Korg Volca Bass MIDI + Patchbay + USB-C + SNÖkoder

What the heck is a SNÖkoder?

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In my TIPs series I showed a patch point (gallery) and patch cable you can make from different PIN kits. I am going to show you how to make those cool patch bays using the Volca Bass. Thats right. Its your lil MS-1 lol. Not really but... close. Its all in the analog wiring.... and maybe an occasional 555 timer, and this and that..... well I will illustrate for you how us starving wannabe musicians make side change and have fun. This is the Volca Base SNÖkoder or VB-1. At the end of this project we are going to put it in a nice plugable wood case As close to the Banner image Korg 7 series with an MPE keyboard no less and wicked aftertouch-touch-and lots of doo-dads!

OK, I was at Fry’s and my daughter wanted a voice changer to wear around her neck. She bought it and didn't make it. So I snatched it! No actually I asked and she said “yeah that wasn’t what I wanted” anyways, I modded that thing after pouring over hours and hours of vocoders to break down the essentials of Peter Frampton and Peter Frampton the original Talk Box he used, rather than the holy booboo expensive Korg or Moog Vocoder and I didn't want it to be ... you know... a toy. But rather a bad MÖFO  hopefully as close as the MKS version

So anyways I wired it into the Volca Bass and Ill show you how to turn a $9 voice changer into a so-so vocoderish-talkbox-voice-changer-wannabe-cool-pro-feature-that-costs-$9!


The Volca sounds a lot more MS-10 now lol. Like a TB 303 on acid :)

MPEG Video - 3.00 MB - 02/12/2020 at 04:43



The last few seconds are the SNOKoder dialed in correctly. This was my maiden voyage with it so I was trying to find myself lol...

MPEG Video - 4.19 MB - 02/12/2020 at 04:05



This was from last night when I finished SQUEEZING the case back together.... won't do that mistake again lol...

MPEG Video - 2.88 MB - 02/12/2020 at 04:05



I got the Gold standard for all Volca Mods. The Volca Service Manual. Took some digging but I am so happy its now in a safe part of the Internet for the public to enjoy.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 3.01 MB - 02/07/2020 at 01:16


  • 1 × Vellman MK171 Voice Changer Cheap for $7 to $9 all over... Its a very basic vocoder, but Fn cool to play with.

  • Part 1 finished! Time to Test!

    DarSwede02/11/2020 at 07:48 0 comments

    So I finished adding all the wires tried and tired to seal the case(too many wires) and thats that. I hooked it up to the miniBrute and away it went! OMG its ruff. I mean gritty rough.... wow... it really changes the color of the unit. 

    Last night...

    I am adding an audio file I recorded just now after I got it plugged in. Its not anything really musical just some interesting bass and tons of frequency overlap with all the crossing and modulation from both synths. Its the odd in my space oddity. I also added one little bit of the vocoder before I put it in the case. 

  • SNÖ Tip: Don’t forget your ground!

    DarSwede02/10/2020 at 08:09 0 comments

    One thing these battery capable devices that are working in different voltages through the PCB, grounding your new fantastical bonanza add-on. Yeah... no comment...

    So, I found a good “re-use” Tip. See the lower right corner screw hole, that little piece of soldered copper, thats glued with a dab of hot glue and stuck to that particular screw hole. 

    Why that screw hole?

    Well, thats one of two main grounds the Volca’s usually have. 

    Here is the one on the Volca Sample, the Volca Bass is on the back front plate as well.

    So on the Volca Base it lays on top of that little hole and anything there touches the copper. So I took a snippet of Solder Wick. Thats the cleaning copper that you use to clean PCB solder out of holes and stuff. It was saturated with solder so I squeezed it flat and glued it to the edge down the back of the lil’ stand-off on the base body. Then I ran the green wire over to a 2 pin ground that I soldered by combining two pins on the PCB add-on board I mounted in the Battery compartment. 

