Akai Pro Rhythm Wolf vs Korg Volca Bass + Beats

This video, via HardtekStudios, is a head-to-head comparison of the Akai Pro Rhythm Wolf and the combination of the Korg Volca Bass and Volca Beats.

Here’s what they have to say about the video:

This video is not a song or jam, but a side by side comparison of the new Akai Rhythm Wolf and the Korg Volca Beats & Volca Bass.

Each part is demoed by the Volcas in the left channel and then the Rhythm Wolf in the right channel to compare each units sound quality and functionality. No EQ, compression, or effects were used at all to give a most accurate to in person sound quality possible.

The comparison highlights that Rhythm Wolf and the Volcas not only sound very different, but reflect different design goals.

The US $200 Rhythm Wolf offers full-size controls & pads and arguably more powerful features, while the $160 Volcas put a lot of power into a portable, battery-powered package.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

For more info, see the Akai and Korg sites.

51 thoughts on “Akai Pro Rhythm Wolf vs Korg Volca Bass + Beats

    1. Too different to compare for me, I prefer the kick on the Volca, the snare is horrible unless modded, I’ve heard some nice snares coming from the Rhythm wolf, The volca bass sounds better to me than the bass on the wolf but it’s a nice extra anyway, now both drum machines together would be interesting.

  1. The Volca’s look like toys next to the Rhythm Wolf and the interface on the RW is much closer to what I’d consider professional, with nicely spaced controls, and real knobs and pads.

    The RW is also more than $100 cheaper than the Volca Beat + Bass combination, which is impressive when you consider has a better sequencer, better connectivity, MIDI out, and better build.

    But the Volca bass sounds a lot better to me. Not too 303-like to my ears, but the fact that it has three oscillators gives it a much more lively and rich sound.

    For me, it comes down to whether or not the Rhythm Wolf design will allow for individual outs on the drum. If that’s a possible mod, the RW will be a killer box for the price.

    1. At MusikMesse, Dan from Akai said there are individual drum outs on the board, you’d just have to drill holes in the case, and wire up your own output jacks. Ambitious, but worth it..

    1. Also, if they compared the Wolf’s single oscillator to a single oscillator of the Volca Bass. And levels.

      Head to Head should be an attempt to get 2 machines to do the same exact thing, to show how they differ and then move on to show what other totally unique features and sounds set them apart.

  2. The Volcas are looking overpriced, compared to the RW.

    They should be closer to $100. For the price of those two Volcas, you can get a very powerful analog like the MicrBrute.

      1. Yeah, thats not really possible. I work in MI retail and MAP is strictly 149.99… If they are advertised for less Korg would be very unhappy and the vendor would be harshly penalized possibly losing their dealer status.

        1. Possibly that price is through an internal rebate that amazon has setup – like if you use X credit card or also add BLANK to your cart type deal. Wouldn’t we all love that price tho.

        2. That’s why some sellers looking to move their inventory get creative with how they list them so they can charge less than 149. Both of mine were brand new and I paid 110 a piece shipping. You can call them customer returns,floor models, open box,b stock, etc in your advertising to sell them for less without korg cutting you off.

    1. i got the volca keys this summer and it actually is far nicer thicker sound than the microbrute. the microbrute filter is such a deal-breaker… also volcas may not have midi out, but they have full midi input for all CCs which is awesome fun

      1. incorrect. The Volcas have much CC support , but for instance you can’t automate the big cuttoff knob at the volca bass… not all parameters can be controlled via cc (as far as I know) – I have both Volca Keys and Volca Bass…

  3. It’s settled. They both sound like shit!

    Products like these are designed for accessibility by way of price point. They aren’t supposed to blow your mind with high quality sounds or features.

    1. That’s like saying, all the dogs in the world are stupid and ugly so it doesn’t matter which one you have as a pet, it does – we have qualified standards in the realms of both stupid and ugly. should we end all comparisons now, as the world is fall of rubbish?

      1. Sorry – it appears from the dislikes that you don’t like comparisons, and all budget synths are the same in terms of being equally stupid and ugly – my mistake, oh… wait a minute… nah, I ain’t having that bull.

        1. nobody is saying they don’t appreciate comparisons, your comment was probably disliked as it made no sense – nobody has suggested anything like that. Anyway, saying that they both sound bad is still a comparison in a wider field – i.e everything else. I’ve heard the Volka up close and it sounds much better that it does in this video, perhaps the RW will too but everything i’ve heard so far is horrible, not even retro bontempi horrible, sonically dreadful.

    2. I don’t think they sound like shit; they just sound like their price. I don’t even particularly like the Rhythm Wolf’s sounds but I’d rather buy it than a little fragile plastic box with only a 3.5mm output and no USB/MIDI out.

      1. Honestly, I’d trade my MPC Studio for a Rhythm Wolf just because I could use it with or without a computer if I wanted to, plus it’s easier to run through effects. I can’t say the same for any of the Volcas.

