Analogue Vocal Synths

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Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by gearfixer » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:36 pm

What analogue synths are out there that can give you a vocal sound like the one in this video? Also can you use a poly synth like a Juno60/PolySix to emulate this sound and if so what settings should I be using to do so.



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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by Nannerfan » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:53 pm

Sorry, Juno's will not sound like that.

Most analogs won't. The paraphonic stringers are a special breed.

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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by gearfixer » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:59 pm

Nannerfan wrote:Sorry, Juno's will not sound like that.

Most analogs won't. The paraphonic stringers are a special breed.
I though so but what is it that makes these things work? Are there other synths like this?
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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by Nannerfan » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:03 pm

VP-330 is your dream synth...

Actually I would like to hear someone elaborate on the paraphonic synths. I just know the musical aspects... not the technical.

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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by gearfixer » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:12 pm

Nannerfan wrote:VP-330 is your dream synth...

Actually I would like to hear someone elaborate on the paraphonic synths. I just know the musical aspects... not the technical.

Funny I just discovered the VP-330 synth lately and it reminded me of the logan vocalist video I had seen a while ago.
Not a fan of the vocoders but some videos of the VP had a sound I could use.
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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by Micke » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:27 pm

Here's a list I put together a long time ago of some vintage keyboards/synths with choir sounds:

1. Logan Vocal synth (1978)
- Big and very heavy (35kg!!!) 61 key poly/mono multi-keyboard featuring three independent
and layerable sections;
- Strings - essentially the same as in the contemporary Logan String-Melody
- 3-VCO mono-synth!
- Vocalist (polyphonic choir-synth)

2. Logan Vocalist (1979) - dedicated 37 key choir-synth (with 6-note polyphony?)

3. Korg PE-2000 (1976) -

4. Korg Lambda (1979)

5. CRB Diamond "Voco-strings" (1978/79)
- 4-octave polyphonic multi-instrument keyboard
- Strings- (cello, viola, violin), Chorus- (male & female voices) and Vocoder sections.

6. Teisco SX-400 polyphonic synth (1981)- 4-octave 4-voice/4-VCO programmable (8 presets and 8 userprograms) polysynth with ensemble/chorus and a great sounding "Human-voice" preset

7. Teisco EX-300 (1982) - 49 key polyphonic multi-keyboard with 4 (layerable) sections:
- Strings 4', 8'. brilliance and crescendo
- Brass 8', 16'. brilliance and attack rate
- Human voice: vovel character Ahhh or Umm, ensemble (chorus), brilliance, attack rate
- Bass 8', 16' (lowest 20 keys)

8. Farfisa Polychrome (1982)

9. Roland VP-330 "Vocoder Plus" (1979)
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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by gearfixer » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:17 pm

Micke wrote:Here's a list I put together a long time ago of some vintage keyboards/synths with choir sounds:

1. Logan Vocal synth (1978)
- Big and very heavy (35kg!!!) 61 key poly/mono multi-keyboard featuring three independent
and layerable sections;
- Strings - essentially the same as in the contemporary Logan String-Melody
- 3-VCO mono-synth!
- Vocalist (polyphonic choir-synth)

2. Logan Vocalist (1979) - dedicated 37 key choir-synth (with 6-note polyphony?)

3. Korg PE-2000 (1976) -

4. Korg Lambda (1979)

5. CRB Diamond "Voco-strings" (1978/79)
- 4-octave polyphonic multi-instrument keyboard
- Strings- (cello, viola, violin), Chorus- (male & female voices) and Vocoder sections.

6. Teisco SX-400 polyphonic synth (1981)- 4-octave 4-voice/4-VCO programmable (8 presets and 8 userprograms) polysynth with ensemble/chorus and a great sounding "Human-voice" preset

7. Teisco EX-300 (1982) - 49 key polyphonic multi-keyboard with 4 (layerable) sections:
- Strings 4', 8'. brilliance and crescendo
- Brass 8', 16'. brilliance and attack rate
- Human voice: vovel character Ahhh or Umm, ensemble (chorus), brilliance, attack rate
- Bass 8', 16' (lowest 20 keys)

8. Farfisa Polychrome (1982)

9. Roland VP-330 "Vocoder Plus" (1979)
Thanks for your list very cool!

I'm still wondering what makes these synths have there special vocal quality is it the filter, envelope or something else?
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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by SKINNYPIG » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:04 pm

gearfixer wrote:I'm still wondering what makes these synths have there special vocal quality is it the filter, envelope or something else?
I believe on the VP330 it's some kind of chorus type circuit. Wasn't someone here making a standalone copy of this? This would indeed allow your Juno to produce a human vox type sound.

