A semi-modular analog synthesizer that
makes modular synthesis more accessible and understandable than ever
Creating new sounds that don’t exist in the outside world is an
unending dream which has continued since the birth of electronic
musical instruments. This dream has evolved and expanded throughout
the development of new and unique music production devices.
The popularity of modular synthesizers around the world has
generated new excitement and interest in the so-called "West Coast
style" of synthesis that deviates from traditional synthesis norms.
The compact body of this volca synth features eight modules and 50
patch points. While learning the basics of a modular synth, you can
use popular features of the volca synthesizer line to control a
unique and different flavor of analog sounds.
An analog synth composed of modules Eight modules
The volca modular is a semi-modular synthesizer consisting of
independent analog synth modules, digital effects, and a sequencer.
Each of the modules has been carefully selected for its stand-alone
completeness. The modules are internally connected so that sound can
be produced even before connecting the included pin cables, and the
routing is shown by white lines on the panel. Module connections via
a pin cable take priority over the internal connections, bypassing
This consists of a triangle VCO carrier and a modulator. The complex
overtones generated by FM modulation are sent through a wave folder
circuit to add additional overtones, producing a distinctive sound.
This module is important in determining the basic character of the
sound of volca modular.
This section consists of two function (envelope) generators. In
addition to an ADH generator with attack, hold, and release, there's
a Rise-Fall generator, also known as a slope generator, which not
only applies time-varying change to the sound but also lets you
patch the end trigger out back into the trigger in as a loop, making
it usable as a VCO or LFO.
This is a random signal generator containing a sample & hold circuit
that uses pink noise as its source. Two outputs are provided,
allowing it to output either stepped or smooth random noise.
This module distributes one input to two outputs. It can also be
used in the reverse direction, combining two control or audio
signals into one.
This consists of two low-pass gate circuits. Typical of the West
Coast style of synthesis, the module packages a filter with an amp,
allowing the brightness and volume of the sound to vary together.
This is a mixing scaling module that combines two signals in various
ways. It can mix not only audio signals but also control signals, as
well as inverting or attenuating those signals.
This is a stereo module that applies a reverb-like effect to the
This module is for connecting to the internal sequencer. You can set
the tempo, and select different rhythm divisions to output via the
A fusion of West Coast style in a volca format
Analog synthesizers in which a simple oscillator such as a saw wave
or square wave is modified by a filter are referred to as "East
Coast style" because of their origin from well-known American
manufacturers. Synths of this style, as exemplified by the MS-20,
have continued to evolve toward a goal of being used in many
mainstream musical genres, thus being equipped with a keyboard for
performance. Their sounds are notable for sharp filters and rich
presence, and can be heard in many well-known songs.
Synthesizers of the "West Coast style" evolved in a uniquely
different direction from such musical developments. Pursuing the
freedom that is inherent to electronic musical instruments, these
were based on oscillators such as FM modulation which generated
numerous overtones, and used random and complex control signals and
low-pass gate circuits to vary tonal character and volume, so that
slight movement of a knob might dramatically transform the sound.
While their potential was acknowledged, the resulting sound and its
changes were difficult to predict, causing these synths to be used
in a more experimental capacity.
For these reasons, hardware products of this style have been few in
number. However, recent years have seen the popularity of modular
synths such as Eurorack, as well as DAW plugin instruments that
resurrect classic bygone synths of the past. This world-wide
movement toward embracing interesting sounds has received renewed
attention, spurring a new look at the sounds of this style.
Starting from analog, and freely taking in all elements including FM
and PCM, the volca series has also focused on this trend. And now,
this distinctive "West Coast style" sound has been added to the KORG
Patching allows infinite possibilities
volca modular’s modules are connected via the included pin cables,
allowing a diverse range of combinations. The unit's compact chassis
provides 50 patch points. Inputs and outputs are color-coded for
recognition at a glance, and the signals are also marked by symbols
to indicate audio, control, gate or trigger. Normally, each signal
is connected according to its use, but on the volca modular, signal
levels are universally compatible between modules, allowing hidden
possibilities to arise from patching that defies common sense.
