’t exist in the outside world with an accessible and understandable modular synthesizerBuy from Amazon More info
Four-channel analogue performance mixer that lets you construct a live setup combining multiple volca unitsBuy from Amazon More info
Huge true-analog drum sounds for generating rhythms - six analog parts and four PCM partsBuy from Amazon More info
Fat sounds for a wide range of bass lines that support the rhythm and generate a grooveBuy from Amazon More info
Three note polyphony for creating versatile & powerful lead synth soundsBuy from Amazon More info
Synth dedicated for one of the critical elements of electronic dance music - the kick drumBuy from Amazon More info
Trigger and sequence sample sounds. Add vocals and ambient sounds, or utilize as a sample-based drum machineBuy from Amazon More info
You'll need a mixer to combine, process and route the audio from multiple Volcas to your headphones or speakers.
The most important feature is the amount of channels - the more channels the mixer has the more equipment you can hook up to it. Figure out how many you’ll need and keep future expansion in mind.
Other beneficial features to look for is at least basic equalization capabilities (allowing you to adjust the tone of each channel by boosting and cutting lows, mids and highs and thus better "glue" the sound of your Volcas together) and aux sends/returns (for applying audio effects like reverb or delay to multiple channels with effects pedals).
MG Series from Yamaha offers great sounding models ranging from 6 to 20 channels. The XU models come with built-in effects & USB connectivityBuy from Amazon
Behringer Xenyx is a popular choice with plenty of models from 5 channels and up.Buy from Amazon
Dude is a tiny 5 channel mixer - great choice if you want to go portable as it runs with batteries.Buy from Bastl
A simple mixer with a similar form factor to the Volcas. Inputs are 3.5mm stereo jacks so be sure to get the right cables!Buy from Amazon
Audio splitters - like the Belkin Rockstar - are not recommended. These are for splitting signal into two, not for mixing two signals into one. They generally don't incorporate any resistors so you are literally connecting the outputs of every Volca together. Each output tries to drive the very low impedance of the other, forcing both outputs into current-limit and possible damage. If you need the smallest possible mixer, check out the passive RK-003 mixer from Retrokits.
The correct cables for connecting your Volcas to a mixer are 3.5mm stereo (TRS) → 1/4″ dual mono jack (TS)
All the Volcas output a mono signal that's doubled to both stereo channels (except Volca Sample which is true stereo, and Volca FM which outputs stereo when the chorus effect is enabled). This means that you’ll only need to connect one of the two mono jacks on the mixer side. The other can be left unconnected (or used for other purposes, for example running through an effects pedal for a wet/dry mix)
You might be tempted to go with a 3.5mm stereo → single 1/4″ mono jack cable but this is the wrong choice* You should never tie two audio outputs directly together. These cables will cause problems like audible distortion and sync problems between Volca units, and over time could even cause damage to your equipment.
* unless you are able to find a proper stereo-to-mono summing cable with resistors to prevent the outputs from back-feeding into each other.
The easiest & most cost-effective way to power up multiple Volcas is with a power splitter/daisy chain cable.
The Volcas come with a set of batteries included, but the power supply is a separate purchase (Korg KA-350, powers a single Volca). The Volcas require an uncommon plug size, 1.7mm (DC 9V, center positive) - so it's unlikely you will have a suitable power adapter lying around.
All you need for the update process are an audio player or computer capable of audio playback, and a stereo mini-jack audio cable.
Updating the firmware is often beneficial, new versions can provide fixes for known issues or enhance the functionality and features of the Volcas. You can check the current firmware version by turning on the power while pressing & holding thebutton. Current version will be displayed on screen.
If the process fails, try adjusting the playback volume up or down, and check that there are no equalization settings affecting the sound. Also make sure that you are using new or fully charged batteries, or a power supply.
Fixes bugs with inverted swing controls and pulse sound not being playedDownload from Korg.com
Fixes EG4 implementation and edit range of Key Velocity SenseDownload from Korg.com
Fixes a bug with motion edit in step modeDownload from Korg.com
Fixes a tiny bug affecting a small number of unitsDownload from Korg.com
Do not playback the system update file on any speaker or headphone system as this could lead to damage to equipment and/or hearing loss.
The samples are transferred to the Volca Sample using syrostream, the audio signal format that the Volca Sample understands.
There are multiple free apps that can generate this signal from your samples. The data is then transferred by connecting the audio output from your computer or phone to the SYNC IN port on the Volca Sample via stereo audio cable.
The volca sample can hold up to 4 MB, and 65 seconds of samples. This limit can be stretched by pitching the samples up in an audio editor, consequently making them shorter - and then pitching them down to the original pitch on the Volca. The downside of this is that the higher frequencies of the sample get cut - the more you pitch up, the more the quality deteriorates. See video for more details
If you have issues while transferring the samples, see this list of possible issues and error messages:
Interested in building your own Volca Sample tool? Check out the Volca Sample SDK
Sample manager from Frederikson Labs, manage and organize and upload samples and sequencesDownload from frederikson-labs.com
Win, MacOS, iOS, Android
Diverse tool by Single Cell Software that lets you import, record, edit and upload samplesDownload from singlecellsoftware.com
The Korg Volca FM uses sysex messages for patch loading, which allows downloading patches and transferring them to your Volca FM via MIDI.
Jacques Prestreau has done an amazing job gathering & going through all the freely available 6-OP FM patches on the web, removing thousands of duplicates and sorting everything by author.
Listed below are a couple of good options for getting the patches to your Volca FM. Hook up your Volca FM to your audio interface via MIDI-IN, load up one of the patch banks' from the Dexed Cart 1.0 collection and hit send. Remember to save your patch on the FM once received. The Volca FM can hold 32 patches.
Jacques Prestreau's FM patches collectionDownload from musical-artifacts.com
A simple web browser app for sending patches to your Volca FM.Use on retrokits.com
Dexed is a free VST plugin which allows you to create, edit & send patches to your Volca FM. VST host is required, e.g. DAW softwareDownload from Github
Got ideas for new questions or recommended products? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org