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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by nathanscribe » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:23 pm

The Teisco S-100P does a good voice preset too, but it's monophonic. Aftertouch can be routed to vibrato and pitch bend up or down, which is nice.
gearfixer wrote: I'm still wondering what makes these synths have there special vocal quality is it the filter, envelope or something else?
I spent 25 minutes typing a detailed answer to that, but my crappy internet crashed out, I kicked 72 kinds of c**p out of the router, and dug out the spare so here I am again. This time it'll be shorter.

Stringers start with divide-down technology. A top octave generator produces 12 square-wave pitches, one for each note of the scale. These are passed through dividers that halve the frequencies for each octave down. Each key has a square wave under it, basically, or a pulse wave, or one of those followed by a simple waveshaper (minimum component count also a good idea - one cap and a resistor does the job). Each key also has (typically) a very simple volume envelope made with the minimum of components, maybe attack/release or similar. The outputs are mixed and routed through fixed filter banks that give your basic tones - choir, strings, etc. Then there's often an analogue (bucket-brigade) chorus tagged on which gives extra movement. That's just a typical architecture, and there are variations on it.

Paraphonics are different. Take the Korg Poly800 - eight voices run through one filter. The VCF is controllable with a proper envelope etc, but it handles all voices at once. Different sound to a 'proper' poly, which has a VCF for each voice, and a stringer, which typically has little or no control over the filters that shape the tones.

Regarding the typical voice sound, what you have is perhaps a pulse wave or such, going through a fixed filter or three. In fact, three filters is enough to give a reasonable vocal tone, and it can be done with two if you're careful. This works because a human voice has formants, a fixed frequency content regardless of the pitch being produced - just like a violin or cello has resonances around certain frequencies. Filter to shape those bands, and you have a basic emulation to some extent or another depending how far you take it. Becuase all the notes on a stringer go through the same filter, these bands remain the same regardless of note played, and because you don't need control over them, the filters can be quite specifically chosen and take particular forms that don't lend themselves to voltage control etc. Hey presto, simple design but great and particular sounds.

OK, there are variations. Another Korg, the Lambda, is one. It starts with divide-down tech, and each key has its own envelope shaper (on custom chips this time) but the Lambda presets sum the different octaves of square waves at different amounts in order to produce very rough, pseudo-sawtooths. Imagine a base frequency square, and add, at half that volume, twice the frequency. Then add quarter the volume of 4xF, and 1/8 vol of 8xF. Draw it out, you'll see what I mean. You get a very rough, stepped wave that if you squint resembles a sawtooth, more or less. These waves then go through the fixed filter to give strings, brass, choir, etc.

(Interesting side note: the Elka Synthex and Crumar Bit series form their sawtooth waves by stepped increments, which results in a not dissimilar shape - though it's at higher resolution, particularly in the Synthex).

Actually the Lambda mixes its squares differently for different sounds - strings get pseudo-saws, for example, as does brass, but organ gets a mixture of several square waves of different pitches mixed at different volumes to roughly copy the drawbars of a genuine organ. Also, the lambda's brass preset has its own paraphonic VCF - the sum of your played brass notes go through a filter that is modulated by a simple attack/decay envelope triggered by every key press - so if you hold some notes, and press another one or more, you get a filter 'hump' as it opens and closes slightly on all the notes you're playing, whether new or not. Interestingly the brass VCF can be played with a pedal too.

So the sound of these old fully-polyphonic machines comes from their very simple but thoroughly-implemented architecture. They're descendants of organs really, which also used divide-down circuits, but stringers took the idea further. Couple the full polyphony with fixed filtration, simple dynamics, and juicy onboard chorus, and there you go.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by Zamise » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:19 am

You could get an effects processor that has Talk Modulation maybe would help :idea:

They sound coolest when the vowels are being changed.

