Moog 16 Channel Vocoder Back In Production

Moog Music today announced that it is returning its 16 Channel Vocoder to production:

The Moog Factory in Asheville, NC has resumed production of the highly sought-after Moog 16 Channel Vocoder, an instrument which continuously analyzes the timbral characteristics of one sound (Program) and impresses these timbral characteristics upon a second signal (Carrier).

Originally introduced in 1978, and famously heard on Giorgio Moroder’s E=MC2, this model has been used to transmute vocals, transform synthesizers, and electronically encode sound for over 40 years.

With the Vocoder’s reintroduction, Moog Music has worked to ensure that this distinct electronic voice carries on. Derived from the original schematic, the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder’s analog voice circuits are hand-soldered at the Moog Factory in North Carolina, preserving the original instrument’s classic sound. Updated mechanical connectors and a modern power supply improve reliability and long-term serviceability, while leaving the “analog soul” of this instrument and its unique character and idiosyncrasies unchanged.

Below, Moses Sumney visited the Moog Sound Lab to perform an unreleased track from his upcoming double album grÆ.

In this rendition of “Conveyor,” Sumney processes his vocals through the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder, using the Matriarch synthesizer to serve as the vocoder’s carrier signal in order to transform and resynthesize his voice.

More About the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder:

  • The instrument works by continuously analyzing the timbral characteristics of one sound (program) and impresses these timbral characteristics upon a second signal (carrier).
  • 16 Bands: The Moog 16 Channel Vocoder offers 16 patchable bands ranging from 50 to 5,080 Hz for optimal encoding of the fundamental spectral characteristics of the human voice. In addition, a selectable DIRECT mode passes an additional high frequency channel (above 5,080 Hz) to the vocoder output for a greater degree of vocal intelligibility. While traditionally associated with vocal effects, the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder’s ultra fast response time makes it additionally useful for capturing the fast transients of percussive sounds.
  • Sample & Hold: When you articulate a sound and press the Sample/Hold switch, the tonal characteristics of that sound will be held until the switch is returned to the out position. This function is particularly useful in creating sustained vocal phrases without pausing for breath and can be controlled via remote footswitch.
  • External Patch: Use the included patch cords to interconnect this powerful vocoder with other analog gear, or create unusual “cross patches,” allowing you to select any frequency range of the program and impose those characteristics upon any frequency range of the carrier.
  • Hiss, Buzz, and Balance: Selectable Hiss (sibilance), Buzz (plosive), and Balance controls allow you to fine-tune the fundamental details of your electronic voice.
  • Footswitch Operation: The Sample/Hold, External Patch, and effect Status parameters may be remotely controlled for live performance via footswitch.

Here’s a demo by Sweetwater synth guru Daniel Fisher:

Pricing and Availability. The Moog 16 Channel Vocoder will be available later this year, with a street price of $4,999 USD. Audio demos are available at the Moog site.

Learn more about the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder at Moog Music.com.

Note: We updated this post with additional specs, a demo and street pricing.

64 thoughts on “Moog 16 Channel Vocoder Back In Production

    1. Yeah the Nord Modular has emulated this vocoder design for something like 20 years now. If I remember correctly there’s a CSound patch which lets you run it on the CPU of any modern computer without even needing the DSP hardware.

  1. Give it a week Behringer’s one will be out cloning this one for $100 and with a fresh new YouTube video showing how progressive they are for copying more shit no one asked for a copy of ( vocoder )

  2. Looks like Moog is running out of ideas for new products. The grand mother and matriarch not withstanding. Yup, at that price, i’m sure they’ll sell a dozen or so.

  3. As soon as I saw this I thought of Giorgio Moroder. I will wait for the Behringer product. Moog is terrible now, elitist garbage no one can afford. I applaud Uli for being such a visionary.

    1. Five minutes ago you didn’t even know this exists, and now you’re waiting for the Behringer copy? For what? By the time you spend trolling under every article related to Moog and Behringer I can hardly imagine you’re even making music.

      1. Agree Dacci Pucci! Just because you can’t afford it folks, or just want to get out cheap, don’t talk bad about something you haven’t even used and know little about. I sold an awesome limited edition car to buy a Moog One. Why? Because music is my passion and I wanted the best instrument money could buy! Behringer makes Moog wanna be toys. Moog makes real instruments.

        1. FYI Moog employees are shareholders of the company. Far from “synth-making slaves”, which actually align more with the clones.

    2. “I applaud Uli for being such a visionary.“

      You might want to try that comment again after the company actually does something original.

      1. They have many original products outside of the synth territory, and even then they have a few original synths. They did pretty much shake up the live industry with the x32. I don’t really see Uli as the visionary on these though, they’re all a result of a ton of people working on them.

        1. X32 did bring quality digital mixing to the masses. Of course that was after they bought Midas and it’s really a Midas design. And the xlr jacks were still junk.

    3. Moog makes quality stuff for intelligent people. The DFAM & Mother32 are incredible and cost under $500. How poor are you? Poor people shouldn’t drive ferraris

        1. You can thank the ******* Trump tax on imported parts for the price increases of American-made synths.

          Unfortunately, some people aren’t smart enough to understand that tariffs are taxes that WE pay, not some other country.

          Synth gear prices will go back down when the Trump taxes get rolled back, or when American companies give up and move their factories overseas.

