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Early 1970s vocoder, custom built for electronic music band Kraftwerk

A vocoder ({{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}, short for voice encoder) is a category of voice codec that analyzes and synthesizes the human voice signal for audio data compression, multiplexing, voice encryption, voice transformation, etc.

The earliest type of vocoder, channel vocoder was originally developed as a speech coder for telecommunications applications in the 1930s, the idea being to code a speech for reducing bandwidth (i.e. audio data compression) for multiplexing transmission. On the channel vocoder algorithm, among the two components of analytic signal, only consider the amplitude component and simply ignore the phase component, and it tend to result in the unclear voice. For the improvement of this issue, see phase vocoder.

In the encoder, the input is passed through a multiband filter, each band is passed through an envelope follower, and the control signals from the envelope followers are transmitted to the decoder. The decoder applies these (amplitude) control signals to corresponding filters for re–synthesis. Since the control signals change only slowly compared to the original speech waveform, the bandwidth required to transmit speech can be reduced. This allows more speech channels to share the single communication channel such as a radio channel or a submarine cable (i.e. multiplexing).

By encrypting the control signals, voice transmission can be secured against interception. Its primary use in this fashion is for secure radio communication. The advantage of this method of encryption is that none of the original signal is sent, but rather envelopes of the bandpass filters. The receiving unit needs to be set up in the same filter configuration to re–synthesise a version of the original signal spectrum.

The vocoder has also been used extensively as an electronic musical instrument (see #Uses in music). The decoder portion of the vocoder, called a voder, can be used independently for speech synthesis (see #History).

Vocoder sections
Intro  Theory  History  Applications  Modern implementations  Artistic effects  See also  References  External links