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Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine Reviews

4.5 stars based on 17 customer reviews
Questions about the Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine?

Questions about the Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine?

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  • from May 6, 2016

    The Micro 808

    The best drum machine for the price !!! Ordered a 104 capacitor thats missing on the cap for the snare circuit. Now this thing can hang with a Roland 808 !! Amazing !!!!!!

  • from Chicago March 4, 2016

    A Must Have!

    I'm completely amazed at how amazing this little device is! I've watched many videos before I bought this and it's just such a different experience in person. The kick is super nice along with everything else. Everyone says how the snare is super weak, which it sadly is, but when you use the stutter effect on it, it's actually really nice.
    I csnt stop using this, you'll make such creative beats with this, and the stutter effect adds a whole new level of awesomeness to your beat.

    Don't hesitate, trust me and buy this now. You won't be disappointed.

  • from December 11, 2015

    Volca Beats

    Works awesome with my Beat Step Pro!

  • from August 12, 2014Music Background:

    The king of drum machines

    I totally fell in love with this marvellous drum machine. It's as portable, small and light as a tissue box, easy to use and includes a great range of sounds. Also allows you to do a lot of experimentation at a very affordable price.

    One of the most amazing pieces Korg has ever released.

  • from Santa Fe, NM USA January 12, 2014Music Background:
    guitars, recording, bands, a little of everything

    Miniature TR-808!

    This little box is unbelievable! It will give you the highly sought after 80's rhythm and drum sounds not possible with a digital sample drum machine. Why? Because it's analog! The sounds that are generated from the Volca Beats are made with synthesizer occillators rather than digitally recorded samples of drummers playing real drum sets. This little drum machine does not sound like an alesis sr 16 or boss dr. rhythm. It's more like a warm analog kind of click and pop sound which is very pleasing to the ears. And when you sync it with your synthesizer's arpeggiator and record a track, a very vintage and magical sound is achieved! The 8 preset sequences stored in it's memory are all you need to make great sounding rhythm tracks, all you need to do is to change them using the "step jump" feature and if you don't like the presets, you can erase them and program your own instead. And the two stutter knobs will change the sounds into things you've never heard before. The Volca Beats. has a midi input so it can sync with a synths midi out clock ,but a little trick I learned: if your synth and drum machine won't sync with midi, just set the tempo on both devices to the same value and turn them on at the same time, it works, believe me. The Volca Beats operates on the principles of step sequencing; 80s technology to the core! The computer records 16 steps or events and then plays them back in perfectly timed order as it loops them over and over, the result is a mechanical syncopated rhythm sound that is very pleasing to hear. Back in the day I had a roland tr-808 which had a sound similar to the Volca Beats, as I bought it so I could have metronome timing when I played my electric guitar, and I did a STUPID thing; I traded it to a friend of mine for an old marshall combo because I was not into electronic music at the time. The tr-808's are as rare as the jupiter 8 synths, neither of those exist on the planet earth today! The volca beats will play forever if you put AA batteries in it, specs say you can run it for 10 hours on batteries, but I think it's more, cause I've been using my volca beats like crazy and the batteries haven't run down yet. It does not come with an ac adaptor, but the specified ac adaptor is the korg model KA-350 which is the same one that comes with the ms-20 mini synth or the microkorg xl+. The drum pads are touch sensors and it will take a little getting used to because they don't physically move. It is possible to get rolls and fills when the sequences are played back so that way it won't sound like the same repeating pattern over and over again, But I'm not going to give away my secrets now because in time you too will figure out how to get fills and rolls from your own Volca Beats if you just learn what all the controls do. And the Volca Beats has an old style smpte time code output that will sync it with the two other korg volcas as well but that's another story. You need this little drum machine, that's all there is to it! You won't want to use your alesis sr 16 or boss dr. rhythm again after you find out what this little gem can do! But as you will soon find out, these are difficult to aquire because the back order time for these is months at a time, because everyone in the world wants one of these! This is an unbelievable price for something like this. I have three of them and I will not sell them or trade them for anything! Analog is back! Because it's the best.

  • from Venice,FL November 13, 2013Music Background:
    maker of

    It's fun...like the Monotribe with some useful features.