          It’s too bad that companies don’t itemize out how much of your cost goes for the Trump taxes. That might piss off too many Republicans for ‘bringing politics into things’, though.

          1. BS. The tariffs had negligible effects on prices except where companies chose to milk the controversy. All the synth companies were eligible for exemptions.

            1. I’m sorry Kenny but nothing you said is correct for Tariffs in regards to synth. Even Behringer had increases across many products due to tariff effects, this is also why they waited to ship many products until certain tariffs were waiting to be shipped during the holiday season. I’m not for or against tariffs, but it is a reality and there is truth to if. Most of the chips there were also used in the medical industry were exempt however so if the synth manufacture used said chips it helped.

    4. Moog isn’t terrible at all, expectations changes slightly with Behringer making clones and such. Moog just doesn’t go overseas and make product (isn’t their forte or focus). That’s the biggest difference and the largest reason for the difference in cost. Its all tools, you can get Harbor Freight or Craftsman. They both have their markets and price points, but can all get the same job done. Buy which one you like and for your reasons only. I wouldn’t try too hard to convince someone else, its all subjective at best.

  4. if i had 6K to spend on a Moog i’d get Moog One 8 voice. cool that they’re bringing it back for high end collectors though, Moog makes beautiful extremely high quality feeling and sounding instruments, oh yeah and i always have to remind myself, they (Bob) invented the synthesizer, so wild.

    1. This isn’t your father’s Moog company. That company went under decades ago. It’s a much later company that owns the Moog name. When they made a “Moog” Minimoog Model D, it was/is a clone, as with any other Minimoog clone. It just happens to be made by a company that owns the Moog name and puts it on the product.

  5. Expensive to be sure, but probably a limited run catering to studios, not regular old consumers. And I suspect they’ll sell them.

  6. This is right in line with Moog prices. It’s about twice as much as a Minimoog D, and about half the price of a Model 10 synthesizer. Yes, I _choke_ at the price, but there it is.

    I don’t remember seeing a patch bay on other (affordable) designs.

    1. I looked at that, and the problem is that it has, according to the designer, literally about 4,000 components in it. The mono version only has about 2,800. If you don’t have your own pick-n-place machine and solder oven, you will spend a lot of time soldering.

      Someone may decide that $6000 is a decent trade-off between their time and labor and making music.

  7. whoa! sound absolutely wonderful! moog deff knows how to promote their products, great demo… enjoyed every second of daniel fisher’s too! for those who complain about the price: check out the high end gear prices… you get what you pay for and moog is a high end company, the best synth company for a decade at least… yeah, i also cant afford this one but i dont cry about it, move on!

  8. Six grand for something with only a few hundred dollars’ worth of components in it? Wow, talk about milking it for the punters. Patch bay? Sockets are about fifty cents each. Yeah, nah.

    1. I’m sorry but until you decide to make a synth in America you will not know the true cost to make an analog synth the way Moog does it.

      1. Please explain how “Moog does it.” Whenever I get boards made, even with a lot of through-hole components for handling high voltage/current applications (which is expensive and something you don’t have to worry about when designing a synth for example), I can’t imagine ANYTHING like this costing anywhere near that much to manufacture, unless you’re running platinum-plated quartz zirconia flux capacitors, and incorporate some magic healing crystals.

        The vocoder is basically a collection of bandpass filters, in other words a bunch of op-amps. There’s nothing magical about the operating principle: the vocoder has been around since 1928.

        Unlike back in 1939, when the first vocoder was demonstrated to the public, today’s op-amps are cheap. Passive components such as resistors and capacitors are dirt cheap. Go buy a reel or stick of resistors for example and work out the unit cost – it’s fractions of a cent each.

        If Moog are still “hand building”, well, sure that will increase the cost, but what is it that’s being hand-built? If it’s the boards, well, that’s just plain stupid. If it’s the cabinets and fittings, OK sure, but not $6k worth.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of Moog’s product, but looking at it honestly, the price is this high simply because they know the fan-boys will wax lyrical (and pay accordingly) because it’s a Moog, not necessarily because it’s anything special. Nostalgia is fine, but for the money, it only goes that far.

        If it went for a grand, I’d buy one, because that’s what it’s worth. But 6? Yeah, right.

  9. The only time I’ve thought “Man, this song I’m producing could really benefit from a vocoder” was when I was making a joke song with my friend.

    I like things like the DFAM and Sirin, but I’ll echo the sentiment that it seems Moog is running out of ideas here.

  10. folks complain instantly when it’s about real high quality instruments and some even think Behringer does the job to…im sure you guys won’t change your SUVs for a cheap Opel Adam, it’s the same, has 4 wheels and a roof on top. or have the cheap ass old school child buggies instead of the new fancy 1000$ ones. or if you want the real thing in sneakers you probably won’t go for primark, even though Adidas makes their shoes in the same country with the same materials. I’m so sick of Behringer fanboys complaining about these things in literally every article posted, get a life. oh and what phones do you guys use? I hope not a single one of you owns an iPhone or mac, you hypocrites.

  11. I can see myself having fun with this baby:

    Domo arigoto Mr. Roboto
    Domo Domo
    Domo arigoto Mr. Roboto
    Domo Domo
    Domo arigoto Mr. Roboto
    Domo arigoto Mr. Roboto
    Domo arigoto Mr. Roboto
    Domo arigoto Mr. Roboto…

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