Introduction: Improve Korg Volca Beats With Individual-Out Mod

About: 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 to any genre or discipline, I like to work on anything related to music, des…


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

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

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

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!

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!

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