KORG volca nubass



Volca nubass is an analogue monophonic synthesizer released by KORG in 2019. Volca series is a product line of groove boxes. As one of the series, volca nubass has "step 1-16 buttons". The buttons can be used as musical keyboard or sequencer with 16 steps. With sync in and out connector, volca nubass play sequence synced with other volca machines. With MIDI input, volca nubass can receive MIDI notes and control change messages from keyboards and computers.

The biggest feature of volca nubass is that it is equipped with an oscillator that uses "nutube" developed by KORG and Noritake Itron. The nutube has an anode, grid, and filament structure similar to a conventional vacuum tube, and operates as a complete triode vacuum tube. Since nutube uses the technology of vacuum fluorescent display, it operates with less than 2% of the electric power of the conventional vacuum tube, and the volume is less than 30% of the conventional vacuum tube. It has a continuous expected life of 30,000 hours, so there is no need to replace it. Volca nubass is the world's first "vacuum tube synthesizer" (from the manual) that uses nutube for oscillator. Its sound is different from other transistor-based analog synthesizers. I would like to say that it has a mysterious weight, thickness, and softness.

Volca nubass has small numbers of knobs for sound making. Oscillator's PITCH, suboscillator's SATURATION and LEVEL, filter's CUTOFF and PEAK, filter EG's ATTACK/DECAY/DEPTH, LFO(Low Frequency Oscillator)'s RATE and INTensity, Transistor-based overdrive's DRIVE and TONE. You find ACCENT knob, it is for sequencer. No effect for MIDI playing.

Some buttons are used for sound editing. We can change oscillator's waveform(sawtooth, square), LFO waveform(triangle, square), LFO target(AMP, PITCH, CUTOFF, individually on/off), LFO sync on/off, EG mode. The oscillator's sawtooth and square sound different from transistor-based oscillators I experienced.

Volca nubass is not a versatile synthesizer. However, it has high tones and beautiful vibrato. I should not say volca nubass is a bass-only synthesizer. I want to use it as an analog mono synth that produces a unique sound.



Synth Lead

I chose square wave, no suboscillator. I used the highest note C. I used KORG nanoKEY Studio. One knob assigned to cc#50 controlled LFO INT for vibrato. I added Yamaha SPX2000's "STEREO DELAY". Because I plugged at SYNC IN, volca nubass did not work well. No sound with legato play. With this recording, some odd attacks.

Synth Lead 2

I chose sawtooth. Some filter EG. I used Waldorf blofeld keyboard to send MIDI messages. Modulation wheel added vibrato. I used pitch bend wheel, too. With legato play, volca nubass adds some portamento(slides). I do not know how to change the portamento time. I added Yamaha SPX2000's "MONO DELAY"


School Days

I played volca nubass with Yamaha MOTIF-RACK XS's "Rock Stereo Kit 2". I added vibrato with modulation wheel during MIDI recording. After audio recorder on and sequencer started, I tweaked the CUTOFF knob. I added t.c. electronic Reverb 4000's "Small Branket Room" a little bit. The reverb at the end was made by Sound Forge and plug-in reverb software.

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©Hideo Harada 2010-2020 updated on 2020/10/19 07:32:32