    Snipped the tips off some patch cables I had to make shorties to solder to the wick, and then over to the PCB board. 

    This allowed me to daisy chain my grounds on my jacks with just one wire. Easy Peasy. 

  • ...and one more thing...

    DarSwede02/10/2020 at 07:52 0 comments

    So I have power!!! OMy

    It transmitted midi so thats good. The VCF out worked with the MiniBRUTE. Thats 2! The Saw 3 OUT is next. Based on some good advice from another tinkerer, I am taking my time, one port at a time, testing each function as I add.... 

    That was my first mistake on the Volca Sample. “Let’s do 20 things at once, what could go wrong?” Yeah... lesson learned. 

  • KORG Volca Bass CV+Mods+More Progress! Pics and details

    DarSwede02/10/2020 at 03:11 1 comment

    Added all the ports including Many extra, extra ports! by adding 2 wires to SAW3, SQR3

    Added 3 VCA Ports and 3 Patch points, 4 VCO ports, and 4 VCO patch points

    Running the Patch points to the surface of the front plate, thats where the micro-styling will be hard. Going to use breakout boards for a matrix board patch panel. OR I am going to destroy this VOlca Bass. I got a 50/50 chance so thank goodness these can be had for a song on Reverb. (In comparison to say a MiniMoog lol) 

    Some more info from the schematics for those who need it

    3.3V is the C4 note CV out. Also these boards are mostly divided in to 3.3, 6.5, 5v . The 5V seems very stable all over so adding an UNO or GrandCentral is so tempting at this stage but I must wait :) but not thing at a time...right?

    Remember vendors list CV outs as VCO as well... Lest not forget. In Korgs case it was intentional. If you want you can manually wire each VCO separately as well. I will be doing that on the Volca Kick when it arrives this week.  That’s where the dreams come true. 

  • More progress Pics

    DarSwede02/07/2020 at 05:30 0 comments

    Yeah its uneven, but it will sound pretty awesome.

  • Mounting the output jacks, pots, button of unknown, and...

    DarSwede02/07/2020 at 05:27 0 comments

    Here are some images of the process so far. 

    I am adding some extra items to the Volca Bass such as this little dude I found. 

    Yeah it’s not pretty right now. It gets better in the end. I hope.. lol

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  • 1
    Start with a plan (YES! The boring part) with lots of pictures...

    Write, draw, doodle, surf and copy, whatever you do to learn just do it, and find what you’d like to stick in your Volca Bass and just try it. Bread board the circuit and then transfer that design to a prototype on a protoboard..experiment! But most of all STOP! If it turns into work. Its supposed to be fun. Take your time. Ask questions, watch videos! 

    I used green painters tape. I learned this from LOOKMUMNOCOMPUTER’s YouTube channel. If you never seen his Gameboy synth, then you have never really seen a Synth made out of a hundred Gameboys play the THX roar.  then have you?

    Make sure and and use painters tape to prevent the plastic from cracking and it leaves a really nice cut. Painters tape has a similar adhesive viscosity to the peel on stickers and vinyl stickers you can buy. Great stuff! I recommend it or the blue kind works just as good. The green is a little ... more... its just more better... (yes I know) more of everything that is good about ... er... tape :) 

    Yeah my crooked holes... I even used a ruler, and I measured them so precise (no stop laughing.... I did for reals man) thats the way hacking goes. Its not an exact science. I fretted over that for too long to not have fun. This stuff is fun, its cheap, I’m using my brain, I hope.. I can sell it or trade it for something cool around the community. This are going to be around for a long time I can tell. Oh and I leave my initials amongst my mods so look for it, If you want me to look over a mod to tell you if one that I did I’d be more that happy. 

    There are lots of mods all over methuselah and back, above the ground, underground, the dark web, the light web, heck I was even scrounging libraries and old musical theorie books trying to soak up knowledge about this stuff. Its really amazing. Ok enough chit chat... ( I heard “it’ll get ya hurt”) lets mod!

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