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What would YOU want in a Volca Mixer?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author What would YOU want in a Volca Mixer?
Living on the east coast of the United States, I have been stuck indoors due to a small ammount of snow, which has given me time to finally look at all the new tech shown off at NAMM this week. I was thrilled to see that KORG has announced a new FM volca, and I look forward to adding it to my ever growing synth collection. However, the issue has resurfaced that I am wasting precious mixer space on many little "gadget-y" devices (volcas, monotrons, etc) with 1/8" outputs. The new volca released reminded me of concept art someone made earlier this year about a fake "volca mixer" that would serve as an acceptable solution to this exact issue. r-fake/

BUT, it was lacking some features that I felt were integral for a mixer of even this scale.

So naturally, I decided to spend my time snowed in this morning creating my personal take on a "volca mixer", using the sliders from the volca FM for volume controls instead of the tiny knobs shown in the concept art. What started as a rough sketch of a dream piece of tech quickly evolved into a 3D rendering (mostly due to lack of anything better to do).

There were features, given the scale of the mixer, that simply could not be added (for example, mounting a 1/4" output on the top of the unit would not be feasible because a male 1/4" connector is longer than the unit is deep).

After laying the mixer out, there was still ample space left on the front panel, which brings me here. I'm looking for ideas of things to add/remove/change to make the perfect, compact 1/8" mixer. I'm sure I am not the only one out there who could find a practical application for this. Any input from the community on design ideas would be greatly appreciated.
tim gueguen
Given the amount of gear with 1/8th inch outputs these days it's a bit surprising Behringer hasn't offered a version of one of their mixers with 1/8th inch jacks.
If going with the Volca theme, potential features:

1) A daisy chain of 9v adapters to power each Volca from the mixer's power supply.

2) Digital control of mixer functions, for motion sequencing the mixer.

3) Multiple sync clock outs, with selectable clock dividers for each.

4) Interesting effects, such as the delay with analog filter in the feedback loop as in the Monotron Delay or Minilogue.
Combo stereo/mono inputs, since the Volca Sample runs stereo and its onboard pan is quite handy.

Aux/Booth stereo output

Based on your graphic (which is nice!), a pair of stereo FX returns. Nothing crazy, just 2x returns with their own volume knob.

And if there is space, master stereo insert points, so that the headphones outputs can also monitor any master processing you're doing.
Looks good. I'd say fx sends as well. Could even just be the same knobs as the internal sends. Maybe an internal/external switch? How about a separate fx amount knob and volume knob for the internals? One for editing the parameter, which would be a macro knob that does something different on each effect. And then a effects return knob for how much goes to the master. If the EQ could sound as good as the "analog isolater" on the Volca Sample d be all over it. Perhaps a master EQ version of that?
8 channels is a must. modular/line level switches. gain on (some) channels. mute buttons and noise gate.

Update 12:42.

Also, after some thinking:

an LFO you could map to any parameter – e.g volume for amplitude modulation/ringmod type effect, EQ, or FX send. 3 waveforms, sine/square/saw, & tempo sync. Saw is falling to emulate envelope. One-shot mode switch.

Motion sequencing of all parameters, EQ, pan, send, volume. Ability to map LFO to any parameter, as well as to several simultaneously. Done by holding ASSIGN button and rotating a knob of corresponding parameter.

This is very volca approach and would be truly innovative.

Update 12:56

If, as every volca before, it is going to have a sequencer, then also x0x-style sequencing of fx 1 & fx 2 sends on/off. Call this feature SEQ FX for example and add ability to hold some button (SHIFT) + pressing channels MUTE – or better, touch strip (which could also be used for muting, to save on switches cost), – to set channels where FX sequencing is applied to. Then if there's a <> switch on a sequencer that alternates between tracks, you could press > once more for controlling AUX2 FX sequencing now instead of AUX1. This is similar to how you hold reverse or reverb buttons on volca mix and then active tracks light up with a LED, to show which of them have FX SEQ 1/2 active.

For a third x0x sequencer we could come up with an LFO enable/disable part. That is really easy implemented with a LFO going to a VCA controlled with GATE.

And last, for fourth sequencer track let's use it to enable/disable MOTION SEQ per step. NOTE: this is different from LFO activation, because motion sequencing could also be manual. Steps that are turned off disable any automation.

Cheers! It's peanut butter jelly time!
i'd really love to see a volca mixer come true.

Of course, it would have to stay in the same form factor. A 8 channel, two aux, display-and-everything makes no sense imho, this is what dozens of other mixer look like, no need to add anything here.

A volca mix should focus on the performance aspects, and OF COURSE have a sequencer to automate fx and gate signals. So it would be 4-6 channels, due to size restrictions only with minimal eq (or just a global eq), for sure effects, at least a delay. It won't replace full featured outboard mixer, but should serve as a performance submixer for the volca range (and other gadgets).

