Best Vocoder Plugins in 2023
A vocoder is a software tool in music production that blends various sound sources, typically modifying a musical sound with vocal attributes. It is instrumental in creating distinctive and enriched sounds, especially in electronic and pop music.
This page guides you through the nuances of selecting the best vocoder plugins, elucidating their significance in music production and providing insights into various considerations before making a purchase.
🔎 How to Choose the Right Vocoder Plugin?
Selecting the right vocoder plugin is pivotal for music producers and musicians. It’s not just about the sonic output but also about how well it integrates with your workflow and enhances your creative process.
Here are some key factors to consider before choosing a vocoder plugin:
Ensure the plugin operates seamlessly within your chosen music production environment.
The authenticity and appeal of the produced sound are paramount. The best vocoders should provide realistic and rich sound modifications.
An intuitive and user-friendly interface is crucial, especially for those new to using vocoder plugins, enabling quick learning and efficient operation.
Look for plugins that offer a wide array of features and customization options, allowing for experimentation and refinement of your sound.
Balance your budgetary constraints with the functionality and reliability of the plugin. Don’t compromise quality for the price; value is key.
By weighing these factors, you can find a vocoder plugin that is not only functional and reliable but also a source of creative inspiration.
Top Vocoder Plugins
When delving into the realm of music production, the exploration of innovative tools and plugins can transform the way we perceive and create music.
In this section, we spotlight some of the best vocoder plugins of 2023, shedding light on their unique features, and illustrating how they can elevate your music production experience.
1. "Vocoder" by Softube
Softube’s Vocoder brings the vintage charm and versatility of historic vocoders into the modern music production environment, offering a seamless blend of classic tones and contemporary sound quality. This plugin has evolved to be an essential musical tool, utilized by renowned artists like Daft Punk and Kanye West.
This plugin distinguishes itself with a high-quality, six-voice polyphonic carrier synth, offering MIDI capability and a selection of four distinct waveforms. It empowers users to shape their sound with a unique Freeze section, an intuitive Attack Hold Decay Envelope, and a Transpose Chord Mode for creative chord progressions.
The Softube Vocoder also features a specialized Unvoiced section to control high-frequency consonant sounds, variable band selection for sound adjustment, and stereo widening to enhance the spatial experience. It’s not just an effect; it embodies true vocoding, enabling users to explore and refine their sound in electronic and pop music production.
With its blend of vintage appeal and modern innovation, Softube’s Vocoder is a prime choice for musicians and producers seeking to delve into sound manipulation and design, offering a range of options to inspire artistry and enrich the musical palette.
2. "Vocodist" by Antares
Antares’ Vocodist synthesizes the human voice to produce the distinctive effect made iconic by artists like Daft Punk and Kraftwerk. This plugin brings together the vintage essence of classic vocoders with the comprehensive functionality and precision of Auto-Tune, allowing users to create unforgettable, immediately recognizable sounds.
Vocodist stands out by offering models of all the classic vocoders, coupled with an extensive collection of artist presets from notable names like P-Thugg of Chromeo and producer Buddy Ross. These features provide a quick and inspiring starting point for creativity.
Designed for user-friendly experiences and swift sound creation, Vocodist features a built-in 8-voice, dual oscillator synthesizer and allows control of vocoded sounds with a MIDI keyboard or voice. The plugin is compatible with external audio sources via sidechain input, promoting exploration and experimentation with sounds.
The plugin allows further customization of the classic vocoder sound with built-in vocal effects, enabling users to delve into extreme vocal mutations and explore enhancements like analog tube saturation, lush choruses, and ring modulation.
Unique to Vocodist is the integrated Auto-Tune, allowing users to tune vocals without leaving the plugin interface, and to blend the iconic Auto-Tune Effect with vocoder elements, paving the way for the creation of unique and nuanced sounds.
3. "VocalSynth 2" by iZotope
iZotope’s VocalSynth 2 is a groundbreaking plugin offering an immersive vocal experience that evolves with your unique style, opening up a realm of vocal possibilities. It allows users to color and shape vocals with five eccentric, blendable modules and a suite of studio effects, providing a comprehensive solution for past, present, and future vocal sounds.
VocalSynth 2 is renowned for its adaptability and the ability to quickly produce old-school sounds or create new-school vocal experiences. It enables users to get lost in layers, textures, effects, blending, and morphing in an experimental vocal playground, featuring modules like Vocoder, Compuvox, Polyvox, Talkbox, and the innovative Biovox, based on the sonic qualities of the human vocal tract.
