Korg Volca Drum


Oh man, I often regret trading my Nord Drum 1 I bought when Sweetwater was unloading them for $99 to make room for the Mk2. I AM still longing for the Mk2 but I haven’t seen them listed for awhile.

To me, the Nord Drums are very different from the V.Drum. I think Nords sound/build quality are on another level comparatively, but of course with a heftier cost.

Does anyone think the Volcas need to get an upgrade on their preamps/outputs? Even with the the V.Drum it still sounds so boxy/thin/tinny. I think i’ll run mine through the Analog Heat soon.


+1 for filters


I really wish the Volca Drum had come with some nutube action! Tho I must admit, the Volca Sample had a master filter and I seriously considered bypassing it because of how it colored the sound :p.


Nord Drum 2 is on entirely different league than VD, it’s awesome. Volca Drum is fun too, but ND2 is a serious tool compared to fun device, imo. :slight_smile:

I’d say those complement each other nicely, too.


Guess it is a good for me I didn’t get my hands on a Nord Drum, because the Volca is working well for me. I tend run effects on everything. Mangle, sample, mangle, repeat.


Haha yeah, thought about doing something similar; having an external input leading into the Sample‘s preamp filter, exactly for applying the colouring.


I’m not sure I entirely agree that they’re different league except when it comes to build quality and then the ND2 is much better due to the metal case. I recently sold my ND2 having had it for a few years as I just found it a bit cumbersome and slow to program as there was so much back and forth and changing rows on it’s matrix. And there’s zero hands-on fun to be had. It does sound amazing and does things the VD can’t manage. Equally, the VD does things the ND2 can’t and sounds excellent also. It also has a pretty decent sequencer with probability which is completely foreign to the ND2.

Ultimately, I think it’s a personal preference and I definitely would agree that they can complement each other nicely!!!


Does this one have a noisy output like the samples? That’s the main thing i didnt like about the samples.

Im kind of under the impression that i can get some machinedrum type vibes out of this thing. As good as i can do for cheap anyway


Mine isn’t noisy at all.


I’m having fun convincing my Volca Drum to act as a “quad oscillator”. It takes some finagling as the waves don’t have infinite decay, but I found a way to generate a fairly stable tone: turn the bpm to 600, set the attack to max and place a note on every step (I also found setting EG to “multi-peak” helped).

Its not ideal though, the “Mod” is clicky at most settings (due to the retrigs), but still powerful/useful. Also the resolution of the settings is somewhat low so tweaking is steppy (especially via midi).

That being said, its makes a great noise source, especially with all the wave massaging abilities! I’m controlling the params via a midi controller for some good ol’ direct tweaking.


Interesting. I always love a good repurposing of gear :smiley:


purchased one, its like OP-1s dBox synth meets a nordrum at 20% of the price. and the sequencer is very fun - would be the t*$^s if a midi out mod came along…
but for quick jams it beats my pyramid nd2 combo - obvs not as versatile, but I’m having lots of fun and thus am making music!
and I thought i was done with volcas


is it?


The midi in implementation is excellent. You can control everything (better than the volca sample where you couldn’t set the sample via midi).


I was about to ask this question before buying.
I plan to sequence it externally only with a DAW and I was wondering if I could save the equivalent of a “kit” by storing CC values.
So, are there sound parameters that can’t you access with MIDI ? (I’ve looked into the MIDI chart but I don’t know the machine enough).
From what I get, there are two MIDI modes :

  • a single channel one with restricted parameter access
  • a 6-channel mode with complete parameter access (but less easy to use with Ableton Live cause it will need 6 MIDI tracks).
    Am i right ?


Unless I’ve missed something, all the sound parameters are available via CC if you use the 6-channel mode. You won’t get the same resolution as interacting directly on the synth but its still usable for sure. Sequencer operations are not available (e.g. you can’t step jump or set active track steps).

That being said, if you are trying to fully save & automate via your laptop, why not get a vst? TBH I wish the Volca Drum ran the full microtonic engine, the sound out of that is so excellent. The volca is fun and usable but I think there are better sounding choices if you aren’t looking for portable hardware.


With MIDI in, can you control pitch per voice via CC?
I was doing that from the DT with a friend’s NordDrum, using it for bass sounds, and it was ace.


For Max for Live users: funhttps://github.com/mugenkidou/volca_drum

Been using it mapped and sequenced with a Push 2 and it definitely opens the Vdrum further.


You can, kinda, if you use FL Studio, I’ve posted a project file that controls most of the parameters. FL Studio 20 at least, sends an “init” midi message to the VD so wherever you have your knobs set for their values for mod, env type, decay, etc. is where they will end up if you are sending midi from the DAW. In my file above I only created the 6 channels and the two layers each (+ automation tracks) but you could easily duplicate that 16 times and collapse each “kit” that is not in use. Saving the project file will save the kits and restore them.

This is theoretical of course I have not tried it but one little thing that I did discover is that from the midi generator, if you pick a General Midi “instrument” like 1 - 16 for example, you end up controlling THAT channel on THAT kit. So if you duplicate the 6 tracks and use a different GM instrument for each group of 6 sounds, you could create up to 16 kits and load them back as soon as the project file is loaded.

Since you cannot dump sysex, in or out, you cant just dump the sounds already created unfortunately. The other down side is that you MUST create the sounds from the DAW. Its not awful but sometimes you just want to twiddle knobs. You can still go in and match parameters from the box into the daw though which I plan to do with at least one of my kits.

Controlling this from the DT is another matter. You have 8 pots and that is just absolutely not enough to recreate a sound from scratch and then have it stored along with your project.

All THAT being said, its dead fun and one of the most inspiring instruments outside of the DT that I’ve ever played with in my life. I’m actually trying to work with CremaCafe to create a front plate template for the VD. It may or may not work out so don’t hold your breath on it or anything. If you own one and want a front plate / skin, reach out to them, they are extremely friendly and genuinely want to produce quality products for sound geeks like us :smile: I plan on getting a plate for the DT as soon as they get back from maternity leave. Just need a fitting theme for my alias / moniker (and figure out an alias / moniker :joy:)


It looks like the Volca Drum will respond to some sysex messages, I asked this fellow hacking on the firmwares about it after they posted about volca sample sysex. See comments in this reddit topic: https://www.reddit.com/r/volcas/comments/a9emnb/how_to_export_and_import_patterns_over_midi_with/

I haven’t tested the sysex myself but it is on my list. I have my Volca Drum wired with a midi out, maybe I’ll finally poke around at the possible commands this weekend.