Korg already had some similar products (the korg km 402), to include a mini kaoss pad is a bit too much to ask in this price range but some tempo-synced effects are a must (and a lot of fun to play with).
If they will actually release one, I guess it's likely to have the same volca shell...
something like this (only a lot better, i am poor at graphics, this is done with LibeOffice :S):

- usual volca shell
- 4-6 inputs, maybe one aux or cue
- focus on effects sequencing
- a couple of effects (delay, reverb, but also things like bitcrusher and others)
- the fun comes by combining the sequencer with effects
Some sort of solution for the pathetic amount of pattern memory would be nice. Maybe some sort of integrated ssd to save and load. 8-16 pattern memory just doesn't cut it.
Prints wrote:
Some sort of solution for the pathetic amount of pattern memory would be nice. Maybe some sort of integrated ssd to save and load. 8-16 pattern memory just doesn't cut it.

With no way to export the sequences, wouldn't the mixer then have to become a master sequencer? And then you lose the individual instruments step jump and other fun volca tricks.

It helps to not look at the Volca in the sense that it is an instrument with less pattern memory than other instruments, but more an instrument unto itself (like a guitar, that you play yourself)

I do like euromorcego's suggestion of a motion sequencer onboard the mixer for FX sends and such.
An interesting tidbit... when I use either of my cheap small mixers (not my big Mackie ones) - a Yamaha and a Peavey - to mix Volcas, I run into a crazy issue.

Any time I touch a knob on the mixer, the Volcas lose sync with each other. Obviously, this is some sort of grounding issue.

So, a Volca Mixer would definitely need to remedy this issue. Otherwise, it's pointless.

I really just want to be able to mix the damn things and turn some Aux knobs for FX without losing the whole damn jam!
... a sequencer on the mixer would be excellent as well... especially if it has some built in FX/Filters. Basically, the Volca line's answer to the Aira MX-1.

But, even just volume, pan, and sends automation would be killer and make the Volcas that much more usable in a live setting.

Of course, it's a good point about the step jump. But, you already have that issue between Volcas, no? So, it wouldn't really be a concern for the mixer's FX sequencing because it's just FX. It doesn't need to jump with the musical sequences.
LeFreq wrote:
Basically, the Volca line's answer to the Aira MX-1

This is my thoughts exactly. I own an MX1 and would love to see Korg's take on it. Lots of great ideas here, but one of my favorite things about the Volcas is their size. I'd definitely be in the market for one but it'd have to be small.
The first and only mixer for Volcas is launching this weekend at Knobcon. Eight input channels (6 mono, 2 stereo) with 3.5mm jacks, level and panning per channel, 2 aux sends/returns, main out and headphone out, and an onboard hub for powering up to 8 Volcas, powered by an external power supply, internal batteries, or external mega battery, all in a footprint identical to a Volca.

Sneak peak photos on the KVgear FB page.

Pre-orders will be taken starting next week through a Kickstarter campaign.
Rooftree wrote:
The first and only mixer for Volcas is launching this weekend at Knobcon.
Sneak peak photos on the KVgear FB page.

looks very interesting indeed! Hope the price will be reasonable (and that there is a diy option also).

I guess one of the reasons we have not seen too many dedicated volca-esque linemixer is that conventional mixer are quite cheap (the Bastl Dude is priced similar to the smallest Mackie, so people probably think twice).
spoor tml

Definitely interested.
SPIKE the Percussionist
so why didn't KVgear just make all of the inputs mini-stereo?

since all of the Volca gear and their ilk have that config?

or maybe just two mono channels for some odd gear like a Tocante Karper which is mono and then a horde of stereo inputs for all that Volca stuff?
Just want to post an update. The Vixen mixer Kickstarter campaign has now launched. Full product details, photos, a demo video and pricing are available.

KVgear Vixen Mixer

I'll add a bunch of info to the Kickstarter FAQ later tonight. I'll discuss various issues, including the decisions about mono and stereo channels.
Rooftree wrote:
Just want to post an update. The Vixen mixer Kickstarter campaign has now launched. Full product details, photos, a demo video and pricing are available.

good to see! However, the price is a bit too much for me. $219 plus shipping to europe ($34 no less) plus VAT (20% on average), so it ends up > $300 .... There are plenty of decent Mackie and other mixers available for this money (the Beheringer 1002B is $99). I guess, it's mainly for those who really want/need the Volca footprint (The Kickstarter is already past the 15K threshold, no shortage of buyers).

Anyway, so it will be available as a regular item also at the uk site? I'll wait until then ...
Yes, the Vixen will be available eventually as a regular item on the KVgear UK/EU site. Total cost to the end customer should be lower due to reduced shipping costs and presumably lower VAT.
the Bastl Instruments 'Dude' seems like the best option in the interim. 5 mono channels, +20db gain, and it runs on batteries!!!
lots and lots of inputs!

and possibly some fx?
Looks crazy good Mike, congrats! w00t Diggin' the black...

Meanwhile, found this one while looking for "visually similar images" — also an interesting-looking bit of kit:

Google suggested I shall be looking for "audio equipment" smile Yes, pretty much.

Any plans to adapt the design for eurorack format (the same layout without power switch & hub)? I think that would sell well. Of course the standalone could also be used for that purpose, and be very good at that. I rarely need EQ for my modular synth parts (because: filters / shapers etc, and also the sounds themselves mix well: most noisy sfx & bleeps barely need any processing), so in this regard I'd say vixen would be a great option for the price without too much—or any—corners cut. Just have to make sure euro level signals do not clip the input, and one'll be fine. thumbs up
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