Liveschool + Studios 301: Korg Volca Beats Free Drum Rack
We’re back with the next in our series of custom built free Drum Racks, recorded at Studios 301 by Anthony Garvin (manager of Studios 301) and Yama Indra (GLOVES). This time round we have a pulled samples from the yet to be released Korg Volca Beats – Korg’s brand new analog drum machine. We managed to get our hands on one of them ahead of the pack, so we thought we would give you all a sneak peak of the sounds you can get out of the Volca. These little guys have had a lot of buzz around them thanks to being very affordable, and truly analog. We thought we’d put it through its paces and get a drum rack together, so you can get a feel for what this tiny box is capable of.
The Korg Volca Beats is the rhythm machine in a new series of three portable, affordable, and analog music production tools by Korg – the Volca Keys, Volca Bass, and Volca Beats. The unit is incredibly simple, and hence very fun to use, and having a true analog engine with sounds heavily referencing classic drum machines, the Volca Beats sound quality delivers far beyond its footprint. The Volca Beats keeps it simple – six analog “parts” which are editable with only one knob per function; a built in step sequencer; one single effect – stutter, which generates repeated triggers; and MIDI in for both sync and note entry. It even has an internal speaker!
Over in Studio 2 at Studios 301, the samples were recorded direct from the Korg Volca Beats into an API 512c Lunchbox pre-amp, then through a channel of the SSL 9000k console for some slight compression and EQ, before being captured back in to Ableton Live with a Apogee Rossetta 200 ADC. It might be a consumer priced drum machine, but it was amongst some giants (with giant price tags) over at 301. It was pretty surreal hearing the Volca’s meaty analog kick booming through the Genelec 1039A main monitors in Studio 2.
The Drum Rack
We’ve included two separate Drum Racks in the Live Pack download.
The first, created by Ableton Certified Trainer Adam Maggs, showcases the Volca in its raw form. With only a slight amount of processing, the rack is a pretty true representation of the types of sounds the Volca is capable of, of course beefed up to sound their best thanks to the signal chain over at 301. On the macros, there are the standard sample selection, pitch, and volume controls, along with a couple of subtle parameters controlling particular timing aspects of each sound, some humanisation, and an emulation of the Stutter effect on the actual Volca.
The second Drum Rack was put together by Liveschool’s Trent Crawford, and is loaded with effects and extra processing on each sample. There are reverbs, delays, resonators and more, all assigned to macros on the individual cells of the Drum Racks, and colour coded for easy tweaking – white for sample selection, yellow for effects controls, and blue for the usual volume and pitch parameters.
The Blend.io Project
We’ve decided to upload this drum rack as a downloadable, collaboration ready project on the exciting new online collaboration platform, Blend.io. Still in it’s beta stages, Blend is a new collaboration system for music producers that works by connecting any Ableton Live project in your dropbox to an online profile so anyone in the world can discover and collaborate on you work. We’ve put up a project with the rack in it and are granting you an invite to the site (it’s still invite-only) so you can find out more about this exciting platform. You’ll be able to download the project, play around with the Drum Rack or write a beat with it, then show us what you’ve done!
You can download the free Drum Racks here. Have fun!
Both Anthony Garvin and Adam Maggs are two of the trainers in the course Mixing & Mastering with Ableton Live which is held at both Liveschool HQ and Studios 301. Yama Indra is the trainer for our Music Theory: Chords Melodies and Basslines Focus Module.