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“Thank You, Vocoder”

posted by Ainsley Drew   Mar 27, 2009

“Vocoders are an instantly recognizable synthesizer sound, having been used in popular music since the 1960s. They allow you to ‘talk like a robot’, which while fun, is often not musically useful.”

This from “Introduction to Vocoders,” proves the point that the vocoder does not, in fact, turn a song into music. The voice analyzer/synthesizer system that was originally developed in the 1930s to facilitate early telephony has now become a seemingly inescapable accessory to popular music.

Rapper Ice Cube also awkwardly reflected on the negative effects of vocoders on rap:

“Records sales really not concerned to me as much as doing it my way. And doing the kind of records I want to do. Without some A&R dude trying to tell me to go find T-Pain and get you a voice box. Ya know, all this stupid stuff that they do that mess up a lot of records, mess up a lot of artists.”

This clip of T-Pain v. His Vocoder is the audio equipment equivalent of Stephen King’s Christine, and it certainly backs up Mr. Cube’s claim.

Update: Turns out that the actual device Mr. Pain uses to alter his voice box is referred to as an Auto-Tune, and it’s the weapon of choice for Cher, Kanye, and T-Pain, who seems just as oblivious as this author was. The two machines are entirely different.

Thx jason freeman

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