This review of our favorite Sampler is just getting started. We will update it on a regular basis. We will include all features combined with a focus on how to use them when creating music. The Korg Volca Sample 2 has a lot in common with the first generation. We will still include much of what’s true for both, as this is intended to provide as much value as possible.
The blog post we wish we found we had when we started creating.
Should I buy it? Is the Korg Volca Sample 2 worth it?
That depends on a lot of things. We will walk you through all the useful aspects we can think of. We will add Photos and Videos later to make it even more useful. Have a bit of patience with us, our 9-5 take their toll.
TLDR: If you are looking for a hands-on, no menu digging inspiration machine for a dawless setup you will most probably love it.
PRO – The case for buying the Korg Volca Sample 2
Our favorite new feature: “Start Delay”. The 2nd generation of the Volca Sample finally allows us to delay the start of single parts relative to the beat. This opens up new options to create groove & swing and layering.
Caveat: The delay works only in one direction. You can shift the sample behind the grid, but NOT before it. Negative delays are not possible. That’s really a missed opportunity! DANG
How do I activate it?
Select a part, hold “Func” and turn the knob “Start Point/Sample”. The hard-left position equals to no delay. The further you turn right, the longer the delay until the sample starts will be.
What can it do for my music?
BRO?!! A lot!!
We love it on Hi-Hats, or Tom hits. Example: have regular “straight” high hats and add a few extra steps on another part, and delay them until the groove gets that extra spice. Try this using the same sample for both parts and motion sequence the decay.
Split the measure(loop) into two parts of different lengths by splitting the drum beats 2 and the 4 into two different parts. The first Snare on Part 1 plays on the fifth step (The “2”). The same sample in Part 2 plays on the 13th step (the “4”). Now you delay only one beat of the backbeat (Part 1 (Step 5) OR Part 2(Step13)). This shifts the feel and groove in a big way!
Let’s say you put a standard 808 type clap on the backbeat. Cause it just works. But then it lacks something spicy and different. Now you add another part and put some kind of noisy, peak-ish sound on the 2 and 4.
Now the two sounds rest exactly at the same time, masking the frequency spectrum of each other and adding up on the peak volume. Now use the Start Delay function to move the peak-ish sound. Depending on the amount, you will get a flam like sound. The single sounds will not mask each other as much. To keep a defined sound, play with the sample start (without holding “shift”) and endpoint.
In fact, layering is one of our favorite use cases for the Korg Volca Sample 2. You can easily provide variation and additional character to your jams. Build a solid foundation with a drum machine, then add some spice with the Volca Sample.
CONTRA – The case for not buying the Korg Volca Sample 2
If you are looking for a Sampler to trigger Loops that are longer than one note, the Volca Sample is not what you want. A few loops will quickly use up all the memory.
There are no fancy sync options. No markers, no tempo sync without changing the pitch. Whether top loops, melodies, chord progressions, or vocal phrases. The Volca Sample is not fit to deal with those.
Only one stereo out. Bad if you want to bounce the single parts /stems. That takes so much time. This is one of the main downers for us.
No Midi Out
Your midi chain ends here. Not great, but at the same time not that big of a deal. Midi Splitters are cheap.
The Facts and what they mean
Sample Slots & Memory
The Korg Volca Sample 2 has 200 memory slots, compared to the 100 slots of the first generation of the Volca Sample. That’s still a lot less than most modern samplers provide.
Korg did also double the Memory from 4 to now 8 Megabytes. Many feel that this is a ridiculously low amount for 2020.
Are these specs good or bad?
If we look at it from a technical standpoint, the specs are a parody of a modern hardware sampler.
BUT and that’s a big BUT:
Both generations of the Korg Volca Sample are musical instruments. Let’s look at it from a creative standpoint.
There are plenty of devices already providing as much technical power and complex options as you want. In the dawless world, in the hybrid world, and in the DAW.
The choice to keep the specs as they are is a stroke of genius. Why? These restrictions push your creativity. They make up the true strength of this device. Pure, hands-on, intuitive creation. If you want to skip through hundreds of one-shots, stay in the DAW.
The Korg Volca Sample 2 pushes you to use the options it provides in a creative way. Shorten that noisy synth sound, pitch it and let the unique sound engine work its magic. Use it as a hybrid between a sampler and synthesizer.
If you are looking for Samples, here’s a TREAT 😉
This ain’t the end, fellow music lover. We’re just getting started.