We recently got our hands on the Volca Nubass, the newest in Korg’s Volca series of synthesisers and drum machines. Videos first emerged earlier this year at Superbooth 2019 – and since then we’ve been anxiously awaiting its arrival.
The Volca Nubass will certainly pique the interests of techno and acid house fans out there, who perhaps always wanted to get their hands on an original 1980s Roland TB-303. This unit was a key sound of the aforementioned genres, however, has been discontinued for decades and current second-hand prices have them fetching upwards of $4k.
The Nubass does a sweet job of achieving that squelchy genre-defining sound of acid that’s become legendary across many electronic dance music genres. Its design is an evolution of the original TB-303, using an oscillator producing a square or saw-tooth wave with a low-pass filter running through an envelope generator. However, the Nubass takes this to another level with its Nutube vacuum tube oscillator (VTO) technology. The Nutube consists of 2 independent triodes, one in the oscillator and the other in the drive circuit of the sub-oscillator. The combination of these is largely responsible for producing a harmonically rich sound.
The VCF (voltage controlled filter) is a low-pass ladder filter design which helps provide that ‘chirpy’ sound, which is typical of acid – try increasing the peak (resonance) all the way and ridding the filter and you’ll see what I mean. The Nubass also features an LFO which can produce a square or triangle waveform and can be assigned to modulate the amp, pitch, or filter cutoff.
The sequencer of the Nubass features 3 distinctive functions that are essential to programming acid basslines. Transpose will play a note one or two octaves higher which adds movement, Accent will emphasise a note creating dynamics and groove, and Slide creates a smooth transition from one note to the next and is used to create that wonky acid bassline vibe. Each of these can be randomised within the sequence whilst holding down the ‘function’ button.
The Volca Nubass is NOT a TB-303 clone, but rather a great sounding ‘acid’ bass synthesiser, in the form-factor of a Volca with a few extra tricks up its sleeve, check out our video below.