The Korg Volcas are pretty flexible devices that received a little firmware-update last year. But there are also unofficial firmware versions for the Volca FM and the Volca Sample, which I have tested as well.
Similar to the installation of the official updates, the update mode must be activated while the Korg Volca is started. Therefore, you have to keep the buttons Func and Play pressed while you switch the Volca on. Now, you can connect the sync-in jack of the Volca with the audio-out of the computer. The volume of the computer ought to be quite loud, but not maxed. I mostly use a level of 80%. By using an adequate media plays, the firmware can be played back as an audio file via the computer. In this case, it is important to deactivate all further sounds (like emailbox or likewise). Otherwise, you will get an error message. After the update is finished, the Volca needs a re-start.
Volca FM 1.09
For the velocity function is a decisive characteristic of inspiring FM sounds, a FM synth actually is supposed to provide such a feature. Unfortunately, Korg has not implemented this feature by now. Alternatively, you could complement this function for external keyboards via using a specific Retrokits RK-002 midi cable. The unofficial Firmware 1.09 add the velocity function to the Volca. The keys of the internal keyboard do not send velocity information, but by connecting an external keyboard, the respective data can be sent to the FM.
Another interesting feature is the patch changes note on/off. While it is deactivated, a played tone can be sustained, even though you select another sound. Until now, the sound has been stopped in this case. Now, a fluent transition between different sounds is possible.
Besides, there have been new control change orders added. For example, the free assignment of the mod wheel, various chorus settings, the loading of patches and pattern as well as subdivisions of the tempo.
The firmware runs quite reliably. Only some posts on the internet revolve around the problem, that the Volca switches itself of with this firmware. The reason is a flat battery or the power supply does not provide enough current. The FM needs more than 100mA to work reliable. The unofficial firmware might need a little more current; thus, you should keep the capacity of your power supply in mind.
All of these new features can be deactivated in the global menu. Ant those, who don’t like the firmware anyway, can downgrade the Volca to the official firmware easily. The Korg Volca support website offers a free download of this file.
Volca Sample Beta 7
Regarding the Volca Sample, the process of the installation of the Beta 7 firmware update is identical. You can replay all samples chromatically as well as using the “sequencer channel” to select all of the 10 sounds via the midi keyboard. As with the Volca FM, you can also activate velocity. It can be selected just like pitch and note triggering via part or pattern.
New control changes for reverb, mutes, pattern-changes, reverse and so on have been implemented. Besides, there are also to new reverb algorithms. Many of these new parameters can be changed directly in the live mode. It is not necessary to enter the global setup and re-start the device. By keeping the func button pressed, you can select a respective function through the sample pot.
Another interesting feature is the SAMP. It assigns 100 samples to the midi keyboard. Thereby, you can use all samples at the same time or rather program them via midi. Thus, the Sample becomes a fully adequate sampler. Of course, you can play polyphonic samples as well. Similar to the Digitakt, you can adjust the probabilities of a trigger. The standard setting is set to 100%. By reducing the probability, each pattern becomes a diversified part of the song.
Last but not least, there is the drone mode. It allows to set the decay of all samples to the maximum and thereby enables you to create some kind of infinite mode while you are looping. This unofficial Beta 7 firmware runs stable and reliable. Because of the numerous features, I really recommend this type of firmware. And it also applies in this case: if you don’t like the new firmware, you can go back too the official Korg firmware easily and for free.
Today, almost every musician records his/her music at home. Mostly via a soundcard directly into a DAW. There, you will find numerous VST effects to create a sophisticated sound. But many effect pedals as well are also suitable for recording. Continue reading “Effect pedals for recording”
This is a video about a real time random sampling with the TC Electronic DITTO X4 and the Elektron Digitakt. The random reverse and pitch effects are triggered via midi by the Digitakt. Everything has been recorded via the Electron Digitakt into Ableton Live.
gear: Fender Telecaster, TC Electronic DITTO X4, Elektron Digitakt, Ableton Live
This is a video about how to use the TC Electronic DITTO X4 as a delay effect by connecting it to the Elektron Digitakt. Check out how to create different delay times like quarters, eighths and half notes. I also present a tape reverse as well as a tape stop effect. If you are interested in a step-by-step instruction, please let me know.
The Corona virus has a tight grip on the world. Therefore, it is understandable, but nevertheless, very sad, that events all over the world have to be cancelled. Same applies for the SUPERBOOTH. The next SUPERBOOTH will take place in May 2021. But at the same time, many manufacturers support musicians in using the social distancing to realize new and creative ideas. Continue reading “+++ News: Corona Virus in the world of music +++”
Although a pedalboard actually is only a basis for effect pedals, it can be so much more than this. There are numerous manufacturers that offer almost all sizes and variants. But frequently, a DIY pedalboard can be tailored to your very own needs and it can also be much more favorable. Continue reading “DIY Pedalboard”
The 80s are back on the agenda. Whether fashion or music. And although the music business (as well as the fashion designers) committed some really bad crimes during the 1980s, the LoFi sounds of the 80s game consoles have been permanently engraved in our minds and ears. Far away from the perfect sound, always accompanied by some dirt and a slight tendency to kitsch. Pure nostalgia. Therefore, in this article, I would like to present some pedals that are able to create such an Arcade sound. Continue reading “16-bit Arcade sounds – revival of the 80s”
Especially if you are playing your guitar mostly at home, sooner or later you will reach the point where you start thinking about some kind of rhythmical companionship. And fortunately, there are numerous options for a tactful backing that work without a flesh-and-blood drummer. Continue reading “Drums without a drummer”
The majority of effect pedals are made for guitarists and therefore, many bass players fear the contact with the small (and sometimes big) devices that can add a special character to the sound. In the first part of this two-part series, I already presented some effect categories, every bass player can use without taking any risks. In this second part, we will have a closer look on effects, that require a bit more sensitivity. So, boys and girls behind the fat strings: go for it! Continue reading “Effect pedals for bass players – part 2”
The majority of effect pedals are made for guitarists and therefore, many bass players fear the contact with the small (and sometimes big) devices that can add a special character to the sound. In the first part of this two-part series, I would like to present some effect categories, every bass player can use without taking any risks. In the second part, we will have a closer look on effects, that require a bit more sensitivity. So, boys and girls behind the fat strings: go for it! Continue reading “Effect pedals for bass players – part 1”
If you are looking for the perfect headphones on the internet, you will frequently find recommendations like: more is always better. But this does definitively not work for every kind of use. Continue reading “The impedance of headphones”
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