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    PolyKB :
    "PolyKB? YEAH!! Man, talk about a synth with LOADS of potential! EXCELLENT WORK!"
     
    Bryan Loren

A Vocoder, What is this ?

A Vocoder is an effect which uses two signals to combine them into one output signal. The first signal is called the Modulator, and the second one the Carrier.

Typically vocals are used as the modulator ( But you can also use drums, percussive material, or any other musical signal, like an orchestra or a complete track ).

A Synthesizer is used as Carrier (Oscillator with different waveforms, that can be played with chords, white noise ….. or anything with a rich harmonic spectrum)

The Modulator signal is then split into several Frequency bands using a Bandpass Filters Bank. The same bank is used to split the Carrier signal. The levels detected in the modulator’s spectrum are then applied to the carrier spectrum, resulting in what we commonly know as "Robotic Voices", when a vocoder is used in the most simple way.

For good results, understandable and clear synthetic voices, 22 bands are used in our legacy EMS 5000 model. (Less bands were also commonly found in other hw vocoders: 10, 12 bands in most limited budget lines units).


The quality of a vocoder depends heavily on the following components :

  • The filter bank :  it must provide a good analysis spectrum. Each band must be equally measured (without any digital artifacts)
  • The band level analysis : the way each band level is measured, and is the key factor for an hi-end vocoder with clarity and precision.
  • The synthesis band modulation : the way each synthesis band gets modulated is also part of the vocoder sound, its quality, its smoothness.
  • Synthesizer carrier : Without a good synthesizer feeding the vocoder’s filters, results will not be as good as expected.

The XILS Vocoder 5000 will match all your expectations :

  • Synthesizer sound is based on our acclaimed VCS 3 oscillators emulation ( Original also had EMS oscillators of course )
  • The 20 or 22 bands filter bank is based on our analog like, zero-delay behavior filters, ensuring that all bands are equally measured.
  • Level analysis and spectrum followers were developed in the labs for many years now and considered as state of the art by all reviewers, as you can see in our VP-330 emulation.

Finally, what also makes the XILS Vocoder 5000 incredibly powerful and versatile is the Matrix patch area : You can connect any band of the modulator to any band of the carrier. This means endless sound possibilities. And also that no other Analog Vocoder will ever offer you more flexibility and freedom.


More than an extreme Vocoder

The XILS Vocoder 5000 is also a wonderful synthesizer tool with a Voice/Unvoice detector, a Pitch Tracker and a Frequency Shifter which can give you a lot of fun to manipulate voices, drums, bass lines or anything !

You can even play it as a –not so- standard synthesizer. And you can mix all these signals along with the Vocoder output and dry signal in the most subtle, convenient and precise way : All the modules have their own set of parameters, including output levels.


The XILS Vocoder 5000 Modules and features in a glance
 

The XILS Vocoder 5000 provides all the modules of its legendary ancestor And more : 

  • A Matrix Patch Area (22x22 or 20x20)
  • Two Synthesizer core
  • Two oscillators per core, modelled from the EMS VCS3 oscillator
  • One noise per core
  • Two LFOs per core
  • One VCA-ADSR per core
  • One 22 bands filter vocoder.
  • One 20 bands filter vocoder
  • Stereo analysis and synthesis available
  • Side chain for adding external audio source to the carrier
  • A virtual keyboard, which can be saved within your presets.
  • A finely tweak analog-like pitch tracker.
  • An input gate for reducing the noise
  • A Voice/unVoise detector
  • A full output mixer applied to any of the internal audio path
  • A huge Frequency shifter effect.
  • All parameters are MIDI controllable
  • Presets for using quickly the XILS 5000 in all is glory

 

The Vocoder 5000 Modules explained

Let’s see each module in detail

The Matrix Patch Area

 

XILS5000_FilterBankPatch.jpg

 
    The patch area allows you to connect any band of the analysis filter bank to any band of the synthesis filter bank.

    It is very easy to edit the formants, replacing a man voice by a child’s one, make some special effects, or get the weirdest electronic voices

    This patch area is also very useful to sculpt sound in a vey precise way when you use other signal as modulators, such as drums

    Fats use : We added a preset manager dedicated to the patch area : It provides some init configurations (formant +1, formant -2, inverted, ....) or you can save your own Matrix patches.

 

XILS Vocoder 5000 Heart : the Filter Bank

XILS5000_AdvanceFilter.jpg

A Vocoder global quality depends heavily on its filter bank quality

Thanks to its deep experience in filtering algorithms (  Analog like, un-wrapped , zero-delay behavior filters are already used in Xils synthesizers for many years ), XILS-lab has developed a very accurate filter bank which splits both Modulator and Carrier signals into bands with an EQUAL width ( Which is quite difficult to achieve in the digital domain ).

