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VOLCA BEATS Snare Fix!!!! Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 15th February 2014
  #1
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flat earth's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Korg Volca Beats - Darren Glen Mods inc SNARE FIX!

Old 15th February 2014
  #2
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flat earth's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Would love to hear how the 'Snappy' 'pitch' and 'delay' knobs effect the sound when its like that.

If it could get near the 808 'Snap' It would be a revolation.
Old 15th February 2014
  #3
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polyeurothang's Avatar
wow that sounds so much better! Looks pretty simple too. My Volca snare hack involves turning up the PCM speed on the claps to 1-2 oclock to sound more like a snare crack. Then blend that with the snare(w/ low to medium decay). But if all you need is a capacitor or a resister, you'd be crazy not to try this.
Old 15th February 2014
  #4
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Hrm, can he post the exact components?
Old 15th February 2014
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Excellent work! Would love to do that to mine if details are forthcoming
Old 16th February 2014
  #6
can we get the points and type of capacitor/resistor from this guy
Old 16th February 2014
  #7
Gear Maniac
hi there...thanks flat earth for starting a thread just for my mod!

i have also made another video, discussing the general layout of the volca beats pcb and where the sounds are generally coming from:



Inside the Korg Volca Beats drum machine and mods hack discussion - YouTube

and yes i was also the one responsible for the MFB-522 mod / hack



MFB-522 Drumcomputer 808 drum machine with mods project hack UPDATE [April 2012] Part 1 of 2 !! - YouTube

for the Volca beats the capacitor is a ceramic 104 (you can see me drop it in my left hand at the end of the vid) and the resistor is a 1k. Of course, where exactly they are put is the key and its not easy to show when holding them.

Im doing the mods in the next few days to the KVB and then ill put up a video of exactly what ive done, once ive soldered. This thing uses micro surface mounted components that are VERY close together and the PCB tracks have been "blacked out" by a coating over it from Korg (possibly on purpose to hide the circuit). Its not going to be soldering for the feint-hearted to do this mod, just a heads up! I am going to use a pot instead of the 1k resistor, so you can fine-tune the snare top end. As its only two things that need adding you could (i guess) use a DPDT switch if you wanted to just switch the mod in and out fairly easily. But i personally dont want to go back to that horrid cracking fire distortion snare so i will just be adding a pot instead.

i also have figured out (last nite) a mod to turn the hats into a triangle chime sound. its differerent from just turning down the Grain knob. This mod will be just on a switch.

Thanks for your interest and ill be posting more vids soon!

Cheers,
Blackout
Old 16th February 2014
  #8
hey man thank you so much for this we are looking forward to the next video with the detailed explanation.
I have break out box for kick, snare tom,hat, pcm and pink noise - kind of like Koma Electronics mod although their kick and snare mod didn't work (had to look for different points on the board)
but yeah that board is microscopic ;-)
Old 16th February 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by peteone View Post
hey man thank you so much for this we are looking forward to the next video with the detailed explanation.
I have break out box for kick, snare tom,hat, pcm and pink noise - kind of like Koma Electronics mod although their kick and snare mod didn't work (had to look for different points on the board)
but yeah that board is microscopic ;-)
cheers man yes i looked at that photo they posted of their points for the kick and snare OUT and thought "what are they thinking, that is certainly the wrong points" after finding the right ones myself. Maybe they purposely mis-led so they can get money from people to do the mod themselves? i dunno. it really annoys me when ppl keep this stuff to themselves for financial gain. I will be posting exactly what ive done here, once ive done it! but i explain in this video where the correct resistors to get the individual outs are here:

Old 16th February 2014
  #10
yeah I watched that too, I figured out the points though so Koma can go suck it ;-)

please post the video for that snare mod when you got it going I'm most likely to be doing the same thing i hate that lousy snare right now



PS: I'm the dude who said "take my money" on mfb mod - man that is fantastic you got some really unique machine there.
Old 16th February 2014
  #11
VST
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VST's Avatar
Thanks for all the info so far Blackout- Can't wait to try some mods! I did the Rez mod on my Monotribe, not ease due to the Micro SMD's, but this snare mod seems almost a necessity.
Old 16th February 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackout- View Post
Maybe they purposely mis-led so they can get money from people to do the mod themselves? i dunno. it really annoys me when ppl keep this stuff to themselves for financial gain.
Doubtful, they don't mod other companies things for cash, they just release their own products.
Old 16th February 2014
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackout- View Post
hi there...thanks flat earth for starting a thread just for my mod!

Im doing the mods in the next few days to the KVB and then ill put up a video of exactly what ive done, once ive soldered. This thing uses micro surface mounted components that are VERY close together and the PCB tracks have been "blacked out" by a coating over it from Korg (possibly on purpose to hide the circuit).
Cool research. Looking forward to the details. Thanks for sharing your results so far.

