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Encyclopedia > Sonovox

A vocoder (name derived from voice coder, formerly also called voder) is a speech analyser and synthesizer. It was originally developed as a speech coder for telecommunications applications in the 1930s, the idea being to code speech for transmission. Its primary use in this fashion is for secure radio communication, where voice has to be digitized, encrypted and then transmitted on a narrow, voice-bandwidth channel. The vocoder has also been used extensively as an electronic musical instrument. As an instrument, it is primarily used with guitars and synthesizers and produces a sound that can be described as a "talking guitar" or "talking keyboard". Vocoders are also often used to create the sound of a robot talking. Speech: (n. ... A classic FM synthesizer, the Yamaha DX7. ... Telecommunication is the extension of communication over a distance. ... Events and trends Technology Jet engine invented First atom was split with a particle accelerator Golden Age of radio begins in U.S. Disney adopts a three-color Technicolor process for cartoons First Kit Kat in UK The photocopier is invented by Carlson Air mail service across the Atlantic Science... The word encoding has a number of meanings. ... Digitizing, or digitization, is the process of turning an analog signal into a digital representation of that signal. ... In cryptography, encryption is the process of obscuring information to make it unreadable without special knowledge. ... An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces its sounds using electronics. ...

Contents

How a vocoder works

Vocoder theory

The human voice consists of sounds generated by the opening and closing of the glottis by the vocal cords, which produces a periodic waveform with many harmonics. This basic sound is then filtered by the nose and throat (a complicated resonant piping system) to produce differences in harmonic content (formants) in a controlled way, creating the wide variety of sounds used in speech. There are another set of sounds, known as the unvoiced and plosive sounds, which are not modified by the mouth in the same fashion. The word voice can mean: The human voice. ... The space between the vocal cords is called the glottis. ... The vocal cords, also known as vocal folds, are composed of twin infoldings of mucous membrane stretched horizontally across the human larynx. ... In acoustics and telecommunication, the harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency. ... An audio filter is a type of filter used for processing sound signals. ... This article is about resonance in physics. ... A formant is a preferred resonating frequency of any acoustical system. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... A stop or plosive or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ...


The vocoder examines speech by finding this basic carrier wave, which is at the fundamental frequency, and measuring how its spectral characteristics are changed over time by recording someone speaking. This results in a series of numbers representing these modified frequencies at any particular time as the user speaks. In doing so, the vocoder dramatically reduces the amount of information needed to store speech, from a complete recording to a series of numbers. To recreate speech, the vocoder simply reverses the process, creating the fundamental frequency in an oscillator, then passing it through a stage that filters the frequency content based on the originally recorded series of numbers. A carrier wave is a waveform (usually sinusoidal) that is modulated (modified) to represent the information to be transmitted. ... The fundamental tone often referred to simply as the fundamental, is the lowest frequency in a harmonic series. ... An electronic oscillator is an electronic circuit that produces a repetitive electronic signal, often a sine wave or a square wave. ...


Early vocoders

In order to address this, most analog vocoder systems use a number of channels, all tuned to different frequencies (using band-pass filters). The various values of these filters are stored not as the raw numbers, which are all based on the original fundamental frequency, but as a series of modifications to that fundamental needed to modify it into the signal seen in that filter. During playback these settings are sent back into the filters and then added together, modified with the knowledge that speech typically varies between these frequencies in a fairly linear way. The result is recognizable speech, although somewhat "mechanical" sounding. Vocoders also often include a second system for generating unvoiced sounds, using a noise generator instead of the fundamental frequency. An analog or analogue signal is any continuously variable signal. ... The frequency axis of this symbolic diagram would be logarithmically scaled. ...


An example of an early vocoder was the Sonovox, which was used in a number of songs from the 1940s to the 1960s, and is used to create the voice of Casey Junior the train in Dumbo and The Reluctant Dragon. Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century Decades: 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s - 1940s - 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s Years: 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Events and trends Technology First nuclear bomb First cruise missile, the V1 flying bomb and the first ballistic missile, the... Events and trends The 1960s was a turbulent decade of change around the world. ... In rail transport, a train consists of a single or several connected rail vehicles that are capable of being moved together along a guideway to transport freight or passengers from one place to another along a planned route. ... For the Brooklyn, New York City, neighborhood, see DUMBO. Dumbo statue at a Toronto Disney Store Dumbo is an animated feature, produced by Walt Disney and first released on October 23, 1941 by RKO Radio Pictures. ... The Reluctant Dragon is a 1898 childrens book by Kenneth Grahame, which served as the key element to The Reluctant Dragon, a 1941 feature film from Walt Disney Productions. ...


