Asheville, NC, February 4, 2020 — After more than 40 years, Moog Music has resumed production of the highly sought-after Moog 16 Channel Vocoder. To help welcome the instrument’s return, Moses Sumney visited the Moog Sound Lab to perform an unreleased track from his upcoming double album græ.
The history of the vocoder is as unique as the sound it produces.
In the 1930s, Bell Labs introduced the technology as a telecommunications device that could deconstruct the most fundamental elements of human speech and then reconstruct a new electronically synthesized voice. During WWII, the US military used this advancement to electronically encode classified audio messages that could be reconstituted on the receiving end.
Over the following decades, music technologies would explore the artistic applications of the vocoder, whose robotic vocal articulations would soon find their way into mainstream music, television, films, and games. The influential sound machine has been used by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Dr. Dre, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk and many more.
The Moog 16 Channel Vocoder, originally introduced in 1978 (and heard most famously on the title track of Giorgio Moroder’s E=MC2), has been used to transmute vocals, transform synthesizers, and electronically encode sound for decades.
With the instrument’s reintroduction, Moog Music has gone to great lengths to ensure that this distinct electronic voice carries on. Derived from the original schematic, the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder’s analog voice circuits are hand-soldered at the Moog Factory in Asheville, North Carolina to preserve the original instrument’s classic sound. Updated mechanical connectors and a modern power supply improve reliability and long-term serviceability while ensuring that the analog soul of this instrument—and its unique character and idiosyncrasies—remains unchanged.
Watch: Moses Sumney Performs New Song in Moog Sound Lab
Moses Sumney, accompanied by a full band, recently visited the Moog Sound Lab in Asheville, North Carolina to perform a reimagination of “Conveyor” from his forthcoming album græ.
In this rendition of the unreleased track, Sumney processes his vocals through the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder, using the Matriarch synthesizer to serve as the vocoder’s carrier signal in order to transform and resynthesize his voice. Sumney also incorporates a looper pedal to manipulate both the dry and vocoded vocals, creating rhythmic patterns throughout the track. He is accompanied by Zach Cooper on bass, Mike Haldeman on guitar, Darian Thomas on violin, and Ian Chang on drums and sensory percussion.
Now Available at Select Dealers Worldwide
The Moog 16 Channel Vocoder is crafted with care by the employee-owners at Moog Music in Asheville, North Carolina. The Moog 16 Channel Vocoder, which has been used to encode sound, transmute vocals, and transform synthesizers for over 40 years, is now available for order with select Moog authorized dealers worldwide. Locate a dealer near you to order your instrument: www.moogmusic.com/dealers.
More About the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder
The instrument works by continuously analyzing the timbral characteristics of one sound (program) and impresses these timbral characteristics upon a second signal (carrier).
Learn more about the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder at www.moogmusic.com/products/16-channel-vocoder