Twenty pin cables are included, and also included is a reference
sheet explaining each patch point and providing basic examples of
volca sequencer elevates experimental sounds into music
Sixteen-step sequencer that can automate parameters
While the volca modular is a semi-modular synth, it is equipped with
a full-fledged 16-step sequencer providing a wide range of
functions, letting you enjoy automatic performance even when used
Using the 16 buttons familiar from the volca series, you can perform
step input or use the buttons as a keyboard for realtime recording.
The pattern chaining function plays back multiple sequence patterns
in succession, allowing you to connect up to 16 sequences with up to
32, 64, or even 256 steps to create large-scale development.
The motion sequence function records knob movements, letting you add
time-varying change to the sound. You can create loops, or use this
function live for strikingly original performances. Up to 16
sequence patterns and sounds can be saved in the unit.
Also provided is an active step function which lets you play back
while skipping the steps you specify. You can skip the latter half
to produce a short loop, use an alternate time signature to create
polyrhythms, and evolve sequence patterns in real time to create a
Randomize function that can generate accidental ideas
The sequencer of the volca modular lets you specify randomization
for notes, active steps, and micro tuning. Irregular phrases,
rhythms, and scaling that would be unlikely to come to mind can be
generated by applying randomness, letting the volca be a source of
Two new modes added for sequence playback
Two new sequence modes have been added: bounce sequence mode which
makes a round trip through the steps, and stochastic sequence mode
which gradually proceeds while randomly moving forward and backward.
Playing back a recorded sequence in a different form can add
dramatic changes to your song or performance.
Musically advanced scales, keys, and micro tuning
Although the volca modular is a West Coast style synthesizer, it
also provides flexible support for music as a contemporary
instrument. You can choose from 14 types of scale including equal
temperament. Since you can also specify the tonic key from which
these scales start, you can play these scales in any key.
There's also a micro tuning function that lets you individually
specify the pitch of each note. You can pursue your own unique music
by performing in an original tuning with the pitch of individual
notes raised or lowered.
Connectors that allow synchronized performance and external control
With a sync jack that allows easy connection to a Korg groove
machine, you can connect the volca modular to another volca series
unit, a minilogue, monologue, or prologue, an electribe, or the
SQ-1, and enjoy sessions with the sequencer synchronized to the
The CV IN jack for external control is a TRS mini stereo jack that
lets you input two signals. The left channel can input a ±5V signal
and the right channel can input a signal of 1V/oct (0–+6V) signal
which is internally converted to pitch CV within the volca modular.
Of course, each of these two signals can also be patched to control
Compact, size, battery operation, and built-in speaker mean that you
can take this unit anywhere and enjoy playing at any time.
Multi touch Keyboard / Step key
Type Analog synthesis
Maximum Polyphony 1
Structure 2 VCO (Triangle), 2 EG, 2 LPG, digital effect
Number of parts 1
Number of Steps 16 (pattern chain is available)
Number of Recording Patterns 16
Audio Output Headphones (3.5mm stereo mini jack)
Sync Sync In (3.5mm monaural mini jack, Maximum input level: 20V
Sync Out (3.5mm monaural mini jack, Maximum Output level: 5V)
Control In CV-IN jack (TRS mini phone jack)
Battery Life Approximately 10 hours (using alkaline batteries)
Power supply AA alkaline battery ×6, AA nickel-metal hydride battery ×6 or AC
adapter “KA-350” (optional)
Included Items AA alkaline battery ×6 (for verifying operation), Sync cable, Pin
cable for patching 1 set, Module reference sheet
Accessories (sold separately) AC adapter (KA-350), SEQUENZ CB-4VOLCA hard shell
case, SEQUENZ CC-VOLCA soft shell case, SQ-CABLE-6 sync cale
Dimensions (W x D x H) 193 × 115 × 39 mm / 7.61 x 4.54 x 1.54 inches
Weight 377 g / 0.83 lbs (Excluding batteries)