KORG Volca Beats Review
Inspired by classic design, with an eye towards combining features and affordability, the Volca Beats from Korg is an impressive product. Emphasizing a fully-realized analog signal pathway, the CPU features a 10bit DAC for resolution that is quite frankly amazing at this price. There are some significant benefits to this compact, powerful device. More experienced users will likely note how similar the Volca Beats is to the classic, established 808 machines.
However, and not surprisingly, Korg has given their release a number of singular, vital touches.
Volca Beats Features
The best way to look at the Volca Beats is to see it as a hybrid device. It combines an old-school analog sound engine with digital controls. The end result is a streamlined machine that makes it easy to create classic-style beats and sounds. For analog drum sounds, this is one of the most budget-friendly, powerful options on the market.
There are six distinct analog parts. Editing is a snap, when you keep in mind that each part comes with its own knob. The ability to create a maximum effect with minimal perimeters has rarely been so straightforward.
The PCM sound engine is worth noting, as is the sixteen-step Electribe-style sequencer. The sequence includes an impressive eight memory patches. Your stutter function can dramatically alter your sequences through repeated triggers. The Active Step and Jump Step functions are two more features to consider.
Volca Beats Pros
Given its options, power, and portability, there is a lot to like about Volca Beats upon closer look:
- Strong results: Both the kick drums and toms are pretty much what you’d demand from the best analog drum machines. A number of users have also raved about the snare.
- Quality comparison: Many have put the quality of these sounds on par with what you can find via more expensive machines.
- Real-time adjustments: Using the knobs, you can make easy adjustments in real-time.
- PCM potential: More likely than not, you’re going to find yourself getting a ton of mileage from the PCM.
- Sync and midi: Various sync and midi options really gives you a lot to work with and create.
Volca Beats Cons
There are also a handful of cons to consider:
- The low-level outputs for this machine can sometimes frustrate.
- The lack of a MIDI Out is also bothersome.
- You have to purchase a power supply separately.
Despite a few minor flaws, the Volca Beats is as good as anything you can find in this arena.