At Musikmesse 2013, Korg today announced the Volca Keys – one of a trio of new Volca analog synthesizers with built-in sequencers.
The Volca Keys is a 27-key analog lead synth that they say ‘generates sound that’s more powerful than its compact, low-profile body would suggest’. Its three oscillators can be tuned against each other in a variety of ways, from one part unison to three-part chords, to create a wide variety of sounds.
The Volca Keys’ filter section uses the circuitry of the classic miniKORG 700S (1974) plus an easy-to-use interface that includes delay effects and a 16-step sequencer.
Following in the footsteps of the Korg Monotron, Monotribe, and the MS-20 Mini synth, these true-analog Volca combine built-in sequencing with with MIDI functionality. The series is comprised of three models:
- the Volca Keys lead synthesizer;
- the Volca Bass synthesizer; and
- the Volca Beats rhythm machine.
All models provide carefully selected parameters that allow users to create the distinctive sounds of a true analog synthesizer. Each instrument features a loop sequencer for generating and recalling phrase-based performances. Multiple Volcas can be used in tandem thanks to vintage-style sync in/out, or as synth module via MIDI In. Optional battery operation and built-in speakers provide the ability to play anywhere at any time.
3VCO, 1VCF, 1VCA, 1LFO, 1EG
Octave, Ring Modulation, Detune, Portamento, EG Intensity
Cutoff, Peak, EG Intensity
Low Pass Filter, 12 dB/oct
Rate, Pitch Int, Cutoff Int, Wave (Sawtooth, Triangle, Square)
Attack, Decay/Release, Sustain
Delay: Time, Feedback, Temp Sync
Number of parts:
Number of Steps:
Number of Recording Patterns:
Headphones (1/8” stereo mini jack)
Sync In (1/8” monaural mini jack, Maximum input level: 20V)
Sync Out (1/8” monaural mini jack, Maximum Output level: 5V)
6 AA alkaline or AA nickel-metal hydride batteries
or KA-350 AC adapter (optional)
Approximately 10 hours (using alkaline batteries)
Dimensions (W x D x H)
193 × 115 ×46 mm / 7.61 x 4.54 x 1.81 inches
377 g / 0.83 lbs (Excluding batteries)
KA-350 AC adapter
AA alkaline battery ×6 (for verifying operation)
* Specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice for improvement.
The Korg Volca Keys will be available in July 2013 for a U.S. street price of $149.99 each. Additional product information is available at Korg.com
17 thoughts on “Korg Volca Keys – A Three-Oscillator Analog Synth For $150”
These 3 new machines sounds very promising. Looking forward to seeing some video klips with these in action.
Korg just keeps putting the fun back into creating music 🙂
Omg!!! This is gonna be a great 2013,,, all this sweet gear!! Love Korg!!!
omg! somebody slap me. is this a dream? can’t be an April fools joke. must be that Korg is Kicking some serious Kiester. i will soon have my paycheck direct deposited into Korg’s bank account.
wow, based on the hard-to-find and vintage-overpriced 700S?!? that’s awesome, suck it ebay, LOL!
I agree – what lovely and rare sound. I wish they would have used the oscs from that synth too far a fat sound, but the sound here is good too, considering it’s only $139 or so.
WOOOOW. I actually think this would get the most use for me. But really have to consider buying them all. I wasn’t really excited about the monotribe, as the “songs” that come out of it tended to sound somewhat similar. But with the Volca trio, you could make loads of different kinds of music, without a computer. You could also soon have a huge band with battery powered Korg instruments.
At the price indicated, this is really something. I personally love harmony so grew tired of all the mono synth stuff but it would be wonderful to sync two or three of these together for an entirely flexible, expressive ensemble. Well done Korg!!!
I like the Bass and Beats, but the Keys strikes me as the weakest of the three units, with bland routing and weird waveform assignment. You’ll be able to get a handful of sounds out of it, plus a handful more by using the unison and ring modulation modes… but it could have been so much more.
You’ll only get a handful of different sounds from a Minimoog or Juno, but they’re still some of the best synths because that “handful of sounds” is great. If you want to talk about a really limited synth, look at the Volca Bass, inspired by a synth known for it’s one sound. And again, it’s a cool sound, and sometimes limitations can be inspiration. Let’s hear them before criticizing them.
The Keys and Bass actually have very similar synthesis engines. The Bass waveforms can be individually detuned, muted and set to either square or saw. The Keys can’t. That said, the Bass doesn’t have an envelope sustain knob, portamento or EG intensity knobs for the VCO or LFO.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to what you plan to do with each box. I stand by my initial statement. Beats looks cool because of the stutter and PCM grunge possibilities. Bass looks cool because of the three oscillator setup, which allows polyphonic slides and all sorts of tricks that won’t sound like a classic 303.
My initial impression of Keys just isn’t as positive. That might change with hands-on time of course.
is the delay analog? it sounds digital to me….
Look cute and funny devices! but I´m the only only one who misses a simple sinewave on the vco? 90% of the “modern” synths always have the same waveforms, but no sinewaves included
that´s why I love my c&g pocket piano
I have not been this excited about new gear in many years! Thank you Korg for bringing us this wonderful analog gear! Now, what I am really waiting for is a 61 key hardware version of the Polysix rack…
And to which Polysix rack do you refer?