Electro-Harmonix has made a quick-and-dirty vocal effects box. Usable parameters, good fun, and $200 – sure, it may not be the highest-fidelity vocal box ever, but what’s not to love? Our friend Collin Cunningham at MAKE gets the jump on this one.

It’s got some surprisingly unique features:

  • 256-band vocoder “designed by the same EMS genius who made vocoding famous,” they say
  • It will harmonically match electric instruments as well as vocals.
  • 2- to 4-part harmonization, at the 3rd and 5th (labeled “Low” and “High” in case you slept through Music Theory class)
  • 9 programmable presets
  • Gliss
  • Gender bender male/female formant mod (which actually sounds decent, and could be fun with instruments, as well)
  • Mic pre, phantom power, balanced XLR output (thanks for not making this like a cheap consumer toy)

And the whole thing is built in NYC. I have to go see where they’re making these things.

I think this line is hilarious: “Diana Ross had the Supremes, Brian Wilson had the Beach Boys, Kraftwerk had The Robots. You have the Voice Box.”

Well, speak for yourself. I want the Kirnaires backing me up (matching sweaters and all) and I still want a Voice Box.

Above: proof you can have a product demo video that isn’t lame. (I’m looking at you, um … almost entire music instruments industry!)

EV appear to have seeded these to other folks to make some YouTube videos. You know what that means: it’s time for a really odd and wonderful cover of Knights of Cydonia. That’s funny, “No One’s Going to Take Me Alive” is the line I last used when I neglected to return a demo hardware loaner.

For an impressive, competing line of products, check out the TC Helicon line. They’ve recently offered up the smaller, stompbox-style Voicebox line, which nicely reduces their high-end effects to a smaller form factor. It’s a good time to be a vocalist shopping for gear.

  • http://toilville.com peter swimm

    i saw this last week and really and truly and gassing hard over it

  • http://toilville.com peter swimm

    Also it reminds me.. Does anyone else think vox effects have an uncanny valley? all the autotune and tc stuff doesnt do it for me, but the more trad. vocoder sounds GREAT.

  • Aidan

    Wow. This is quite cool. But 200 is a bit hefty of a price tag for a device that is some what limited in it's uses.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, $200 for hardware ain't bad — especially with the reverb in there. I think we're getting spoiled by software.

    Oh, well, we'll know next week if Ableton is really doing that Vocoder they kinda admitted they're doing. ;) Might have to be a hardware / software smackdown.

  • Aidan

    If Ableton could pull off something that made harmonies like that…I'd be very happy.

  • http://www.myspace.com/styrofoam arne

    so true!!!

    looks like nice piece of gear as well. I have and love the Memoryman with Hazarai and this one has the exact same layout and sturdy build.

  • Kevin Connor

    Peter Swimm, re: uncanny valley for vocoders – I think you've nailed it on the head, there! That's an illuminating connection.

    Wendy Carlos's vocodered LVB 9th Symphony in Clockwork Orange is an all-time favourite, Cher's Believe was interesting at the time, and now Kanye and Timberlake et al. just make me vomit. Of course, there's a musical argument to be made in that ordering too, I suppose…

    Same as everything — be a follower and try too hard to fool people and you'll get punished. Be a leader and have a bit of fun — WIN.

  • teej

    looks and sounds nice, kind of a non-static version of Ableton's Resonator. wow, is the start of EH making a coming back and starting to make cool shit again?! they really went down the tubes over the past few years. i like this thing.

  • spinner

    Ohh gots to have.

    The promo idea comes from that norwegian dude. Sorry hate when people do that but I can honestly not remember his name and the youtube link has been taken down.

    There are companies who dare use unconventional promo vids:
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo0ZZaQtejQ

  • TheCragon

    Nice! I'm actually quiet impressed it's only $200.

    I'll buy it next month.

  • http://snapshotintime.blogspot.com/ wi_ngo

    Cool. Sorta reminds me of the Boss VT-1. I had a heck of a lot of fun with that thing back in the day.

    Too bad it doesn't have a 'robot' button, though. ;)

  • http://www.myspace.com/liliththekitten lilith

    nice. I love the harmonization feature, sounds like a band of aliens singing.

    I freakin love EH effects. I think they're still made in Long Island City, Queens (apart from the Russian ones of course) props for keeping it real.

  • CPRoth

    Very cool effect for the money and in concept. I really like the auto-harmonization stuff. Looks easy to use and mis-use too!

    I don't work for EH but can tell you a) yes still going strong in LIC and b) they are an extremely cool company and not just for what they produce. Give 'em a look.

    Oh, and Teej, I don't know a single guitarist who bought a POG that can bear to part with it. And most of them are not 'effects guys'.

    They also make a pretty great stomp/pre-amp!

  • glomag

    peter swimm: re: uncanny valley- YES!

    kevin oconnor, re: Wendy Carlos's vocoding- YES! Also my favorite.

    This looks to be a really usable piece of gear.

    I have been a big fan of ElectroHarmonix since the early 80s. I still have my Instant Replays. :-)

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  • karl d

    What is it about digital vocoding that makes it so harsh when things like old Roland and EMS units sound so creamy?

    This is as good as it gets for digital but if you hear the "real thing" it's a totally different sound.

  • will

    GO POMPLAMOOSE!

  • Downpressor

    HOT RATS! That sounds worth $200 for the reverb alone so the whole package seems like a bargain. Definitely on my list and I barely deal with vocals at all.

  • Martin

    this is a great demo-video.

  • gbsr

    yum, harmonizer.

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  • MonksDream

    This is everything the MS Songwiper promo wasn't: informative, musical, and short. EH has scored again. Big WANT!

  • http://kev-on-music.blogspot.com kev on music

    Have any one noticed reason racks in the beginning. What's that supposed to mean?

    Great jam!

  • http://myspace.com/repeaterband Steve K

    I use the TC Create box, and it's good, it has some sort of preamp sim and input gain control, and a bunch of presets which provide compression or reverb or delay etc, with parameter control and tap control for the effect assonged on the presets (no programming on these boxes)

    But I really like the effects demonstrated on this box. Maybe a vocal chain with a cheap saturating preamp like an ART, get a nice fat live sound, and then through this thing, complete vocal control on stage.. except delay, and the vocoder sounds amazing, although you might need some active AB for your guitar to split into your amp and your Voice Box…

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  • Mickey

    Can any one tell me, if this voice box works, with 2 amps instead of a mixer&pa hookup?

  • http://www.myspace.com/tooltablist Mudo

    You could do it better with a Roland VariOS and VC-2 card for the same price (with more features) but it is cool too.

    Vocoder Beatboxing is one of my favourite games…

    xD