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Cubase 13: Using The Vocoder Plug-in | Audio Examples

Hear For Yourself By John Walden
Published March 2024

Here are four audio examples to accompany my SOS March 2024 workshop about Cubase’s new Vocoder plug-in. These files provide simple examples to illustrate the kinds of things that are possible with the Vocoder plug-in for each of the main stages/options described in the main article.

Cubase 13 Vocoder Audio Example 01.mp3

The first example illustrates the ‘classic’ use of a Vocoder by using a sung vocal as the modulator and Vocoder’s internal synth as the carrier. The example is split into two main parts as follows: (i) this part provides a short section on a song demo with a basic synth/drum backing supporting a simple lead vocal part; (ii) the same demo is then repeated in a longer form but with an instance of Vocoder inserted on the lead vocal track. This track acts as the modulator while a separate MIDI track is used with its MIDI output routed to the Vocoder plugin as described in the main article. The MIDI note data on this track starts as series of single extended notes, followed by single shorter notes that actually follow the melody of the original vocal. This pattern is then repeated for the second half of the demo but using different pitches to create a contrasting melody from the vocoded sound. If you do hear some glitches in your own efforts, the first thing to check is that the start/end of the MIDI notes used synchronise smoothly with the start/end of words/phrases within your vocal. A little MIDI editing is then all that’s needed to produce a smoother result.

Cubase 13 Vocoder Audio Example 02.mp3

The second audio example isolates a section of the vocal from the previous example and illustrates how the MIDI note data can be used to create new melodic and/or harmonic options using Vocoder. It is split into three sections, as follows: (i) the MIDI note data is used to completely re-write the melody of the original vocal but, with the settings used in the Vocoder itself allowing the lyrics to be clearly heard, albeit with an obviously processed character; (ii) the same vocal section is heard again but, in this case, the MIDI note input consists of a series of simple triad chords; (iii) repeats the example in (ii) but add an instance on Cubase’s FX Modulator plug-in for an even more obvious ‘processed vocal’ sound. A little bit of reverb/delay has been added to the vocal in each case.

Cubase 13 Vocoder Audio Example 03.mp3

The third example uses some alternative modulator sound sources. It is split into three parts as follows: (i) provides a short example recorded ‘live’, with a short vocal part recorded (and monitored live with the Vocoder effect applied) at the same time as playing the MIDI note data from a MIDI keyboard. During the last few seconds of the vocal, I made a sort of ‘wah-wah’ sound, and you can hear this modulate the sound created by Vocoder’s synth engine; (ii) illustrates using a different type of sound source for the modulator. In this case a funk guitar part was used, and you hear the original part and then two passes of the same part with different MIDI note data triggering the Vocoder. The vocoded sound clearly takes on the pitch of the MIDI data but retains the rhythm of the guitar; (iii) a similar example to the last but using a kick drum loop as the modulator. In both these last two cases, you could use this approach to replicate the rhythmic character of one sound in your mix with a vocoder-style sound.

Cubase 13 Vocoder Audio Example 04.mp3

The fourth example illustrates the use of Vocoder’s side-chain input, allowing you to bypass Vocoder’s internal synth and use an alternative instrument as the carrier. In this case, I’ve employed Cubase’s Retrologue as the carrier. The example is split into three parts as follows: (i) and (ii) a part of the vocal used earlier serves as the modulator, while via the side-chain, Retrologue is used as the carrier sound. Different patches are used with Retrologue in each instance; (iii) substitutes the guitar loop as the modulator while still using Retrologue as the carrier. The results can a bit unpredictable, but in this case I think Retrologue’s synth engine produces a more polished final outcome, allowing the rhythmic pattern contained within the original guitar to be reproduced as a synth and a with pitch/harmonic performance controlled by the MIDI note data.

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