How to get the most from your Korg Volca

The Korg Volca range of machines consists of eleven synth's and a mixer.

For the more traditional forms of synthesis there are the Bass, FM, Keys, NuBass & Sample.

For drum sounds there are the Beats, Kick and Drum. All eight of these have MIDI inputs for external control of notes, controls and clock.

Additionally, there is the Modular, which is an implementation of the 'West Coast', 'Buchla' sound (as opposed to the East Coast Moog sound) and also the three input mixer, the Volca Mix.

Handily, all models share a common form factor, so ensuring that any aftermarket case only need to be one size.

If all you want to do is 'pimp it up' then the standard cases are ideal for this and you require only a screwdriver.
You will be transplanting the machine into the new case and reusing the battery tray, battery cover and rubber feet.
Assembly instructions for the standard case can be found here.

The product pages for these can be seen from the links below. Those pages also include links to the Amazon UK listings where you can purchase them.

If however, you really want to get the most from your Volca, then you will require the extended case.

This will allow for a physical MIDI output and up to twelve audio/CV outputs on up to six mini-jack sockets.

Or if you are inclined, up to 30mm of extra internal height for your own internal modifications!

Please note, this will require some soldering, so if you're not confident that you can do this without melting your beloved instrument into a lump of plastic and wires, maybe find a suitable friend who can help you out.

Assembly instructions for the extended case can be found here.

Obviously, you'll want to know what you can do with all this extra connectivity.

Based on our research using the official MIDI implementation charts, 'the internet' and taking apart our own Bass & FM, adding a MIDI output allows sending the same note, controller and clock signals of each instrument. As well as a varying number of audio outputs (dependant upon which device ).

Although surprisingly the filter and resonance controls for the Volca Bass (and likely the NuBass also) appear to be manual only. However, we are investigating whether there are other methods of controlling those parameters.

For getting the sounds out from the machines onto the mini-jacks we have discovered:

The Bass & Keys allow access to all the oscillators simultaneously - so you get the raw outputs for both waveforms and all three oscillators at the same time (as in all six!). You also get VCA/VCA/VCF outputs which appear to be taps into the audio signal at those points in the signal flow.

The FM and Kick models have the same "Input/Bias/Output" solder points, although so far no-one seems sure of what these do.

The Beats model has solder points for the main drum sounds + white/pink/ring noise + the PCM sounds. Plus kick and snare available via other very small points on the main board.

For information specific to your instrument, check out the individual detail pages from "What's in my instrument?"

If extending the use of your instrument is something that interests you, then check out the extended models from the links below.

These pages also include links to the Amazon/eBay UK listings where you can purchase them.

How all of this will save you time, is that it will allow you to record note and controller information as part of your performance.
Instead of having to record an additional pass in your DAW or use third-party controllers that may not be as convenient to use as the knobs on the Volca device itself.

If you have any further questions, please check out the FAQ or feel free to email us.