Korg Volca Sample

Portable Sampler

  • Can be synchronised with other Korg Volca and Electribe models
  • Motion sequencer to record/playback up to 11 parameters
  • Active step and step jump functions
  • Swing function
  • Analog insulator for sample modeling
  • Reverb effect
  • Reverse function
  • Trigger pads
  • LED display
  • MIDI in
  • Integrated loudspeaker
  • 3.5 mm mini jack headphone output
  • Power supply: 6x AA battery or optional power supply (KA-350, not included)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 193 x 115 x 45 mm
  • Weight: 372 g

Note: Sample entry only with a specific iOS app!

Further information

Polyphony 1
Internal Storage Yes
Storage Medium internal
File Format WAV
Time Stretching No
Effects Yes
USB-port No
Analogue Inputs 1
Analogue Outputs 1
Digital Outputs No
Display Yes
Sequencer Yes

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52 written ratings Read all reviews
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Amazing little box, the best in the Volca range.

TrEr, 31.05.2017
I've been slightly disappointed by the other Volcas. With the exception of the FM they have all felt like toys to me, but this one, WOW! To get a nice sounding sample sequencer with lots of knobs to tweak at this price is just INSANE!

Ok, there's obviously a few shortcomings at this cost so lets get the bad stuff out of the way first:

-The reverb isn't that great. In fact it's very poor and metallic sounding (but I guess some people might like it and it's a nice "extra" I guess).

-The high/low shelf eq (or "Analog Isolator" as Korg calls it) isn't exactly studio quality either (but a nice feature nonetheless).

-Unless you use third party software you can only import samples from an iPhone(!). But I've tested the Vosyr Free Volca Sample Manager from Frederikson Labs and it works great so this isn't a big issue at all. Just be aware that unless you use iOS you will not have official Korg software available.

-The built in speaker is obviously crap but that's to be expected and no big deal.

-The manual is absolute RUBBISH like any typical Korg (or other Japanese synth manufacturer) manual. Luckily the unit is pretty intuitive so it's reasonably easy to get started even with the horrible manual.

-It seems like a strange priority to only be able to save 10 patterns but 6 songs! I mean, no-one is going to make 6 songs out of 10 patterns...? Stupid!!!

-Like all Volcas the knobs are very small and the "keys" are... well, lets just say they are not exactly precision tools.


And that's about it for the bad stuff. Ok, the "'Motion Sequence" function (simple automation in Korg language) isn't really that great either to be honest. But then I found Motion Sequence to be very fiddly and erratic on ALL the Volcas so maybe it's just me?

Except for these issues the Volca Sample is an amazing little box. There are plenty of knobs to edit samples in lots of different ways like length, pitch, start/end points, envelope, etc. It's a great creative tool that allow samples to be transformed into completely different sounds. Even with only the factory samples available there's still potential to create lots of unique and cool stuff.

The sequencer works great too, same as on all the Volcas. And there's a song mode, hurray!! (this is sadly missing on the Volca Beats).

One last thing: Be aware that the Volca Sample uses ALL midi channels to be able to send signals for all controls separately for all samples. This might be a dealbreaker for many setups. Not a problem for me though.

Even with all it's shortcomings the Volca Sample is an amazing little box. It has lots of knobs to tweak, it really sparks creativity and it's lots of fun! I would consider the Volca Sample a bargain even at twice it's price.

Highly recommended!
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Total
handling
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quality

Not alone

27.01.2017
If you don't get Volca sample to connect with something else, except you are fan of non modulated, rhytmical, sample techno jamming, joy will soon fade away. Melodies can be made, although with difficulty-but with only few modulating possibilities and weak sequencer possibilities, they'll soon became percussions, too. If it haven't sample looping and start/lenght parameter with motion sequence recording, maybe plus pitch envelope to slightly, blindly modify them (can't be serious transposition), it would be pretty boring short_sample_in_sequence player. But as cheap drum/percussion/bleep generating sequencer with motion parameter recorder, to connect with other melodic gear for jamm, or small live performance, it's great.

Pros
- Quite extensive hardware sample manipulation
- Better experience than anything done with mouse on pc.
- Almost granular synth type manipulation with looping.
- Active step and step jump
- Great sensitive main sequence ribbon.
- Small, cheap, mobile.
- Midi/cv clock

Cons
- Only 10 patterns from which can be sequenced 6 songs with 16 pattern changes and you can't change almost anything in song mode, not even mute the part = song mode quite unusable.
- because of weak song mode, 16 steps per pattern are not enough for melody/drone synth to not became static, figurative/percussive sound.
- Lack of melody sound modulators (resonance, phaser, or distortion would change a lot)
- As far as I know, in pattern mode, patterns are changed only instantly (although quantizied), not good for live pattern jamming with other gear.
- Reverb acting as insert effect dips dry sound too quick
- For someone, problematic midi control with channel per part
- Analogue isolator is just a great name for bass/high eq
- For longer samples use, small internal memory with clumsy, but retro-nostalgic procedure.
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