Regarding "blacked out" do you mean just the normal solder mask? If so, there's nothing nefarious with that, it's SOP for modern PCBs as it keeps solder to the pads and helps prevent bridging and corrosion.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if, given the density of the circuit there, this is a 4 layer board. They'd want to avoid that to say cheap, but there's a lot going on on that board.

Pete
Old 16th February 2014
  #14
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 View Post
Cool research. Looking forward to the details. Thanks for sharing your results so far.

Regarding "blacked out" do you mean just the normal solder mask? If so, there's nothing nefarious with that, it's SOP for modern PCBs as it keeps solder to the pads and helps prevent bridging and corrosion.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if, given the density of the circuit there, this is a 4 layer board. They'd want to avoid that to say cheap, but there's a lot going on on that board.

Pete
it looks like just a 2 sided board to me. theres lots of "pass thru" holes but i dont see any evidence of there being more layers in the middle, at least not from following the circuit. But there is certainly a lot going on there in a very small space!

The MFB-522 main board for instance is surface-mounted but the board pcb tracks arent "blacked out"...you can see where tracks are going clearly. With the Volca Beats it was more of a blind hunt but with a sense of direction from my background knowledge of circuits. Got there in the end. Different manufacturing i guess.

Its probably not a vexious move on Korgs part youre probably right, i mean they were kind enough to make nice big pads on there to solder to easily to add some separate outs and even label them so they obviously dont mind users hunting around in the box and looking at the PCB. MAybe they want you to go so far, but not further hehe
Old 16th February 2014
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackout- View Post
it looks like just a 2 sided board to me. theres lots of "pass thru" holes but i dont see any evidence of there being more layers in the middle, at least not from following the circuit. But there is certainly a lot going on there in a very small space!
The vias can be hard to judge, as some could go through just front to back and others could connect other layers. You're likely right that it's just 2 layers, though. I'd love to see the PCB design layout; it must be incredibly dense.

Quote:
The MFB-522 main board for instance is surface-mounted but the board pcb tracks arent "blacked out"...you can see where tracks are going clearly. With the Volca Beats it was more of a blind hunt but with a sense of direction from my background knowledge of circuits. Got there in the end. Different manufacturing i guess.

Its probably not a vexious move on Korgs part youre probably right, i mean they were kind enough to make nice big pads on there to solder to easily to add some separate outs and even label them so they obviously dont mind users hunting around in the box and looking at the PCB. MAybe they want you to go so far, but not further hehe
It all depends on the solder mask used. Gloss black solder mask can be nearly impossible to trace when compared to flat black or other colors. Here's a gloss black board I did some time ago:



Without the light at just the right angle, the traces are invisible. If they have some flux residue on top of the board, it becomes even more difficult.

Pete
Old 16th February 2014
  #16
Ok. You've inspired me to open mine up. It's just a standard gloss black soldermask, likely chosen because the case is transparent.

In case any of this helps:
- The ICs you pointed out as sound chips are standard TI LM324 Quad Op Amps

- The main processor is a Toshiba TMPM330 family ARM processor
TMPM330 Product Series - Toshiba Semiconductor & Storage Products Company

Pete
Old 16th February 2014
  #17
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 View Post
Ok. You've inspired me to open mine up. It's just a standard gloss black soldermask, likely chosen because the case is transparent.

In case any of this helps:
- The ICs you pointed out as sound chips are standard TI LM324 Quad Op Amps

- The main processor is a Toshiba TMPM330 family ARM processor
TMPM330 Product Series - Toshiba Semiconductor & Storage Products Company

Pete
cheers Pete. you are probably right, because of the semi-clear case they went for gloss black, makes sense.

makes for one hell of a trace headache!

have you managed to find any useful mods Pete?

it seems that above each Quad Op Amp there is a circuit for one element of the sound, and below there are things for a different sound. So they are probably splitting those Quads in half. For instance below the bottom left IC is the snare white noise, above it is the hat. The next one along the above section is the snare "tone" element, and below the IC is the kick circuit.

i sure hope Korg release a firmware update for Swing. Or maybe some brilliant programmer could hack the code and insert a Swing for us?? 16 degrees of swing which is chosen by the 16 keys across the front after pressing a certain key function combination? its gotta be done! my talent starts and ends with a soldering iron heh

Cheers,
Blackout.
Old 16th February 2014
  #18
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Sclr's Avatar
Thanks for this. Cant wait to see how its done. I have to get a volca beats now.
Old 16th February 2014
  #19
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NuG3nda's Avatar
 

if this is possible for the snare (I thought the sound had something to do with the noise source) , cant a similar thing to be done with the hihats ??
Old 16th February 2014
  #20
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nice find, so im guessing if the cap is a 104 that would make it a 0.1uf? i can solder all the way down to a 0603 component size, does the board have any reference designators such as C45 and R45 or whatever printed on the circuit board? id like to stay as close as possible to the original but dont mind using a disc ceramic cap if i have to, also what value of pot are you going to use? 1k?
sorry for all the questions but im pretty exited about this awesome mod!!!

