Sound on Sound reccomends Shruthi as best alternative to Volca Bass:

(you have to be a subscriber to read it online at this point, but cool!)


Finally, if you’re handy with a soldering iron, you really should check out Mutable Instruments, for example the Shruthi, an analogue/digital monosynth, reviewed in the September 2012 edition of SOS."

Someone should tell them the Anushri is a much closer equivalent to the Volca Bass (and would also patch right in with a couple other Volcas), but cool nonetheless.

On another note- Really have to hand it to Korg for continuing to fly in the face if the convention that you have to pay a lot for a little analog. The Volcas are pretty great overall, but The Volca keys has really shocked me- it manages to sound like a vintage 80s poly at times (that can’t really produce much usable stuff at higher resonance, but still). Some of those little baby chords gave me an Oberheim/Sequential Circuits vibe- which means I’m getting one. The the beats is great too- the kick is DEEP for such a small and cheap drum machine. The Vermona DRM1 admittedly sounds better across the board and is much more moddable, but it only has 2 more voices but no internal sequencer. Is it worth THAT much more than this little Korg? What about 2 of them? Unfortunately, as anyone familiar with analog drum machines might expect, rumor has it the drum pattern loses something in translation in a recording (Well, a lazy mono recording, anyway). As much as people want to deny it (owners of an x0xb0x?), the Volca Bass gets pretty goddamn close to a 303.

But the Keys is truly a unique new synth- doesn’t really sound like anything except quick flashes of classics that sell for $3,000+ on eBay…

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Oh well, I’m glad they’ve remembered my Shruthi review anyway


> the convention that you have to pay a lot for a little analog […] Is it worth THAT much more than this little Korg?

It’s not a “convention” and Vermona is not trying to rip you off. Only small companies used to care about analog, and then Korg came. A small company with 2 or 3 employees selling 500 units of a year and working with mostly local assembly houses cannot sell at the same prices as a company with hundreds of employees, production lines in Asia, volumes in 10000, and a product portfolio diversified enough that they can accept very low margins on some of their products, with other ways of cashing on them (brand image…)

I don’t think the Volca bass is that much like a 303 but I want one as it looks a lot of fun and has some mega phat sounds.

Oh, I’m not suggesting the price is unfair (Vermona uses some of highest quality analog stuff there is in their synths). I’m just impressed at the quality when compared to a boutique item that I’ve considered buying used more than once. I had no idea that these would end up being anything more than “My first analog synth!” for kids after the initial hype died down. But the Beats is the least impressive one of them all yet it produces some usable analog drum sounds (if not full patterns).

@Pish I do like the Bass but I’ve been listening to Pulse 2 demos all day so we know where that’s headed. I’m just impressed that the Keys managed to be a highly unique little synth that doesn’t fit in with the other two (that are even designed to look a little bit like an 808 and a 303, respectively). When I first saw them I thought they were just a cash in, but Ive been proven wrong.

Deep kicks don’t require complex circuitry:

@thijs. I have this one with a panel but have yet to build it. Looking forward to it.

I think all the Volca’s are very cool (i’ve ordered a Beats). And yes, I want to deny that the Bass version sounds like a 303. And yes, I do own a x0xb0x :wink: (2 actually)

For what the Volcas cost, they are ridiculously good… But I think it better to appreciate each on its own merits, rather than expecting them to be a clone or a replacement for something else. Otherwise folk will surely be disappointed.

Glad MI got a bit more (well earned) press in SoS :slight_smile:

Today I got a chance to mess with Beats and Bass at volume in Emis (Bristol). And I have to say that the Bass does sound remarkably like a 303 when cranked, and is a lot fatter sounding than I thought it would be.

I have a DRM-1 (early syncussion version) and it does sound better than the Beats, but for £119 you really can’t go wrong with these Korg boxes.
My mate bought Beats and Bass there and then, and he’s a fussy bugger when it comes to equipment.

All 3 is what I am getting.

But 1 at a time, so the fun will last longer and the wallet suffer less!

I bought a beats yesterday… It’s a very fun little machine… It sounds great with lots of character except the snare… Which is almost unusable.
The downpoints are that you can’t chain patterns and that the volume settings of the instruments aren’t saved. It would have been great if it had motion recording of the volume… That would have made much more interesting rhythm possible. We’ll just wait for a beats 2 to come out in a year or 2. I might get a bass too.

Any intel as to where you picked it up? I’ve been calling every place in Norway but noone expects them until january :S

I’m in the Netherlands. They are pouring in the shops over here. Most big shops they go out straight again to people who bought them in advance. I was lucky to find one in a more guitar orientated shop. It was their only one. They had a Bass too but it was reserved.