Korg volca FM 2nd Gen with more polyphony, effects and sound memory

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Korg unveils the volca FM 2nd gen with 6 voices of polyphony, a new soft reverb, more sound memory, velocity support & more.

The portable, battery-powered Korg volca FM is definitely one of the best-selling FM synthesizers in recent years. It offers classic DX-7 style FM synthesis in a super-compact design with touch keys and a motion sequencer. Even if FM synthesis is an obstacle for many, the small 3-voice synth is a lot of fun. Whether on the go or in the studio.

Korg has given its little budget FM Synthesizer a major makeover. We welcome the volca FM 2nd gen.

Korg volca fm 2nd gen

Korg volca Fm 2nd gen

The Korg volca FM enters the second generation. Almost none of this can be seen visually, but there is a lot more going on internally. The biggest change concerns the engine. Instead of the previously 3 voices, Korg volca FM 2nd gen now comes with 6 voices. A doubling that makes it a clearly full-fledged FM Synthesizer.

The classic core with 6 operators and 32 algorithms remains the same. The effects are however different. Where the first had a chorus, the second generation comes with a second effect, a soft reverb. Both effects can be used at the same time with independent controls. I already hear the ambient sounds.

Then, the internal memory got an upgrade. The new volca FM now offers space for 64 different sound patches as well as a new inspiring random function. It creates completely new sounds at the touch of a button. Don’t expect always perfect sounds here, but this function is especially useful and inspiring with complex sound engines such as FM synthesis.

Korg volca fm 2nd gen

External MIDI sequencing

Volca FM 2nd gen also features a versatile arpeggiator and the beloved powerful motion sequencer again with the warp active step function that always provides interesting rhythmic shifts. It also has a pattern chaining function that allows you to create sequences with a length of up to 256 steps. And the internal sequencer in version 2 can not only drive the internal engine.

Thanks to a new MIDI out connection, the internal 16-step sequencer can now control also external sound generators. As a result, there is no longer a big 5-pin MIDI socket but minijack sockets. Long live MIDI with adapters or rather not. Next to this, you have sync in and outputs. There is also a built-in loudspeaker.

Korg volca FM 2nd Gen

Velocity Support, Hurray!

Further, Korg has also corrected the velocity limitation of the previous version. The second generation can finally be played with velocity using an external keyboard. This was initially limited to one fader. A major improvement in my opinion.

The Volca FM 2nd Gen is also compatible with all patches of the legendary DX-7 Synthesizer. One of the most important features, in my opinion, which gives you endless ready-to-use sounds. Also, the power system remains the same: either you can operate it with six AA batteries perfect for mobile music production or with a power supply unit. The latter is not included.

Finally, Korg ships the synth with an extensive software package including Korg Collection M1 Le, iZotope Ozone & RX Elements, AAS Session series, and more.


First Impression

At first glance, a very welcome update for the volca FM. Korg has now answered many of the criticisms with this version: more polyphony, velocity, more patch memory… Information on whether the LFO has been improved or whether more MIDI CC values are available cannot be read from the press release.

An unofficial 1.0.8 firmware for the first version addresses these criticisms. I also think it’s a shame that there is still no USB with which you could transfer patches more easily. Nonetheless, a nice update for Korg’s portable FM Synthesizer.

Korg volca FM will be available in May 2022 for a price of 189€ including VAT.

More information here: Korg 

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  1. This finally seems like enough to be a real solution for FM. When they’re available, I will be picking one up.

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