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  • making music – korg volca
  • trickydisco
    Free Member

    Have always been quite obessed with electronic music 90’s rave, techno, : think voodoo ray, LFO, KLF, aphex twin and loads of modern stuf: jon hopkins, floating points, max cooper, four tet

    I recently heard about korg volcas. Namely the volca beats and the volca bass.

    Got to say they do look and sound amazing (okay apart from the snare on the volca beats which can be modded i hear)

    and

    I’m told the volca beats is quite easy to learn and many ppl have started modding them (snare mod, MIDI output, individual outputs)

    Does anyone else here produce music? play around with synths or volcas specifically?

    Ive got a music producer friend that i might invite over to give the low down. interested to hear anyones experiences of playing around with hardware based synths/machines

    tall_martin
    Full Member

    I had a set of korg volkas for a year or so.

    After I got the hang of them, I realized what I wanted to make would involve learning the piano and gave up. I tried, it was just as hard as I thought it was going to be.

    My wife hates electronic music, so most of the feedback I got was from her and negative.

    It took about 30 min to get them all up and running once I acquired a few.

    Go for it!

    I hear loads of (excellent) electronic music on 6 music I feel I could have made if I’d persisted.

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    I’m into my beeps and bleeps music….. but I will never buy a Volca as I believe them to be a dangerous gateway drug. Before you know it you’ll have spent far more than the sum total of all your bike expenditure on Eurorack modular synths and patch leads to piss your neighbors off with constant droning ambient…

    devash
    Free Member

    Can’t beat real hardware. My mate (a music therapist by trade) has quite a few of these boxes including the Behringer 303 clone and they’re great fun to mess around with.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qRittriwlM

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    I haven’t got 10 hardware synths in my office room (and far too many software ones on my MacBook) no sir……..

    Actually it’s 11 😳

    dhague
    Full Member

    Speaking of gateway drugs, it’s also worth checking out Arturia’s Microbrute semi-modular analogue synth, which can be had for well under £200 second hand.

    Hideki Matsutake meets MicroBrutes

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    I haven’t got 10 hardware synths in my office room (and far too many software ones on my MacBook) no sir……..

    wow! got a pic?

    Have u got any volcas?

    any tips?

    crab
    Free Member

    Yeah this is totally rabbit hole territory. Volca is definitely cool, but then you’ll need to add to it and that leads to a daw normally, plus buying other stuff to make it work.

    Im into Logic, and the stock synths there can sound pretty good, plus completely automation friendly. Add some of the many free soft synths and there’s a lot of options. Have also owned analogue stuff and was fluent in Akai samplers bitd so understand the other side too.

    The one box that looks amazing is the Roland se-02 I think it’s called, cross between a Moog and a 303 with built in distortion.

    doris5000
    Full Member

    I think volcas are great – you can pick them up second hand pretty cheap, they’re easy to get started with, loads of fun to muck around with, and if you get bored after a year you can probably sell them for almost the same as you paid.

    As someone who already has plenty of clobber, my pick of the bunch is the Volca FM. FM synths have traditionally been difficult beasts to program and get your head around – this thing is kind of simplistic but lots of fun.

    But if you just want to get started knocking out some acidy house and techno, a Beats, a Bass and a Keys is good place to start. IMO the Sample was a bit limited, but I’ve been using samplers for years so maybe that’s just my perspective!

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Second hand old FM synths are still cheap as hell (unlike analog ones). Sold all my old analog kit but kept a Roland D5 because it was worthless. Agree with the great sound but unintuitive to program assessment.

    Suggest getting a controller with knobs and playing with free software synths. Some sound wonderful and are easy to play with.

    Microbrute is a great suggestion by the way, can control anything and can squeeze awesome sounds out of it directly. If you have no keyboard at all yet, I can’t think of a better place to start. It’ll never be redundant.

    EDIT: or Microfreak

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    I don’t have any Volca’s but it do have:
    ASM Hydrasynth

    Waldorf Iridium

    Waldorf Blofeld

    Novation Peak

    Arturia Microfreak

    Arturia Polybrute

    Sequential Take5

    Sequential Pro3

    Deadbox Typhon

    Dreadbox Hades

    Access Virus

    Roland FP30x Digital Piano

    Plus a MioXL midi patch bay so I can control anything from anything.

    Advice wise most modern synths are capable of amazing things, the Volca’s are cute and to me the FM and Bass are the pick of the crop.

    Personally at this bargain end of the scale the Modal Skulpt SE and Craft Synth are better and more fun.

