Category Archives: Volca FM

How to have swing on the Volca FM

When I brought the Volca FM, I complained about it not having a swing function (either by a dedicated knob or a combination such as FUNC+TEMPO). If you happen to own a Volca Sample or a Volca Kick, however, there is a neat trick you can use, albeit at the expense of loosing the capability to sync these newer volcas to your old ones.

Well, recently I’ve been preparing a comeback to the Korg Volca Sample Tutorial Series, and learned that the Volca Sample can switch between two sync modes: the traditional volca sync (one pulse every two steps, or 2PPQ) and a newer one pulse per step of the sequencer (4PPQ). This latter mode is capable of carrying swing to other synced units.

Now, to have swing over sync, you do need both machines to be in 4PPQ mode, and this is done by accessing the Global Menu and setting option 8 to ON. Unfortunately, this option is only available on the newer volcas (FM, Sample and Kick), which means that by using it, you’ll loose the ability to sync the newer volcas properly to the older ones.

Hopefully, Korg will someday get around to do a firmware upgrade, so that we can have swing over sync on all volcas.

Behringer Echo Machine EM600

This one took me almost a year to experiment with and review. This is probably not the best thing to say if you want to attract manufacturers to invite you to review their, products, but I’ll say it nonetheless: this pedal almost broke me, but in a good way. Not only it sounds good, it is also fully featured, making this probably the best delay pedal in its price range (less than €100).

This little green stomp box offers 3 switchable types of delay line with adjustable modifiers, 11 delay modes, as well as the traditional REPEAT and TIME knobs for controlling the number of repeats and the time between them. The time can also be sync’ed to a TAP TEMPO, and 3 subdivisions are available by default. There is also the customary TAILS switch which allows the effect to keep going even if you choose to bypass the newer notes. The pedal works in stereo, with some modes adding an extra panning to enhance the effect. Continue reading Behringer Echo Machine EM600

Berlin School Experiment 4

This video was recorded right after my latest Vlog episode. The Volca FM had just arrived at my place and I was doing some experimentation with it. The ChevyBass preset was used as a base for tweaking the carrier and modulation envelopes. I must say there is some similarities between FM and west coast synthesis: both focus on tailoring the harmonic content using complex oscillators, rather than filtering. I found some parallelism between Velocity in FM and the Dynamics of west coast synths. In this regard, having the Velocity decoupled from the Note In data is a blessing in disguise, as it allows new approaches to sound sculpting, that cannot be easily attained using a classical FM synth like the DX7.. or my little black box: the FB-01.

However, it is the effect chain that really delivers the Berlin Scholl vibe to this track: the output of the Volca FM is split tinto two: one path goes straight into the EM600 for some tape delay, while the other goes into the VP-1 Phaser and then into the NUX Time Core emulating an analogue delay. Both chains are glued using the RV600 reverb unit. As for the Streichfett, it is using only the internal Phaser and Reverb for ambience.
This track was recorded live, using ardour (which provided the click track) and the OpenCamera app (android). The audio was treated using Calf Plugins (EQ, Compression, Tape Emulator). The video was assembled using KdenLive.

Korg Volca FM

I fist thought this was another spoof. It looks uglier than the other Volcas, but it sounds great, and at the end of the day that’s all we want! So excited about this… I’m already scripting the tutorials!!! :D