I’ve been going nuts with these new Volcas lately. I thought I would post internal PCB images of all three of the Korg Volca units (pre-modification), since only limited info exists on these devices, and I imagine some people are apprehensive about opening their brand new $150 synths. I’ve also linked the Korg-produced video introductions to each Volca, featuring the genius creator of these devices, Tatsuya Takahashi.
So here are all 3 Volca synths opened up…
First the Korg Volca Bass. A three oscillator synth tuned to sound similar to the classic Roland TB-303 Digital Bass Synth, the Volca Bass oscillators can each be toggled between square and sawtooth waves. Korg have kindly included solder points for CV in (I believe) on all three oscillators of both type, marked “SAW 1-3” and “SQR 1-3”. Additionally, the Bass has output solder points for VCO out, VCF out and VCA out. The Bass unit also features easily accessible solder points for adding MIDI output functionality (labeled “TX”, “VD” and “GND” on all three units) which will allow the sequencer to output MIDI notes. For more images, check out Auxren’s mod of the Volca Bass here.
The Korg Keys offers some similar solder points for modding and hacking, however with a slightly different arrangement. Again, we find both sets of square and sawtooth oscillator CV inputs, listed in the same manner as the Bass, marked “SAW 1-3” and “SQR 1-3”. The Keys also has the VCO, VCF and VCA output points similar to the Bass PCB. The major difference in the Keys device is the somewhat obscured MIDI output points, which are hidden (unlike the Bass and Beats) under the orange multi-cable that seems to connect the MIDI assigned controls on the panel for MIDI control. This may pose a bit of a challenge in modding the Keys for MIDI output, however if you do this hack on either of the other two devices, it may be largely unnecessary to do on the Keys.
The Korg Volca Beats is that final device in the series, and a great deal of information is already available about its design. Create Digital Music did a great piece on some of the hacks that are possible with the Beats, including a very cool breakout box that synth manufacturer Koma designed, which allows for individual Kick and Snare outputs, but also CV control of the Hihat grain amount as well as the Stutter time and depth. Also check out Auxren’s recent disassembly of the Volca Beats here.