I know I can't play worth poo, but here is how it sounds on my RS7000 (not analog but you could play an anlog thru its input and apply this effect to it):

<ZQS> [....<OII>.....soundcloud player v2.42.....................link]

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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by gearfixer » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:18 pm

nathanscribe wrote: I spent 25 minutes typing a detailed answer to that, but my crappy internet crashed out, I kicked 72 kinds of c**p out of the router, and dug out the spare so here I am again. This time it'll be shorter.

Hope that helps!
It deserved it!

And yes it helps thanks.

So to get that Mellotron kinda female choir tone in the video is basically a wave going through a fixed filter or three to get a human like vocal resonance? Would the lower vocals be just different lower tunes filter banks to achieve the same human vocal effect?

I wonder if I could mod my RS-101 to have me some vocal tabs. Or at least build some of these filters banks to run it through.
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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by calyx93 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:46 pm

An easy, inexpensive and flexible solution would be an affordable standalone vocoder (both MAM VF-11 or Electrix Warp Factory come to mind) with the modulator source being fed a continuous looping "ahh" or "ooh" vocal (could be a sample of you or small choir or any looped/held vocal with the proper formants) while using your favorite polysynth of choice (your Juno's would be fine for this) providing the carrier signal. Run this through a chorus unit of your choice (I'd recommend the Elkorus for the proper string ensemble effect, but any one with good "swirl" will do). EQ and tweak the vocoder bands and synth patch 'til you're satisfied.

This combo of components would take you into the realm (and beyond) of an analog vocal/choir synth with lots of variations to boot - plus you'd have a standalone vocoder with which to do other cool studio tricks.

An effective digital option would be a V-Synth (with VC-2 card) or a V-Synth XT - which uses a similar paradigm (continuous looped vocal samples as modulators) to recreate the VP-330 choir presets.
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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by nathanscribe » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:25 pm

gearfixer wrote:And yes it helps thanks.
Glad to be of service.
So to get that Mellotron kinda female choir tone in the video is basically a wave going through a fixed filter or three to get a human like vocal resonance? Would the lower vocals be just different lower tunes filter banks to achieve the same human vocal effect?
Yes.
I wonder if I could mod my RS-101 to have me some vocal tabs. Or at least build some of these filters banks to run it through.
Here's a snapshot of the RS-101 filters:

Image

Simple enough but not something I'd recommend modding. You could however make a stand-alone filter bank which you could then run something through. Here's the Lambda's filter section:

Image

It would be very simple to build one of these in a small box with a battery supply or a Eurorack modular panel with +/- rails or what have you. Feed it a couple of modulated, detuned pulse waves and run the output through a chorus, and you're away.

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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:05 am

gearfixer wrote:
nathanscribe wrote: I spent 25 minutes typing a detailed answer to that, but my crappy internet crashed out, I kicked 72 kinds of c**p out of the router, and dug out the spare so here I am again. This time it'll be shorter.

Hope that helps!
It deserved it!

And yes it helps thanks.

So to get that Mellotron kinda female choir tone in the video is basically a wave going through a fixed filter or three to get a human like vocal resonance? Would the lower vocals be just different lower tunes filter banks to achieve the same human vocal effect?

I wonder if I could mod my RS-101 to have me some vocal tabs. Or at least build some of these filters banks to run it through.
Live has a couple of EQ presets that work as great formant filters, I've used them with a couple of saw waves going through to do very realistic melotron choir type sounds.

Image

The picture doesn't show all the settings, but they are:

1 HPF @ 738Hz Q = 4.75
2 Bell @ 1.1kHz +9.68dB Q = 12
3 Bell @ 1.46kHz -13.1dB Q = 2.4
4 LPF @ 2.51kHz Q = 4.75

If you try using those settings on whatever EQ you have available you'll get really close to that classic Ahhh sound.

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Re: Analogue Vocal Synths

Post by gearfixer » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:00 pm

Well this helps a great deal!

Now I know which synths can give me the sound, how the sound is produced and how to recreate it with software or hardware which I can build... I like this!

Thanks everyone who helped me out with this.
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