This drum machine from Korg’s Volca series, while small and very portable, can be of use in most studio setups due to it’s versatility and sound characteristics. Users will certainly be able to hear the oomph and character of this all-analog drum machine (unless they happen to be playing around ‘unplugged’ using the unit’s tiny, almost useless speaker). Even though this unit is incredibly low-priced at $150US new, you’ll sometimes forget you’re not jamming on a much more expensive analog drum machine. The Volca series units each have their own sound. That said, there are many nods in the TR-808’s direction; a subby, booming kick (you can add a top end knock with the ‘click’ knob), metallic, crispy hi-hats, and similar mid and low toms. The clap, clave, and agogo are quite 808-ish as well.
While some of the sounds you can make on the Volca Beats are certainly useful in a sampling or recording context, the real fun and potential of this unit lie in playing around live. There’s a lot of knobs, and while they are indeed tiny, they feel sturdy and are easy to reach for. Add in the Stutter effect (a sort of delay/shuffling) and you can really have fun jamming or performing live with this little box. Some common complaints of this unit are it’s weak snare & cymbal sounds, the aforementioned speaker, and the fact that you’ll be going through a serious amount of AA batteries if you don’t also buy an AC power adapter. All Volcas use 6 AA’s at a time. All things considered, you’re going to have a hard time finding a more fun and useful analog drum machine anywhere near this price point.
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