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Volcas are just adorable

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

jay101
KVRist
 
76 posts since 3 Nov, 2005

Postby jay101; Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:24 pm Re: Volcas are just adorable

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idfpower
KVRian
 
1087 posts since 13 Sep, 2012

Postby idfpower; Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:58 am Re: Volcas are just adorable

The guys in charge at Korg are smart cats: they understand that nowadays hardware is in a (often unfair) competition with software; and even the most expensive VSTIs are cheaper or close to the cheapest hardware. The number of pro musicians in need of a powerful hardware synth is not that great and still there's a lot of competition in the field. But there was (up until recently) a gap in all that, Korg saw the opportunity and started releasing all these cheap synths trying to find out which type of unit would please the buyers - it had to be stupid cheap, but still offering enough enticement to become a commercial hit. Now I love the Kaossilator (the original), but it lacks good connectivity. The Monotrons are too toyish and are noisy as hell, while the Monotribe was too expensive for what it was offering. In come the Volcas - IMO they really nailed it this time: still dirt cheap, but with lots more sound sculpting posibilities, a keyboard and all. I couldn't believe the price they sell for - I honestly thought they'd be at least a hundred more (around the Rocket's price).

Now the only things that keep me from buying a bass + keys are: not being able to store presets (I know, it's analog and all, but we're living in 2014, not in the '70s, and - probably most important - I'm not a live performer and I can get more sounds out of a (cheaper or free) VSTI than from these. Ok, maybe less character and fun, but it's about spanding money in an efficient way and ftm these don't fit my workflow and style.

Now if I were a DJ or playing with a band (or any type of live jamming or smth), I would buy these in a heartbeat. You simply can't beat them - unless another company manages to come up with an even cheaper and more featured model - which I seriously doubt. Korg made a lot of effort to offer as much as possible for the lowest price. I don't think they can go anyway cheaper than Volcas and still maintain a semi-pro feel of the unit (and the Monotrons/Monotribes proved they can't).

What I'd really like to see from Korg is a (still) dirt cheap synth - around 200 $ but with more bells and whistles, presets, etc. If M-Audio can, they can too. It would be probably not an analog unit, but then again all this discussion back and forth about digital vs analog is IMO (sorry) plain stupid: if it sounds good, it sounds good - end of story.

Ok, enough rambling. Peace :)
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faun2500
KVRian
 
1283 posts since 27 Nov, 2008, from uk

Postby faun2500; Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:14 pm Re:

tylr
KVRer
 
4 posts since 15 Jan, 2014

Postby tylr; Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:15 pm Re: Volcas are just adorable

What I think is going to happen, and I hope will happen, is that Korg will have the same designer, Tatsuya Takahashi, develop something around double (or maybe triple) the price, and make it as full-featured as possible.

Takahashi and his team are obviously very clever and efficient electrical engineers and programmers who have a really great sense of what makes a practical and great sounding musical instrument at a fantastic price point. And though there have been issues with the Volcas, they'll definitely learn from them when they make new designs.

If they take all of that ability and build beautiful synth, let themselves think about synth architecture in different ways -- don't worry too much about paying direct homage to synths of previous eras, except where it counts (using tried and true filters for example) -- they could make an absolute monster.

I mean, Imagine how much better these would be with simple things like key-follow, a couple more options for oscillators, an additional LFO, maybe more routing for the LFOs, osc feedback (which is a mod I'm really hoping for), and separate envelope generators for filter and amplitude?

While I'm no engineer, that simple list doesn't even really seem like it would have to even double the price. I feel like they could even make it true 3-note polyphony rather than paraphonic, and probably still come in well under $450... Though maybe adding features, especially filters, makes a logarithmic increase in production costs. Who knows.

Regardless, I'm hopeful for the Volca Master some day.
tylr
KVRer
 
4 posts since 15 Jan, 2014

Postby tylr; Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:52 pm Re: Volcas are just adorable

Another great idea I've seen mentioned is a Volca series mixer designed with live electronic music in mind.

This is how I imagine it:

3 channels, 1 or 2 24db multimode filters, 1 or 2 LFOs, built-in analog effects, and an external effects loop too, all routable.

Use the chorus/ensemble/phaser from the Polysix, and a delay (analog only if possible. MXR are able to sell a great pedal, the Carbon Copy, at $60 so it seems reasonable... What a selling point it would be!).

But here is the key: There is a MIDI-in, and all of the effects and LFO(s) can sync to a MIDI clock or CV (!).

That would be great on its own, but if on top of that, what if it was a barebones MIDI controller with 4 assignable pots, more than 1 MIDI-out, its own clock, patch memory pre-programmed with the MIDI-CC channels for the Volcas so you could save and load patches for all the available CC parameters, and additionally whatever MIDI CC compatible devices you have? Maybe a rudimentary sequencer too.

I know it is a pipe dream, and that is a huge feature list if you want to keep it affordable, but I've been waiting for someone to design a compact mixer like that with live electronic music in mind. It could fit with this series so perfectly. The Volca Mix haha.

(Sorry for the walls of text, I've been going crazy waiting for my Volcas to come in the mail)
dcfac73
KVRian
 
757 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from Sydney

Postby dcfac73; Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:24 pm Re: Volcas are just adorable

I really like the formfactor and the idea of these, but as far as the Beats goes, but the sounds seem very limited to me.
I might grab the Keys.
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cytospur
KVRian
 
740 posts since 25 Jun, 2002, from London, UK

Postby cytospur; Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:38 am Re: Volcas are just adorable

Here's a quick and random demo that I did for Kriminal. I though I might as well share it here too :)

https://soundcloud.com/markholt/mh-volca-bass-demo
Algorithmic tunes: http://snd.sc/o15cKD

DUNE soundbank: http://markholt.moonfruit.com/

Free saturation/distortion VST: https://www.box.com/shared/zdgyouov21
cytospur
KVRian
 
740 posts since 25 Jun, 2002, from London, UK

Postby cytospur; Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:24 am Re: Volcas are just adorable

Absolutely loving the active step for making polyrhythms on the Volca Bass and for funking up the Volca Beats.
Algorithmic tunes: http://snd.sc/o15cKD

DUNE soundbank: http://markholt.moonfruit.com/

Free saturation/distortion VST: https://www.box.com/shared/zdgyouov21
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