    Owning both the Monotribe and now Volca Beats, I would have to say they are pretty similar, and that is not a complaint. The stutter is a pretty cool feature, and the sequencer is a breeze. For the cost you will have a good time no matter which route you take.

  • from Cincinnati, OH USA October 5, 2013Music Background:
    Experienced Hip Hop Beat-maker

    A "must have" for beginners and advanced electronic musicians alike:

    If you are considering buying your first drum machine, the Volca Beats is definitely my recommendation - it's a great place for a beginner to start. If you are an experienced electronic musician, then this should definitely be in your arsenal.

    I pre-ordered the Volca Beats from Sweetwater as soon as I heard Korg's announcement of the Volca line. So after 5 months of waiting for the official product release here in the US, I finally received my Volca Beats today! Totally worth it! My 5 Star rating is based on how great this product is for the price - $150 for a really easy to use/great sounding drum machine. If the other machines in the Volca Series are this kind of quality, I just may find myself with all three (eventually).

    My favorite features that make this a machine really unique (besides price and 6 analog voices):
    1) Stutter - a really cool way to "swing" or add timing effects to a single voice or an entire pattern.
    2) Jump Step - a live performance tool that allows you to jump to any 1/16 step in your pattern during playback - a simple way to change up the monotony of a 1 measure pattern with very little practice.

  • from Toledo, OH June 9, 2016Music Background:
    MIDI Programming, Synthesis

    Awesome for beginners and the price is great!

    At first I wasn't sure which drum machine to purchase because I am so used to programming drums in the box with Ableton and NI Battery among others. I highly recommend this product for anyone starting out for their first hardware drum machine. Can't stop playing with it. I honestly must say this little thing is nice. I will not be using it as a production/performance tool only because I would rather use an Elektron or Tanzbar but that is just me. Definitely get the Korg Volca Beats to practice with and to have in your arsenal! Thumbs up to Korg and of course Sweetwater.

  • from United States January 7, 2015Music Background:
    DJ, Producer, Hobbyist.

    Super warm sound

    This little guy is awesome in it's own right. You get 808 inspired sound but it's nothing like the 808. I'm just impressed with the overall package and price point. You can spend hours on end with this machine because the fun factor is there not to mention it's a professional tool to use at home, gigs and, studio. Hook it up to the rest of the Volca family and you'll have a full analog production.

  • from United States February 16, 2014Music Background:
    Mix Engineer, Producer

    A unique device for sure

    When I got this I was both excited and disappointed -- excited because it WAS after all an interesting analog drum machine, but disappointed because it seemed to not offer much sound shaping.

    Over time, I learned a little more about drum machines, and this device is actually very similar to something like a TR-606. I've even compared it to very proprietary drum machines like the Roland CR-78, in that maybe you cannot change the tonality very much, but it's got its own distinct thing going for it.

    The PCM section is the most unique part of the whole thing, with all kinds of strange noises that are possible by changing the PCM Speed.

    For whatever reason, after a few months of neglect, I've been using the Volca Beats on a lot of tracks. I find that when I sequence it via MIDI it is MUCH more convenient, and when you record the parts separately, you can get a much better sound by Leveling/EQ'ing the individual parts separately.

    When I got into the groove of using the Volca Beats in this way, I found that I really did love the sound and feel of it, and it's a welcomed member to my synth collection.

  • from TX January 7, 2017Music Background:

    Beat it!

    Is WAY more functional than I initially thought it would be! Speakers are great for on the fly improv jams, but do not compare to quality earphones. For the price sound is truly great! Knobs, while not as sturdy as Roland's line of Boutiques, do feel good enough for the price. Overall, these machines do fill a gap in gear ranges. Totally capable of producing magic.

  • from December 7, 2015Music Background:
    singer and beginner level producer

    Great sequencing ability, easy to use

    I bought a drum machine because I had trouble coming up with good drum patterns just by clicking in my DAW. The sequencer is really easy to use and I can come up with a whole bunch of cool beats with it. The stutter effects are great for adding subtle (or dramatic) changes to the beat. It can remembers up to 8 patterns. It can do some powerful things like repeat part of a pattern, skip certain sounds, and skip a number of beats. It sounds good. It sound better than most things in the DAW. Some sounds are a little toy-like, but that's not a big deal. The reasons I gave it 4 instead of a 5 are the following. The output is a little too noisy when you put stutter on the PCM sounds. There's always a low volume static on the background. When I filtered it out in the mix, I feel like some of the analog authenticity is lost at the same time. I also wish it had a MIDI out.