This plugin stands out with its advanced controls within each module and its interactive visualization, the Anemone, which provides a unique metering experience by moving and growing with the shape of your audio signal. It also features a Biovox module, allowing users to create and manipulate their biological imprint using scientific modeling of a human vocal tract, adjusting characteristics like nasality, vowel shapes, and formants for smooth, textural vocal treatment to any audio signal.
Enhancements in VocalSynth 2 include stompbox-style effects, allowing further customization with experimental effects like Ring Mod, Chorus, Distort, Filter, Transform, and Delay. This plugin also features three different interaction modes – Auto, MIDI, and Sidechain, offering flexibility and ease of use tailored to your DAW.
4. "XILS Vocoder 5000" by XILS Lab
XILS Lab’s XILS Vocoder 5000 is a sophisticated vocoder plugin, inspired by the legendary EMS 5000, which is renowned as one of the most complex and powerful analog vocoders ever built. This plugin stands out by synthesizing organic, clear, and transparent sounds, allowing you to process external sound sources into a myriad of unique sounds, breathing analog life into them, and reshaping them in endless ways.
The XILS Vocoder 5000 offers unparalleled flexibility and organic sound, enabling users to alter the characteristics of voices or any sound source. It lets you synthesize choirs from a single voice or create melodies from speech, making it an ideal tool for exploring the transformation of human voice, drums, guitars, synthesizers, and more.
One of the key features is the Matrix Patch Area, allowing users to connect any band of the modulator to any band of the carrier, resulting in endless sound possibilities and unparalleled flexibility. The plugin also offers a set of state-of-the-art filters, developed from XILS Lab’s extensive experience in filtering algorithms, providing equal width bands and ensuring the most accurate software vocoder experience.
The XILS Vocoder 5000 is equipped with two clear and transparent oscillators per core, inspired by the EMS VCS3 oscillators, featuring frequency modulation and shape modulation capabilities, and a noise generator. It also includes a Voice/Unvoice detector, allowing oscillators levels to be automatically adapted to match the input voice behavior, and a Slew Rate module, providing an advanced algorithm for a smoother and more understandable vocoded voice.
This plugin goes beyond vocoding, offering a Frequency Shifter effect that can shift the whole spectrum of the incoming signal(s) by a certain frequency, resulting in a range of effects from subtle level modulation to extensive ring modulator-like effects. All these can be controlled and viewed through a comprehensive Mixer and vintage Vu-Meters, displaying levels of each band, input speech, internal synthesizer, vocoder, and global output.
5. Arturia Vocoder V
Arturia’s “Vocoder V” reinvents the iconic 16-Band Vocoder, combining it with advanced synthesis, sampling, and modulation capabilities, offering a unique voice-transforming playground. It merges carrier and modulator, synthesizer and voice analyzer, into one powerful unit, allowing users to transform various sounds beyond conventional robotic voices.
This plugin features a built-in dedicated synthesizer and a unique sampler, enabling users to convert vocal stems into diverse sound forms like analog FM basslines or harmonic synth chord sequences, and much more, providing versatility in sound design. It also comes with a meticulously designed modulator section and patchbay-centered interface, allowing detailed sculpting of voice input and intricate patchworks.
Arturia has also incorporated an advanced panel in Vocoder V, unlocking next-level controls for refined sound design and advanced sample manipulation, including 11 integrated effect types such as reverb and delay. Whether you’re transforming vocal stems or exploring new dimensions of sound, Vocoder V is a gateway to endless sonic explorations and vocal transformations, making it more than just a vocoder; it’s a revolutionary sonic tool where every sound has a story to tell.
6. "XILS 201 Vocoder" by XILS Lab
The “XILS 201 Vocoder” by XILS Lab is modeled after a supremely rare and expensive vocoder unit renowned for its unparalleled intelligibility and exceptional clarity. It serves as the musical bridge connecting legendary artists like Kraftwerk and Daft Punk, offering unique sound processing capabilities.
This vocoder features two Filter Banks, each with 20 frequency bands, enabling precise signal processing, surpassing the clarity and musicality of vocoders with fewer bands, such as the Roland VP-330. Users can employ the internal analog synthesizer or any external signal as the carrier, allowing the transformation of voices, drums, and other sounds, imprinting the XILS 201’s distinctive sound on them.
Unique to the XILS 201 Vocoder is the “Silence Bridging” feature, a multiband, frequency-dependent envelope follower engine, adept at shaping the gain of the signal according to its harmonic content, making it particularly useful for processing percussive or rhythmic materials and adding contour to the sound.