Linear prediction-based vocoders

Since the late 1970s, most non-musical vocoders have been implemented using linear prediction, whereby the target signal's spectral envelope (formant) is estimated by an all-pole IIR filter. In linear prediction coding, the all-pole filter replaces the bandpass filterbank of its predecessor and is used at the encoder to whiten the signal (i.e., flatten the spectrum) and again at the decoder to re-apply the spectral shape of the target speech signal. In contrast with vocoders realized using bandpass filterbanks, the location of the linear predictor's spectral peaks is entirely determined by the target signal and need not be harmonic (whole-number multiples of the fundamental frequency).??? Events and trends Although in the United States and in many other Western societies the 1970s are often seen as a period of transition between the turbulent 1960s and the more conservative 1980s and 1990s, many of the trends that are associated widely with the Sixties, from the Sexual Revolution... Linear prediction is a mathematical operation where future values of a digital signal are estimated as a linear function of previous samples. ... IIR may stand for: infinite impulse response (a property of some types of electronic filter) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... An FIR filter In electronics, a digital filter is an electronic filter (usually linear), in discrete time, that is implemented through digital electronic computation of digital signals. ... In acoustics and telecommunication, the harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency. ...


Modern vocoder algorithms

Even with the need to record several frequencies, and the additional unvoiced sounds, the compression of the vocoder system is impressive. Standard systems to record speech record a frequency from about 500Hz to 8kHz, where most of the frequencies used in speech lie, which requires 64kbit/s of bandwidth (due to Nyquist frequency). However a vocoder can provide a reasonably good simulation with as little as 2400 bit/s of bandwidth, a 26x improvement. The sampling frequency or sampling rate defines the number of samples per second taken from a continuous signal to make a discrete signal. ...


Several vocoder algorithms are used in NSA encryption systems: The National Security Agency took over responsibility for all U.S. Government encryption systems when it was formed in 1952. ...

  • LPC-10, FIPS Pub 137, 2400 bit/s, which uses linear predictive coding
  • Code Excited Linear Prediction, (CELP), 2400 and 4800 bit/s, Federal Standard 1016, used in STU-III
  • Continuously Variable Slope Delta-modulation (CVSD), 16 Kbit/s, used in wideband encryptors such as the KY-57.
  • Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation (ADPCM), ITU-T G.721, 32Kbit/s used in STE secure telephone
  • Mixed Excitation Linear Prediction (MELP), MIL STD 3005, 2400 bit/s, used in the Future Narrowband Digital Terminal FNBDT, NSA's 21st century secure telephone.

FIPS could mean Federal Information Processing Standard, publicly announced standards developed by the U.S. Federal government. ... Linear predictive coding (LPC) is a tool used mostly in audio signal processing and speech processing for representing the spectral envelope of a digital signal of speech in compressed form, using the information of a linear predictive model. ... CELP stands for Code Excited Linear Prediction and is a speech coding algorithm described by the US Federal Standard FIPS 1016. ... The STU-III secure telephone STU-III is a family of secure telephones introduced in 1987 by the NSA for use by the United States Government, its allies and its contractors. ... The Speech Security Equipment (VINSON), TSEC/KY-57, is a portable, tactical cryptographic device in the VINSON family, designed to provide voice encryption for a range of military communication devices such as radio or telephone. ... Pulse-code modulation (PCM) is a modulation technique. ... The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... FNBDT is the U.S. Governments new standard for secure voice communication. ... This article is about the US government agency. ...

Musical applications

For musical applications, a source of musical sounds is used as the oscillator, instead of extracting the fundamental frequency. For instance, one could use the sound of a guitar as the input to the filter bank, a technique that became popular in the 1970s. Wikibooks Wikiversity has more about this subject: School of Music Wikicities has a wiki about Music: Music Look up Music in Wiktionary, the free dictionary All Music Guide: includes a comprehensive and flexible Genre and Style system MusicWiki: A Collaborative Music-related encyclopedia Science of Music: Multimedia exploration of the... The classical guitar typically has 3 nylon and 3 nickel-wound strings. ... Events and trends Although in the United States and in many other Western societies the 1970s are often seen as a period of transition between the turbulent 1960s and the more conservative 1980s and 1990s, many of the trends that are associated widely with the Sixties, from the Sexual Revolution...


