Korg Volca Keys Review

This set of videos, via freetacorrective, captures a review of the Korg Volca Keys – an inexpensive analog polysynth from Korg. 


  • Three note true analogue synthesis
  • Voicing function lets anyone create sounds easily
  • Delay effect for even more sonic possibilities
  • Loop sequencer lets you record phases just as you play them
  • Motion Sequencer records knob edits in real time
  • Active Step function and Flux function to add dynamic change to your sequences
  • Self-tuning function for constant, stable pitch
  • Sync In and Out allows clock sync of multiple instruments from the volca Series as well as Korg’s Monotribe
  • Compact size, battery-powered operation, and built-in speaker for enjoyment anywhere

The Korg Volca Keys has a street price of about $150.

If you’ve used the Volca Keys, give us your own review in the comments!

20 thoughts on “Korg Volca Keys Review

  1. I’m sure this is a great in-depth review, I already want all 3 sooooo bad it hurts. But I just can’t get past the candle like mood lighting in these videos, I just don’t want to be that intimate with the reviewer (I am married, and I don’t see food) but thanks for the review anyway! The more opinions that people put out makes gear acquisition a lot less painful.

  2. Wow this is a bad review… What’s with the lighting? Filter ‘steppiness’ he describes has nothing to do with automation, but it’s caused by harmonics boost at cutoff frequency. It’s not a fault but property of certain type filters, and many times desirable. It’s present in some Oberheim’s filter designs.

    1. It frequently DOES have to do with automation, when the filter frequency responds differently to MIDI CCs than it does to a physical knob. Depends on the synth…

      1. Wonder if controling filter with a midi keyboard would help, if you can do that. The monotribe’s filter for example was not midi, but the LFO was. Sounds sweet, tho.

  3. These volca’s are absolutely horrible. What a waste of money. Please korg make a real analog electribe like an esx with poly function. These toys you bring out the last five years are not for making music they are to please children. Now all we get the next few moths is ugly sounding acid music. I now some kids are gonna tell me nog that its not about they instrument but about about who’s composing, but these silly kids are obviously deaf and no nothing about analog synths.

    1. “Now all we get the next few moths is ugly sounding acid music.”

      I’m down with this. Lighten up; They’re cheap. They’re fun. “Pro” musicians/producers can buy something else.

    2. Those ‘kids’ would be right.

      Of course these things won’t sound like a Minimoog or a Buchla, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t legit musical instruments. Analog doesn’t always equal sounding good in the same way digital doesn’t always equal sounding bad, but for the price point I think this thing sounds pretty damn decent and looks like fun. Korg is doing a great job at finally giving people affordable analog synths and should be applauded.

    3. You’re absolutely right, moths do make terrible acid; they’re very good at grime though.
      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  4. ‘crappyvolcas’,
    The very fact that they are appealing to musicians and non-musicians alike is pretty significant, regardless of what you think people will do with them.

  5. ‘crappyvolcas’,
    Come to think of it I’ve heard my share of horrible music made on much more ‘respectable’ non-toy gear (including, and especially Electribes). One could even argue that Electribes, due to their approachability enable lazy, horrible music production in much the same way that you fear the mono and volca series might. The output depends entirely on the person using it… Just sayin…

    1. Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between how much money you spend on gear and whether or not your music is any good.

      If there’s any doubt in your mind, search YouTube for Buchla videos and see how many you have to go through to find one that’s musical.

  6. Also, “Back in my day, you had to mine the minerals to build the electrical components that you would then solder together yourself with a bare metal rod that you had to hold in the fire to heat up! To make it do anything you had to run a metal rod over another metal rod to do control voltage. Then things got easier! You could program MIDI by hand, one bit at a time on punch cards! We never even had buttons or LEDs! You kids know NOTHING of true analog synthesizers!”

  7. BTW, I think I kind of understand your point of view here ‘crappyvolcas’… I hated the Electribes when they came out 14 years ago. I called them “push button techno bullshit”… every 13 year old wanted to be The Prodigy or the Chemical Brothers at the time. “Electronica” was EVERYWHERE and these “toys” enabled people with an interest, but no talent or heavy level of knowledge to do interesting things. That offended me because I felt like I always had it way harder and had to suffer more for those kinds of results. The tools evolved, but I hadn’t yet. Now I’m older and own 3 Electribes (and a host of other “toys” that COMPLIMENT rather than threaten my other “professional” level workstations, analogs and old school drum machines. I think in time you’ll come to appreciate ALL tools, not just the ones you grew up with.

      1. I got all three in Japan recently and made my own analog Electribe .. Well kinda.
        EMX and 1-4 MIDI splitter. Used three of the ‘synth parts’ for the keys .. to make poly, painful I know but I enjoy it. the Drum parts for the beats, ‘synth’ parts 1 and 2 for the Monotribe and Bass ….. then sectioned the EMX knobs for CC on the different volca’s.

        It’s a bunch of fun

  8. The Volcas are not perfect, but you can only cram so many analog parts and knobs on a thing the size of a VHS tape. (ya ya… What is a VHS tape? : )
    The second these are for sale on ebay from someone in the USA… oh yeah!

  9. It’s surprising how many of you are convinced that you can’t get good sounds out of inexpensive circuitry these days.

    The majority of the cost of a synthesizer these days is not the electronics, but the materials that electronics are packaged in.

    1. I suspect it’s a self preservation method to explain their bad music?

      It’s not the parts it’s the brain(zzz) of the designer(s)that put it together.

      I love how the volva designer has integrated the sequencer. I think they’ve hit a new high in the step sequencer as instrument category. (I love my elektron, but they’ve taken a different route. There are many highs!)

      Microsampler 2 to power and mix and sequence the volcas, please. 🙂

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