I use vocoders quite often. Mostly I vocode, mirror and pan hard a few last words of a verse to add tension. Although cliche the technique used subtly is one of those tricks that keeps the listeners ear interested. I prefer the sound of my Digitech Talker to any software vocoder (it’s really a pseudo talk box) but having one built-in to Ableton Live 8 is a treat. It’s all about workflow people…
“A vocoder, IPA: [?vo?ko?d?r] (a portmanteau of the words voice and encoder), is an analysis / synthesis system, mostly used for speech in which the input is passed through a multiband filter, each filter is passed through an envelope follower, the control signals from the envelope followers are communicated, and the decoder applies these (amplitude) control signals to corresponding filters in the (re)synthesizer.
It was originally developed as a speech coder for telecommunications applications in the 1930s, the idea being to code speech for transmission. Its primary use in this fashion is for secure radio communication, where voice has to be encrypted and then transmitted. The advantage of this method of “encryption” is that no ‘signal’ is sent, but rather envelopes of the bandpass filters. The receiving unit needs to be set up in the same channel configuration to resynthesize a version of the original signal spectrum. The vocoder as both hardware and software has also been used extensively as an electronic musical instrument.” – Wikipedia
There are many great hardware vocoders. One is the Roland SVC-350. Check it out over at Vintage Synth Explorer: click here
Do you have a favorite vocoder or vocoding technique?