In other reviews on Prosoniq products in
this site, I've already stated that the guy's at Prosoniq know what
they are doing. Once again they prove that this theory is right. The
Orange Vocoder is a fine peace of work, that broadens the possibilities
of coloring your digital audio in your Mac to a new horizon.
The joy with this latest baby of Prosoniq already starts while opening
the chique blue box , the same box Prosoniq uses for all products. A
well designed package is almost as important as the product itself,
and Prosoniq got that right. In the box a (install keyed) disk and a
well written manual in english, german and french (about 40 pages each
language). The start is OK, and so is the clear and crisp installation
procedure, standard for all Prosoniq plugins. Once installed -in just
about a few minutes- the vocoder party can begin.
By the way: the Orange Vocoder in fact consists of two plugins, that
are installed into the PlugIns-folder of Cubase. Plugin nr. 1 is the
Vocoder Carrier. It is used to acquire the carrier signal from a VST
audio track at some point within the VST architecture. Plugin number
two is the actual Orange Vocoder (the user interface and the processing
But first: what does this orange thing do? I quote an information file,
that comes with the disk:
To be frank with you, it took me a while to master
this plugin. At first, the strangest effects came out of the speakers
in my studio, and after two hours of struggling I decided it was wise
to quit -thus avoiding a banging headache-, and start all over again
the next day. So I did. I carefully read the manual to get a "scientific"
picture of the processes that produce the vocoders results. Having at
least the idea that I understood how it works, I restarted experimenting,
this time knobbing and dialing a bit less wild then I did the first
night. And yes: pieces of the puzzle started to fit together quickly
this time. So, with this plugin, you'd better read the manual first
to get the best results the quickest.
I found that, when you carefully choose nifty combinations of the possible
settings of the 8 voice synthesizer, add a bit reverb, and do your thing
well with the graphic equalizer, indeed you can broaden the horizon
of your sound possibilities in all directions. The vocoder plugin combines
an 8-voice virtual analog synthesizer, a freeform EQ and a Filterbank
Reverb all in one. Popup menus let you choose from various waveforms,
filters and effects. Just like with paint, the audio-color combinations
are endless. In this respect, the sky is the limit.
For example: heaving read about the "talking strings", I
took a short part of a violin concerto I once recorded. I
took the stereo mastertrack. I then "punched" this recording
with some rhythmic peptalk through a microphone in real-time
mode (Cubase 4.0/24) and recorded that. I managed indeed to
let the strings talk: the minor violin part became a driving
and swinging bunch of crazy mumbling violins. Very nice!
Within the synthesizer section, you can decide to modulate
with just one tone (e.g. a C), or with a complete chord. By
clicking the keys on the little keyboard, you "compose" the
chord you want to use, and immediately the effect is
processed using the chord you want. Choosing your chord
right can add beautiful rich broadening. A recording in G
minor for example can be enriched with a G minor chord on
the little keyboard. You can more or less imagine what the
effect will be, but when you actually hear it, you wont
believe your ears. It gave me the goose skin feeling.
The plugin does not even draw that much of the processor
power. On my 9500 PowerPC, the audio performance window of
Cubase told me that -in real time mode- the Vocoder took
about 30% of the processors power. That leaves room for some
more heavy plugs in real time (depending on the demands of
these other plugs of course). The sky is not the limit in
this case, but you can get to an acceptable altitude, if you
get what I mean. There are some tricks to even get better
performance: turning off the USE SYNTH button in Orange
Vocoder and using a VST track as carrier signal
significantly improves performance. It may also be
advantageous if you write the output of the Vocoder
synthesizer section to a track and use it as carrier for the
The Orange Vocoder can -within the Cubase environment- be
used as a channel effect, as an insert effect (on Cubase 4.0
or higher), or as a master effect. There are several
combinations for channeling the effect. It goes too far to
describe them all here, but I can assure you these options
give you more then enough flexibility, including vocoding in
real time while recording.
The sound quality of this plugin is superb, as is the case
with all plugins that come from the programming laboratory
of Prosoniq at Karlsruhe, Germany. The same qualification is
valid for the user interface. It works very intuitive, is
very clear labeled, and responds immediately when you click
or drag. E.g. creating a new handle in the EQ just requires
a click at appr. the spot you want the handle to appear.
When dragging a handle, the change in the effect is
immediately heard. Very good. I've seen plugs where it took
a second or so to monitor the changed effect...
I cannot be but very enthusiastic on this new product of
Prosoniq. For anyone, who wants vocoding in his digital Mac
studio environment, this plug is an absolute must. On the
scale of 1 to 10 I give this plug a firm 9, not only for the
sound quality and the wide variety of effects, but also for
the beautiful design and the overall presentation of the
At the Prosoniq
you can find a demo version of Orange Vocoder, that runs
stand-alone and gives a very good impression of what you can
do with this plug. It is a pure demo application: it won't
run under Cubase VST as a plugin. On the site you will find
dealer and pricing information.
The Orange Vododer feels fine on a PowerMac with at least a
601 processor and 120 Mhz CPU, 24 Megabytes of RAM, 256K
second level cache, and Mac OS version 7.5 or higher. Hard
disks for audio must have an ASYNCHRONOUS driver installed.
Of course you will need Cubase VST (version 3.02 or higher),
or any other VST-compatible host application. Prosoniq
recently announced version 2.0 of sonicworx Studio, which
will be VST compatible.
Here is some more specs info of the Orange Vocoder, as given
Realtime Vocoder effect usable in either the Master
or Track Effect Racks, uses either any input source/VST
audio track or the built in oscillator as carrier signal,
and any VST audio track as modulator.
Integrated 16 Oscillator/8-voice virtual analog
synthesizer with 2 oscillators per voice featuring 10 basic
wavefoms, and 7 sampled sounds, voice detune, pitch
LFO/PitchMod/AmpMod, 4-pole Lowpass filter with cutoff and
resonance, oscillator hard sync and ring modulator .
Fully customizable Freeform EQ with max. 12 nodes,
ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz and resolving from +30 to -30 dB
Input Channel flip to instantly exchange carrier and
modulator signals without re-routing tracks.
post-Vocoder Filterbank Reverb Effect with Mix, Decay
64bit internal processing using RISC-assembly coding
for lightning fast realtime performance.
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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