In 1970, electronic music pioneers Wendy Carlos and Robert Moog developed one of the first truly musical vocoders. A 10-band device inspired by the vocoder designs of Homer Dudley, it was originally called a spectrum encoder-decoder, and later referred to simply as a vocoder. The carrier signal came from Carlos' Moog modular synthesizer, and the modulator from a microphone input. The output of the 10-band vocoder was fairly intelligible, but relied on especially articulated speech. Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos, November 14, 1939) American composer and electronic musician. ... Bob Moog Dr. Robert A. Moog (born May 23, 1934) is the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. ... The modular synthesizer is an early type of synthesizer consisting of separate modules which must be connected by wires to create a so called patch. ... A microphone with a cord A microphone, sometimes called a mic (pronounced mike), is a device that converts sound into an electrical signal. ... Speech: (n. ...


Carlos' and Moog's vocoder was featured in several recordings, including the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, in which the vocoder sang the vocal part of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Also featured in the soundtrack was a piece called Timesteps, which featured the vocoder in two main sections. Originally, Timesteps was intended as merely an introduction to vocoders for the "timid listener", but Kubrick chose to include the piece on the soundtrack, much to the surprise of Wendy Carlos. Generally speaking, the term soundtrack refers to the recorded sound in a motion picture. ... Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director. ... A Clockwork Orange (1971) is a film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess. ... Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827) was a German composer of Classical music, the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras. ...


In the late 1970s vocoder appeared also on some pop music recordings. Especially some disco recordings and some more experimental artists (so called new age genre) utilized vocoder sometimes. Vocoder has since then appeared on pop recordings occasionally. Artists that have made vocoder an essential part of their works include a German group Kraftwerk which plays on technological themes, Roger Troutman (and his band Zapp) and Herbie Hancock (during his late 1970s disco period) who both used vocoder vocals extensively on afro-grooves. Depending on context, pop music is either an abbreviation of popular music or, more recently, a term for a sub-genre of it. ... Disco is an up-tempo style of dance music (generally between 110 and 136 beats per minute) that originated in the early 1970s, mainly from funk and soul music, popular with audiences in larger cities all over the world, and derives its name from the French word discothèque (meaning... At its beginnings, new age music was closely related to the New Age movement of beliefs, therefore, its contents have been constantly associated with mystical matters clearly present within the cultural movement. ... Kraftwerks Trans-Europe Express album (1977). ... Zapp was a soul and funk band formed in 1978 by the Troutman brothers (Roger, Larry, Lester, and Terry) and also included Bobby Glover, Eddie Barber, Bootsy Collins, Jannetta Boyce, Jerome Derrickson, Sherman Fleetwood, Gregory Jackson, and Michael Warren. ... The word Zapp can refer to: Zapp Brannigan, a character from the television series Futurama. ... Herbie Hancock Herbert Jeffrey Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is a jazz pianist and composer from Chicago, Illinois, USA. Hancock is one of jazz musics most important and influential pianists and composers. ...


Linear prediction coding is also used as a musical effect (generally for cross-synthesis of musical timbres), but is not as popular as bandpass filterbank vocoders, to which the musical use of the word vocoder refers.


Examples of vocoders in music

The vocoder is a popular instrument used by many bands. Listed below are examples of songs that utilize the vocoder.


1960s

Sly & The Family Stone, circa 1969. ... Stand! is the name of the 1969 breakout album for the soul/rock/funk band Sly & the Family Stone. ...

1970s

A Clockwork Orange (1971) is a film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess. ... Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos, November 14, 1939) American composer and electronic musician. ... Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827) was a German composer of Classical music, the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras. ... Arrowsmith is a 1925 book by Sinclair Lewis. ... Herbie Hancock Herbert Jeffrey Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is a jazz pianist and composer from Chicago, Illinois, USA. Hancock is one of jazz musics most important and influential pianists and composers. ... Klaatu was a Canadian progressive rock band in the late 1970s and early 1980s. ... Kraftwerks Trans-Europe Express album (1977). ... Yellow Magic Orchestra were a Japanese electropop band, formed in 1978. ... Pink Floyd c. ... Animals is a Pink Floyd concept album, recorded at the bands own Britannia Row Studios in London and released on 23 January 1977 in the UK on Harvest Records and then released on 2 February 1977 in the US and Canada originally on Columbia Records. ...

