MIXING & EFFECTS
Vocodex is the last word in vocoders, featuring advanced articulation envelopes, integrated Carrier synthesizer and Soundgoodizer maximizer, vocoder envelope control and up to 100 variable-width multi-parameter vocoder bands. Vocodex - By your command!
Related plugin - Fruity Vocoder.
Vocoding is the process of using the real-time frequency spectrum of one sound (Modulator) to modulate the frequency spectrum of another (Carrier). The vocoder engine consists of a series of bandpass filters that allow through only those frequencies detected in the Modulator source. So, for example, when a human voice is used to modulate a synthesizer chord, it will sound like the synthesizer is talking, the classic robot voice from many sci-fi movies.
Controlling Vocodex will be easier if you clearly understand how vocoding works. This section covers the basics of vocoding then moves onto some more creative uses of Vocodex.
Vocoding in detail
Vocoding is the process of detecting signal levels across a range of narrow frequency-bands in one sound (the modulator, MOD) and filtering another sound (the Carrier, CAR) with the same frequency-band level activity. Simply, imagine the Modulator band peaks are sliders of a graphic equalizer on the Carrier sounds Mixer channel, and that's Vocoding in a nutshell.
Band analysis - In the screenshot left, the vertical colored bands show the modulator frequency-level activity. The bands are in essence automatically controlled levels on a 5 to 100 band graphic equalizer through which the Carrier is trying to pass. When a band opens, that frequency (if present) in the Carrier is allowed through. More precisely, each frequency band's analysis envelope continuously tracks level changes in the Modulator and applies this envelope to the equivalent band in the Carrier's filter bank. It is through this process the Carrier takes on the temporal-frequency characteristics of the modulator sound, and it is the essence of vocoding.
Vocodex allows you to change the number of vocoding bands from 5 to 100 (using the Bands selector). Generally the more bands used, the more like the original (Modulator sound), the vocoded sound will be (within the limits of the Carrier's frequency range and timbre, see below). If you are after a more 'robotic' (harsh) sound try using the 16 to 32 band range. You can also achieve a similar effect by turning the Band width knob to the right, and widen the bands. To keep CPU usage down we recommend using the lowest number of bands needed to achieve the sound you want.
Carriers - It should be clear to you that if a frequency band opens, and there is no sound at that same frequency in the Carrier, then that particular 'timbral' character of the modulator sound will be lost. The clarity of speech, in particular, suffers when there is little or no high frequency sound present in the Carrier. This is because sibilant sounds ("s","t", etc.) consist mainly of high frequency noise. In response to this problem Vocodex includes a NOISE control (that injects noise into the Carrier), a Modulation pass-through slider (MOD) on the Mixer section, with high-pass filter to select only the sibalent sounds and a Modulator pass-through envelope (that can also be set to allow through only high frequencies from the Modulator). Use any of these controls to preserve the intelligibility of speech.
NOTE: The Sytrus synthesizer engine is used in Vocodex to generate internal Carrier sounds, see the Carrier Synthesizer section above for more details on how to replicate the internal Carrier sounds with Sytrus as an external source.
Pitch-tracked modulator - One interesting variation on the standard vocoder effect is achieved when the Carrier tracks the pitch of the Modulator (usually the pitch of the Modulator and Carrier are independent), this results in a more 'pure' vocoded voice sound more closely resembling a 'Talk-Box'.
Percussion - While vocoders are usually associated with speech, they also make unique and cool effects when applied to drums and other instruments. When using Vocodex as an effect (on percussion in particular), you may want to allow some of the original Modulator (drum) sound through with the MOD (Modulation pass-through level) slider. Carriers can be the sound being effected or something totally different, as usual, experimentation is rewarded.
Need speech? - If you don't have a mic or are looking for interesting speech recordings, to use as Modulators, check out Librivox, a library of out-of-copyright audiobook recordings by volunteers. See the site's Copyright page for details on how they can be used.
Plugin Credits: Didier Dambrin
Vocodex sample: Katy Theodossiou.