37 thoughts on “Korg volca modular In-Depth Review

  1. I wonder why they didn’t call it the Volca “Westcoast”. Then they could do an East Coast Modular as well. I love my Volca FM. I will definately get this one!

    1. Well.. If you follow that logic, every subtractive synth after the Minimoogs has been a copy of that. The 0 coast is called 0 coast because it uses techniques from both West Coast (Minimoog, Arp etc.) and East Coast (Buchla, Serge etc.) if anything, this is heavily INSPIRED BY the 100% East Coast synth Buchla Easel. Your comparison is not really valid, and this doesn’t warrant a Behringer defense – Korg designed this from scratch. unlike say the Behringer Model D. Which is nice and sounds nice, but is 100% a clone.

      1. The Korg Modular is going to cause the Buchla Music Easel sales to totally crater! 😉

        What we really need is a jam session with these things.

        My only criticism of the video is that it really didn’t show the LPG really shaping the signal. I have Metasonix and Synthrotek LPGs, and they do demonstrate “low pass” characteristics on the signal. I really didn’t hear much from the video. Gate, yes. Low pass, not so much. The Korg LPG sounds like a gate with a simple low pass filter. It’s like they read the definition, but didn’t hear the sound.

        1. I’ve been using non-westcoast synths for a very long time, but no real experience with Buchla / Makenoise etc. I still don’t totally understand what is so special about a lowpass gate, but I probably just haven’t heard a good audio example. Can you recommend an online demo I could check out?

          1. The special thing about LPGs is on the vactrols (a light-sensitive component) inside them that has an element of randomness/unstability to them supposedly giving it a more “live” sound”. The combination of the filter and VCA characteristics and this randomness make for more “natural” sounding percussive patches – hence the famous “Buchla bongos”. At least that’s how I understand it.

            1. A LPG basically lowers the volume of a sound by closing a LPF. That’s a very distinct sound, and different than using a VCA. Using vactrols gives it a certain smooth decay curve that people like a lot (similar to opto compressors). Not sure that randomness is a big part of the sound. An analog envelope controlling a VCA can be just as random.

      2. Sure, the Model D is 100% a clone, aside from the different form factor, different parts used, midi input, extra lfo, CV patch points…

        1. You’re absolutely right, but I corrected myself – see my comment further down. (I miss an edit-function here…) Still, my point remains that Korg designed this from scratch which is why the “0-coast clone comment” is totally off. Behringer, while not 100% clones as you say, still meticulously base their pcps etc. on the originals to sound as close as possible. Which they’re legally allowed to do, and there’s a market for it, so why the fuck shouldn’t they. And for instance Moog or Roland isn’t even trying to compete with them – they are just designing their own stuff.

    2. If Behringer created something like this then I would applaud them and buy it, I expect the rest of the synth world would as well just like they have embraced the Neutron. So please stop insulting our intelligence with this nonsense.

    3. Huh? Behringer has designed miniature copies of vintage (mostly Roland) instruments. The controls are in the same place, they frequently use the same type face and text and even the names reference the originals.

      Behringer is using the fame and reputation of the 909, 101 and 808 to sell dirt cheap clones. Customers want the Behringer instruments because they look, sound and behave like vintage Roland gear at 10% of the price.

      That’s not what’s going on with KORG.

            1. Dave Smith doesn’t use Behringer clones chips and have permission to make new chips for their synths.

              It’s in the article you linked.

              “Clones of these chips are apparently used by Dave Smith Instruments and Elektron. We believe the former definitely with the blessings and permission of the original makers.”

              1. Happy to burst your bubble… From the same article:

                “Dave Smith Instruments (DSI) are using Coolaudio SSM clones / Elektron are using Coolaudio parts as well.”


                “…CoolAudio (also owned by Behringer’s Music Group).”

                So yes, Dave Smith is using Behringer clones. Not the CEMs though, but the SSMs, and it could be that the original maker of those is fine with Coolaudio cloning them (although all we know is that the writer of the article “believes” that, which is worth nothing).

                Reading the Curtis’ family letter I think they’re just whining. They’ve had the chance to bring these chips back and they didn’t. Patents expired, fair game. It’s nice to honor the originators, but in the end this is business.

    4. No. Behringer would copy everything, down to the paint job and the name, then add a couple of patch points, say Midas designed it, slap their tag on the back, release 20 videos about it, then a couple of years later deliver boxes to retailers full of mass-produced crap that needs repairs in a month. Repairs cannot be made without voiding the useless warranty and permanently tanking the product.

      Oh, and the assembly workers and developers would get their souls crushed along the way.

      Then we would complain. But the thing would be cheap.

      This Korg box is nothing like 0-Coast, or much else. It takes the patch-pin idea from multiple modular developers. There is, however, nothing out there like this, and certainly not at this price. It is cheap, but that is the only way it comes into contact with Behringer’s approach at all.

      Cheap and new can be done. Korg has done it for a long time. What is bizarre is that this complaint comes in a thread about this product – one that is precisely not a copy of anything.

  2. … Well, not 100% being a desktop with cv inputs, but almost. Anyway, I own a Neutron, so I obviously don’t have anything against Behringer. But like most other synthdebaters, I’m tired of hearing the haters and the apologists of Behringer. You have a choice a consumer. Use it or don’t.

  3. even if it’s marketed as “west-coast” i’d rather compare this to the soundmachines NS1 which has been available for a while, uses the same style jumper cables in a similar form factor and is even cheaper…

      1. you are right, i misremembered the price, its about 50 euros more … (and tbh i’ve never really used it due to the form factor. which is why i won’t be getting this volca)

  4. Sold off all my Korg gear n went modular…bought an O-Coast n past out on the floor from exhaustion after 36 hours of tweaking dials…same with a Behringer Neutron so tweakable n krell’ish…..so now I am seeing the Volca Modular n I’ve gotta say it sounds good enough for my studio/modular setup…I still wanna get my hands on a Buchla Skylab but my wife came after me w divorce papers…so for now it’s Eurorack n my new future purchase of a Volca Modular…maybe 2….

    What I like most about the Volca Modular is the sound….n it’s portability n the CV port

  5. Hot take: brilliant design, unbelievably ingenious use of analog circuitry and analog controls, good value, looks fun — but the sound, as with most of Korg’s entry-level products, doesn’t do much too impress me. Though that reverb… I’ll probably still get one just because I so covet the Easel.

  6. That’s some great design work. I hope those mini-jacks are tough. Its hard to imagine them not getting a serious workout. Its no Buchla, but its a creative way to get some of the flavor. I hear many ka-chings on the horizon.

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