Korg Volca FM Now Official, Here Are The Details

korg-volca-fm-wideKorg has officially announced the Volca FM synthesizer – a three-voice digital FM synthesizer that they say reproduces the sound of ‘a classic FM synthesizer’ (aka the Yamaha DX 7) and provides compatibility with it, as well.

Here’s their official intro:

Here’s what Korg has to say about the new synth:

The appearance of FM (Frequency Modulation) sound generation was a major turning point in the history of synthesizers. Its metallic and sharp sounds, most notably electric piano and synth bass, have been loved by all music creators since 1980 up to the present time.

The volca fm perfectly reproduces the sound engine of the classic digital synthesizer that made the world aware of FM synthesis. Its six operators and 32 algorithms provide complete compatibility, and it can even load files in the SYS-EX/SYX format of the Yamaha DX7.

The volca fm makes FM sound editing accessible with the MODULATOR/CARRIER super-easy edit knobs – the knob movements are mapped to multiple parameters for sound changes that are easy to understand. FM enthusiasts can also menu dive into full parameter edits. The volca fm comes accompanied with a Parameter List Guide to assist this.

Along with a perfect reproduction of the sound engine, the volca fm is also equipped with a lush chorus effect to add depth to your sounds and further expand its sound-creating potential.

Korg Volca FM Audio Demos

Korg Volca FM Specificiations

Multi touch keyboard
FM synthesis
Maximum Polyphony
3 voices
6 operators, 32 algorithms
Number of Programs
Main Edits
Modulator (Attack, Decay), Carrier (Attack, Decay), LFO (Rate, P.Depth), Algrtm
Available to edit full parameters for each operator in Edit Mode
Transpose, Velocity, Octave, Arp (Type, Div)
Arpeggiator Types
9 (each 3 patterns of “Rise”, “Fall”, and “Random”)
Voice Modes
Poly, Mono, Unison
Number of Parts
Number of Steps
Number of Recording Patterns
Motion Sequence, Active Step, Warp Active Step, Pattern Chain, Metronome
Audio Output
Headphones (3.5mm stereo mini jack)
Sync In (3.5mm monaural mini jack, Maximum input level: 20V)
Sync Out (3.5mm monaural mini jack, Output level: 5V)
When two units of volca fm, available to export the sound programs and sequence data from a volca fm to the other one
Available to convert and load SYS-EX/SYX file created on the Yamaha DX7
Power Supply
AA alkaline battery x 6 or AA nickel-metal hydride battery x 6
Or AC adapter (DC 9V) (optional)
Battery Life
Approximately 10 hours (using alkaline batteries)
Dimensions (W x D x H)
193 x 115 x 40 mm / 7.60” x 4.53” x 1.57”
360 g / 12.70 oz. (Excluding batteries)
Included Items
AA alkaline battery x 6 (for verifying operation), Sync Cable, Edit Parameter List
AC adapter (DC 9V) KA-350

The Volca FM manual is also available as a PDF via the Korg site.

Pricing and availability are to be announced.

52 thoughts on “Korg Volca FM Now Official, Here Are The Details

  1. Man…..if only they would make these with a 64 step sequencer. Then it would be perfect for pairing with an Elektron Rytm.
    Anyone know if you can chain the patterns?

    1. From the website:
      “the pattern chain function lets you connect multiple sequence patterns for successive playback, making it possible to construct large-scale developments of 32, 64, or even 256 steps by joining up to 16 sequences.”

    2. It says “pattern chain” under controls in the specifications list. You can use song mode on the sample to chain patterns. It prbably works the same way on the FM

      1. Plus, you can run the sequencer at 1/2 or 1/4 of the BPM…but it seems like there is no “flux” (non quantized) mode like in the Keys…Maybe will set on automatically?. I also wonder if the arpeggiator will also run slower…I hope not, so you could record long chord progressions and still use the arp to play them in 32ths or whatever.

    1. funny thing is – I actually never use the sequencer on the volca bass – and I only use it on the keys for motion control. I use them as cheap battery powered analog synths controlled via the 5 pin

  2. It’s weird to call out the Electric Piano sound when there are only three voices on the synth. Synth bass? Sure, that works.

  3. So you could theoretically create patches on a softsynth that is also compatible with the DX7 patches and export those onto the Volca!?

  4. According to the official manual there is a chain mode available.
    ‘CHAIN function
    Multiple saved sequences can be linked together to create a longer and more
    interesting performance. Hold down the MEMORY button, and using the 1–16
    buttons in which sequences have been saved, specify the range of sequences that you
    want to play; the sequences in that range will play back consecutively.’

  5. ‘All music creators since 1980’ have ‘loved’ the DX7’s piano and bass sounds. Wow. All of them!? That’s a lot of music creators! I hope the rest of Korg’s press release is more accurate than this nugget of hypeballs.

    1. Despite kind promotional buzzwords, quite half of the 80s charts had tracks with mandatory iconic DX7 + Linndrum combo… Not that completely exagerated…

  6. Who cares about the marketing blabla. I like the concept of the volca fm and the sound. Curious if we see in future more great volca releases. I could imagine volca chiptune, volca wave, volca formant, volca modular, volca modelling…

    1. dude I would be all over a volca chiptune, modular and formant (though you will prolly be able to get a lot of the formants’ sounds out of the fm with some tweaking)

        1. if they do a chiptune – one thing that I would love that gets overlooked in the move from tracker to software/hardware is a per step parameter change for things like wave shape –

  7. I actually just broke out my dx200 last night after a long rest for it – you forget how powerful a manually controlled FM synth is for soundscapes – I am really looking forward to this one as long is it is in the same price range as the other volcas as I expect.

  8. Might still get this even though I recently bought a Yamaha FB01 and a TG77. This will likely more than the $65 bucks I paid for the FB01 and less polyphony. TG77 on the other hand is an FM dream synth. Also the FB01 crushes my TX81Z. No output noise at all.

    1. yes, well FB-01 is 8 voice/8 instrument! it can stack instruments in all kinds of cool ways. also has two outputs.

      The Volca is exciting though. I hope it results in plenty of fresh new DX7 patches.

      1. no i was wrong it will be wavetable.
        thats the most simple digital synth anyway, and it can be pretty powerful if you add user-wave import.

        I would like to have a simple analog “synthstudio” based on four monotrons and a noise generator each, and a quality stepsequencer.

        so that starters could really “learn” how to build a kickdrum before using it in a beat.

        some kind of micro modular with a small patchbay.

      1. DX Synths did not have it, why should Volca..?
        I rather have it true to original DX and have access to thousands of original DX sounds instead 😉

  9. It really is a shame that they didn’t go with blue leds for it, as I feel the red and turquoise is kind of jarring. Will still get one though:D

  10. They are going to sell truckloads of these.

    I wish:
    * Flux mode for the sequencer
    * Some clever way to put two together to get 6 voices without relying on a third party tool like Polymer.

  11. does anyone know if there will be the possibillity to map the parameters that can just accessed through the menu to midi cc?
    pitch paramters would be very welcome

  12. I would wish for some way of getting MIDI data OUT of the device (sysex patches, MIDI sync, sequences, real-time parameters etc.). I have the Volca Bass, which is a fun machine to play around with, so I know that space is limited in the Volca series. However, if the MIDI jack could be changed to MIDI OUT in software (e.g. via a software update) this could be a solution to the problem. I have seen other devices having a MIDI IN port doubling as MIDI OUT. I Know that, at present, there is no hardware support for MIDI OUT in the Volca series, but KORG should consider adding it in the future.

    Still, I await this machine with exitement.

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