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Korg Volca Modular

Semi-modular Synthesizer
Published February 2019
By Rory Dow

Korg Volca Modular

Korg bring West Coast modular synthesis to the masses with their most ambitious Volca yet.

The Korg Modular will be the Japanese giant's eighth addition to the Volca series. Each one focuses on a particular task. So far we've had bass, keys, analogue drums, samples, FM, kick drums and mixing. The latest adds something you might not have seen coming: West Coast modular synthesis.

Coast Vs Coast

Bob Moog and Don Buchla were both developing synthesizer technologies in the 1960s on different sides of the USA. Moog started his work in New York, whilst Buchla was over in California. They both had distinct styles and their geographical polarity gave them the monikers, East and West Coast. Moog's style centred around subtractive methods involving the now ubiquitous oscillator, filter and VCA topology. Buchla's techniques employed wave folding and frequency modulation to control harmonics, and used low-pass gates and function generators instead of filters, envelopes and LFOs.

The huge popularity of Moog-style East Coast synthesis means we all know how an 'analogue synth' sounds and functions. West Coast techniques on the other hand have remained relatively underground and exist almost exclusively in the modular domain. High prices and the less pragmatic, more experimental nature of Buchla synths made them less common. Korg must be commended therefore for choosing the less obvious route for the new Volca Modular.

I'm sure we're all familiar with the Volca format by now. The plastic case, built-in speaker, battery compartment for six AA batteries, touch-sensitive keyboard and on-board sequencer are all present. Connections along the top include a 9V DC power input (as with...

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Published February 2019