Video: Korg Launches Expanded Minilogue XD, Volca Drum, and Volca Modular Synths

Fans of Korg's expanding lineup of affordable, beginner-friendly synthesizers have a lot to be thankful for this month, as the Japanese firm has announced three new models: the Minilogue XD, Volca Drum, and Volca Modular.

All three of these products build on Korg's line of recent synthesizers, many of which have become the best-selling synths of the past several years. Below, we have video demos of each new synth, and if you keep scrolling, you can see all the specs straight from Korg.

Korg Minilogue XD Polyphonic Analogue Synthesizer Demo

First up, the Minilogue XD takes the template established by massively popular Minilogue and adds some of the features that synth heads have been asking for since its launch in 2016.

In doing so, Korg has offered a compelling option for players looking for a bit more horsepower than the Minilogue or Monologue, but less expansive (and expensive) than the higher-end Prologue that launched this time last year.

New features on the Minilogue XD include a "digital multi-engine," reverb and modulation effects in addition to delay, a more sophisticated sequencer, CV ins, and micro-tuning functionality. The digital multi-engine functions as a third oscillator in addition to the two VCOs found on the normal Minilogue, and allows the use of three different types of sound generation: Noise, VPM (variable phase modulation), and a User setting where you can "load your own oscillator programs that you created or obtained via the internet."

The updated sequencer combines well-loved functionalities of both the sequencers found in the Minilogue and Monologue. As on the Minilogue's polyphonic sequencer, you can record motion sequences for up to four parameters to add movement or character to your pattern. But now with the XD, you can edit each of the four motions for every step—a function previously only available on the Monologue's monophonic sequencer.

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Demo

Beyond this new Minilogue iteration, Korg is also expanding their entry-minded Volca series. The Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer offers another drum machine in the line, in addition to the wildly popular Volca Beats. Where the Volca Drum stands out is in its unique method of sound generation.

According to Korg, "The volca drum creates its drum sounds by DSP-powered analog modeling. Oscillator waveforms such as sine wave, sawtooth wave, and noise are provided."

Each of the six parts, which can be saved as "kits" within the on-board memory, has two layers: the source, the modulator, an envelope, and then a distortion and a wave folder for extra harmonics.

As Korg says in its release, these layers "do not impose any rules or restrictions such as specifying which parts must be used for the bass drum or for the cymbal; all parts have the same specifications. You can freely assign your new sounds to these six parts without being limited by the conventions of a drum set."

One you craft the sonic makeup of a kit, you can send some of your signal through a waveguide resonator, which offers yet another set of tone shaping options. This all can be controlled via a powerful 16-step sequencer which, like on the Minilogue XD and other Volcas, also allows for motion sequencing.

Korg Volca Modular Micro Modular Synthesizer Demo

And finally, there's the Volca Modular, which for a lot of synthists, may be the most exciting launch in the set.

With this unit, Korg is offering the open-ended magic of a modular system in a bite-sized format, complete with eight "modules" and 50 patch points.

The architecture of this synth consists of a set of analog synth modules, digital effects, and a sequencer.

Everything is connected under the hood, so it will generate sounds before you get into the external patching (which can be done via included pin cables).

The modules include:

  • Source: A triangle VCO carrier and modulator.
  • Functions: Two function envelope generators (one attack-hold-release generator, the other a rise-fall slope generator).
  • Woggle: A random signal generator.
  • Split: A two output mult that can be used in reverse as well.
  • Dual LPG: Two low-pass gate circuits that package a filter and an amp.
  • Utility: A mixing module.
  • Spaced Out: A stereo reverb effect.
  • Sequence: Adjust the parameters of the internal sequencer.

According to Korg, this design is largely based on and inspired by the principals and formats of West Coast synthesizers from the likes of Buchla. Yet while the emphasis here is to offer an open-ended and idiosyncratic range of sounds to explore, Korg has clearly endeavoured to make this a highly playable and musical instrument by way of its 16-step sequencer and 14 types of scales to assign to different steps.

Here are the full specs from Korg:

Minilogue XD Specs

Keyboard
37-keys (Slim-key, velocity sensitive)

Sound Generation
Analogue sound generator + Multi digital sound generator (Noise, VPM, User)

Maximum Polyphony
4 voices

Programs
500 voices (more than 200 preload, 300 user programs).
Each program provides a program sort function that includes voice mode settings.
Favorite function built in.

Voice Mode
4 (POLY, UNISON, CHORD, ARP / LATCH).
The VOICE MODE DEPTH setting allows different parameters to be varied for each mode.

