Amazing Machines Volcano Adds MIDI Output To The KORG Volca Series

products_volcano_coming_soonAmazing Machines has announced the Volcano Interface – a DIY mod that turns any KORG Volca into a MIDI Sequencer.

The Volcano Interface also lets you record MIDI Parameter Automation directly from any KORG Volca to an External MIDI Sequencer or DAW.

Pricing and availability for the Volcano are to be announced.

61 thoughts on “Amazing Machines Volcano Adds MIDI Output To The KORG Volca Series

  1. Can anyone shed some light on what this board actually offers? As far as I am aware, adding MIDI out to a Volca is as simple as soldering three wires onto pre-marked solder pads and affixing a port in the location of your choosing ( http://blog.utopianlabs.com/2013/09/korg-volca-beats-midi-out/ ). I’m guessing that the pictured resistors and capacitor provide a little security against misadventure, but it doesn’t seem to do anything else.

    1. Hi Jesus,

      The circuit offers protection and filtering, which makes it safer and more accurate, also the kit comes with a custom built separator for the MIDI connector to better acomodate it on the case, and a top quality German made DIN5 connector for the MIDI Out Port. We will have more pictures soon…

      Cheers,
      Gabriel Rodrigues,
      Amazing Machines

  2. The Vokca boxes have labelled MIDI out pads on the circuit board – this mod is quite literally nothing more than a couple of resistors and a capacitor. Google is your friend….

    1. It’ll be overpriced too. Their Monotribe MOD was about $60-70, for something that costs about $1-2 to make. Others will bring cheaper versions to market, or if you have a soldering iron you could make your own for under $5.

      1. For those of us who are clueless about modding, I think £50 is a fair price for the additional functionality that their product offers.
        A kit that offers different midi channels for each voice would be cool.

        1. It doesn’t really add anything! You still need to solder it to the board. The alternative would be to just buy a MIDI socket for a couple of bucks, and solder that in just the same. You still need to solder, and the extra components here cost pennies and aren’t essential.

          If this kit was solder-free, that would be worth it for people who can’t or don’t want to put a hot soldering iron to their beautiful keyboards. As it stands, what does a 20x markup get you?

      2. Hi James, hi Edward,

        It’s funny how easy it is for you guys to trash other people’s work, simply because you know how to build your own, while most people don’t, if that was the case we would have gone out of business long time ago and we wouldn’t have the thousands of happy customers around the world that we have, $5 won’t even buy you one German made DIN5 connector that we use on our kits:

        http://www.ebay.com/itm/Connector-PREH-DIN-5-Pin-Female-Chassis-Panel-Socket-/370999513822?pt=UK_Sound_Vision_Audio_Cable_Terminations&hash=item56614b52de

        Cheers,
        Gabriel Rodrigues,
        Amazing Machines

        1. You’re right; $5 will buy you five of them http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-pieces-5-Pin-Din-Female-Metal-Panel-Mount-Receptacles-Sold-in-USA-/121244466119?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c3abbbbc7. I was going to let the subject drop, but this comment is frankly insulting. Your ~German made MIDI ports~ are a ubiquitous part that can be had singly or in bulk for fractions of a dollar. Your hard work consists of putting a resistor on each data pin and a capacitor on the ground (guessing here); the bulk of the effort would have been laying out MAYBE a half dozen traces in Solidworks and sending them off to one of the innumerable custom PCB services available to anyone who asks. You claim that “most people don’t know how to build their own”, yet how many who don’t know how to solder a wire and/or resistor to a DIN connector would feel comfortable soldering your board to the pads on the PCB?

          It seems that the business plan here is to imply that your product offers something unique and unavailable to the end user, essentially tricking the inexperienced into paying a premium for very inexpensive parts.

          1. Hi Jesus,

            You trolls never give up do you?

            It’s clearly not the same connector, these connectors of yours go for so little because that’s what they are CHEAP, good luck trying to fit one of these in your Volca without a custom built spacer, it will only crap up your front panel. You clearly don’t have a clue of what it takes for a company to develop and market a product, a product for you is simply a bunch of parts, if you want to talk about that it’s fine, here it is, WE DON’T CUT CORNERS ON PARTS, we only use the best parts available, but that still is only a fraction of what it takes to build, sell and support a real product, you go figure!

