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Korg Volca Nubass

Synthesizer & Sequencer
By Rory Dow

Korg Volca Nubass

If you're looking to embark on a cut-price acid odyssey, look no further...

Everybody needs a 303, so Fatboy Slim tells us. The original silver box is unobtainable to most, but with such a popular sound, it was only a matter of time before Korg took on the challenge. Enter the Volca Nubass. It wouldn't be a Volca, of course, without a few surprises along the way.

Volca Variations

You would be forgiven for missing it at first glance, but the Nubass is a Volca with a single purpose: acid basslines. As we have become accustomed to, Korg do things with their own inimitable style, and so this acid machine comes with a vacuum tube, sub-oscillator, analogue overdrive and, of course, the esteemed Volca sequencer.

The customary Volca format is present and correct. The sturdy plastic case comes with a small speaker and battery compartment for six AA batteries, making it possibly the most portable self-contained acid synth on the market. Power can also come from a 9V, 1700mA, centre-positive power supply, compatible with all other Volcas, although this must be purchased separately.

Inputs and outputs are as simple as they come. A single full-sized MIDI input allows you to sequence externally or synchronise the internal sequencer via MIDI clock. Alternatively, the standard Volca sync in and out are present for connecting and synchronising multiple Volcas. Then, lastly, there is a single mini-jack audio output, which comes with a dedicated volume control.

Nestled amongst the connections at the top is a domed transparent window which exposes the part of the circuit board beneath that holds the vacuum tube. Rather than the old chunky '70s glass tube, the new design, which is entirely Korg's own, is much smaller and perhaps less visually impressive, but it lights up in a pleasing cold blue colour. Finally, down in the bottom-left corner, you'll find a four-digit LCD display which gives helpful hints on current editing modes. For example, when you're editing Accents in the sequencer, it will display 'ACNT'. Given that most modes have a dedicated rubberised button which lights up, and that the Nubass is pretty simple to use anyway, I'm not sure how necessary the display is, but it's there.

Pushing the resonance up rewards you with the squelchy,...

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Published February 2020