Vocoder VST Plugins: 11 Of The Best in 2018!

Vocoder VST Plugins: 11 Of The Best in 2018!
When it comes to vocal processing, one of the most interesting effects you can use is any kind of vocoder VST plugin.

Simply put, a vocoder is a device that is used to synthesize the human voice. This has the effect of making vocals sound robotic and inhuman. It can be the perfect way to add some flare to a dull performance.

One of the most well known examples of a vocoder would be Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Stronger Faster.” In fact, the vocoder used by the French house duo is a big part of what made that song so iconic.

While vocoders are best known for making robots sing, there are plenty of other ways you can make use of them in your productions.

For bass music producers, they can be a great way to add vowel sounds to your bass patches. You can even use them to create experimental sounds like tuned percussion, or you can add otherworldly textures to any piece of audio.

There are a lot of vocoder VST plugins floating around the internet, but it can be tough to figure out which ones are worth using.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the 11 best vocoder VST plugins to use in 2017.

But first, let’s break down the different elements of a vocoder first.

How Vocoders Work

A vocoder consists of two main elements: the carrier and the modulator.

The modulator can be any audio source, though the most popular choice is to use a vocal. The carrier is the synthesized element of the vocoder.

The modulator is run through a series of filter bands that are used to create an amplitude mapping of its most important characteristics. The higher the number of filter bands, the more detailed the carrier will sound.

This map is then used to remove all the unwanted frequencies from the carrier, resulting in a seamless mixture of the two sounds.

To put that in simpler terms, we can compare this process to sketching over a penny onto a piece of paper. By placing a penny under a sheet of paper, you can create an impression of the penny’s image by shading over it with a pencil.

In this metaphor, the penny is the modulator, the paper is the carrier, and the pencil is the filter band.

The resulting sketch retains the image of the penny but transfers its material from copper to paper.

Now that we understand how vocoders work, let’s dive into our list of the best vocoder plugins.

Best Commercial Vocoder VST Plugins

If you are serious about using vocoders in your workflow, your best bet is to go with a commercial plugin. This means investing more money into your plugin collection, but you’ll have access to higher quality vocoders than if you stick with the free selection.

As with any other piece of gear, you get what you pay for. Luckily, there are lots of great options on the market and not all of them will break the bank!

1. Vocodex by Image-Line [99 USD]

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-vcx

From the creators of Fruity Loops Studio comes Vocodex, a relatively inexpensive and easy to use vocoder.

The interface for Vocodex is very straight forward, which is great because it won’t overwhelm beginners. There are only a handful of controls available, and there is an info bar that will display each control’s function when you hover over it.

Vocodex features up to 100 filters bands, so you’ll be able to get some very precise sounds from it. You also get a number of carrier options to choose from and a few other basic functions. Some would include an envelope follower and controls for the filter bands.

2. VocalSynth by iZotope [199 USD]

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-vocal synth

VocalSynth is a powerful vocoder plugin from iZotope, and it comes packed with tons of other great features for creating futuristic vocal effects.

VocalSynth’s interface features four main panels: Vocoder, talkbox, polyvox, and compuvox.

True to its name, the vocoder panel can be used to create classic robotic voice effects. You can choose from a variety of different vocoder modes to use, ranging from vintage hardware sounds to more modern digital ones.

Similarly, the talkbox panel emulates the iconic sound of the talkbox. A talkbox is similar to a vocoder, but has its own unique sound. It’s most famously been used by Peter Frampton when he makes his guitar talk.

With a hardware talkbox like Peter Frampton’s, a PVC tube is inserted into the player’s mouth to provide the vowel sounds of the effect. But since we’re dealing with software, there’s no need for this.

The polyvox section can be used to create rich vocal harmonies using a polyphonic pitch shifter. This tool can produce a range of effects, from organic backing vocals to artificial sounds.

Lastly, the compuvox panel can be used to add a computerized quality to your sounds. From old school speech synthesis to glitchy vocal effects, there are a lot of possibilities at your disposal.

In addition to the four main panels, there are also a ton of other useful features in VocalSynth. These include pitch correction, filters, distortion, and delay.

VocalSynth is a premium vocoder with a premium price tag, but it's definitely worth the investment when you consider how versatile its functions are.

3. Morphoder by Waves [79 USD]

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-morphoder

With Morphoder, Waves has delivered a powerful yet streamlined vocoder.

Morphoder includes a built-in synth that can be used as the carrier. The controls for this carrier are limited, giving you the option to choose from ten pre-programmed patches.

If you aren’t satisfied with the ten presets, you can also sidechain your own sound sources.

A five band EQ is used to process the output of the vocoder, while the sound can be further tweaked with formant, pressure, smoothing and release controls.

A final output section is used as a mixer for the four main parameters of morphoder. You get a slider for mixing in the carrier, the modulator, and noise. Lastly, there is a slider to control the balance for each of these elements.

