After the success of the Korg Monotron and Monotribe Korg have been quick to diversify their range of pint-sized analog synths. Their latest additions to their range of mini synths includes the volca keys, volca bass and volca beats and between them cover anything a synth user could want; classic analog drum sounds, polphonic synth lead sounds, acid bass looping and even DAW connectivity.
Korg have taken elements from many of their retro synths including the Mini-Korg 700s filter (made back in 1974), with influences of the Electribe sequencer too. This combined with iPhone app syncronisation, (not to mention syncronisation between multiple units) means it's got many modern aspects as well as it's retro charm.
The volca keys is ideal for a both lead synth sounds and simple chords. It's built in sequencer means the polyphonic synth melodies can be layerd and looped. To get extra control 'active step' and 'flux' functions can be used to create complex poly rhythms and off the cuff re-arrangements. There's everything you'd want from a synth on-board - fatten your lead sounds by detuning oscillators, tweak the LFO to create pitch and filter wobbles and make endless harmonies with the delay feedback control.
As you can see from the Volca Bass, the cutoff pot is the largest control on the bass synth and teamed up with the peak control (resonance) you can sweep through your bass sound to make authentic acid house sounds. The volca bass along with all the other synths in the range are self tuning too - analog synths do have a habbit of pitch-drifting in varying conditions, but not in this instance.
Producers and performers will often find themselves digging through a wealth of poorly recorded sample packs or soft-synths hoping to find that authentic 80s synth-snare... Or is that just me? Either way, that time is no more as you'll be able to create that nostalgic drum machine sounds from snappy snares to sizzling white-noise electro-hats. The same active step controls really come into play with arranging your beats with stutter time and depth knobs to create build ups and rolls.
CONNECT IT TO ALL YOUR OTHER GEAR
The SYNC jack connection on the volcas means you can daisy-chain them together keeping them all in time. If you've already purchased a Monotribe this works exactly the same too. Korg's Wist technology, or 'Wireless Sync-Start Technology' gives you control over tempo and rhythm settings via your iOS device and can sync with other iOS WIST apps. The Korg WIST apps are definately worth trying out if you have an iPad or iPhone; there's plenty touch sensitive tributes to synths of yester-year such as the Poly-Six and collaborations with other manufacturers such as Akai and Propellerhead.