HRP-4C Singing Humanoid Robot

Here’s a singer that won’t get too drunk before the performance. These HRP-4C Singing Humanoid Robots will soon be replacing Mariachi bands at weddings all of the world. I’m kidding of course.

“A robot is a virtual or mechanical artificial agent. In practice, it is usually an electro-mechanical machine which is guided by computer or electronic programming, and is thus able to do tasks on its own. Another common characteristic is that by its appearance or movements, a robot often conveys a sense that it has intent or agency of its own.” – Wikipedia

For more info: diginfo.tv

Virsyn iVoxel

Here’s a tasty new iOS vocoder from Germany software house Virsyn called iVoxel. When it comes to vocoders clarity is king. This is why in the past I’ve mostly used non-traditional vocoder type units like a Digitech Talker. It seems the iVoxel has some of that mojo in it performing some resynthesis of your own voice before the vocoder section to make it clearer. I also like that you can record your own voice and use a few samples spread over the keys. How many iPads are we going to want on stage with us?

“Voxel is a combination of a voice optimized synthesizer and a vocoder. The vocoder part is based on the Matrix vocoder from VirSyn used by many famous artists – one of them the well known german group Kraftwerk. The channel filters used by iVoxel are based on the Sennheiser Vocoder VSM201 resulting in a rich and fat analogue sound characteristic.” – virsyn.net/mobileapp

For more info: virsyn.net/mobileapp

Sunday Sounds: Songs about Robots.

I’m in the process of moving from Berlin to New York and all the packing is making me feel like a robot. What I thought would take two days has become four and the work is all repetitive. If I only had my own robot to do this stuff for me. At least some of these songs are keeping my feet tapping.

“And she has a gay relationship with our television set.” – Say Hi to Your Mom

For those interested the move will change me from renter to landlord and yes I will be building an all new studio! Stay tuned…

I created this playlist at Grooveshark. My profile there is: thingstocome

Synthetic speech in your music.

Robot Hed - photo

Have you ever used a speech synthesizer in your music? I’ve used a 1970’s Texas Instruments Speak & Spell, Apple computer’s built in MacInTalk text to speech synthesizer, Magnavox Odyssey² video game peripheral “The Voice”, AT&T’s “Natural Voices” for telephony, Commodore Amiga’s “Soft Voice” synthesizer and a handful of other talk making algorithms.Speak & Spell - image

You can hear synthetic voices in a lot of popular music. Most recently Benni Benassi’s song Satisfaction highlights Apple’s MacInTalk speech synthesizer.

In my own music I sometimes have the synthetic voice mirror the last few words in a verse acting as a robotic backup singer. In my live version of the song “One Night in NYC” I have a synthetic female voice tell her side of the dark story. I recorded a futuristic minimal track with German producer Miro Pajic titled “Gigabytes Numbers” and the last minute of the song a male synthetic voice with a British accent rambles gibberish and well large numbers. To increase the futuristic effect on his voice we put it through a TC Electroinc’s Filtrator plug-in and then automated some delay effect times using Ableton Live’s standard Ping Pong Delay plug-in. Here’s an audio sample:

Here are a few online places you can go right now and create some synthetic voices:

What’s next? Software that creates real singing vocals of course. Yamaha’s Vocaloid software takes a stab at it but the technology really is not ready for prime time. However, I could see using Vocaloid for interesting sounds. You can jump over to Sound on Sound Magazine to hear a sample.

Keep in mind we are not “talking” about vocoding in this article. Vocoding uses a carrier signal and a real human voice and will be a subject of a different post in the future. For a current stream of updated info on Text to Speech check out the Text to Speech blog!

photo credits: redomestication and inju