Moog Music, the legendary synth maker, has announced a new run of its iconic 16 Channel Vocoder, first released in 1978. It’s recently been rumoured that Moog was soon set to release something special, and this could well be it.
Vocoders have been adopted in music from pioneering artists including Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Dr Dre, Beastie Boys, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk and many more – you can read more about the legend of the vocoder here. Moog’s original 16 Channel Vocoder can be heard most famously on the Giorgio Moroder track E=MC2. To celebrate the rerelease Moog has collaborated with Moses Sumney to record his new song Conveyor, using a Moog Matriarch to serve as the vocoder’s carrier signal to transform his voice. You can see the performance below.
The 16 Channel Vocoder works “by continuously analyzing the timbral characteristics of one sound (program) and impresses these timbral characteristics upon a second signal (carrier)”, Moog says. The name ’16 Channel’ naturally stems from its 16 patchable bands, which range from 50Hz to 5,050Hz, tailoring to the fundamental spectral characteristics of the human voice. A selectable Direct mode passes an additional high-frequency channel to the vocoder output for a more accurate reading of the vocals.
A Sample & Hold switch allows you to hold a specific vocoder tone, continuously ringing until you push the switch back to the out position. This could help performances in which a sustained vocal phrase is required for a long period of time. Hiss, Buzz and Balance controls let you fine-tune your vocoder voice to your liking, and an External Patch section will let you hook up to other gear in your rig to crosspatch and go deeper with your sound design.
Moog’s 16 Channel Vocoder is available now for $4,999. Find out more at moogmusic.com