Category Archives: Volca Keys

Berlin School Experiment 11

It’s been a while since my Last Berlin School Experiment. The recording of Ambient Explorations 11 gave me some new ideas I want to explore deeper. This is one of those.

This Experiment was done in one take in which three tracks were recorded: the Monotribe, the Volca Sample being sequenced by the SQ-1, and a stereo track for the Streichfett. There were some awkward silences in the the last two tracks, so I copied them and delayed in time (by about one minute). Two volca tracks were then panned left and right and a Calf Pulsator was used as an auto-pan for enhancing the stereo field. As for the secondary Streichfett track, It is only heard on some points, with a strong delay… almost as a distant memory.

The Streichfett and the Monotribe (which has a MIDI mod) are controlled from my PCR-500 in split mode, and a sustain pedal is used on the Streichfett. The Korg SQ-1 is sequencing the Volca Keys and the synchronization between the SQ-1 and the LFO on the Monotribe was dialed in by ear (thus them going in and out of sync while the music progresses).




As always, the audio was recorded and mixed on Ardour, and the final video was assembled using kdenlive, on an Arch Linux box.

 

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

RV600 A New Perspective

If you happen to follow my YouTube channel more than this blog (and why should you d otherwise, as most of the good stuff comes in video format?), you’ll notice I posted a new video demonstrating the Behringer RV600 in combination with Korg’s Volca Keys. If for some odd reason you came across this post before listening to the video, you’ll find the video here:

I have originally reviewed this pedal here, and made an accompanying video for it. Actually, this was the first video I I did demonstrating a pedal, and it is still the most viewed of the Gear Demos playlist. However, this video was done in poor lightning, with an ageing camera and the sound quality, either by personal lack of experience or by bad programming of the synth, did not really came up to par. After more than a year using this pedal in many of my productions, and noticing an ongoing interest about this little reverb unit, I decided it was time I did right by this pedal, and re-do its demo. I also wanted to add in some of my personal notes about its sound and capabilities. Continue reading RV600 A New Perspective

Behringer DW400 Review

It has been a while since I make a review for an audio effect. This little yellow wah pedal was found at a second-hand store for about 20-25 euros. I’m not a fan of the Wah sound, but the Human Voice label was interesting enough to separate me from my cash. The video bellow shows how this pedal behaves when fed by the Volca Keys.

First, lets talk about build quality. As I mentioned in the Vlog, there is an evolution on the way Behringer produces stuff, with the older gear being more fragile and less well build. This pedal’s construction is a shy improvement over that of the UV300, but it is still far away from that of the RV600 and the other pedals I have from the 600 series. As usual, this pedal can run out of a 9V battery, of using a 9V center-negative pin power supply. There are 3 inputs to this pedal and only one mono output. The inputs on the right hand side are for plugging in a guitar or a bass guitar (depending on which socket is pluged, the parameters for the internal filter are adjusted). On the left side there is the mono audio output and also an input for a control or an expression pedal. Continue reading Behringer DW400 Review

Glitch House Experiment

This is just another of my experiments, trying to combine Linux and hardware synthesisers. There are a number of interesting details about this video I wanted to share with you here.

Fist, lets talk about the parts involved. There was one main session, with the Volca Keys being recorded (after going through the FX600 and the Nux Time Core for Chorus and Delay) to my main laptop using the Focusrite 2i2, and the Kaossilator2 (KO2) playing an arpeggio using the “Acid Bass” preset, and being recorded to my eeepc using my Behringer UCA-202. Audacity was used in both laptops to record the sound. Then, there was a second recording session with the KO2 pushing the “Deep House” pattern, and also a third recording of me warming up my fingers with the Streichfett being controlled by the MicroKeys25. These latter sessions were all recorded using the Focusrite, although the quality of the UCA-202 is good enough for these backing tracks. Everything was mixed using Ardour.




Now, for the control part. The Nanopad2 is controlling  SEQ24, which contains nothing more than a few short MIDI clips. Some of them contain notes, other contain CC data to be sent to the Volca Keys. The Volca Keys is in Poly Ring mode, which gives the “glitchy character” when multiple notes are triggered at the same time. It was nice to finally understand that SEQ24 has a queueing facility, which activates a clip only at its end.

I’m currently planing a short course about SEQ24… ;)

Analogue Meets Digital 2: The Microkorg and the Volca Keys

The Volca Keys we all know and love (it is still my favourite Volca) can play up to 3 voices in POLY mode… It’s not true polyphony, because it shares the same filter and envelope, but it is still useful for playing chords. However, the envelope generator of the Keys is rather limited and playing good pads on the instrument can be very frustrating. In this video I explore the Microkorg-Volca Keys hybrid (analogue/digital) system. During this process you may hear a handful of interesting pad sounds.

The Microkorg and the Volca Keys are connected the same way I used with the Volca Bass a few days ago: the Microkorg is the centre of the system, sending MIDI data to the Volca, and receiving the audio output of the latter through its Line In for further processing. One thing I didn’t mentioned in the video is that Continue reading Analogue Meets Digital 2: The Microkorg and the Volca Keys