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Starship Krupa

Routing TAL Vocoder II in Cakewalk

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I finally fully grasped how routing works in TAL Vocoder-II, so posting it here as a public service.

The basic concept of a vocoder is that you're using one audio signal to modulate another. It's a form of sidechaining, you have one audio source and you're using another one to affect it. The audio signal being affected is the "carrier" and the one affecting it is the "modulator." Many vocoders, including hardware ones, include simple internal synths to use as a carrier. TV-II has one, but may be used in a way where you may disable the internal synth and feed it both audio signals.

My initial confusion with TV-II was that in order to use it with its internal synth, you set it up backward from the usual sidechain arrangement. The plug-in is installed on the modulator track, not the track actually being modulated. That was the biggest thing to get my head around.

There are two ways to use it.

1. You want to use its internal synth (as the "carrier") with other audio controlling it (as the "modulator," traditionally a vocal). This is fine for the bread-and-butter Tupac/Daft Punk effect where you want a "robot voice."

2. You want to feed it carrier from your own synth track, and another audio track as modulator. This was my ultimate goal with a vocoder, because I want to use breathier pads for the synth input than the TAL Vocoder's simple internal synth is capable of. More Kraftwerk "Autobahn" than Tupac "California."

We'll begin with case 1.

  1. Start with a MIDI track with the notes you want to send the synth, and an audio track you want to use to modulate it (usually a vocal).
  2. Insert TV-II as an effect on the audio (modulator) track.
  3. In the plug-in UI, at the top, click on the VST3 button and enable MIDI input.
  4.  Go to the MIDI track and set its output to TAL Vocoder.

That's it. Now, you'll have to fiddle with the controls in the plug-in, adjust the synth to get a sound you like, etc., but the routing will be set up.

(The confusing part here is that you're inserting the plug-in on the modulator track, not the carrier. That's what I mean by backward.)

For case 2., you'll be using a stereo bus. You will be sending audio only, not MIDI, to the plug-in.

  1. Create a stereo bus. Name it "Vocoder."
  2. Insert TV-II as an effect on the bus.
  3. Click the button in the plug-in UI that's labeled "Input Mode On."
  4. In the audio/synth tracks you wish to use, create sends to "TAL-Vocoder-2." Set the sends to Pre-Fader.
  5.  Pan the send on the track you wish to use as the "carrier" to hard left. Pan the send from the "modulator" to hard right.

To mute the dry sound from the carrier and modulator, just pull their faders down. If you want some dry sound, bring them up

There are alternate ways to accomplish case 2, but this is the easiest I've found. Send a nice hot signal from the modulator to the right input of TV-11 and again, do some fiddling with the vocoder controls. The internal synth is inactive in this mode, so leave it alone.

General tips for vocoding: on your modulator track (usually voice) fire up a good 1176 emulation, set it to 12:1 and smash the snot out of the signal before sending it to the vocoder. Also, if using a vocal, a tuning correction/pitch changing plug-in can add another dimension. I use Meldaproduction MAutoPitch on the "Man To Woman" setting to bring my voice up (for the AIR Talkie Walkie sound), and set it so that it "glitches" a little bit. Feed the vocoder a nice, hot modulator signal.

Edited by Starship Krupa
TAL Vocoder only goes to 2 so far, not 11

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