Korg Volca FM Synthesizer with Sequencer

FM Synthesizer Module with 6 Operators, 32 Algorithms, Built-in Chorus Effect, MIDI in, and Sync I/O
Korg Volca FM Synthesizer with Sequencer image 1
Korg Volca FM Synthesizer with Sequencer image 1
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Available This Wednesday (June 28)
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Korg Volca FM Synthesizer with Sequencer
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Iconic FM Synthesis in a Portable Package

The Korg Volca FM synthesizer module is like a portable version of the legendary DX7 FM synth - it can even accept original DX7 patch data! And the sound engine is exactly what you'd expect from that classic FM synth: six operators are ready to create clanging metallic tones, ripping leads, subsonic basses, and all manner of special effects. The built-in 16-step sequencer with Motion Sequence allows you to record knob twists as well as note data for more sonic animation. Twist your patterns with Warp Active Step, Pattern Chain, or with the Arpeggiator. Whether you perform live or produce electronic music in your studio, there's a lot of sonic potential in the Korg Volca FM.

Korg Volca FM Synthesizer Module at a Glance:
  • Easier to program than a DX7
  • Tap into three decades of sound design
  • Portable creativity
Easier to program than a DX7

The classic FM synthesizer that electronic musicians know and love is the Yamaha DX7, and it's just as famous for being difficult to program as it is for its iconic sound. The Korg Volca FM packs the same sound engine based around six operators, and its streamlined control set makes it much easier to program your own sounds from scratch. From percussion and effects to Reese bass and more, you can dial in classic FM synth sounds and save 32 of your favorites for instant recall.

Tap into three decades of sound design

The original DX7 played a big role in shaping the sound of the '80s Michael Jackson's "Bad," Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone," and Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It." It says a lot that over 30 years later diehard DX7 fans are still creating new sounds and sonic textures with the original DX7. The Korg Volca FM allows you to load DX7 patches via SYS-EX/SYS files - there are countless patches available online, giving you an abundance of sounds to play with.

Portable creativity

Like the rest of the Volca series, Korg's Volca FM can run off six AA batteries for truly portable operation. And its compact size makes it easy to integrate with the rest of your electronic gear. A sync cable is included to easily synchronize tempo with other Volca modules.

Korg Volca FM Synthesizer Module Features:
  • Portable FM synthesizer module
  • DX7-style synth engine with 6 operators and 32 algorithms
  • Supports original DX7 patch data via SYS-EX/SYS files
  • Save 32 of your own sounds and 16 sequence patterns
  • Lots of creative potential from 9 arpeggiator types (3 "rise," 3 "fall," 3 random)
  • Poly, Mono, and Unison voice modes
  • Built-in chorus effect
  • Tweak your patterns on the fly with Motion Sequence, Active Step, Warp Active Step, and Pattern Chain controls
  • Truly portable, with built-in speaker and 6 x AA battery operation
  • Optional power supply available (sold separately)
It's never been easier to get into FM synthesis than with the Korg Volca FM synth module.

Additional Media

Knobcon 2016: Korg Volca Series Demo

Tech Specs

Sound Engine Type(s) FM Synthesis
Polyphony 3
Number of Presets 32
Effects Types Chorus
Arpeggiator Yes, 9 types
Sampling No
Sequencer 16-step, 16 recording patterns
Analog Inputs 1 x 1/8" (sync)
Analog Outputs 1 x 1/8" (sync) 1 x 1/8" (headphones)
MIDI I/O In
Power Supply 6 x AA Alkaline or KA-350 AC Adapter (not included)
Height 1.57"
Width 7.60"
Depth 4.53"
Weight 12.70 oz.
Manufacturer Part Number VOLCA FM

Customer Reviews

4.5/5
Based on 9 reviews
Write your review
5/5

Super versatile, and easier to use than you think

I love the Volca series and own several (okay, all) of them, but the FM is probably the one that had me the most excited when it was announced, and then actually fulfilled that promise once it arrived. The reason is not that I'm a particularly huge fan of FM (I'm not) or understand how to program it (I don't). The fact is that aside from a few understandable shortcomings, the Volca FM can do a wide variety of bass, lead, and 3-note polyphonic sounds. Among the Volcas, it's arguably the most versatile, rivaled only by its digital older sister, the Volca Sample. PROS - Using Dexed (free VST desktop software) or a freemium app for iPad called "Patch Base", you can send actual DX7 sysex programs (presets) to the Volca FM. There are literally thousands of these all over the web, and they vary from gritty sounding basses to almost sample-like pianos, brass, and bells. I think the Volca FM excels at taking the complicated nature of FM synthesis and boiling it down to a series of parameters that any ignorant knob-tweaker can get results from. There are dedicated knobs for both carrier and modulator attack & decay. Another knob cycles through the 32 different FM algorithms available. This is basically the route through which your sound is modulated, and while a card is provided to explain them all, I don't really understand any of it. But I can turn the knob and get some pretty dramatic changes to the sound, and it's extremely fun. Of course, if you have the additional expertise, you can make more complicated edits on the device, or using software. I think this the best sequencer offered by a Volca yet. It marries the best features of all the other volcas - Flux, pattern stretching to 1, 2, or 4 bars, and a metronome. There are sliders(!) for transposition and velocity - these are best used while playing back an automated sequence. CONS - The ribbon keyboard is tight and not really playable. Think of it more as a way to program the sequencer. You can plug in an external DIN MIDI keyboard, but it will not respond to velocity unless you buy a 3rd party cable with a microprocessor ($44). The Volca FM only stores 32 programs and 16 sequences. However, it occurred to me that this is really the first Volca instrument to feature "presets" of any kind, and it's easy enough to change them in and out that it's pretty cool to have all those sounds on the go. The Volca FM is polyphonic, but only to 3 notes. VERDICT - I really enjoy the Volca FM - it's not the most powerful FM synthesizer on the market, but it's one of the most compact and affordable. Runs for hours on batteries (or with a separate adapter you can buy) and has a powerful output. The FM is probably the Volca that I would be most likely to use in an actual recording.
Music background: Hobbyist
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5/5

get this!

I've been looking for something like this for a long time. There are others out there but not at this price point. Also, I trust Korg totally when it comes to mini's, and it sounds great! I used to have a DX-7, programming it was half the fun, but if you can do it easily, sure, more time making music. I love this, and will try to get one soon!
Music background: Guitarist, some synths
5/5

So much fun!

This thing if fun as hell. Like all Volcas it's easy to use. This is the one they should have made to begin with.
4.5/5

Great Little Box

This was the first Volca I've purchased, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I really love this little box. It does a decent job of reproducing that DX7 sound (haven't tried loading any banks yet). I love being able to carry this guy to the coffee shop or the park just to get out of the studio. I paired it up with the Analog Four and wrote out some skeleton tracks in an afternoon. The learning curve is a bit odd (not terribly familiar with Korg boxes and I hate reading manuals). It's a lot of fun to run through a modular rack as well. Worth the price, and of course Sweetwater delivered it fast. Love these guys!
Music background: Professional Musican
4.5/5

Korg Volca FM synthesizer

it was a breakthough technology in the early 80's and im glad to see it reincarnated in this day and age. a great inexpensive way to introduce a little FM synthesis into your modern day studio.a ton of FM power and a sequencer in such a small footprint. kudos to korg !
Music background: Studio Musicain
See also: Korg, Korg Synthesizers