Electronic Musician

VC340 Vocoder

$599 behringer.com

Strengths

+ Nails the classic vocoder, string ensemble and choir tones of the ’70s with clear intelligibility and a warm stereo sound
+ Each section is layered together or split and run through the shimmering analog BBD ensemble effect
+ Compact, sturdily built

Limitations

- No reverb or delay (like the original!)
- Some may find three octaves too few
- No preset storage, and the pitchshift controls can be confusing (but certainly authentic)

Back in the late 1970s, vocoders were all the rage, with many prominent artists using them to give a futuristic sound to their records. Some used vocoders as an effect to process instruments and enhance voices; some so that they could sing in tune and front their own records and live shows (like Herbie Hancock). At the time, the Sennheiser VSM201 Vocoder along with the Roland VP-330 (1979) reigned supreme in Vocoder-land, and while the Sennheiser has long since disappeared (and now fetches crazy prices, mainly as it was regarded as the holy grail), Roland has continued to make solid

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