  • from Parkersburg, WV January 30, 2015Music Background:
    Newbie Hobbyist

    Great Drum Machine for Beginners

    This is a fantastic first drum machine. Out of all the Volcas this is the most fun. Step programing is very easy. I'll go over the individual sounds, starting with the analog section.
    Kick - Big and beefy or nice and tight. It can't be called a 808 or a 909 but it is unquestionably analog and for this price nobody can complain.
    Snare - uh, kind of lame unfortunately. Unique for sure but I really can't appreciate it. It has the necessary controls but it just seems like there is such a narrow range where it sounds acceptable. It has a very hollow sound like a tom and the white noise at the end seems too grainy.
    Toms - very good. I personally have enjoyed just finger drumming these in record mode rather than step and then adding other elements in step.
    Hats - pretty good. The open hat definitely does its job. I would have liked the closed hat to have some more snap to it.
    Clap - Very nice. It definitely is sharp and noticeable.
    Claves and Agogo - I have to mention these together because it seems god had intended so. Punching up a somewhat arrhythmic pattern with the claves then dropping the agogo in between the gaps just makes for some great old school style hip hop vibes.
    Crash - Its ok. I actually like to turn the speed all the way down because it produces this weird moody and grainy drone sound that lasts for a couple bars.

    As for the controls they all seem to work fine. The stutter effect can be interesting and not too unpredictable as long as you tweek it just a little. As I said before programming is very simple which is good because like the other Volcas the fold up manual is crappy.

    Now for the negative and why this review didn't get a 4.5 or 5 star rating. There is some problem with the levels of each part. I have to turn the Kick down to less than half so that it doesn't blow everything else away. Compared to the kick drum everything else sounds like a whisper. Maybe it's my inexperience but this seems like a big oversight. There is a single knob for the part level. You have to be mindful of what part you're editing because it will go strait to the last part you made any adjustment to.

    So in conclusion great drum machine for the price, most of the sounds are awesome, incredible fun, however it could have used a little balance with the levels. A very easy decision to buy.

  • from Hyattsville, MD August 22, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Producer, Dj

    Great Starter Drum Machine!

    This is my first analogue drum machine and I am honestly impressed with most of it and especially certain sounds. This thing pump BASSSSSSSS FOR DAYYYSSSSS and its deeeeeeeep. The workflow is like any sequencer and it has a cool stutter effect. Most of the PCM sounds are good although 8 bit but the snare is the worst sounding no matter what kind of processing you use. Worst of all there is no MIDI OUT and certain parameters lack a CC control (kick drum for example lacks your typical pitch and decay envelope control which is what I needed most). This is a great box for on the go and a cheaper althernative to JoMoX MBase01 for kick drums (this thing excels at it). For the money it is a great starter machine and could be fully used in most styles.

  • from United States March 26, 2014

    Great for the money

    For the money this is a great little unit and it has a lot going for it. It's portable, runs on batteries, easy to use, has midi in, and you can get some really cool sounds out of it.

    The volcas are also of a much higher build quality than I expected

    My only complaint is that some of the knobs have extreme effects on sounds when you turn them just the slightest bit.

    If you're on the fence about buying one of these, just go for it.

  • from Seattle, WA. USA December 27, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist, engineer, lover of gear.

    Good for the cost

    After waiting patiently for 3 1/2 months, I can finally play with and review this items! For 150 dollars, this is a great little drum machine. Each button has editable parameters, the step sequencer is wicked easy to program, the 'stutter' function adds nice glitch-like effects, and it's such a small footprint as well! The sounds are reminiscent of an old 909, but the snare drum really lacks...it sounds tinny at the best of times. Also features sync in and out functions to hook up to other items in the Volca line.
    My only cons - the manual is bare bones and not very explanatory, there's no 1/4 audio out (although you can use a 1/8 male to 1/4 male cable just fine.)

  • from United States November 13, 2013

    Volca Beats

    If you like the big, thick, sounds of Korg, then the Volca beats is not for you. Comparing this to the 808, or the Electribe is just plain wrong!

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