We all love the vocoder effect. Throughout the years, the effect founds it way into many genres. In this article I will share a great plugin for making this effect with you, and tell you how to use it. Lets begin!
A vocoder is a tool that gets used the most for vocals. The vocoder was invented by Homer Dudley who tried to emulate human speech. The vocoder was invented to send safe messages to each other in cases of war. Later on, it became a popular instrument to manipulate vocals. Famous artists who used a vocoder in their productions are: Kraftwerk, Bruno Mars , 2pac and Dr Dre, and this list can go for ages 😉
A physical vocoder has two main parts. A carrier and a modulator. Most of the time, a carrier is an synth oscillator (a sine wave for instance). The carrier plays notes. The modulator follows mimics the notes that the carrier plays. So, to create the vocoder effect, you need to have a midi who plays notes. The modulator is a human voice most of the time, but it could be any instrument or sound. The modulator and carrier get both split into separate frequency bands. Those separate bands are filtered and the two signals get layered again to create the vocoder sound.
This free vocoder plugin is called the Tal Vocoder. You can download it here. Let’s have a quick overview of the plugin.
The carrier lets you choose out of three 4 oscillators: a pulse, a saw, a sub (basically a low sine wave) and a noise oscillator.
The Ftune and tune knobs let you choose the fine tuning of the oscillators.
The range lets you choose how many notes the vocoder can play.
If you want to play portamento notes, you need to click on the poly mode. The porta knob lets you choose how heavy the effect is.
In the vocoder section, you can choose how prominent each separate frequency band is.
The ess volume is basically a de-esser.
The release button lets you choose when the effects stop.
To use the vocoder you need two things: a vocal and a midi (in most of the cases, chords).
You put the vocal in a mixer track. Then you add the Tal Vocoder Plugin. Then you need to create a midi out channel. The midi out channel plays the notes on which the plugin will react. Creating a midi out channel goes different in different daws. That’s why I made a list with video’s in which is explained how to do it in each daw.
Then, in the settings of Tal Vocoder, can choose a midi input channel. You choose your midi output channel and Voila, your effect is there!
So, if you followed the steps I’ve given you in this article, you are capable to make great vocoder sections! Have Fun!