Introduction: Improve Korg Volca Beats With Individual-Out Mod

Picture of Improve Korg Volca Beats With Individual-Out Mod


The Korg Volca Beats is a really cool affordable analog drum machine, but having all the instruments summed into one output is a serious limitation. Luckily, Korg made it relatively easy for us to tap all the instruments off the circuit-board and feed them to individual outputs:

  • Kick
  • Snare
  • Toms (it is actually possible to get both toms separate, but I didn't think that was necessary)
  • Hats
  • PCM sounds

The tools you need are:

  • 5x 3.5mm audio jack
  • Nice thin wires will make your life a lot easier. Some thing like this would work perfectly.
  • A soldering iron with a thin tip.
  • A thin strand of solder.

The video below demonstrates how it looks like, what it sounds like and how I've done it.

Step 1: Open Up the Volca

Picture of Open Up the Volca

Open up the battery cover and take out the batteries.

Pry off the two buttons of Stutter Time and Depth

Now you can take out all large screws. (You can leave in the smaller screws, as they just hold in the battery compartment.)

Carefully open the enclosure making sure you don't stretch the battery and speaker wires too much. I actually had to re-solder both speaker wires as they just broke off from opening and closing the enclosure too often. Not such a big deal, but beware of it.

Step 2: Mount the Five Audio Jacks

Picture of Mount the Five Audio Jacks

Find connectors that will leave enough space to fit underneath the circuit board. Mine were only just small enough that it fits, but I can't tighten the screws on the enclosure completely without putting pressure on the circuit board.

Measure out the locations for all connectors and drill holes of the right size.

My connectors didn't have enough length to fit through the casing, so I had to clear some extra material around it with a larger drill bit.

Step 3: Do the Wiring

Picture of Do the Wiring

First, get the right tools

  • Nice thin wires will make your life a lot easier. Some thing like this would work perfectly.
  • A soldering iron with a thin tip.
  • A thin strand of solder.

Now you can start by wiring one of the ground pads (see image) to all the SLEEVES (the large part) of the 3.5mm connectors.

With this connected, you can connect connect the pads shown in the image to the TIPS of the 3.5mm connectors. The pads for TOMS, HAT and PCM are easy to find, but KICK and SNARE are a bit harder to find. KICK is the right most leg of the top-right pot (KICK CLICK). SNARE is in between on of the tiny vias in between WHITE NOISE and TOM+SNARE+KICK, please let me know if the picture is not clear!

(It can be a good idea to test out the unit right now. Just put in batteries and plug all the outputs into a mixer. Please don't put in any headphones as they, or the circuit board might get damaged.)

Step 4: DONE!

Picture of DONE!

Close up the device and there you have it; a Volca Beats with individual outputs!

I really love having the kick and toms under their own outputs, just to give them some compression and eq to make them sound even more awesome.

For me, the snare sounds a bit strange though. I might try to fix it with this trick, but if you have found a better output point, please let me know and I will update this Instructable!

Have fun, and remember that doing this is at your own risk and will void your warranty!


ksadhu made it! (author)2017-09-03


The issue with snare out is that this is directly connecting to summing resistors from membrane and noise (easyer to solder on the other side to R151 btw). the signal is weak becouse it is taken before the Q12 amp and depending on connected reciever circuitry it might change the sound many ways sice we are here almost directly connected into snares circuit.

That said it is realy one of better places to connect as i found the Q11+Q12 amp give some bias on the signal which results in weird artefacts.

BrianH368 (author)2017-04-30

Thanks a lot for this! I've done the mods as listed to include the capacitor mod for the snare; it makes a word of difference in the sound. I found it best to take the snare/ tom combo output as the individual snare out mentioned here is very low.

JoeT120 (author)2017-01-30

This mod is awesome,
Has made a cheap drum machine into a multi-out BEAST
So thanks a lot!
I tapped the white noise, ring noise, kick, snare+tom combined, hats and PCM
If you buy panel mount jack sockets you can attach them to the top surface, much easier to locate in the dark
Can't upload a picture though, this websites UI is horrid

manneokoko (author)2017-01-01

I have done these individual noise mods. They work but I find some strange increase of noise in the master output.

The master headphone output gets quite strong noise, but when I connect the individual outs the noise is decreased. The ind. outs needs to be connected in the other end (to a mixer) otherwise the noise is still there on the headphone out.

I guess that the wires are picking up noise and sending it to the back through the solder pads, but when the cable is connected the noise flow the other way.

Would it be possible to connect the jack's (breakjacks) so that they are connected to ground when nothing is inserted in the jack? According to the instructions only the sleeve should be grounded, but what about grounding the third connector so that the wire from solder pads is going directly to ground when nothing is inserted in the jack? Or would this harm the machine?