            Cheers,
            Gabriel Rodrigues,
            Amazing Machines

      3. so make your own and shut up ffs.
        the guy saw a need in the market and started his own business. that is to be admired and supported.
        he names his price and you either:
        a) go with it .
        b) find another way.
        c) even put out a competitive product.
        obviously there is enough people wiiling to pay that price, if not he would be forced to be more affordable.
        i understand when someone bitches about a mass produced item with a ridiculous markup, where the ceo´s cash in on the sweat and blood of the third world countries, but complaining about the price one guy sets for his service is just disrespectful.
        besides – what are you on allowance? jesus christ how cheap can people get nowadays.

      4. Do you mind selling me that Monotribe part for 2$? I’d even pay you 5$ for it but it must include shipping. It should be easy for you seeing how you talk about it.

        oh and does your solution requiees soldering? Because the AM mod does not.

        So where do I send my 5$ for your Monotribe mod ? I’ll be waiting.

  3. What is the difference between my normal solution (1 MiDI Jack, and 2 wires, all soldered at the right points at the board) and this???

    1. Hi Anni,

      Quoting my own answer to Jesus at the top of the page:

      “The circuit offers protection and filtering, which makes it safer and more accurate, also the kit comes with a custom built separator for the MIDI connector to better acomodate it on the case, and a top quality German made DIN5 connector for the MIDI Out Port. We will have more pictures soon…”

      Cheers,
      Gabriel Rodrigues,
      Amazing Machines

  4. Free market economics 🙂 Haven’t opened my Volca but I’m guessing this is a solder job, whereas the Monotribe had a connector.

  5. when you run midi out of, say, a volca keys, you can more polyphony (paraphony) than 3 notes, right? The polyphony is exclusive to the analog circuitry and not the midi data.

  6. So instead of diffusing the situation professionally and standing by a product, potential customers get called trolls. It’s not their fault you can’t sell ice to an Eskimo. They’re pointing out its a pointless product, the whole point of the marked pads is to DIY. As an engineer I will say this: the product is not offering anything you don’t get from the mention $1 in parts from radio shack. I, for one, am not cool with it. It’s ripping people off under the guise that it’s more simple or better somehow. It offers protection and filtering. You mean a capacitor? Way to make sales dude….

      1. Serious!!! Why is that statement down voted? If this is any more than about $8 its just a straight up rip off. I’m not great at soldering or DIY stuff at all and it took me about 30 minutes to figure out. My local electronics store had all the parts, exactly as the link described, for $6.75 after tax right off the shelf. Who cares where the connector is made??? For a few bucks and a few minutes of my time I followed the direction. Easy Deezy

        1. 8$ would not even cover the shipping costs, but you seems to know a lot about business and selling parts. When can I expect you to sell me the exact same thing for 8$? Soon I hope.

    1. Potential customers are not out there in a hunt to destroy the reputation of a company, potential customers are not claiming to be engineers when they clearly are not, because a real engineer knows that a product like ours takes way more than $1 to get done properly, these people are disrespectful, or simply put, TROLLS. So now these people get offended because they are being called trolls, while they don’t measure the offensive words that they throw on us, before we even announce the product price, unfortunately for these people, we are here to stay, we are not going anywhere, so they better get used to it!

      Cheers,
      Gabriel Rodrigues,
      Amazing Machines

      1. Because this is Synthtopia, where everything is called out for being overpriced except for Apple products which seems to hit just the right price point everytime according to these people.

        As you said so well, these are not your customers, these are people who are out to get you, who have no idea of your products, who will compare cheap china parts with german grade parts, and who would hate it totally if other people would do the same thing to them.

        These people are the same people who complains when apps a over 99 cents.
         

      2. Could you explain why you omitted this protection capacitor on your miditribe kit then? Also why did you leave off the ground connection? So is your miditribe kit going to be recalled to have this essential capacitor and the ground wire added?

        If you are making midi kits, then the least you can do is follow the correct hardware specification, you owe it to your customers, here is a link for your future reference.

        http://www.midi.org/techspecs/electrispec.php

        1. Hi Randall,

          The capacitor is not there for protection, also an opto-isolated circuit doesn’t require connection to ground, unless it’s being filtered, while filtering on the Output Port is not a requirement of the MIDI Standard, some high quality MIDI interfaces have that capacitor in there to clean up the signal path and offer more accuracy, I just found an example here:

          http://ixkuczek.republika.pl/midi-xl.gif

          As you can see, the Output Port is only connected to ground because the signal is being filtered, while the Input Port is not connect to ground because it is opto-isolated.

          So yes, we decided to add that extra to the Volcano Kit, but that’s doesn’t mean that the MIDITRIBE I/O Kit is not within the specifications of the MIDI Standard, please get your facts straight before posting to avoid further embarrassment!

