The Voder, A Speech Synthesizer From 1939

This video is an amazing historical demo, from 1939, of the VODER – considered by some to be the first attempt to synthesise human speech by breaking it down into its component sounds and then reproducing the sound patterns electronically.

Per Wendy Carlos:

Homer Dudley….invented the VODER (Voice Operating DEmonstratoR), an electronic speaking instrument, which was unveiled (and demonstrated hourly) at the New York World’s Fair 1939-40.

Inside the tall rack of sturdy electronic gear was a pitch controlled reedy oscillator, a white-noise source, and ten bandpass resonant filters. For a Voder to “speak” a talented, diligently trained operator “performed” at a special console connected to the rack, using touch-sensitive keys and a foot-pedal. These controlled the electronic generating components. The results, while far from perfect (it was damn difficult to operate!), were still entertaining and instructive of the principles involved.

via Make; CDM has an interesting vocoder overview

4 thoughts on “The Voder, A Speech Synthesizer From 1939

  1. awesome find, I recalled seeing in my childhood something on educational tv about voice synthesis in the 30-40s could never track it back to this video.


  2. that only tells me one thing.
    they have probably captured and have been studying ufos for a long time, even before 1947.

Leave a Reply