KORG Volca Sample vs PO-33 K.O Compared
Music enthusiasts of all skill levels often ask, “Which is better, the KORG volca Sample or the PO-33 K.O?” Even in our top 3 beginner volcas article, we recommended Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator 33 K.O as an alternative to the volca sample. Unfortunately, there isn’t really an easy answer, because they are both extremely popular and amazing little machines. In this article, we will discuss the similarities of the sample and the K.O, along with their differences. We will also include any other quirks or important factors at the end. Our verdict is at the bottom.
Volca Sample vs PO-33 K.O Similarities
So let’s start off with a discussion about the similarities between the KORG volca Sample and the PO-33 K.O. First off, both devices are sample sequencers. This meaning you can play, cut, and edit sounds in various ways to make it sound musical and interesting. They can each hold a number of different sounds, called samples, at once. The musician him/herself chooses what sounds to use, and the only limit is their imagination. You can also take the samples themselves directly from a PC or compatible mobile device and import them directly to either the volca Sample or K.O.
In terms of physical features, both devices are on the smaller size versus a full blown sampler or synthesizer. Both are portable, hand-carry-able machines with a built-in speaker that can be run completely on battery. You can also sync them with other machines in the same series (and a few series as well), and can output audio through a standard output jack. They are also both on the cheaper side of music production hardware, and can be both fun and useful tools for beginners and professionals alike. Both can easily integrate into a new production setup, or work alone as a singular, all-in-one machine.
Volca Sample vs PO-33 K.O Differences
The most significant difference between the K.O and volca Sample is that the K.O has a built in microphone while the sample does not. This difference means that the K.O is better suited for more on-the-go or impromptu music making sessions. The sample, on the other hand, will hold cleaner and better organized samples. This is because the sample imports samples an actual application, instead of through a microphone or line-in input. Of course, it is possible to import samples into the K.O, but it requires some preparation beforehand. So this really is either a pro or a con depending on what the user is looking for.
Another significant difference is that the volca Sample functions more as a percussive style instrument. The K.O can hold 8 melodic (pitch modifiable) samples, and 8 percussive ones. This means that it’s easy to play different kind of notes on the K.O. But be careful, because those notes are limited to a single scale. That’s not to say the built-in scale doesn’t sound great, though. The volca Sample, on the other hand, can play all notes of the chromatic scale, but will require more finesse and tweaking to get that ideal sound. This could be a deal breaker for some, so really consider if you want fast-but-limited melodies, or slow-but-unlimited ones.
Other Factors & Verdict
Of course, there are some other important factors to consider between these two great synths. The volca Sample is the bigger, and more expensive machine, while the K.O is cheaper and smaller. Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator series is known for being very bare-bones, and the machines arguably can’t take much abuse. But in the end, both of these products offer great value and hundreds of hours of fun for their owners.
If you want a lightweight, enjoyable, in-the-moment machine to quickly throw together fun and interesting songs, go with the PO-33 K.O.
If you want a more methodical machine, where you can spend the extra time to eek out that perfect sound, go with the KORG volca sample.