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    Also the IK Uno Synth punches well above its price point too a friend has one (and the Modal synths above) and they all sound brilliant

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    Nope can’t get the insert image thing to work…

    Synths

    But the source mess it created gave me the image URL so I fudged it.

    doris5000
    Full Member

    That’s a very handy collection! I’m gonna assume you’re not THE Mickey Finn?

    How are you getting on with all that? I would never be able to get the most out of so many top drawer polys with so many layers and features!

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    It’s a hobby and an addiction, tbh only the Iridium and the little Dreadbox’s were bought new everything else has been eBay and secondhand bargains.  I can lose hours just making a patch on the Iridium luckily I’ve avoided the modular rabbit hole.

    Thank fully most synths are still less expensive than bikes 😉

    plumber
    Free Member

    It had to come – a synth thread

    for the OP – Korg Volcas have become a ‘thing’ now with lots of resources on line it thats the way you want to go – its cheap and as others have said a gateway drug for many, you might have to factor in an effects unit and mixer at some point

    There recent emergence of Behringer copying all the old designs will get you a long way for little money – if you can come to terms with the particular ethics of that company

    Personally – I enjoy my my beat step pro sequencing other boxes as the work flow is much easier for me – favorite set up is Beat step pro into 2 moog sirins and a nord 3p – in no way is this cheap but absolute epic fun

    kelvin
    Full Member

    2 moog sirins

    Flash get.

    [ Yes, that’s pure jealousy … I missed the boat when they were in production ]

    disco_stu
    Free Member

    The Volca’s are great intro’s ( I’ve got Drum and Sample and have had an FM and the Bass ) but it’s worth looking at other manufacturers or other devices as the Bass and Beats are a bit long in the tooth now and could do with an update – no Midi out, limited amount of patches available on them.

    Have a look at the Roland Aira Compact T-8, it does the classic Roland 303/ 808 /909 sounds one Volca sized package.

    In addition to the Volca Drum and SampleI’ve got the following:-
    Korg Monologue
    Korg Minilogue
    Elektron Model:Cycles
    Arturia Microfreak
    Korg NTS1
    an Ipad with endless amounts of apps on

    The Monologue is a great starter synth (plus it has some patches by Aphex Twin on it )and is a lot more capable than the Volca Bass, The Microfreak is probably the most versatile synth I’ve got and is well-supported by Arturia.

    plumber
    Free Member

    Very lucky to have amassed this much junk when it was relatively cheap

    plumber
    Free Member

    Flash get.

    I was lucky to spot a couple of bargains, minitaurs will get you there as far as I’m concerned

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    I love all this stuff but I have no idea how any of it works. I wish there was a local music school for adults who just want to make wobbly wub wub sounds.

    plumber
    Free Member

    I love all this stuff but I have no idea how any of it works. I wish there was a local music school for adults who just want to make wobbly wub wub sounds.

    I think the reality is that a lot of this music was produced by people who didn’t know what they were doing with equipment that wasn’t necessarily being used for its original intention

    Lets not forget that 303s and 808 were a massive flop when they first came out and were being sold super cheap which is how they came into the hands of the ‘great unwashed’

    I remember vividly a guy at work who brought in a 303 and we both looked at it utterly confused as to what it should be used for……………………. Add stimulants

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    Ah the expensive wonderful red of Nord 😁

    Certainly with knob per function synths. Just twiddling stuff and some you tubing will get you a fair way.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    minitaurs will get you there as far as I’m concerned

    At the low end, yes. Watching a few on eBay and counting the pennies.

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    I wish I had a single musical bone in my body 😫

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    Very few are born with musical ability, but it does take time to learn especially as you get older.

    Just play around and let your inhibitions go away.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Making noises is fun. No one has to like what you do but you.

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    I actually have an Arturia MiniLab like this…

    It was an impulse purchase when it popped up locally for £40. Apart from plugging into the Macbook and using Garageband to make weird noises I’ve never worked it out. It can make awesome bumps and donks and whatever but I don’t know how to turn it into ‘music’.

    I haven’t done any music at all this year. I was really enjoying playing bass until the ceiling above my practice area fell off in December. It’s still waiting for a plasterer.

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    Wow. some ppl have a lot of kit! i can undertand it being a rabbit hole.

    n! I’m gonna assume you’re not THE Mickey Finn?