Resulting in the most accurate software vocoder ever done, almost 100% identical to its model. We added some new features :  you can tweak the emphasis, and add a ponderation curve.

The ponderation curve allows you to adapt the filter of each Filter’s Bands so that it can deliver some very smooth and warm bass frequencies, while totally preserving clarity, without the "tube" effect.
 
More possibilities : you can choose the number of bands (22 or 20 bands and  the filters order (12,18 or 24 db/oct)

 

At the power of the XILS Vocoder 5000 : the Oscillators and the Noise

 

XILS5000_Osc1.jpg

XILS5000_Noise.jpg

Inspired  by the EMS VCS3 oscillators, already emulated in the acclaimed XILS 3, XILS 4 synthesizers, the XILS Vocoder 5000 provides two arm sounding, clear and transparent oscillators.

Oscillators Frequency ( FM) and Shape ( PWM) can be modulated ( Vibratos etc). Oscillators frequency can be fixed, or use Keyboard Tracking (The key to nice vocoding chords effects). It can also follow the input voice/signal frequency via the Pitch Tracker module.
 
Next, we have the Voice/UnVoice module : Oscillators levels are automatically adapted to match the input voice behavior, sibilant or voiced.
 
Clicking on the "Advanced" icon opens, as it should, the Oscillator Advanced Parameters Panel  : Here, you can choose the Oscillator Waveform (Saw, Pulse, Triangle, Sine), specify its shape, and select the FM and PWM sources (LFO1, or LFO2).
 
Finally, the Noise Generator : is also full part of the synthesizer sound, and, like the oscillators, can be driven by the Voice/unVoice module.

 

Vocoding clarity : the Voice/Unvoice and Slew Rate modules and freeze function

XILS5000_VunVoice.jpg

XILS5000_SlewRate.jpg

    Voice or Unvoice : Based on our exclusive DeeS algorithms ( Xils-Lab transparent Deesser device ) which separates smoothly but firmly the sibilant from the voiced part of the input voice, the XILS Vocoder 5000 is providing an easy but accurate way to choose which generator must be used as Carrier when while vocoding : the Oscillators or the Noise.    
    Voice or Unvoice : a very simple and easy module with a Threshold, a Frequency and a Smoothness knobs. That's all !
    Slew Rate : This module analyzes the input filter bank, then apply the result to the Synthesis filter bank. Without this module’s advanced algorithm, the vocoding voice wouldn't be as understandable and smooth.
    For a better result and clarity, you can add a ponderation curve to the various bands, allowing a smoothness in the low part of the spectrum, for a warmer sound as well as a fast answer in the upper part of the spectrum more a better clarity.  
    The -Midi controllable- Freeze switch will, as you could expect, freeze the spectrum (or any part of the internal algorithm, pitch, slew, voice/unvoice), allowing to use the XILS Vocoder 5000 as a great and huge resonator filter.

 

The Frequency Shifter

XILS5000_FreqShift.jpg

Like its analog ancestor, the XILS Vocoder 5000 offers a particular effect called Frequency Shifter.
 
As its name implies, this effect shifts the whole spectrum of the incoming signal(s) by a certain frequency.

Depending on the set frequency, the result can be anything from a simple subtle level modulation to huge ring modulator like effects.

There are several components in this effect. Each comes with its own Level and Panoramic, to achieve wide  stereo processing. The Advanced Settings Panel gives you more options.
 
This effect can be simultaneously applied on any of the XILS Vocoder 5000 audio paths. The frequency shift can also be driven and controlled by the Pitch Tracker Module for even more fun !

 

 

See, and control, what you hear : The Mixer and the Vu-Meters

XILS5000_LevelBands.jpg XILS5000_OuputLevel.jpg

 

When listening is not enough the Vocoder 5000 will give you some great visual feedback.

All the 22 or 20 bands are displayed by led based Vu-Meters in the Bands mixer.
Input Speech/Signal ( Modulator ), internal synthesizer ( Carrier ), Vocoder  and global output levels are displayed by needle based vintage Vu-Meter.

Finally, the level of each band can be smoothly adjusted in the Mixer (and ….. MIDI controlled)

 

 

 


XILS Vocoder 5000 is available with the following formats :

  • Mac OSX 10.5 (32&64 bits Intel) and later : VST2.4, VST3, Audio Unit,  RTAS (Protools 7.0 and later), AAX (32&64 bits, native)
  • Windows XP, Vista and windows7/8/10 (32&64bits) ; VST,  RTAS (Protools 7.0 and later), AAX (32&64 bits, native)

XILS Vocoder 5000 is 32 bits and 64 bits plug-in.

 

 mac logo  windows logo  vst logo  logo audiounit  rtas logo

 rtas logo

 

Minimum system requirements: 1 Gigabyte of RAM and a 2 GHz processor.

The XILS Vocoder 5000 is a plug-in and is not yet available in a standalone application.

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