You no longer have to deal with poor sound quality or beats that are too high, too low, or too high-pitched. The two analog bass machines that we are about to discuss have you covered and will not disappoint.
All you need is to exactly note down the features and qualities you are looking for in your analog bass machine, and you are all set.
But picking out the right one for you among so many options is not as easy as it seems. What are your options? What are their functions? Will they even get your work done, or will you simply have to compromise on the quality, accept it, and keep going on?
The two analog bass machines that are about to discuss here are the Volca Bass and Nubass. Both of these options work remarkably well and will not disappoint. In this article, you will find the volca nubass review and Nubass review.
Check out what the results would be if it came down to volca bass vs. nubass and volca FM. What is the ideal option for you and your music taste, Bass or NuBass? Let’s jump right into our topic for today.
The Masterminds- The Korg Company
Before we get into the important and trivial details of the Volca bass and Nubass analog machines, let’s learn a bit about their creators. The Korg company is the real mastermind behind these stellar products.
Initially founded as Keio Electronic Laboratories, Korg is a Japanese multinational corporation specializing in manufacturing electronic musical instruments, guitar pedals, audio processors, tuners, and recording equipment.
They are not new to the music industry. So, when they launch a product, it is safe to assume that they know exactly what they are doing.
True to its words and vision, the Korg corporation never fails to amaze its audience with its excellent products and the wide variety within them.
The Korg company was started back in 1964 in Tokyo by founders Tsutomu Kato and Tadashi Osnani.
It was first named Keio Gijutsu Kenkyujo Ltd. and later became Keio Electronic Laboratories since its offices were in the vicinity of the Keio train line based in Tokyo.
Before founding the company, Kato was the owner of a nightclub, which might explain his love for music and musical instruments. Osmani was a university graduate and an accordionist who frequently performed at the nightclub along with the Wurlitzer Sideman rhythm machine.
It started from the dissatisfaction with the rhythm machine as Osnani believed he could build a better one with Kato on his side.
Therefore, the Korg company’s first product was an electro-machinal rhythm machine called the Disc Rotary Rhythm machine Donca Matic DA-20. It was released in 1963 and picked up quite some recognition.
The ‘Donca’ name came from an onomatopoeic reference. After the success of the DA-20, Keio decided to launch another product, the Rhythm machine DE-20, in 1996, a solid-state version.
In 1967, Fumio Mieda approached Kato and asked him to build keyboards. Kato was impressed by Mieda’s enthusiasm and, in return, asked him to build Kato a prototype.
After 18 months, Mieda built a programmable organ that Keio sold under Korg’s name. This was named using each founder’s name and RG that came from their planned emphasis on the organ market (R and G are related to ORGAN). Kato changed the company’s name to Keio Giken Kogyo Inc in 1971.
The Keio company sold a lot of products from 1960 to the early 1970s. However, as the competition got more challenging, Keio decided to use its organ technology to build a keyboard for the popular synthesizer market.
And so, Keio’s first product, Korg mini Korg, was released in 1973. In the 1970’s decade, the Keio Company synthesizer line mainly revolved around the large, pricey patchable instruments, such as the PS series.
However, in the year 1980, they decided to come out with digital pianos. The Korg Company has come up with a significant number of innovations, including the key transpose function, Kato’s idea after one of his singers at the nightclub needed her company for playing a lower key.
The Korg company was among the first to feature a synthesizer’s effects. In 1988, they proved they are pros at their work by selling sober 250,000 units at the M-1 workstation, making it the most sold synthesizer ever to hit the markets.
Volca Bass Vs. Nubass
While the Volca Bass features three oscillators, the Nubass has only one oscillator. The Volca Bass also forms independent waves and pitch, and the Nubass has a sub-oscillator with a vacuum tube and a saturation drive.
The Volca Bass is also more versatile than the Nubass and has a better kick when playing.
The Nubass amp has several accents, slides, and transpose but does not sound the same as the Volca Bass unless you modify its distortion, overdrive, and other features.
Many have heard of the Roland TB-303, Korg MS-20, and TR-808. However, the Volca Bass has broken all records since its release. Volca Bass was designed in Japan and assembled in Vietnam with a whole analog signal pathway.
The Korg company has explained that the Volca Bass generates control signals digitally, and the CPU runs on a 10-bit DAC version, which results in incredible analog resolution. Let’s put these claims to the test in the following sections.
The Volca Bass is essentially a hybrid unit with an analog sound engine controlled digitally. It has dial tweaks and can be used to record into sequencers and accessed over MIDI.
There are several parameters on the Volca Bass’s front with a MIDI CC; these can be used with a MIDI controller.
For instance, you can control the slide or gate time along with the VCO pitches on the Bass. However, controlling the filter cutoff and the resonance is not possible.
The Volca Bass’s sequencer has 16 steps, but you can make longer sequences when it is used as a sound module from your DAW.
Real-time recording is possible with the Volca Bass as it comes with a fully editable step record function.
Moreover, you can also store eight sequences, and the sequence loading from the Volca Bass’s memory is instant, but no sequence chaining is available.
