Mashing Keys – Korg Volca Keys

You may be sitting reading the title of this review, looking at the URL of my blog thinking “This aint a pedal”. And you would be correct in thinking that. This was my birthday present to myself. I have a broad fascination with making music, and it doesn’t solely stop at guitar effects. This little box of wonder is a similar size to the larger double foot switch boss pedals albeit a little shallower.

Synths have fascinated me for quite a while now, but i’ve always brushed it off as another instrument I won’t have time to learn how to play. This mainly stems from my obsession with Bladerunner and in particular Vangelis’s soundtrack which heavily features moody synth tones. It also surprised me to learn that some of my favourite songs and film sound tracks contain a lot of synthesizers.

The Korg Volca Keys is a very small polyphonic analogue synthesizer. I can’t particularly describe the technical aspects of it in any detail as I don’t understand most of what it does. I enjoy turning knobs and dials until I get a sound that I like, which is very easy with something like the Volca Keys. I found that this was a very cheap easy way to start down the route of synthesis. I can easily expand my collection and sound making hardware. I can also, use effects pedals with the Volca. The Zoom MS-70CDR has been replaced now by two pedals that I will be reviewing in the coming weeks, but I have decided not to sell it as it is the perfect thing to use with the Volca. The packaging that the Volca came is nice, almost utilitarian, as is the Volca unit itself. There are no brash graphics, everything on it has a function, and Korg have managed to fit a lot of functionality into a very small form factor. As I have previously said, this is plenty of Synthesis for someone new to this, and with the ease of expansion, it is an instrument that can grow with the player.

One of my original problems with synthesisers is that I imagined them all to be huge, keyboards that take up an entire desk. In the last decade or so there have been many smaller synthesisers hit the market, many including small keyboards. The Korgs only downside is that it doesn’t have a conventional keyboard it has small touch keys. What it does have on its side however is midi out meaning I can easily plug-in a midi keyboard and get to making music with a full size keyboard, and when I want to pack it away the Korg takes up next to no room, and the Midi keyboard can be as big or as small as I have room for, currently a 49 key Alesis midi keyboard which is plenty big enough.

If you are reading this already thinking about purchasing the Korg Volca keys, don’t put it off, you won’t regret it. If this is anything to go by, I would imagine that the rest of the Korg Volca range is fantastic, I may find out for myself in the future but for now one fun sized box of wonders is enough.

Pros –

  • Small
  • Tons of fun to be had
  • Cheap (relatively speaking)
  • Highly portable, can be battery powered

Cons –

  • Wont be as feature packed as some of its more expensive larger rivals
  • Doesn’t have an arpeggiator (but what do you expect for its size and price)



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