Volca Modular - I got one (review / compare with Easel).

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Rex Coil 7
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:47 am

DeanG wrote:correction..."consiseppdering "? I believe I created a new word! This is what the VM will do to you!

:bang: :doh:
I was frantically searching for the definition .. "file not found" ... :lol: :lol:
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Post by tenembre » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:30 am

Muff McMuff wrote:
starthief wrote:I got my Volca Modular today. My quick impression is that it's very cool, has a character all its own, well worth the money, and has a lot of limitations.

Some of those limitations are the good kind, which cause you to seek creative solutions and to work with what you're given, and turn into strengths. I'm in favor of those.

Some of the limitations are mostly the other kind.

For instance: pitch tracking with the CV input is pretty poor. I can compensate for it with attenuation easily enough -- but the mod osc tracks very differently than the primary osc. (It's nearly dead-on with internal pitch control.)

The lack of ways to transpose and modulate primary frequency (as opposed to just overriding it with CV) is a bit of a bummer.

The pitch is unstable at 2 octaves above the root, using CV in. It actually sounds kind of cool, but isn't something that happens with that same CV source with any other VCO I have.

Yes, the reverb can be kind of ugly -- but there are times when it perfectly suits the synth at the right mix level though (or articulated by an envelope or negative envelope, or used for feedback, etc.) I do wish there was a way to slow down its clock/delay time, which I'm sure would darken it and make it noisier and that's exactly what I would want ;)

Overall though, the thing is pretty damned cool. Don't think of it as a replacement for any other synth, West Coast or not -- it's its own beast.
I don't have Volca Modular but the first thing i would do is change the default "tempo" setting to 10 to 600 ( or whatever it allows ) . It really slows down my Volca Keys. I don't know why they don't come set up this way. It will be in the manual under "global parameter settings" or similar.
I think starthief is talking about the clock speed of the "reverb", not the sequencer tempo.

Off topic somewhat, but for dark and noisy delay I recommend getting/building an NLC Delay No More. It will get medieval.

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Post by starthief » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:24 pm

Yeah, I did mean the reverb. But thanks for the reminder about freeing up the sequencer clock range :tu:
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Post by Phil999 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:37 pm

kroffe wrote:Realized today that I can patch an external audio signal in through the CV in jack on the Volca Modular. Its reverb sound great on DR-110 drums! :)
great find.

What I found out is that it works well with a QuNexus CV-output, with a normal TRS cable, even though the QuNexus output is reversed. One just has to patch the gate to pitch and pitch to gate, it works. But that’s just for the case you don’t have an inverted cable at hand. I guess it’s better to use an inverted one.

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Post by kinkujin » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:27 pm

JakoGreyshire wrote:Wondering if anyone has patched the Moog Werkstatt with the Volca Modular using the little patch wires? Seems like it would work and be fun..... maybe...?

EDIT: might be a grounding issue unless using one of the patch cables to ground the two units together....
I’m wondering the same thing. Awaiting my Werkstatt now and the Volca Mod will be next once they start showing up on the used market.

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Post by JakoGreyshire » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:39 am

JakoGreyshire wrote:Are there any labeled patch points on the PCB?
It would be nice to get someone to share a picture of the PCB, but I don't think that will change my mind whether to buy one or not.....

I think I'd probably buy one if I was going on a long trip and would be away from my modular for a real long time...

If that happened then I'd make some mods to all the little monotrons I have and make them all hookup to those tiny patch cables... And I'd make more or get those patch cables to be at least 12 inches long... That would be sweet!

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Post by Kid Narco » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:12 pm

Anyone else experiencing some odd combination that disables the second LPG? Out of the box it appeared nonfunctional but some random patching woke it up eventually. Now a few days later it has gone dead again. I'm sure there is a particular signal path that will restore it. Just need to find it.

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Post by wsy » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:00 pm

Kid Narco wrote:Anyone else experiencing some odd combination that disables the second LPG? Out of the box it appeared nonfunctional but some random patching woke it up eventually. Now a few days later it has gone dead again. I'm sure there is a particular signal path that will restore it. Just need to find it.
The trick is that the knob on the LPGs does not open the LPG. It merely trades off between
a pure VCA (hard CW) and a pure LPG (hard CCW... I think).

To open either LPG, you need to provide a signal on the CV input. LPG1 gets this for free
from the AR envelope. LPG2 needs to be "kicked" from an envelope (AR or AD), or from
the a+b*c, or from somewhere else.

NB: the a+b*c normalizes a to 0 and b to something positive, so turning the "c" knob yields
positve and negative voltages at the a+b*c and a-b*c outputs.

Still wish the echo had CV control of speed....

- Bill
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Post by Kid Narco » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:41 pm

Understood. Thanks Bill. This is another example of my terrible resentment at having to learn a new thing.

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Post by naos » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:00 am

is it better sounding than the 0-coast?
just got myself one of these, wanting to build the smallest possible modular system around it, but i'm not really digging the sound character (compared to my Minibrute and Boog).

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Post by kroffe » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:56 pm

Did a quick tear-down on my unit today just to check for possible mods, found out that it seem to have MIDI in and out on the panel card. 8-)
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Post by kinkujin » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:01 pm

Oh now, that's interesting!

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Post by wsy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:04 pm

I like the way they have ORANGE and BROWN as voltages... or are those
colored noise?