Packed in a translucent plastic case, the inner LED flashlights and other working lights are clearly visible. With a front metal panel and a size of a typical VHS cassette, the Volca Bass can be taken anywhere for production or recording.
You can power the Volca Bass via a battery or wall-wart; the choice is yours. But remember that no power supplies are available within the Korg Volca Bass package, so don’t forget to include that in your budget.
You can lift the dials on the Volca Bass from the Monotron. One dial controls one function, making it easier for you to know what needs fixing. The build quality has undoubtedly been improved as all knobs feel tight and ready for long-term use.
Another thing to take notice of is that some dials are solid, while others are translucent. So, as a general rule, the solid dials are mostly non-sequence controls, whereas the translucent dials can be modified to your liking.
The translucent dials are also backlit in red and flash, denoting what parameters are actively running. The lit dials are also helpful while recording motion sequences.
You will also see tempo dials on the Volca Bass that flash in time with the MIDI/ Internal clocked temps. Each sequence step or the key has its separate LED light.
These lights guide you about what is happening inside the complex sequence. The LFO syncs are also easier to master as the beat divisions, tempo, and MIDI controls can be managed easily, except for the triangle wave.
The Volca Bass’s connective may arise as an issue as it is limited to shared stereo mini-jacks for the headphone in and out ports. But the audio signal is mono and needs adaptors for interfacing with the 1/4th inch jack studio gear.
You will also find a MIDI input on the Volca Bass that is triggered with an external MIDI device (such as a controller or DAW). A sync in and out port utilizes 5 V audio pulses to sync any connected instrument to the Volca.
Apparently, there is no limit for the number of Volcas you can connect this way with the Volca Bass for the lock sync, provided there is no third-party MIDI out mod.
The Volca Bass comes with three VCOs, so it is reminiscent of the TB-303 but much cheaper and flexible.
It can easily record up to three unison bass or lead lines with the three-track sequencer.
Alternatively, you can use the one-finger chord built from the three mono parts. The oscillator groups on the Volca Bass control one, two, or all oscillators simultaneously while the MiniKorf-700s filter overdrives it.
Overall, the Volca Bass sounds great. While it sounds pretty decent within a tiny speaker, it will surprise you with its excellent beats when plugged into a studio monitor or a bigger system.
However, it does have a low-level output, so you may need to use your mixer to get it loud enough.
Volca Nubass by Korg is another excellent amp that you need to try. It has terrific acid sequences that you can use with ease.
The LFO movements can be worked with without a hassle, and the additional tube warmth and dive, along with the grit, only enhances its performance.
The Volca Nubass has an inner tube with a dual triode valve. One triode is part of the main oscillator, generating a square wave or sawtooth. The other triode forms the signal path that offers rich harmonics and drives.
These are combined with a transistor ladder design, an LP filter, an analog drive circuit, and a 16-parts sequencer.
The Volca Nubass is capable of doing full justice to the classic acid while adding more grit, squeal, and warmth.
The very first time you unbox the Volca Nubass, you will experience the typical Volca feel. It has a similar size with a touch keyboard, rotary buttons, and controls.
The difference is the big tube or valve that is on the unit’s top. The tube glows in two ways when the level and saturation dials are pushed on the sub-oscillator. The Volca Nubass has 16 sequences, so there is a lot you can do with them.
A quick look around the Volca Nubass panel reveals the big filter controls featuring the EG dials.
Next, you will see the analog drive section with the drive and tone controls. Similar to the sub’s saturation along with the level dials, the tone and drive are significant factors in the way the Volca Nubass sounds.
The level dials give the Volca Nubass better harmonics, especially when played through the studio speakers.
You have a variety of ways to play and record sequences on the Volca Nubass. All you need to do is press play to listen to your loaded pattern.
Real-time note recording is also possible by merely hitting the record or play button and then playing the selected notes.
Press the function and record button at the same time to enter the step record mode, which records each note and then steps onto the next note among the 16 steps available.
After the Step mode, you get access to three options, accent, transpose, and slide, all essential parts of the classic acidic sound with the Volca Nubass.
The function button will give you access to more parameters that you can use as needed. Function keys 3 – 5 give you some fantastic squelching action via the LFO.
Both the Volca Nubass and Volca Bass are great buys for anyone looking for versatility and good-quality sound. The Volca Bass is inspired by the TB-303, and so is the Volca Nubass to some extent.
The Volca Nubass is more about warmth and drive as compared to the Volca Bass.
Volca Nubass is not an imperative upgrade if you already own the original Bass. However, if you want to get your hands on the entire Volca collection, give the Volca Nubass a try.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Volca Nubass is not an essential upgrade but perhaps a side grade. It gives you more warmth and drive than the Volca Bass, but other cheaper ways give you acidic sounds.
The Volca Nubass is the first analog synthesizer equipped with a new-generation vacuum tube.
You can store up to sixteen sequence patterns on the Volca Bass.
The Volca Bass is a three-voice paraphonic analog synthesizer.