    I did wonder tbh. That is a lot of kit

    Have you released stuff @Mickyfinn?

    ianpv
    Free Member

    I’m a lifelong guitar player (well, they last 39 years!), but started keyboards about 5 years ago. I’ve got a volca drum, bass, and FM 2 – lots of fun for DAWless jams, and an excellent start to getting into synths. With a cheap midi controller and a small mixer that’s all you need to get things started. But it is a rabbit hole. Also got a nord electro 3, a minilogue XD, and a Waldorf rocket, plus heaps of effects from my guitar. And a fair few software synths – loving UHE diva, which when linked to a decent controller is almost (but not quite) like a hardware synth.

    I really wish I’d started keys earlier, as my playing will never be as good as my guitar, but it’s SO much fun now. I had a brief attempt at cubase in the mid 90s but it was just so dull to operate – took the fun out of music for me. Modern DAWs (I use ableton now) are just so simple, quick and user friendly, that they’re actually fun to use.

    plumber
    Free Member

    @mickyfinn

    Thats a lovely set up – also inspires me to get another double tier to expand my set up more ergonomically

    plumber
    Free Member

    Modern DAWs (I use ableton now) are just so simple, quick and user friendly, that they’re actually fun to use.

    Just updated to 11 – I’ve had it since 4 – truly a remarkable piece of software

    plumber
    Free Member

    Ah the expensive wonderful red of Nord 😁

    I bought them both (and a 3P) at the very bottom of the market – never cheap but I could easily sell them today for more than I paid

    In fact I did sell a nord Drum 1 for 25% more than I paid the other week

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    I’m gonna assume you’re not THE Mickey Finn?
    I did wonder tbh. That is a lot of kit

    Have you released stuff

    Not since the 90’s when I was playing in an EBM/Industrial/Futurepop band.

    These days I just make Ambient and piano based stuff for my own pleasure and mental health. I might put it out to the public someday if I ever feel it’s worth it.

    No I’m not the DJ/Producer or the deceased T-Rex guitarist 😁

    Really that’s not a lot of kit, I’m ver restrained compared to some. Although that is only 1 wall the other one has my Polybrute/Pro3/Virus and Blofeld

    It’s just a daft Nick name 👍🏻

    mickyfinn
    Full Member

    loving UHE diva, which when linked to a decent controller is almost (but not quite) like a hardware synth.

    With this (Admittedly not cheap) 3rd party skin Diva’s usability is improved massively it’s pretty much a knob per function interface and is so much better than the stock interface.
    While we’re on U-HE Zebra is just utterly amazing too!

    MONA for Diva

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    I also don’t know how to play the piano (although understand chords and dance music structures : phases)

    Have a look at the Roland Aira Compact T-8, it does the classic Roland 303/ 808 /909 sounds one Volca sized package.

    This has definately thrown me a curveball. Does this replace the beats/drum? I guess it has more features and is easier to use/sequence?

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    – Korg Volcas have become a ‘thing’ now with lots of resources on line it thats the way you want to go – its cheap and as others have said a gateway drug for many, you might have to factor in an effects unit and mixer at some point

    Have seen ppl on youtube link them up to an effects pedal or the korg nts 1 which provides delay/reverb

    ianpv
    Free Member

    With this (Admittedly not cheap) 3rd party skin Diva’s usability is improved massively it’s pretty much a knob per function interface and is so much better than the stock interface.
    While we’re on U-HE Zebra is just utterly amazing too!

    I use aurex CTRL – some wizardry that maps onto a cheapo launchcontrol XL, and is way way better than a standard midi mapping giving not quite knob per function but way better than mouse fiddling. The 2nd hand launchcontrol and software set me back about £130 but the usability is so much better. Also controls Repo 1 & 5 and some of the Arturia soft synths.

    plumber
    Free Member

    trickydisco
    Free Member
    I also don’t know how to play the piano (although understand chords and dance music structures : phases)

    Have a look at the Roland Aira Compact T-8, it does the classic Roland 303/ 808 /909 sounds one Volca sized package.

    This has definately thrown me a curveball. Does this replace the beats/drum? I guess it has more features and is easier to use/sequence?

    THe T8 would have been my suggestion too – Drums and Bass in one box with built in phrases to get you started – sounds good – The down side is its physically tiny so no good if you have man sized hands/finger and menu diving is pretty savage so not intuitive if you don’t already have an understanding of how these work

    https://www.andertons.co.uk/keyboards-pianos/synths-workstations/drum-machines/roland-t-8-aira-compact-beat-machine – cost, reviews and videos at the bottom

    disco_stu
    Free Member

    There recent emergence of Behringer copying all the old designs will get you a long way for little money – if you can come to terms with the particular ethics of that company

    The owner Uli seems to be a bit of a bell but I am really tempted by the Pro-VS Mini.

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