Korg Volca sample
While each had its own minor limitations, foibles and flaws, it would have been hard not to fall for the trio of instruments that comprised Korg’s initial Volca range. Each was endlessly fun, sounded better than they had any right to at that price and, even now that the ‘affordable analogue’ novelty value has worn off, a year on from their release, they’re still proving to be genuinely useful studio tools.
Given this success, it was somewhat inevitable that more would follow. Enter the next step: the Volca Sample – a ten part sample sequencer inspired by “the excitement of the first generation of samplers” and sporting a white, red and grey colour scheme that gives a cheeky nod in the direction of the classic MPC.
The sample landed in our office this week. Here we bring you a quick summary of our first thoughts ahead of the full review next week.
The Volca sample is a digital device with the addition of a global Analogue Isolator circuit, which can boost or cut the bass and treble frequencies of the output. The Isolator’s bass cut is fantastic for creating breaks, build ups and pulsing kick rhythms.
As with the other Volcas, the sample will run on either six AA batteries or a mains adapter, although the latter is sold separately. Again the unit features a built-in speaker on its underside, but it’s a weedy affair with absolutely no low end, and in reality proves to be a largely pointless addition.
If you want load your own sounds into the Volca sample, currently the only way to do so is via Korg’s free AudioPocket iOS app.
The app can record directly via the iPhone’s mic/input, or be loaded with sounds via iTunes. It has a basic editor for normalising and trimming recordings, as well as a utility for clearing the sample’s memory or restoring factory sounds. Transferring sounds is done by connecting the iPhone’s headphone port to the Volca’s Sync In using the supplied mini-jack lead.
The upshot of the sample being digital is that it features far more extensive sequencing capabilities than its predecessors, with the movements of eleven parameters per sample recordable via the Motion Sequencer, and the addition of a Song Mode, which allows users to save and recall arrangements of up to 16 sequences.
It’s also the first of the Volca range to feature any kind of panning capability, as well as a Swing function – both of which were notable omissions from the Volca Beats.
The built-in memory can hold 100 samples, with a maximum capacity of 4MB and 65 seconds, effectively limiting the unit to short hits and one shots.
We'll be bring you a full review of the Volca sample next week.