7 great vocoder plug-ins

15th Nov 2011 | 16:08

7 great vocoder plug-ins
I. Am. A. Robot.

Vocoders have been popping up in music production since the early 1970s, and every now and then they make a comeback (hands up, Daft Punk fans).

But for every over-indulgent, funktastic outing (Herbie Hancock’s late 70s o­fferings are a particular guilty pleasure of the crew), there are hundreds of users out there sneaking snatches of vocoded vocals (and more) into their tracks. Like Auto-Tune, the e­ffect has become a mainstay of music production.

But before we go hunting, what are we actually talking about here? In essence, a vocoder is a device that uses multiband ­filtering to take the ‘response’ of one sound (the modulator) and give it the character of another (the carrier).

The modulator is typically a voice or percussive instrument and, although the carrier signal can be anything you like, a synthesiser gives the classic vocoded ‘talking synth’ or robot voice sound. Plug-ins tend to have built-in sound generation (ie, a basic synth) but often can process external carriers too.

All of the vocoders in our round-up are dual-platform, except Vocodex (PC-only) and OrangeVocoder (Mac-only). Let’s find out a little bit more about them.

NEXT: SoniVox Vocalizer

7 great vocoder plug-ins
SoniVox Vocalizer
PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS, £109

Delivers both traditional vocoder effects and more creative sounds in an easily playable format.

Find out more about SoniVox Vocalizer

7 great vocoder plug-ins
Eiosis ELS Vocoder
PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS, €220

Based on the EMS 5000, this is a feature-rich vocoder with multiple analogue-influenced filter bank configurations. It can also handle two stereo sidechains.

Read Eiosis ELS Vocoder review

7 great vocoder plug-ins
VirSyn Matrix
PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS, €199

Includes very fast envelope followers for accurate resynthesis and an optional VSM filter module based on Sennheiser’s classic 201 Vocoder.

Read VirSyn Matrix review

7 great vocoder plug-ins
Sonic Charge Bitspeek
PC, Mac/VST, AU, $35

A wildcard entry, this one isn’t a vocoder, strictly speaking. However, if it’s robot voices you’re after, Bitspeek simply has to be considered, hence its inclusion.

Read Sonic Charge Bitspeek review

7 great vocoder plug-ins
Sugar Bytes Robotronic
PC, Mac/VST, AU, $99

Crams loads of features into a tiny frame, including formant shift, EQ, compressor, multieffects and even a sample player. A standalone version is included too.

Find out more about Sugar Bytes Robotronic

7 great vocoder plug-ins
Prosoniq OrangeVocoder
Mac/AU, €169

A plug-in that’s been around forever, it seems - this is the 10th Anniversary edition. Easy to use, flexible and great-sounding, it delivers instant gratification.

Find out more about Prosoniq OrangeVocoder

7 great vocoder plug-ins
Image-Line Vocodex
PC/VST, FL, $99

Offers many options including doubling, band unison and an output limiter. The real gem, though, is the option to use anything from 5 to 100 bands.

Find out more about Image-Line Vocodex


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