Further expanding its versatility, the plugin exposes internal circuitry parameters not available on the original unit and integrates vintage analog modeled effects like Chorus, Phaser, Delay, and an early ‘digital’ reverb unit, with customizable effect routing and order. It can also function as a multifaceted effects unit, breathing new life into vintage sounds when applied to instruments like the Rhodes or String Machine.
7. "MVocoder" by MeldaProduction
MeldaProduction’s “MVocoder” is an advanced vocoding plugin known for its ultimate audio quality and vast range of features. It stands out for its ability to produce robotic voices, morph between multiple audio materials, and generate singing synthesizers, all with exceptional audio fidelity.
MVocoder is distinguished by its true analog filter-based design and supports up to 100 bands and up to order-10 filters, offering an extensive range of creative possibilities. It provides unique features such as band matrix, band distribution, resonance graphs, and special vocoding modes, allowing users to delve deep into sound design. Despite its extensive capabilities, MVocoder is optimized for ease of use, catering to both novices and seasoned professionals.
Unlike many vocoders that have an integrated synth, MVocoder utilizes an external side-chain, enabling users to feed any source into the plugin. This feature allows for multichannel vocoding with up to 8 surround channels, creating immersive sonic experiences.
MVocoder is packed with extensive modulation options, allowing users to add variation to their sound by modulating any parameter with sources like an LFO, audio level follower, envelope generator, randomizer, or pitch detector. This ensures the sound output is dynamic and never static.
With no dongle nor internet access required for activation and free-for-life updates, MVocoder stands as a comprehensive vocoding solution, blending ease of use with a plethora of advanced features, making it an ideal choice for those seeking to explore the creative depths of sound design.
Tips and Tricks for Vocoder Mastery
Now that you are familiar with some of the best vocoder plugins available, let’s delve into some useful tips and tricks to master the art of vocoding.
These techniques will help you unlock the full potential of your vocoder plugin, allowing you to explore new sonic territories and enhance your musical creations.
- Layering Vocals with Vocoder – Layering vocals with a vocoder vst can create rich, multifaceted sounds. Experiment with different carrier signals like synthesizers or other vocal tracks to achieve unique textures. Layering various vocoded tracks with different settings can bring depth and complexity to the sound, allowing for a more dynamic musical expression.
- Achieving Robotic and Ethereal Effects – To achieve robotic voices, focus on using sharp, metallic carrier signals and reducing the formant. For ethereal or airy effects, use soft, ambient carriers with a higher formant and longer release times. Experimenting with the modulation and resonance parameters can also help in sculpting the desired texture and tonality of the sound.
- Vocoder Automation Techniques – Automating parameters such as pitch, formant, dry/wet mix, and band levels can bring movement and evolution to the sound. Use automation to gradually change parameters over time, creating dynamic transitions and variations in the track. Automation can be particularly effective in building tension and release within a song, making the vocoder an expressive tool in musical storytelling.
Vocoders have been an integral part of music production, sculpting the sonic characteristics of numerous genres and enabling the creation of iconic sounds.
In this guide, we’ve explored the best vocoder vsts available for music producers. These vocoders offer a plethora of features, extensive customization, and high-quality sound, allowing for innovative sound design and musical expression.
Whether you’re an experienced producer or just starting, mastering the art of vocoding can elevate your music to new heights, opening up a world of creative possibilities.
A vocoder plugin is a software tool that modulates one sound signal (usually voice) by another, creating a synthesized vocal effect commonly used in music production.
A vocoder plugin typically requires a carrier signal (like a synthesizer) and a modulator signal (usually a voice). By routing these signals correctly within your DAW and adjusting the plugin’s parameters, you can create various vocoded effects.
Yes, there are several free vocoder plugins available online, catering to different needs and preferences. However, premium plugins often offer more advanced features and higher audio quality.
Most vocoder plugins are compatible with popular DAWs. However, it’s essential to check the plugin’s specifications to ensure compatibility with your specific DAW.
Yes, many vocoder plugins are optimized for live performances, offering low latency and stability, as well as compatibility with MIDI controllers for real-time parameter adjustments.
While traditionally used with vocals, modern vocoder plugins can modulate any sound source, allowing for creative experimentation with various audio signals.
Consider your specific requirements, such as the desired sound, features, user interface, and budget. Experimenting with different plugins, including free trials when available, can help you find the one that suits your needs best.
*Affiliates Disclaimer: KnowsAudio is supported by advertising. We may earn an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate links.