Anything else interesting, like clocking on the Space Out?

- Bill
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Post by kroffe » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:48 pm

wsy wrote:I like the way they have ORANGE and BROWN as voltages... or are those
colored noise?
Anything else interesting, like clocking on the Space Out?
Brown and orange was the summer/speaker connection that I unsoldered in order to tear it down properly. No ”clock in” since the reverb is part of the same CPU running everything else.

Was trying to figure out if there was a way to disconnect the primary and modifying oscillator pitch sync from each other, but the circuit-traces were too tiny and the smd components too many. :)
Next time.

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Post by DeanG » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:56 pm

I have a second VM on order, now I am considering possibly adding a volca fm to those. I am doing mostly abstract sound stuff, any ideas on how the fm might work in the context with the 2 VM's? I have been interested in the V FM for some time now. Never thought I would get into volcas, be here I am :hmm:
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Post by blizzt » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:23 am

How do you sync this with the modular?

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Post by starthief » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:45 am

naos wrote:is it better sounding than the 0-coast?
It's not "better sounding" overall but has its own character. It's a bit rough around the edges.

The 0-Coast has a more solid sound (big fat saturated triangle basses!), very well chosen knob ranges, better envelope/function generator etc. It feels much more like a quality instrument and a better modular citizen.

But I honestly prefer the wavefolding on the Volca Modular, and I think I prefer its LPGs too.

blizzt wrote:How do you sync this with the modular?
I found the sync input works pretty well with typical Euro triggers.
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Post by dthorn » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:48 am

wsy wrote:
Kid Narco wrote:Anyone else experiencing some odd combination that disables the second LPG? Out of the box it appeared nonfunctional but some random patching woke it up eventually. Now a few days later it has gone dead again. I'm sure there is a particular signal path that will restore it. Just need to find it.
The trick is that the knob on the LPGs does not open the LPG. It merely trades off between
a pure VCA (hard CW) and a pure LPG (hard CCW... I think).

To open either LPG, you need to provide a signal on the CV input. LPG1 gets this for free
from the AR envelope. LPG2 needs to be "kicked" from an envelope (AR or AD), or from
the a+b*c, or from somewhere else.

NB: the a+b*c normalizes a to 0 and b to something positive, so turning the "c" knob yields
positve and negative voltages at the a+b*c and a-b*c outputs.

Still wish the echo had CV control of speed....

- Bill
I've noticed that the setting of the cutoff knobs affects the way the LPGs respond to incoming CV from the function generators. Low cutoff increases rise time (even with attack set to zero) and decreases fall time, and high cutoff does the opposite. If you control both LPGs from the same function generator you can effectively get two different envelope shapes from one source because of this.

The audio signal also becomes slightly distorted at very low cutoff settings.

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Post by DeanG » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:36 pm

Any idea how volca modular would play with an AE modular system?
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Post by naos » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:56 pm

starthief wrote: It's not "better sounding" overall but has its own character. It's a bit rough around the edges.

The 0-Coast has a more solid sound (big fat saturated triangle basses!), very well chosen knob ranges, better envelope/function generator etc. It feels much more like a quality instrument and a better modular citizen.

But I honestly prefer the wavefolding on the Volca Modular, and I think I prefer its LPGs too.
interesting, thanks.

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Post by dthorn » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:34 pm

DeanG wrote:Any idea how volca modular would play with an AE modular system?
Badly, according to this thread: http://forum.aemodular.com/thread/151/k ... ca-modular

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Post by DeanG » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:39 pm

dthorn, hey thanks, oh well, to that. I guess I will follow through on adding a second VM. Not looking for a project, AE just seemed like an interesting posssibility. Still gotta get around to running some audio from the se-02 through the volca, as well as running the volca through the se-02 filter.
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Post by kroffe » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:29 pm

More small discoveries:

The preset connected pink noise can be used as audio source by patching the audio input to the audio input of the second LPG or directly to the reverb input. It’s not ideal since the noise is mixed with interference from among other the oscillator, but interesting for drones.

CV-controlling the C-input of the utility while feeding the B-input with an audio signal is like having a clean VCA, quite different from the LPGs.

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Post by Phil999 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:16 pm

DeanG wrote:I have a second VM on order, now I am considering possibly adding a volca fm to those. I am doing mostly abstract sound stuff, any ideas on how the fm might work in the context with the 2 VM's? I have been interested in the V FM for some time now. Never thought I would get into volcas, be here I am :hmm:
similar story here. Korg Volca is not really the instrument of choice, but the Volca FM is a great synthesiser. The only other Volca I have is the Modular. Both can be well integrated into a DAW, one with CV/gate, one with MIDI. Or directly from the modular system via Sync, which also includes the option to use a Volca as master clock. And direct CV/gate in the case of the Volca Modular. I don't use the internal sequencers much, but it's good to have them and the motion sequencing option.

I was seriously thinking about getting a second Volca Modular as you.

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Post by pmboos » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:47 pm

Thanks the review - this is def on my RADAR. I've piked up a couple of synths that dabble towards West Coast synthesis (Microvolt 3900, Quadrantid Swarm), but not full on West Coast. And I like you, love the VolcaFM, what a great little synth that is. (I also have several other Volcas, though it is the FM I love out of them.)

So thanks for giving us some insight.

Alas, it will wait - my next Volca passion is pointing me towards the Volca Drum. I be needing me some analog beats!
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