Native Instruments Vokator

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Vokator is a software plug-in for Mac and PC that takes the classic effect of vocoding to an entirely new level. All vocoders analyze incoming sound by separating it into frequency bands (sort of like a graphic EQ) and processing each freq. band independently. One of the most famous vintage vocoders, the Roland VP330, had just 10 bands. Vokator has 1,024 frequency bands! This gives Vokator unprecedented control and smoother sounding results that take the vocoding effect into realms the vintage gear never could go. And you can adjust the number of bands (from 4 to 1,024) per patch if you want to go for the older more vintage sound.

Vokator is compatible with all major plug-in formats running stand-alone via ASIO, Sound Manager, and Core Audio, or as a plug-in using VST 2.0, MAS, DXi, RTAS, and Audio Units. It's interface is very technical and takes some getting used to, but once you've gotten into it, it's pretty easy and well laid out.

Native Instruments Vokator Image

A Blurb About Vocoders: "A vocoder aims to replace the carrier of your voice with another carrier from another source. Thus, it changes the sound of the voice but not the message when you speak. It takes formant and carrier from external sources and splits them up in bands (a band is a region of frequencies, same thing an equalizer does). Then, the envelope (the modulation) is extracted from each formant band. This part is done by an envelope follower, an extreme low pass filter. Next, formant bands are modulated onto the carrier bands and the resulting bands are mixed together to the output signal... You usually use a human voice as the formant and an instrument as the carrier. It makes the instrument speak. Good results can be achieved with strings, brasses, flutes or any other sound with nearly constant dynamic. Even chords may be used to give the result more depth."*

Vokator has two channels (A and B), both of which can act as carriers and modulators. Channel A can play back an audio file (WAV/AIFF) or accept external audio. Channel B provides another external input, a full-featured synthesizer, and a granular sampler with time-compression capabilities. So you can vocode just about anything with ease and right from within your host music or sound design software environments. Input sounds can be processed with gate and level compression, delay and spectral effects, and more.

There basically five vocoding modes available. A*B mode is standard vocoding where channel A's information is applied to the spectral envelope from channel B. B*A mode applies channel B onto channel A. A+B mode does no vocoding, only mixes the two channel's together at the output. Mix mode lets you mix and pan the A*B, B*A, A+B, and original sound material all together as desired. Group mode simply lets you group frequency bands together, essentially reducing the number of frequency bands for exploring other sonic possibilities or achieving a more classic vocoder sound.

The built-in synthesizer is a dual oscillator design with multiple filter modes and FM synthesis that can also morph between presets via the Mod Wheel. The waveforms of both oscillators can be smoothly faded between sine, triangle, square and noise. Oscillator 2 can be frequency modulated by oscillator 1, and both oscillators can be ring modulated.

The granular sampler basically takes an audio file (WAV/AIFF) and lets you do time-stretching and/or pitch shifting totally independent of one another, allowing you to easily get that sample in tempo and in key! It can also modulate start times, loop parameters, etc. A full range of modulators, step sequencers, envelope followers, LFOs, and more can be easily routed to any of the synthesizer's or sampler's parameters.

Vokator's virtual keyboard section adds programmable chord memory and a polyphonic arpeggiator. Vokator ships with over 400 presets to get you started. In all, Vokator is a very professional Vocoder designed for the software based musician. It's a great way to get that classic vocoder effect, but it's even better at designing, morphing, and creating your own other-worldly sounds.

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Demos & Media

DemoDownload a free demo for Mac or PC from Native Instruments web site here!


Sample rates - Supports from 11 to 48 kHz
Vocoder - Extremely high-resolution FFT spectral engine with Multiple vocoding modes configurable from 4 to 1024 frequency bands.
Synthesizer - Dual-oscillator synthesizer with dynamic patch morphing, multiple filter modes, and FM
Sampler - Granular sampler with independent control of time and pitch.
Filter - Multi-mode resonant filters (smoothly blend between low pass, band pass and high pass)
Modulation - 4 tempo-synced LFOs (sine, square, ramp up, ramp down, triangle, random) able to modulate nearly any parameter, 2 envelope followers
Sequencer - 2 step sequencers with up to 32 steps and tempo sync
Interfaces - Runs stand-alone with ASIO, Sound Manager, Core Audio, or as a plug-in using VST-2.0, MAS, DXi, RTAS, and Audio Units
Macintosh - MacOS 9.2/MacOS 10.2.2, G3 500 MHz, 128 MB RAM
Windows/PC - Windows 98/2000/ME/XP, Pentium/Celeron/Athlon 800 MHz, 128 MB RAM
Date Produced - 2003