        1. “Honestly, I’d trade my MPC Studio for an analog hardware synth just because I could use it with or without a computer if I wanted to, plus it’s easier to run through effects. I can’t say the same for any of the analog hardware synths.”


          1. Show me how to hook a Volca up to a computer, or through an effects pedal right out of the box with no additional equipment. Go on, I’ll wait..

    1. I’m just glad there is a analog drumcomputer with accents I can afford now… the Volcas, MFB and all lack accents and really suck just becaue of that.
      And while there is room for wishes and improvements, I’m gladly looking forward to getting the Rhythm Wolf and wouldn’t know anything better for similar money after listening all demos.

    1. Good point – the TB-3 really blows both of these away in sound quality. Not really an apples to apples comparison though, since it’s not a drum machine, that’s the main focus of the Rhythm Wolf.

  4. I have Volca Beats and Bass.

    From all the videos I have seen of the Rhythm Wolf and my own experience with the Beats I would say this video does neither of them justice. The Beats can sound really awesome but it is more of a “live-play” drum machine than a programmer’s machine.

    If I had it to do over again I think I would take the TB-3 in place of the Volca Bass. And as far as the RW goes – I still don’t think any video has really shown what it is capable of.

    1. The Monotribe would be a better machine to compare the RythmWolf to.
      They both do essentially the same thing in very different ways, and cost about the same.

      Speaking of which, -Im glad I have a Monotron.

      1. Yeah, that thing’s filter might come in a small package, but I have yet to come across an external signal that doesn’t sound good through it.

  5. I want to like the rhythm wolf so much, but I can’t stand it’s drum sounds. I like the case, the controls, the setup and even the Damn wolf. But those drum sounds are lacking, I think the bass sounds nice and smooth compared to the volcas harsher bass. But the beats just sounds better.

  6. There’s something seriously wrong with anyone that cannot appreciate the volcas design,they’re pretty brilliant. Imo one thing korg has always excelled at is that. As far as the rw, this comparison demo is just not good enough for me to gauge whether or not I like it,these things should be put into the hands of people that are much more capable to demonstrate their sound and abilities. Also people shouldn’t throw terms like toy around all the time for low priced items.i doubt any of you would say my 303 is a toy and I picked it up all covered in dust at cash american pawn back in the early 90s for 225 dollars since people looked at them in that way.now people will buy it off of me for 2k plus, but hey this is the same crowd that will hate on a microkorg and call it a crappy sounding toy even though its a portable ms2000,and the ms2k/ms2kb is considered a classic, these are people you should never take seriously.

  7. Am i the only person for who this seems to be two comparisons that are unfair because the Korg Units are recorded at a definitely lower volume? Seems like a rigged taste test to me.

  8. Utterly pointless, try making volca sound shit so wolf sounds better? Lol. The volca bass is awesome! I bet you had to tweak for weeks to make it sound that thin.

  9. Off subject, but the comments section is getting kind of spammy.

    I think that you can hardly compare these two instruments fairly, as there are some design differences that make certain aspects of either more desireable depending on how you wish to apply them. The tabletop synthesist in me wants the RW, I like the way it sounds, and I like the connectivity and usability of it. The drums sound pretty good, but like many others have said, I don’t think anyone has tweaked it the way it should be tweaked, at least in the demo videos.

    On the flip side, I really want the volca bass to connect to my casio mg-500, because it sounds so fat, it’s small and battery powered, and the midi in means that I could have a fairly self contained analogue synth guitar! I bet I could attach the damned thing to my guitar strap and dial it in pretty easily.

    So yes, in an either/or scenario, it still seems like it will come down to personal taste and I’d be willing to be that given enough time, all of those gadgets will sit upon my desk flashing and creating signal.

  10. I have already used the volca beats and a monotribe as the main drums for an ep. I’ve used the volca keys live and in studio on several occasions (I got mine very early on). I’m impressed with the low end on the volca beats-very boomy, and it WILL rock a large club soundsystem. So I’m now asking, do I need a rhythm wolf? Nah…not really…my live setup fits in a very small bag (sans mixer)…

  11. The Akai RW and the Volcas are all really cool…But, The size of the Volcas is a turn off to me personally…Not because I have oodles of workspace to fill up…I definitely like compact synths…But the Rhythm Wolf appeals to me because it is the right size for banging on…It’s just more like playing an instrument, because…well…it’s an instrument…THere are shortcomings: No Toms ( 🙁 ) The envelopes and tuning ranges are extremely limited (small sweep/low range), meaning the changes you hear when turning drums from one extreme to the other are very small…And, the machine has received a lot of harsh criticism (i’d wager most of it from people who cut their teeth playing plug-ins and digital machines with limitless tweakability)…But, I think it’s an awesome little machine. It’s quirky, it’s limited, it’s kinda big…For $200, show me another analog machine that’s as cool as this one (Drums AND BASS)…
    I’m thinking of picking up the TomCat too when it hits shelves…
    It’s great if you want that kinda/sorta Vintage Russian Drum Machine sound…Super fun.

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