          Cheers,
          Gabriel Rodrigues,
          Amazing Machines

          1. No need to feel embarrassed, the 2 x 220Ohm resistors ARE standard on any midi device, so when you said “The circuit offers protection and filtering, which makes it safer and more accurate” I assumed you were implying that the capacitor was what differentiated yours from any other midi device, hence my use of the word protection. So really you are just making misleading statements.

            I’m sure you will agree that the capacitor is not needed, or else it would be on every other midi device, which it isn’t, and stating that it offers more accuracy is at worst a lie, and at best naivety and lack of understanding.

            But if you are really paying $5 for that PREH branded “top quality German made DIN5 connector” then you are paying too much for it, in bulk they are less than $2, and singly they are $3.25 you can get them from Newark/Farnell FYI.

            Bottom line – it is up to you what you charge for your products, but bullshitting on the internet will get you called out by DIYers. Your customers seem to defend your comments, so you really have done a good job at creating brand loyalty.

            1. Hi Randall,

              You are the one who should be embarrassed Sir, you clearly don’t have a clue about how electronics works, still you come in here to discuss our designs as if we were subjected to your approval. A filtered signal is more accurate because part of the outside world interference has been removed by the capacitor.

              Other than that, you and some others come in here to whine about our prices while we haven’t even put a price tag on the product, this is plain ridiculous as it is. People like you fail to understand that we live in Brazil, one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in, import taxes for electronic parts are above 120% for small companies, and that includes shipping, one must also hire a lawyer to do the paper work, which makes it another 10% more expensive. Even after all that, as you pointed, we managed to be successful, because our products offer high quality for a decent price and because we do care and listen to our customers, we have competitors in the US and in the UK that offer cheaper Kits, still we are the number one in sales when it comes to the Monotribe MIDI Kit, why? Think about it!

              Cheers,
              Gabriel Rodrigues,
              Amazing Machines

              1. Hey Man its cool, you don’t have to BS people though, just be upfront about it, you will get a lot more respect. I know enough about electronics to build my own synths from scratch, so take from that what you will. I’m quite an active poster at the electromusic diy forum.

                I only started commenting when you seemed to be trying to BS about protection and filtering. Had you just said “well I have made a high quality product and I stand by it”, then I would not have even responded. Can you see why your comments are being taken like dodgy marketing blurb?

                Also by fluffing this up with terms like filtering and protection – and making such a point of it, you are making your monotribe midi kit look inferior because it has no ground connection on the out, and no capacitor , that was one of my points. You say that this kit is safer and more accurate, so by contrast you are saying your monotribe kit is less safe and not as accurate.

                I don’t have a Volca, and no plans to get one after hearing all the reports of dodgy sync, faulty step LEDs, and shoddy build quality on some units, but I hope that you are going to help people troubleshoot their non working units once they have opened them because mods like these void warranties, so you should make this clear to people, and having non experienced people opening them is like opening a can-o-worms.

                1. Hi Randall,

                  I understand what you are saying, but there is a reason for that statement, here is the first documented MIDI Out Mod for the Volcas, this is what people are looking at when they attempt to do it on their own:

                  http://blog.utopianlabs.com/2013/09/korg-volca-beats-midi-out/

                  As you can see, the guy knows little about electronics and the MIDI Standard, no resistors in the signal path, just connect the wires and you are good to go, that is no good advice if you ask me, I wonder why people get to fry the MIDI Inputs on their other modules after a few months of use…

                  If you want to look technically at it, yes the Volcano is a superior MIDI Output Interface, but not because the MIDITRIBE I/O is a bad Output Interface, it’s because the Volcano is beyond the Standard,
                  it’s a design choice, make the MIDITRIBE I/O the perfect MIDI Output Interface would have made it unpractical for installation, so we choosed to keep it at the Standard, while for the Volcano it was possible to add the extra bits without making it a nightmare to install, that’s just that. You should know by now that our products are not directed to DIYers, our customers are mostly musicians, they want to add the functionality but they are not interested in finding out the hard way how to make it happen, they just want to turn the thing on and make music, it’s funny how protectionist you DIYers can get while the products are not even directed to your community, of course, the community is welcome, but please, take it easy!

                  Cheers,
                  Gabriel Rodrigues,
                  Amazing Machines

                  1. Fair enough. I was only being protectionist(?) over the replies where my BS meter was going off, you are right that having the resistors is better than bare wire – But only if you are certain they are not already present on the Volca – I do not know as I have never seen inside one, maybe the other guy at the blog did? Or maybe not.

