2019 is proving to be a memorable year for Korg synths with two new Volcas and a heavily updated minilogue having already been released following their January announcements. Be sure to check out our videos on all three synths via our YouTube page here.
If Superbooth has shown us one thing, it’s that there’s no such thing as too many synths and Korg have treated us to a handful of new announcements including a brand new Volca (plus a Volca size prototype on display), a custom Volca rack case (hooray!) and a minilogue xd desktop module.
The curiously dubbed Volca Nubass is the first analogue synthesiser to be released utilising Korg’s exciting and mysterious Nutube technology which aims to modernize the coveted yet ancient vacuum tube (or valve) as a compact and power efficient component whilst retaining its pleasing sonic characteristics.
Korg has quite a history of integrating valves into synthesisers from the Triton Extreme, to the Electribe E-Series, to the KingKorg VA synth. In all these examples however, the vacuum tube (typically a 12AX7) was used as an effect to add analogue warmth via distortion or overdrive to a digital sound engine.
The Nubass however, does things a little differently. In Korg’s own words:
“The Nutube contains two independent triodes; one is used in the oscillator to generate a sawtooth wave or square wave. The other triode is used in the drive circuit of the sub-oscillator”
Very interesting that the Nutube is being used in the initial sound generation process, not just the overdrive stage as is typically the case with valve equipped synths. They continue:
“This oscillator and sub oscillator provides a circuit structure that brings out the harmonic character that only a real vacuum tube could provide.”
As well as the Nutube powered oscillator section, Nubass is equipped with a transistor ladder low-pass filter, and an analogue drive circuit for achieving a range of bass sounds from warm and classic through to crunchy and modern. This is in addition to the usual Volca tricks like a 16-step sequencer and battery power with built-in speakers.
Also on display at the Korg booth is an intriguing little Volca sized named unit Nu:Tekt or NTS-1 which is apparently a DIY assembly kit prototype.
Details are sparse on this bare-boned little unit however it appears to be a digital synth sporting the multi-engine oscillator used in the prologue and minilogue xd. The concept of building your own synth and loading custom oscillators is a tantalizing concept indeed.
Also on display at Superbooth is a custom 2×2 Volca rack providing what Korg describe as ‘Volcanomics’ (a-hem). These look to be a sturdy and attractive rack unit with aluminium frame and wooden end panels, capable of housing up to 4 Volcas in either a horizontal or vertical arrangement.
Rounding out Korg’s Superbooth announcements is the minilogue xd-m which packs the entire minilogue xd 4-voice analogue synth engine into a desktop friendly module. Great news for those who favour sequencers over keys, but also anyone looking to add the minilogue xd’s hybrid synth flavour to their rig. The price will be the same as the keyboard version.
It looks as if the synth itself remains unchanged however, there is a software update coming to the keyboard version which allows two units to be poly-chained for up to 8 voices. This can be two modules, two keyboards, or one of each!
At this point, we’re not sure when the Volca Rack will make its way to Australia, however both Volca Nubass and minilogue xd-m should be available around July/August.