serious vocoder

ZDF vocoder for serious vocoding

(12 Votes)
1.0 (Updated 6 months ago)
February 25, 2021
Reaktor 6
Effect Filter


"we have daft punk at home"

to be frank, i've never been terribly floored by the sound of many software vocoders. have always had a suspicion that using the computationally expensive and state of the art ZDF reaktor filters might go some of the way closer to getting a 'classic vocoder' sound. after some experimentation, the curious combination of the 4 pole NLB ladder (to 2p bandpass breakout) for the modulator, and butterworth bandpass for the carrier, seemed to give a surprisingly good result. OK, the next thing to do was figure out a heuristic approximation of the voiced/unvoiced detection that nicer vocoders have, with a burst of noise exciting the carrier for fricatives and plosives, but is inaudible or mostly inaudible at all other times: check. this has a side effect of also working nicely for transients when vocoding things like drums. this noise channel is also slowly gated by the carrier.

the number of voices corresponds to the number of bands. it is set to 32, but it can be set to fewer (if you're going for a more 'authentic' sound), or more (if you're a dork). dialing in the number of voices and hearing the quality of the vocoder change the instant you let up the mouse should not be missed*

for maximum effect, the carrier signal aught be driven with something like an unfiltered saw wave, a pro tip is to mix in some unfiltered impulse train (to taste) as well, since the best thing to have for a carrier signal is something with a flat frequency response or close to it, to avoid a 'hat on a hat' or 'transfer function on a transfer function' effect on the sound. conversely, some filtering of this carrier signal could also be desirable, since the unvoiced-envelope gated noise can excite the high frequencies on its own, and providing separation between the lower vowels driven by an oscillator and higher frequency speech components driven by noise could be argued a more realistic approximation of human speech

version 1.0 is mostly de-jenkified. the resonance for the modulator's filters is at a constant .94, so setting the number of bands too low *might* cause high frequency response to suffer, seeing as there is no consideration of adjusting for bandwidth. this is because it seemed to sound the best this way, so a future update may or may not address this. also a B panel with expanded controls, mostly for fine tuning the parameters of the unvoiced envelope and the bandwidth of the noise, could be a possibility. the display will no longer will correctly when the number of voices is changed, but other than that, this thing just works, so don't @ me


4 months ago
really great
andrew aronson
6 months ago
i don't know anything about logic im afraid, but it needs to be loaded in a way so as to use reaktor as an effect that processes audio input, audio and carrier as L/R audio channels. from what i gather mfx is something to do with midi input, this ensemble has no instrument included to necessitate midi, though i've considered including one
Michael Moran
6 months ago
Noob type question I'm afraid. I'm new to Reaktor. I've been loading instruments and effects as AU plugins in Logic. When I try do do the same here I was guessing it's under Reaktor MFX? I can't seem to make it load at all there – loads fine if I load the Vocoder direct into Reaktor, but then I'm quite limited as to what I can do with it!
Brian Flanagan
6 months ago
Thanks. I use it as a VST in FL studio. I figured it out as I have to set it as an effect in the mixer and then route the carrier and modulator to that channel. Sounds great!
_ bitquisite
6 months ago
@andrew sounds pretty good, thank you! @Brian e.g. in Cubase, you can put it on a group channel, which is fed by two audio channels, one panned left (carrier) and one panned right (mod)
andrew aronson
6 months ago
as it is, if you are using reaktor as a vst (vsti is no good because it will pass input audio) and inputs 1 and 2 are both getting distinct audio it should just work. did you load it as an ensemble, and do you see in reaktors input meter on top that both channels are active and recieving signal? if one both are not active it will stay silent. even plugging one sound into both inputs should get an output
Brian Flanagan
6 months ago
How do I assign the carrier and modulator? I've tried routing the audio as well as side chaining and can't seem to get it to pick them up.
6 months ago
Yes, since Daft Punk is gone home - we've daft punk @ home.
Catman Dude
6 months ago
Thanks, Andrew! Impressive work (as always).