This week I fulfilled a small goal I have been harboring for a while – I have gone and bought myself a year’s subscription to Pro Tools. Not wanting to start from scratch on a track I fished out an old uni project which, although won me a comfortably passing grade, I feel like I never really finished to my liking. It was a cover of seventies disco pop song Yes Sir I Can Boogie by Baccara- but with a twist of analog synth and distorted guitars, as inspired by Kavinsky’s Nightcall and much of Daft Punk’s epic Random Access Memories. The point at which I abandoned (for want of a better word) the project was when I was trying to find a vocoder to use so that the verses would be sung by a robot voice. I never found a decent hardware or software vocoder I could use, so this week my search continued.
I firstly started by looking at Pro Tools’ marketplace for plugins, but to my amazement a search for ‘vocoder’ brought up no results. I suppose I could have trawled through modulation and synthesis options to see if they provided a synth which has a vocoder function – but I’m an impatient man and I wanted a quick result. I did eventually find a highly recommended option which was Morphoder by Waves, and although $29 seems like an absolute steal, my recent purchase made even this a little tight. And who can be bothered going to a bureau de change at this time of night? So I decided to look for free of charge options. It was surprisingly easy to find free vocoder plugins, and I very quickly found TAL-Vocoder (which is yours too if you follow the link). The only problem was that being a free VST it’s not compatible with Pro Tools, so I had to go back to my trusty Ableton Live, playing the vocal part through the vocoder, adjusting the settings, then exporting to Pro Tools to see how it sounds in the mix.
At first this seemed like a cumbersome way to work, but it became quite a neat little routine and I found I could very quickly get some results. Now, even as I speak I am being told that if I bother to try and mess with my folder structure settings and download the right software to convert it to another file type, and pray very hard and write a letter to my MP I can probably get it working in Pro Tools. But you know what – I like the idea of having Ableton as a little lab in which I can cook up some sounds to then export to Pro Tools to become part of the big picture. Like nurturing children in a little rural village, them sending them out into the big wide world to make something of themselves.
Tal-software.com. (2017). TAL – Togu Audio Line: TAL-Vocoder. [online] Available at: https://tal-software.com/products/tal-vocoder [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].