Korg Intros volca drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer

2019 NAMM Show: Ahead of the Winter NAMM Show, Korg has introduced the volca drum digital percussion synthesizer.

Here’s the official intro video:

The volca drum features a six-part DSP synth engine that was designed with a completely different philosophy than conventional drum machines. Korg says that, as a result, it generates ‘a wide range of unexpectedly different sounds’.

Here’s a video overview of the volca drum’s features:

Korg volca drum Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability

The volca drum will be available in early 2019, priced at US $149.99. See the Korg site for details.

21 thoughts on “Korg Intros volca drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer

  1. Not only is it small, beautiful, and affordable, it sounds….lush I already have numerous drum machines here that I love and and program well but I’m very impressed with these demos. Huge range, tight kits, lots of power.

    A+++ to Korg, I so admire commitment to making good deep musical tools at prices anyone can work with. I would have killed for most of these units 20 years ago, even at twice the price!

  2. Reminds me of the ER1, which is no bad thing. I wonder why only the first video uses stereo to any extent? Great to see an affordable alternative to TR wannabes!

  3. Korg needs to update the 3 original Volcas to include “Global System Parameter” #8 which is for the “Sync input/output unit”. This would allow the entire collection of Volcas to sync to “Once a step” (or 4 PPQN). The added bonus is that when the Volca Drum, Volca Kick, or Volca Sample is used as the master clock, the swing settings will extend to all Volcas in the chain.

  4. And like the other Volcas, patterns up to about the equivalent of one whole measure. I can’t understand that. Does everyone else only make one-measure beats usually? This made me sell my Volca sample. (Yes i know the obvious solution is to buy a separate sequencer, but I don’t want to do that. ) With everything that goes into these, why not longer patterns??? Is it just me? Am I misinformed about the new one? (I know someone will tell me, if so…)

    1. For me it’s just another sound source to record into my main gear, so pattern length isn’t much of a concern.
      Randomize is way more important to me in the way I work creating loops building layers. I am an iPad convert with still tons of hardware gear but I am buying this. As for pro vs budget or whatever lol I could care less, to my ears it’s just more cool affordable sound making gear. As a long time korg user I say good job korg.

    2. I think the idea is to build up banks of 1 bar patterns (not too hard) and then jump between them live, or leave one looping while you solo over it. To me the limitations balance the portability and encourage dynamic play/performance. I’m OK with no MIDI out, I can sample loops or drive with an external sequencer for other situations.

      You know another nice thing about thing about the 1 bar pattern, it’s not so intimidating for new musicians and mixed with the random sequence function it’s fast and easy to play around and figure out the foundations of good beats. I think it hits a lovely sweet spot of simplicity and power, like a poor man’s machinedrum. I know I sound like I’m selling it in a music store but sometimes you see an instrument where everything seems just right and it becomes a classic.

      1. the other thing too is that it has step jump from the looks of it, if you have ever used the new electribes step jump can totally change a single pattern to fills and all kinds of glitchy stuff – also there is range play so that you can move around the part of the bar you are playing –

    3. One thing you may be overlooking is Active Step – the idea is you can have different bar lengths – so say you have a 16 step, but you really are repeating just 4 beats times 4 — then you can set create a true 16 beat pattern, and then say, start with 4 on a loop, then set it to 8, then set it to 16 or even odd numbers etc – and your 16 step sequence becomes a whole lot more.

      But my solve is usually to hook it up to an electribe and use midi – that said, volca sample had an oddball midi implementation, so I can understand if midi to volca sample was a no-go; nowadays, Retrokits sells a midi cable that manages your volcs with firmware – like one to make volca sample midi easier; or pass note velocity to the volca FM properly.

      I love my volcas, and my concern is – do i get volca drum or volca modular next?

  5. I can hazard a guess: Volcas are impressively capable for the form & price, but they are also not aimed at touring pros. They are for more immediate instant-gratification Fun. Its not that you can’t make mini-synths roar, but if you are more “serious,” you’re going to buy a more pattern-rich TR, Elektron goodie or software option. Volcas are well-positioned as budget items and a larger memory would break the price point. So yeah, get a complimentary sequencer of some kind. Don’t hold yourself back too much; even workstations have omissions.

    1. I don’t think any “touring pros” use drum machines live. They might use recorded backing tracks, but those who program or tweak something like this is a performance are definitely a little too niche to be called a “touring pro”. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      Pattern memory costs virtually nothing. You only need a few kilobytes to store hundreds of patterns. I’m pretty sure the cost of memory isn’t keeping massive pattern storage out of the Volca range.

  6. Am I the only one getting the feel that making boring demos of cool products is a concious marketing choice, so everyone be like “this damn guy is using tiny bit of the potential of this stuff, I should buy it and show everyone how cool it actually can be”?

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