Korg introduces Volca Modular and Volca Drum synths

The portable and affordable synth line gets more experimental.

Korg's popular Volca line is getting larger and weirder with two additions: Modular and Drum.

The affordable and portable line of battery powered synths has covered a lot of ground since first being introduced in 2013. There's a drum machine, a pair of analog synths, an FM-flavored love letter to the '80s, a mixer and even a model dedicated entirely to the kick drum. But for 2019 Korg is reaching much farther afield.

The Volca Drum appears to be a surprisingly complex percussion generator. Unlike the analog Volca Beat, the Drum is digital and relies on a physical modeling engine with multiple layers. While it should be capable of standard drum sounds like kicks and snares, Korg also says it's capable of "some eccentric drum styles unique to the Volca." While details are light at the moment, it also sounds like the Drum has some new sequencer tricks up its sleeve that should help it generate complex rhythms. It also has the most complex screen we've seen on a Volca yet, which is not surprising considering the number of moving parts here.

The Volca Modular is, well, modular. Alright, semi-modular. But still it's brave new world for the Volca line. Instead of full-size patch cables it uses pin-cable like those used on other small semi-modular models like the Bastl Kastle. Not only can you rewire the signal path using the 50 different patch points here, but the style of synthesis is a pretty unfamiliar one for Korg as a whole. The Volca Modular takes its cues from the so-called "west-coast" style synthesis which is often harsher, more percussive and all around stranger than "traditional" synths. It's also a style of synth that, because of its boutique nature, tends to be more expensive. The Volca Modular could offer an affordable and simple way for west-coast curious synth nerds to get their feet wet.

Hopefully we won't have to wait too long to get our hands on these. Korg didn't offer a firm release date, only saying that the Volca Drum and Volca Modular would ship sometime in "early 2019" for $170 and $200 respectively.