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.