The Vocoder (with a sub topic: The Rockets)

by Nathan Stout (of

I am no Vocoder expert so what I am going to talk about it my fascination with the Vocoder. What is a Vocoder? Here is a short video that explains them (just fast forward to 35 seconds to cut through the crap). That’s so cool isn’t it? Now a Vocoder is not to be confused with a Talk Box. A Talk Box is a device to bbasically use your mouth as a speaker. To see a Talk Box you can make on the cheap check out this video.

A Vocoder is a microphone hooked up to a keyboard with special software to alter your voice. You can find Vocoder software but it just doesn’t seem to perform as well as an actual Vocoder keyboard. A band that made it’s living using the Vocoder is a French 70’s/80’s band I found a while back called The Rockets. They have two really good songs (where they use a lot of Vocoder):

I will go a bit about The Rockets because they have one of interesting stories like the one I told you about a while back in my Blog about David Zed. The Rockets were a 70’s ‘space-themed’ synth band. You can see this from their videos for Galatica and On the Road Again. They were (and still are) a French band that wasn’t really popular outside their native Paris with the exception of the super fame they found in Italy (where David Zed found his fame as well). There have been somewhere aroud 25 members of the band with the last of the original line up leaving the band in 1992.

The Rockets have a tribute band called The Universal Band. They use the same gimmick, dressing in crazy space costumes with spark shooting guitars, smoke, and lasers. Here is their version of Galatica. The Universal Band also performed on that nation’s version of X-Factor.

Ok, back to Vocoder. There are actually tons of albums that utilize the Vocder and you can find books about it’s history in the music industry. Of course we need to mention the fact that it is used in a lot of movies and television shows too (just look at the first video).

I just wanted to mention the Vocoder today to let you all know about something cool I’d love to own but can’t afford. I need to find one at a Goodwill or something.

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