ArvidJense (author)manneokoko2017-01-05

This sounds like a great solution.

Also, if you're having noise issues, try checking your cables and power supply. Sometime running audio cables next to power cables can also be the cause of some noise.

manneokoko (author)2017-01-04

If you do this mod then you can not use a a split cable for the PSU on multiple volcas. After doing this mod the volca beats need to have its own PSU otherwise you will get loud noise on all the outputs

paulheetebrij (author)2016-12-24

Thanks for the clear picture. After using the Volca for a while, I've decided just to use 3 groups: kick/snare/toms, hat and pcm. I did the mod and it sounds as expected.

CoulroP (author)2016-05-18

I found that the best way to do it is to connect the toms and snare together(it is marked) that way the snare maintains a nice volume...i dont know if you mentioned it but...i pulled the ground from the gnd pin destinated to midi and grounded the output jacks....i find it eliminates a lot of the background noise....

palletter (author)2016-01-11

I do not think this is without risk. If you point out that testing with a headphone does damage to the circuit, and the solder points don't match up volume wise you are obviously slowly killing your'e device. The circuit was not designed for 5 multiple outputs. This will put strain on the circuit and some delicate components, and once been hot enough, part by part will start failing is my guess.

Maybe cool, but doubtfully without risk

colinrobot made it! (author)2016-01-09

This is where i took my Kick and Snare form far right bottom but im yet to finish.. need to put a cap to ground on them but don't know what size yet.. for more info try here...

colinrobot (author)2016-01-04

Hi All, Has anyone found a better spot for the snare? I'm about to put the 104 cap in place then i'm going to do the individual outs and Midi . But before i do so just wanted to know if there had been any advances? Darrens work is amazing and i've been following all over the web from Gearsluts/ Youtube/ Here and related topics on Synthtopia and Utopian ... He is the Man!!! Just wondered if you use this site? Anyhow If anyone has done this Mod or found a better place ..... Cheers!!! :)

BMLu made it! (author)2015-05-24

Hello, thanks for the clear instructions. Works like a dream, and I did not find a better snare point. I used short jacks that fit on the top plate.

natalinojohnson (author)2015-03-15

There has to be a better spot for the snare sound :/ with this mod the snare volume is low, as many pointed out already. The other instruments work flawlessly, even the BD seems great to me (as for the fact that you can't use its "part level" control... i never touch that knob on the volca, so it's not a big deal!)

danielpbyrne (author)2015-01-27

there are better spots for the kick and snare out near the bottom left, to the left of the snare point shown in the pic. The snare level is too low, and the kick sound isn't complete's missing some harmonics that get added further down the signal flow. You also don't get any "part level" control when using these points,which can be handy you will see a bunch of points near the kick snare toms point.. Find the snare and kick out there.

You should notice a tiny amount of toms bleeding into the snare and kick when you find the right spots

jibzic (author)danielpbyrne2015-02-02

Hi Daniel,

I made the separate output's mod in agreement with the points given in this article. I confirm that a continuous audible residue is present on the snare drum which the volume is lower than the others. I searched on the web for best hack points : without success. Could you indicate me on the picture of the circuit the best points for each instrument? Many thanks!


andersbang5 (author)2015-01-03

Did u use stereo out jacks, or mono? Regards and thanks for instruction!

jean.fatal (author)2014-12-06

Beginners question: Could I just exchange the 3,5 mm jacks for 6,3 mm?

ArvidJense (author)jean.fatal2014-12-10

not a problem, but you probably won't be able to mount them inside the volca any more

youcancallme.soulei (author)2014-11-14

How do you get the toms separately please ?
You said it was possible, but where are the points ?

jake.phillips.524 (author)2014-10-25

I would also really appreciate info on how to output the toms separately. It would be great to be able to pan them left and right.

victor.winters made it! (author)2014-09-18

Thanks for all the info, very clear instructions :) Did the mod yesterday and all works fine...just a question about the snare: The volume is really low now, is that normal with this mod? (Just want to know if I didn't mess anything up by accident)

jortband (author)2014-07-02

nice arvid, I am already listing after itvbut seeing the flexibility of the circuit makes me want it even more. And a well documented Instructable, however use a tripod next time for filming ;)

rainers sain (author)2014-07-01

Hallo Arvid!

Thanks for this well done and usefull documentation!

You say, that "it is actually possible to get both toms separate" - but how? Where can i find the connects? Would be nice to get that info!


About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a Dutch guy doing things with music and technology. At the moment I'm finishing my MSc in Industrial Design. Not limiting myself ... More »
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