                    Thanks

                    Randall

                    1. Hi Randall,

                      That’s not the case, they wouldn’t build half an interface, the pads are just a straight connection to the serial output coming from the micro processor, the internal DC source and ground, had they added the resistors, they would also had added the connector, it wouldn’t even work with an extra pair of resistors in the signal path.

                      Cheers,
                      Gabriel Rodrigues,
                      Amazing Machines

  7. how much do you think the korg Volcas actually cost to make ?
    a company like Korg can make profit but a company like Amazing Machines can’t ??

    i am sure anyone do this mod…. but are they manufacturing a product?

    1. wow, just wow.
      is anyone really surprised that a useless product would be backed by a company that acts unprofessionally, though? it seems par for the course.
      i’m more dissatisfied with the fact that charlatans like this end up on synthtopia than i am with the product.

      1. That is a very good point. I also dont like that he is using the comment section for sale pitches instead of purely fielding questions. Bad form… Its one thing to make a useless product but I highly agree with the above statements, its insulting to customers. The supporters really dont realize exactly how easy it really is. I dont see this as seeing a market and breaking it, this is chickenhawk stuff. Its swooping in on those who have a naivete toward DIY projects, in which case, you EDUCATE not be a straight up selfish jerk and try to make a buck. Downvoters…we are sticking up for you and trying to tell guys taking advantage of less experienced tinkerers they dont belong here. If he wanted to help the community he couldve put up an Eagle file for the tiny PC board, or maybe just a trace file and some directions on how you make your own PCB with a printer and a can of Coke. The connector? Come on, country of origin doesnt matter in terms of quality… even sweatshops in China can make a perfectly fine connector. Whats next, are the resistors Venetian so you can associate with something else in the scene to try to make a buck? ‘They’ll give your snares EXTRA protection and filtering!!!!!’.

        1. So when are you going to start selling your own kit? According to you its so easy and cheap to make it would be incredible if nobody else does it. Also do not forget overseas shipping costs and the fact not everybody knows how to solder.

        2. Well he is fielding questions and he does respond, but you guys don’t even read the awnsers and keep complaining how a similar product could be made for 5$ or less, yet you never offer an alternative (pointing at a din connector on ebay is not a complete alternative).

          You guys are not here to ask questions and discuss, you guys are here to trash his product announcing, and this guy is totally in his rights to call you out on it.

    2. some points…
      1) a small analog synth takes at least marginally more technical skill and knowledge than adding 3 wires to the “midi out pads’ on the synth itself
      2) korg are the ones who made this mod diy-able, so they deserve some credit at least. they’re not selliing it as an add-on themselves
      3) but yeah, screw em. you see that ms-20 kit bs?

  8. Total rip off and mis-information, you do not need the capacitor at all, in fact it is not adherent to the midi spec – but then their Miditribe did not even have a ground on the midi out, (very poor idea BTW) so at least you are making some progress.

    I don’t quite see how this is supposed to be an easy solution as it still requires soldering, for any naive customer who is thinking of buying this, save yourself some money and buy a midi connector, 3 wires and 2x 220Ohm resistors – you do not need the capacitor.

    I admire amazing machines for their ability to get away with charging these prices though, but I pity the fool who pays their rip-off prices, there are other people doing kits who do not charge such outrageous prices, but they do not advertise on synth blogs.

  9. Okay you guys where can I find a MIDI out kit for my Volcas that’s affordable, plug ‘n play and requires no soldering? Anyone? Anyone?

    1. You don’t need a “kit”. You just need a MIDI socket and 3 bits of wire. Or even 1 bit of wire cut into 3! You could, to save having to solder wire to the socket, cut the end off a MIDI extension cable and use the socket on that, figure out which wire is which with a continuity tracer, either on a multimeter, or just use a buzzer and battery.

      This is such a simple thing, and the fact that this “kit” needs soldering too means it really has no advantages over buying the component yourself. Only the socket is needed, the couple of other components and the PCB, I think, are just there to make it look more valuable than it is.

      1. Oh, just to actually answer your question, you can’t get a solder-free version of this. Because there’s nothing else on the Volca to connect to, just 3 solder points on the PCB. Sorry! Still, nice of Korg to include the points at least, if they really couldn’t manage to fit a MIDI Out socket.

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  11. So is this just a pcb with two 220ohm resistors, a 10uf cap some wires and a midi connector then? Not trolling, just intrigued.

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