Korg Volca, Monotribe and Monotron mods

Sometimes you don’t need to completely overhaul an instrument to make it more . A few minor improvements can sometimes make even the most humble gear take on a new lease of life. That’s exactly the case with some of Korg’s recent analogue products, which lend themselves nicely to simple modding.

Korg haven’t ever really made a big fuss about the modding potential of their products in the same way as, say, Moog have with the Werkstatt, but they’ve quietly been encouraging users to open up and tweak their products for a few years now. The first sign came back in 2010, when the company quietly released schematics for their humble Monotron pocket synth. As the Monotron series expanded, the modding potential continued, with Korg even labelling the position of key signals on the circuit boards, as if to urge people to solder to them. The DIY community duly obliged, hacking the tiny Monotron into all kinds of weird and wonderful instruments.

Next up came the Monotribe, which was still based on the same MS-20-inspired synth circuitry as the Monotron. Once again, it turned out to be a modder’s dream, with neatly marked patch points allowing users to add features like MIDI, additional oscillators, mutes and trigger outputs.

Finally, came the Volcas, again with neatly labelled PCBs. Users soon found that features such as MIDI output, CV input, distortion, note length, accent and individual level controls were relatively easily added to the Bass. Although none of the mods may be particularly earth-shattering, they take what begins as an affordable, simple instrument up to the next level.

Although we’re only really focusing on synths here, it’s worth noting that the Volca Beats is probably the most hackable of the three Volca units, with individual outputs, CV control of hi-hat grain and the stutter effect adding a lot of functionality.

16th June, 2015


  • What about the Mute Synth II?

  • Great read. Thanks.

  • The extensive envelope control on the x0xi0 is really the defining feature…but all in all, a wonderful, wonderful mod that transforms the x0xi0 into something else entirely…

  • Well, going back, the E! and and SuperMAX for the Yamaha DX7 are pretty amazing, but maybe not so much for your audience. The SCI Pro One TurboCPU+MIDI might be though.

  • What about Europa for Jupiter-6 and Gligli for Prophet-600? They’re great inexpensive massive upgrades. Gligli is even free.

  • There is no link for the Tubbutec mod in the article. Here is the link:


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