Mobile Battery-Powered Synth Studio With Korg Volca, Novation Circuit & Pocket Operator

Matt Greer of Robots Against Children shared this video, capturing a live performance of Struttin’ on his mobile battery powered synth studio.

His system features Korg Volca Keys, Monotron, Teenage Engineering PO-12, PO-16 and Novation Circuit – to create a battery-powered mobile studio in a case.

“This is the second video and track produced using my mobile electronic music production and performance platform; The Lunchbox,” notes Greer. He adds that he’s “Trying to build a full set so I can gig with this thing. It’ll be so nice to have everything I need all pre-wired and ready to go.”

Technical details:

  • Novation Circuit
  • Korg Volca Keys
  • Korg Monotron
  • Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-12 Rhythm & PO-16 Factory
  • Behringer 1002B Mixer
  • TC Electronics Hall of Fame reverb
  • Ibanez Echo-Shifter
  • Joyo Portable Pedal Battery Supply

24 thoughts on “Mobile Battery-Powered Synth Studio With Korg Volca, Novation Circuit & Pocket Operator

    1. How do you find the mixer? For my computer-less setup I have to try and integrate a guitar and pedalboard as well, and I’m always looking for ways to bring my whole ensemble together without everything getting too big and unwieldy. Love what you’ve done with the flight case, might copy that:)

      1. Hello. So the mixer.. yeah, it’s not the best but it is literally the only battery powered option I could find that had faders, EQ and FX sends. I really wish I could find one with 1 or 2 extra channels or perhaps solo/mute buttons but this is the best option out there for the moment. At least it’s cheap.

        I used to have a larger live rig. I used to use zip ties and strap everything down to one of those wire frame shelves, like a single tier from one of those shelf units you’d find in a garage. Anyways, I strapped down an Electribe 2, AIRA TB-3, Bass Station 2, a few pedals, a Power Conditioner and my mixer. I prewired everything and had only one power cord to plug in. It worked great but it was still a little bigger and more unwieldy than I wanted so I went to something even smaller.

        1. Hiya, thanks for getting back, and yeah feels like we’re waiting for the killer mixer doesn’t it, with all the musical bits and pieces we’d like it to do, with powerful EQ and sends, and enough inputs to get a desktop synth set-up and maybe some live instruments working together. The catch being it has to be small enough to be integrated into a portable setup.

          Might be waiting for a while on that, eh.

          I was looking at the new Allen & Heath Zedi10 for my next bit of gear, quite like the audio interface integration, but it’s a bit chunky, and the portability on the Behringer has pretty much got me sold even with those shortcomings. So thanks for that!

  1. nice music. minimalistic but interesting.

    video a bit annoying to me, tho. why constantly dissolving from one shot into the next? this is unnecessary and not nice. hardcutting is the way. be minimalistic in pictures as well!

    1. Thanks for watching. Sorry you didn’t like the video. I’ll keep that in consideration for next time. I am more of a musician than an editor. I was just having fun experimenting with things.

      I’ve got plenty of other videos with static shots if you prefer that aesthetic. Thanks.

      1. Please do not bother taking synthtopia commenting critics into consideration next time. Video was good. I read that comment before watching it and expected it to be a horrible fest. Not even remotely the case.

        Keep it up!

  2. This is cool. I’ve been putting together my own portable synth station like this. Nice to see someone else’s approach.

    1. Yup. I’m working on my second (and more compact) version of this. Novation Circuit, MPX16, KP3 (all inside a clarinet case), with 1/4″ jacks facing to the outside to plug in mics, guitars, whatever. Playing my first gig with it next month, we’ll see how it goes.

  3. Thanks for sharing! Thinking about building a portable setup myself.

    I see a clothes pin in there. Curious about your cable management and mounting. How are you keeping everything in place?

    Also, thinking of adding anything? Or will you try to keep the gear list set for a while?

    1. Hey. Thanks for listening. So the clothes pin is just there for convenience. I use it on the pocket operators sometimes when I need to keep the write or fx buttons depressed.

      Not much going on with cable management. Just some twist ties and a little cramming.

      The only thing I wish I had was a small keyboard for leads. Thinking about getting the keytar kit for my Reface CS and adding that as an optional piece of kit. Ran out of inputs though so IDK.

      Good luck on your build.

      1. Hey nice video,
        and if you want to use your Reface CS, don’t bother with the original keytar kit.
        I just changed the two bottom screws of the reface with standard guitar strap pins for 3 EUR.
        Works the same way!

        1. Thanks for the suggestion. The Keystep looks nice but I think I might prefer to have a keyboard with it’s own voicing. That’s why I thought my Reface would be a better choice. Plus I think I’d have to use some sort of external USB style power supply (not that big a deal though)

          Good thought tho.

  4. I’m putting a battery list together

    Akai MPX8, MPX16;
    Korg Electribe ES-1, Mk 2, Electribe Sampler;
    Novation Circuit;
    Roland Aira TB3;
    Yamaha QY.

    Novation XioSynth, XStation, Bass Station2;
    Teenage Engineering;
    Virus Snow;
    Yamaha Reface;
    Almost any home keyboard from 80s until now.

    Art USB Dual Pre;
    Behringer 1002B;
    Boss Br600, BR800;
    ProSound 4 Channel;
    Zoom R8, R16.

    Hot Tone Effects Purple Wind;
    Joyo JMP-01;
    Korg Kaoss Pads, 2S, Mini2;
    Roland Re201 space echo / Boss Re20 space echo;
    TC Electronics Hall of Fame reverb.

    Pedal Power Supplies eg Dr Tone PSU10, TRex FuelTank, Voodoo labs Power 2;
    USB charger 5V1A for Akai MPX; 5V2A for Novation, Roland Aira TB3;
    CCTV batteries for Virus Snow.

    AMP
    Blackstar Fly;
    Orange MicroCrush;
    Pignose Legendary 7;
    Roland Cube Street, MicroCube GX, Mobile Cube;
    Vox G2, G3, Mini3, Mini5, SoundBox;
    Yamaha THR5, THR10c/x.

    1. Nice list! With a USB battery brick, you can expand the list to include any of the newer ‘usb powered’ things like the beatsteps or a tablet.

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