While Morphoder’s controls are more limited than other plugins, there’s no denying that it’s a great sounding vocoder. The simple interface makes it easy to dial in a nice tone, which is more than can be said about a lot of other vocoders.

4. Vocalizer Pro by SONiVOX [49.99 USD]

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-vocalizer

SONiVOX is another top notch vocoder VST with some unique capabilities.

The main feature of Vocalizer Pro is its four module system. Each of these four modules can be routed in a number of creative ways, making the possibilities endless.

Each module features options for pitch shifting, filtering, and modulation using LFOs. You can mix and match how the four modules interact with each other, which will allow you to create very complex patches.

Not only is Vocalizer Pro a great studio tool, but it has been optimized for performance as well. Two rows of eight MIDI-mappable pads are included on the interface..

The top row can be used to save different presets and parameters for quick recall. The bottom row can be used for mapping chords so they can easily be sequenced from a MIDI controller.

5. Waldorf Lector [183.68 USD]

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-waldorf

Just take one glance at Waldorf’s Lector and it will be clear that it’s a very comprehensive vocoder.

Lector’s interface is jam packed with control knobs and functions. This plugin features a two oscillator synthesizer, a dynamic filter, and a wide range of effects such as distortion, delay, and reverb.

The Lector also features 100 filter bands, meaning that you can get as detailed with your carrier as you want to.

6. Razor by Native Instruments [99 USD]

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-razor

Native Instruments’ Razor is technically a soft synth, but it has a great vocoder function that comes included.

Razor’s vocoder is a feature that is easily overlooked, but it's a powerful tool once you know how to use it. After loading the vocoder into oscillator one, you can then route Razor to an audio track to use it as a sidechain carrier.

Razor is capable of creating classic vocoder sounds, but you can also get some more experimental textures out of it.

Because Razor is an additive synthesizer, it is capable of creating otherworldly sounds that sound unlike other vocoders. Everything from metallic bass to morphing atmospheres can be created with it.

Not only do you get a great vocoder when selecting Razor, but you also get a full fledged synthesizer as well. This makes the initial investment even easier to justify.

Best Free Vocoder VST Plugins

Free vocoder VSTs can be a mixed bag, so don’t waste your time downloading any duds. The following plugins are great options for producers who don’t have a large budget.

7. TAL Vocoder

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-TAL

Togu Audio Line (TAL) is known for producing top notch VSTs for free and their vocoder is no exception. This plugin is designed to replicate vintage vocoder sounds that were popular in the ‘80s.

TAL Vocoder features an 11 band filter as well as a built-in carrier synth. The carrier synth features a few different waveforms such as saw, pulse, and noise. It is also possible to use external sounds as the carrier.

All in all, TAL Vocoder is a simple plugin with a decent sound, especially since it won’t cost you a dime.

8. Vocovee by g200kg

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-vocovee

Vocovee by g200kg is another free vocoder worth checking out. Its features are pretty limited, but it boasts low latency, making it ideal for performances.

The interface is fairly appealing for a free VST as well. Features include three oscillators, two LFOs, a five band EQ, and a chorus effect.

9. Vintage Vocoder by Sonicism

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-sonicism

Sonicism’s Vintage Vocoder plugin is based off of classic analog vocoders. The interface is simple, but there are still plenty of features to mess around with.

Included is an analog style filter, a powerful filterbank for processing the modulator, and a carrier that can use up to eight oscillators.

10. 4ormulator Vocoder Extreme

cymatics-vocoder vst-4ormulator

Don’t let the basic graphical interface fool you, 4orumulator’s Vocoder Extreme comes packed with multiple features.

Included are up to 520 bandpass filters, a resonance control, different vocoder modes, glide control, stereo harmonic effects, LFOs, a sequencer, and much more.

For a free VST, you’d be hard pressed to find a vocoder packed with more features.

11. Cannabis Vocoder by Bitsonic

cymatics-vocoder vst plugins-bitsonic

As its name suggests, Bitsonic’s Cannabis Vocoder is an odd plugin. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have an interesting sound.

The Cannabis Vocoder excels at grungy, distorted effects. It’s parameters are limited, with just a handful of controls available on the interface. However, there are a number of built-in presets that you can explore. Each of the stock sounds feature a rather hoarse sound, hence the name.

Not many vocoders can sound like they’re hacking up a lung, but Bitsonic seems to have mastered this effect.


At the end of the day, you’ll have to decide what is most important to you in a vocoder. If you only intend to use them occasionally, you would do fine grabbing one or more of the excellent free plugins that are available.

However, if you’re looking to revolutionize the Daft Punk sound, you should probably invest in one of the premium VSTs.

The good news is that most of the plugins on this list can be sampled before you hand over your hard earned cash. Make sure you try a few out before settling on the right one.

Have you used any of these vocoders before?

Let us know in the comments!

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