Korg’s compact, DX7-inspired Volca FM first landed six years ago and it remains one of our favourite mini synths to this day. Now, like the Volca Sample before it, the FM is getting a second-generation update, and it brings with it a raft of new features and enhancements.
While the new Volca FM looks pretty much identical to its predecessor, there are some significant changes that enhance its capabilities considerably. First and foremost of these is expanded polyphony - up to six voices compared to the original’s three. The new Volca FM now responds to velocity via MIDI, too, for a more expressive experience when used with an external controller.
Also on the MIDI front, Korg has added a MIDI output (via a TRS adapter) enabling the Volca FM’s sequencer to control external gear.
That 16-step sequencer sees some enhancements, too, including a pattern randomisation tool for auto-generating ideas. This joins other sequencer functions including Warp Active Step - which alters the distribution of sequencer steps for interesting rhythmic ideas -and pattern chaining.
The second gen FM gains a new effect too, with a digital shimmering reverb joining the existing chorus.
As with the original, the FM’s synth engine is based on the 32-algorithm design of Yamaha’s DX7 and can even import classic patches via SysEx. While the interface can be a little fiddly for deep parameter editing, the FM can make use of a free online editor for more advanced patch creation.
Bundled software includes iZotope Ozone Elements, Reason Lite and various plugin synths from Korg and others.
The new Volca FM is due to arrive mid-May at a price that’s still to be confirmed. Find out more on the Korg (opens in new tab) website.