Sequencer
16-step polyphonic sequencer
Motion sequence can be used on up to four parameters

Main Synthesis Parameters
VCO1: WAVE (SAW, TRIANGLE, SQUARE), OCTAVE, PITCH, SHAPE
VCO2: WAVE (SAW, TRIANGLE, SQUARE), OCTAVE, PITCH, SHAPE
MODULATION: SYNC, RING, CROSS MOD DEPTH
MULTI ENGINE: NOISE/VPM/USER, TYPE, SHAPE
MIXER: VCO1, VCO2, MULTI
VCF: CUTOFF, RESONANCE, DRIVE, KEYTRACK
AMP EG: ATTACK, DECAY, SUSTAIN, RELEASE
EG: ATTACK, DECAY, EG INT, TARGET (PITCH, PITCH2, CUTOFF)
LFO: WAVE (SAW, TRIANGLE, SQUARE), MODE (BPM, NORMAL, 1-SHOT), RATE, INT, TARGET (PITCH, SHAPE, CUTOFF)

Main effect Parameters
EFFECT: TYPE (MODULATION, REVERB, DELAY), ON/OFF (SELECT, ON, OFF), TIME, DEPTH

MULTI ENGINE
Noise Generator: 4 types
VPM oscillator: 16 types
User oscillator: 16 slots

MOD EFFECTS
CHORUS: 8 types
ENSEMBLE: 3 types
PHASER: 8 types
FLANGER: 8 types
USER: 16 slots

DELAY
DELAY: 12 types
USER: 8 slots

REVERB
REVERB: 10 types
USER: 8 slots

Controls
Joy stick that can modify different parameters for each program, PORTAMENTO knob

Display
Main: Real-time OLED oscilloscope provides visual feedback of parameter changes
MULTI ENGINE section: 7 segments x 6 digit LED display

Input/Output connectors
Headphone jack (Stereo phone jack)
OUTPUT L/MONO, R jacks (monaural phone jack unbalanced)
CV IN 1, CV IN 2 jacks (3.5 mm [1/8"] monoural mini jack, Input voltage: -5 V – +5 V (Modulation mode), -3V – +5 V (CV/Gate mode)
SYNC IN jack (3.5 mm [1/8"] mini jack, maximum input level 20 V)
SYNC OUT jack (3.5 mm [1/8"] mini jack, output level 5 V)
MIDI IN jack
MIDI OUT jack
USB B jack
DAMPER jack (half damper is not supported)

Power Supply
AC adapter (DC9 V)

Power Consumption
8 W

Dimensions (W x D x H)
500 mm x 300 mm x 85 mm / 19.69" x 11.81" x 3.35"

Weight
2.8 kg / 6.17 lbs.

Included Items
AC adapter

Volca Drum Specs

Keyboard
  Multi touch trigger pads / Step keys

Synthesizer
Type: Digital synthesis
Maximum Polyphony: 6
Structure: 6 parts (For each part, 2 oscillators, pitch modulator, and amp EG), waveguide resonator effect.
Kits: 16 (Settings for 6 parts + Settings for waveguide resonator) Kit No.1 – No.10 are factory preset.
Program: 16 (Sequence pattern, Motion sequence, Kit No.) Program No.1 – No. 10 are factory preset.

Sequencer
Number of parts: 6
Number of steps: 16 (pattern chain is available)
Number of recording patterns: 16

Connectors
Audio Output: Headphones jack (3.5mm stereo mini jack)
Sync: Sync In jack (3.5mm monaural mini jack, Maximum input level: 20V), Sync Out jack (3.5mm monaural mini jack, Maximum Output level: 5V)
MIDI: MIDI In

Power
Battery Life: Approximately 10 hours (using alkaline batteries)
Power supply: AA alkaline battery × 6, AA nickel-metal hydride battery × 6, or KA-350 AC adapter (sold separately)

Others
Included Items: AA alkaline battery × 6 (for verifying operation), Sync cable
Accessories (sold separately): KA-350 AC adapter, SEQUENZ CB-4VOLCA hard shell case, SEQUENZ CC-VOLCA soft shell case, SQ-CABLE-6 Sync cable
Dimensions (W x D x H): 193 × 115 × 39 mm / 7.61 x 4.54 x 1.54 inches
Weigh: 370 g / 0.75 lbs. (Excluding batteries)

Volca Modular Specs

Keyboard
Multi touch Keyboard / Step key

Synthesizer
Type: Analog synthesis
Maximum Polyphony: 3
Structure: 2 VCO (Triangle), 2 EG, 2 LPG, digital effect

Sequencer
Number of parts: 1
Number of Steps: 16
Number of Recording Patterns: 8

Connectors
Audio Output: Headphones (3.5mm stereo mini jack)
Sync: Sync In (3.5mm monaural mini jack, Maximum input level: 20V), Sync Out (3.5mm monaural mini jack)
Maximum Output level: 5V)
Control In: CV-IN jack (TRS mini phone jack)

Power
Battery Life: Approximately 10 hours (using alkaline batteries)
Power supply: AA alkaline battery ×6, AA nickel-metal hydride battery ×6 or AC adapter "KA-350" (optional)

Others
Included Items: AA alkaline battery ×6 (for verifying operation), Sync cable, Pin cable for patching 1 set, Module reference sheet
Accessories (sold separately): AC adapter (KA-350), SEQUENZ CB-4VOLCA hard shell case, SEQUENZ CC-VOLCA soft shell case, SQ-CABLE-6 sync cable
Dimensions (W x D x H): 193 × 115 × 39 mm / 7.61 x 4.54 x 1.54 inches
Weight 377 g / 0.83 lbs (Excluding batteries)

See more New Products and Highlights from Winter NAMM 2019
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