Korg’s Volca line of little musical boxes have been tremendously popular for a variety of reasons. On one level they appeal to beginners and hobbyists by offering great sounding products at an entry level price point, but they’re also capable and downright interesting enough to captivate more accomplished and demanding musicians.
The Volca Beats for example is viewed by many as a modern classic (albeit vintage styled) drum machine and it’s popularity amongst enthusiasts has been further bolstered by a relatively simple user modification which substantially/subjectively improves the snare drum’s sonic character.
Korg have historically been very accommodating and somewhat passively encouraging of user mods. From releasing schematics for their ‘circuit bending’ friendly Monotrons, to mysteriously labelled Volca circuit boards, to the blank socket slots that lined the front panel of the MS-20 module kit.
The notion of voiding one’s warranty has never held the modding community back from tinkering with their Korg hardware, but tinkering with firmware is a different story. If you’ve spent any time on Reddit.com’s Volca subreddit, you may have seen a few threads this year regarding unofficial firmware updates, and recently a thread appeared hosting what was referred to as Volca FM firmware version 1.08 by a person known only as Pajen.
This very unofficial update takes care of a lot of user requested Volca FM peculiarities, and notably introduces MIDI input velocity support (not a trivial feature).
It’s unclear at this point whether or not Korg will be equally as consenting to this type of modification, but there has been no shortage of encouragement from the Volca user community. Although the originally posted firmware update download link has since expired, anyone with a little Reddit thread diving initiative can easily find it hosted elsewhere. I’ll just leave this here.