Good news everyone! Vocoders are back in style. Like a strong seasoning, the vocoder effect (and its much loathed cousin, Auto-tune) is amazing when added in just the right quantities. Check out iVoxel app for iPhone and iPad. The magic behind the Zapp band’s Computer Love and More Bounce to the Ounce (and bucket loads of Kraftwerk) is now available on your iPad for you to play with – but only if you promise to use them wisely.
From VirSyn, makers of Addictive Synth and iSyn Poly, comes iVoxel a mix of voice optimized synthesizer and vocoder to add a little something to your rendition of California Love. Despite my frivolous tone however, iVoxel is a bit more than a toy, and the vocoder portion is based on the Matrix vocoder, which you may have heard in action on various Kraftwerk hits. If you are a fan of the big fat analogue synth sounds found on the Seinheiser Vocoder VSM201 then you will be delighted to hear that VirSyn have had a stab at reproducing there here in iVoxel.
So what’s iVoxel like to jam with? iVoxel is SynthStation 25 compatible so you can pop your iPhone in and play. I plumped for the raw iPhone experience and then for fun tried my Akai LPK 25 which refused to play nicely via the USB camera kit. I have no idea why and “real keys” would have made a nice touch. Still I soldiered on with the touchscreen interface. And then as if by magic – it started working. So I’d advise to persevere and not that the app may be a tad buggy.
There are two “modes” to iVoxel. You can use it as a real-time vocoder, which is as you’d hope, pretty funky. Tweaking is the best part of electronic music (listen to the Expert Knob Twiddlers) and fortunately iVoxel lets you fiddle with the sound characteristics of your voice with things such as pitch, gender or breath noise. There are pitch vibrato, chorus and delay effects and you can have lots of fun time warping and gender bending too.
You can also play around with pre-recorded vocals (it comes loaded with 200) or record little snippits of you saying things and play around with them if you don’t fancy the pressure of live performance.
The keyboard is split into three zones so you can have a live performance zone and switch between some prerecorded voxels on the fly. There’s even a monophonic sequencer so you can get quite creative without leaving the app. And of course if you do want to leave you can export audio to your DAW of choice.
iVoxel is out now via the App store. A Mac app is also available.
Here is a video demo of the iVoxel app on the iPhone
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