thx
nebula
Old 16th February 2014
  #21
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by NebulaZero View Post
nice find, so im guessing if the cap is a 104 that would make it a 0.1uf? i can solder all the way down to a 0603 component size, does the board have any reference designators such as C45 and R45 or whatever printed on the circuit board? id like to stay as close as possible to the original but dont mind using a disc ceramic cap if i have to, also what value of pot are you going to use? 1k?
sorry for all the questions but im pretty exited about this awesome mod!!!

thx
nebula
all will be revealed probably tonite or tomorrow nite if i get the chance to make a vid. It has to be the same size ceramic cap not just value but also literally size (they make a few sizes) because the bigger ones behave differently with audio. And the pot ive used it 10k. With a 10k one you can crank the pot all the way left and get the sound back to the original. so then when you start to creep right it starts to "add mod"
Old 16th February 2014
  #22
Gear Guru
Cool!! Takes it out of KPR-77 snare territory..
Old 16th February 2014
  #23
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flat earth's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Wonder if Korg will acknowledge this?

It really makes a huge difference to the whole factor. I was about to buy one, but now im not sure whether to wait. hmmm .....
Old 17th February 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackout- View Post
have you managed to find any useful mods Pete?

i sure hope Korg release a firmware update for Swing. Or maybe some brilliant programmer could hack the code and insert a Swing for us?? 16 degrees of swing which is chosen by the 16 keys across the front after pressing a certain key function combination? its gotta be done! my talent starts and ends with a soldering iron heh
Thanks. I'm much better with digital stuff (ie, code) rather than analog, so I'm not sure I'll be much help here. Plus, holy crap is that dense packing on that board.

It seems to me that swing could be handled by adding in a second processor of some sort and feeding it to the sync. I've actually been thinking about how I could take something like the volca and add a second level of cpu, a new case, and break out all the pads. It's down on my list, though, after I finish modding this Matrix 6 (like 100 years from now) :D

Pete
Old 17th February 2014
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackout- View Post
all will be revealed probably tonite or tomorrow nite if i get the chance to make a vid. It has to be the same size ceramic cap not just value but also literally size (they make a few sizes) because the bigger ones behave differently with audio. And the pot ive used it 10k. With a 10k one you can crank the pot all the way left and get the sound back to the original. so then when you start to creep right it starts to "add mod"
If it's touchy, try using a polyester cap instead of ceramic. It's not size that makes them behave differently, it's the nature of the cap and the tolerance of the cap. That's why you see WIMA caps and polystyrene caps in so many synthesizers and pre-amps.

Pete
Old 17th February 2014
  #26
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 View Post
If it's touchy, try using a polyester cap instead of ceramic. It's not size that makes them behave differently, it's the nature of the cap and the tolerance of the cap. That's why you see WIMA caps and polystyrene caps in so many synthesizers and pre-amps.

Pete
well ahead of you man. The cap was picked very carefully. i tried probably 30 different values and polys as well. The Polys dont discharge fast enough, you get a leftover noise in the background from the snare between hits. it sounds like a kind of distant reverb, but in a bad , leaky kinda way.

you seem to know your electronics also too...its good to have you on this thread man!
Old 17th February 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackout- View Post
well ahead of you man. The cap was picked very carefully. i tried probably 30 different values and polys as well. The Polys dont discharge fast enough, you get a leftover noise in the background from the snare between hits. it sounds like a kind of distant reverb, but in a bad , leaky kinda way.
Awesome. I wasn't sure

Looking forward to the fix. The original snare is complete crap; your version sounded much better.

Pete
Old 18th February 2014
  #28
Gear Maniac
ok video is up!



Here is the full video containing the demo of my finished mods to the Korg Volca Beats snare and hat, as well as full instructions on how to do the mod following afterwards! The mod makes for a much cleaner and useable snare than the distorted rubbish that the KVB is shipped with, and the addition of the triangle sound mod to the hats gives some nice variation to the unit as well.

I hope you get this mod up and running yourself and the best of luck! it sure transforms the KVB into a more sophisticated beast.

Cheers!
Old 18th February 2014
  #29
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Wow good job man. That's big deal imho. How come engineers could mess that bad? Although the distortion could be intended after hearing the results I can say it sounds ten millions better. I wonder if someone at Korg would see this
Old 18th February 2014
  #30
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by blizt View Post
Wow good job man. That's big deal imho. How come engineers could mess that bad? Although the distortion could be intended after hearing the results I can say it sounds ten millions better. I wonder if someone at Korg would see this
who is to say. maybe they did intend it to sound like that. and im sure some ppl will prefer the sound of the original snare. so they dont have to do the mod. or they could use a switch as i explain in the video to have the best of both worlds

im lovin this little unit now!
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