1980s

Earth, Wind & Fire is a legendary African American funk band, formed in Chicago in 1969. ... Jean-Michel André Jarre (born August 24, 1948 in Lyon, France) is a French composer of electronic music. ... Kraftwerks Trans-Europe Express album (1977). ... Laura Branigan Laura Branigan (July 3, 1957 - August 26, 2004) was a popular American singer/actress from Westchester County, New York best known for the song Gloria (1982). ... Laurie Anderson on the cover of her album Strange Angels Laurie Anderson (born June 5, 1947) is an American experimental performance artist and musician. ... Michael Gordon Oldfield (born May 15, 1953 in Reading, England) is a multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, working a style that blends rock or progressive rock, ethnic or world music, and classical music. ... Pretty Tony was an influential 80s electro artist based out of Miami. ... Skinny Puppy (left to right, cEvin Key, Nivek Ogre, Dwane R. Goettel), Circa 1986 Skinny Puppy is an industrial band, formed in 1982 by cEvin Key (Kevin Crompton) Nivek Ogre (Kevin Ogilvie) and engineer/producer Dave Rave Ogilvie, adding keyboardist Wilhelm Schroeder (aka Bill Leeb) for their debut LP, Bites... The cover for Styx first album Styx Styx was an American rock and roll band popular in the 1970s and early 1980s. ... Zapp was a soul and funk band formed in 1978 by the Troutman brothers (Roger, Larry, Lester, and Terry) and also included Bobby Glover, Eddie Barber, Bootsy Collins, Jannetta Boyce, Jerome Derrickson, Sherman Fleetwood, Gregory Jackson, and Michael Warren. ... Zapp was a soul and funk band formed in 1978 by the Troutman brothers (Roger, Larry, Lester, and Terry) and also included Bobby Glover, Eddie Barber, Bootsy Collins, Jannetta Boyce, Jerome Derrickson, Sherman Fleetwood, Gregory Jackson, and Michael Warren. ...

1990s

  • Air (French band) - Sexy Boy, Kelly Watch the Stars, et al
  • Covenant - Feedback, Hardware Requiem, etc (most of the album 'Dreams of a Cryotank' and the album 'Sequencer')
  • Cher - Believe (often credited with popularising Antares Autotune, although the producer responsible, Mark Taylor, insists a Digitech Talker was used)
  • Download - Base Metal
  • Eiffel 65 - Move Your Body
  • Tear Garden - Judgement Hour

Air is a French band, consisting of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, founded in 1995. ... Covenant is an EBM band from Sweden, comprised of Eskil Simonsson, Joakim Montelius and Clas Nachmanson. ... Cher on the cover of her album Living Proof Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946) is an American actress and singer. ... Download is a band created by Dwayne Goettel of Skinny Puppy prior to his death. ... Eiffel 65 is a trio of Italian musicians (from Turin, Italy) who play mostly eurodance and electronic music. ... The Tear Garden is a psychedelic pop group, formed by Edward Ka-Spel of Legendary Pink Dots and cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy in 1985 after Key served Ka-Spel on tour in Canada as a sound engineer. ...

2000s


  Results from FactBites:
 
Week 16 (409 words)
To create that "Whizzer" vocal, the producers of the record used the ubiquitous "Sonovox" system which was sort of an early form of electronic voice synthesizer, (it's descendant was no doubt used by Peter Frampton in the 1970s for his odd "talking guitar" effect).
I first became aware of the "Sonovox" in the Walt Disney movie "The Reluctant Dragon", a live action feature that is a tour of the studio in 1940.
The "Sonovox" technology coupled with the slow, affected delivery of the actor supplying Whizzer's voice resulted in a very strange and somewhat disturbing mechanical sound that is anything but appealing.
ooBdoo (1022 words)
An earlier voice effect using the same principle of the throat as a filter was the Sonovox.
It was used in a number of songs from the 1940s to the 1960s, and is used to create the voice of Casey Junior the train in Dumbo and The Reluctant Dragon, the instruments in Rusty in Orchestraville and the piano in Sparky's Magic Piano.
The Sonovox was also used in many radio station ID's produced by PAMS of Dallas and JAM Creative Productions.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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