Do You Believe In Vocoders?

In the latest episode of the Spoken Word with Electronics podcast, host Ethan Persoff explores the sound of the GRP Synthesizer V22 Vocoder.

Here’s what Persoff has to say about episode 71, The GRP Vocoder Speaks for Itself (Demo and Sound Tests of the GRP V22):

“This week, after a short stay through customs, a wonderful box arrived from Italy: the GRP V22, an all-analog vocoder. GRP Synthesizer is a small Italian company which assembles its electronics by hand and spends years on development, imbuing their work with a European craftsmanship that is often faithful to original electronic concepts. The wall-sized A8 synthesizer and very creative R24 sequencer are two examples of their impact on the electronics community.

And now they have a vocoder. An amazing vocoder built as authentic to original designs of how a vocoder works as possible. It’s pretty damn exciting. But what is a vocoder? Despite vocoders’ ubiquity in plug-ins and other formats, fully analog vocoders with access to the spectral analysis are exceptionally rare.”

19 thoughts on “Do You Believe In Vocoders?

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more ridiculous sales pitch for a vocoder before. Why anybody would take the time to build an analog one today just boggles my mind. If there ever was an application where no analog circuit that I can imagine can come anywhere near to the simplest DSP application, vocoding is it. While with a DSP circuit, it is easy to envision a 256-band vocoder with 96dB/oct filters and precision envelope followers, trying to construct something even 1/8th that complex using analog circuits would amount to a waste of time. In other words, this is just plain silly!

    1. But analog sounds purer and you have immediate tactile feedback from dozens of knobs connected to the signal path, which makes your voice sound more effervescent and improves the depth and soundstage.

    2. No no no. The vocoder sound to me is from a limited number of bands. No mouse clicking and a simple oscillator. Nothing flash for me, an old Music and More one. A. A more patching up but quick to get a nice robot voice. Tune onboard osc, tweak to suit the song. Play and instrument through it for your more lush sounds. I’ve got consistently better results than any plug in. You only need a shitty old mic too. I do need to get one of the Roland keyboard vocoders too.

  2. Why do people build guitars, violins, acoustic pianos? The comments criticizing this are so stupid it boogies the mind. If it’s not for you don’t buy it. What traumatized you so much in your life that all you do is shit on everything. I really feel sorry for you. It’s a pretty sad state of mind to live with and a huge waste of time. Life is full of things that don’t make sense to you but spending time and energy complaining about them is a tragic waste of a life.

    1. Easy there, Captain.

      I agree that some of the criticism is harsh, but contained somewhere in there is most likely a kernel of truth.
      Just because you don’t like to hear it doesn’t mean that those who are saying it should be shut down with insults and accusations.

      And those saying harsh words might want to think about their message, too…please keep it constructive.

  3. Not thinking this will ever be a top-seller for them, but it deserves a much better demo than this one. Singing guitars, syncrosonic drum chords, sound mangling, DMT machine elf voices, etc.. Make it so, GRP!

  4. The GRP’s vocoder is about working within specific limitations. It has “Berlin style” nicely written all over it. For me, Roland’s VP-550 and its Vocal Designer are the models to beat. Sure, I like “old,” analog vocoder work in different places, but that’s the implementation that best straddles the line between robot voices and fluid electronics. Its always struck me as a unique instrument that’s more than a gimmick.

    1. for 3440 euro’s I have better musical uses for the money than this; geez you could almost get a non-linear C15 for that. I use a Warp’s and change the firmware to do anything this thing can do for me.

  5. I’m more of a Kraftwerk ‘The voice of Energy’ sorta guy than Daft Punk’s use of the vocoder
    The more robotic and less human the better for me, old style speech synthesis into the vocoder is awesome
    Would love to play around with the classic old units, and this.

    There’s a great book available on vocoders called ‘How to wreck a nice beach’ by Dave Tompkins.
    It’s a cultural history rather than a technical book though.

    Military use Sigsaly, EMS, Sennheiser etc.
    Some great articles on old school artists that made use of the vocoder

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