Secrets of the mysterious, seemingly-undocumented Virus TI vocoder

  • I wanted to learn how to use the vocoder on my Virus TI Polar, so I cracked open the manual and found a decent amount of information on the vocoder parameters (bottom of page 62 and up in my TI reference manual). I also found on the web that I can select the factory vocoder patches to get something to start off with.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing I can find about how to create my own vocoder patch. The manual indicates that the vocoder is accessible as an effect, but if I cycle through all the effects by pushing the Select button in the Effects section of the front panel, it just loops around from High EQ to Delay and Phase to Distortion without ever exposing a Vocoder page.

    Some questions.

    1) How can I access the effect pages for (Others) referenced on page 33 of the Quick Start manual, specifically Ring Modulator, Frequency Shifter, Input Ringmodulator, Vocoder, and Input Follower?
    2) If I have an existing patch that I want to turn into Atomizer mode, I simply go in to the Edit menu and change the Atomizer setting. Is there a similar way to switch a patch instantly into Vocoder mode? If so, what is it called and how do I access it?
    3) Is there any more documentation on the vocoder anywhere for me to look at?
    4) Why isn't this documentation included in an obvious position next to the vocoder information in the manual for dumb users like me? :)

    For the curious, I was able to get the vocoder working with ROM-L 124 VocoPad XM. Here's how.

    a) Once you have selected this patch, start playing an audio signal in to your TI. Hold down some keys on the keyboard. You may not hear anything if your input settings are not set up correctly.
    b) Keep holding down some keys, and go in to the Config menu. Under the Inputs 1/2 page, set the Sensitivity and Boost until you can hear your signal. Note that turning Input Thru to anything other than 0 will send the raw, un-vocoded signal into the signal path. You can use this to mix the original signal with the vocoded one if you like.
    c) Using the filter controls at the top right of the control panel, use the top four knobs (Cutoff, Resonance, Env Amount, and Filter Balance) to alter the vocoded signal.

    I got a passable, pad-like robot voice with the following settings. Note that the filter controls become vocoder controls in this mode, so I have put the default filter knob name first and the vocoder mode name in parentheses below.

    - Cutoff (Vocoder Center Frequency): -14
    - Resonance (Vocoder Q-Factor (Carrier)): 58
    - Env Amount (Vocoder Freq Spread (Carrier)): 62.5%
    - Filter Balance (Vocoder Balance): +6

    Anecdotally, turning the Vocoder Balance all the way to the left seems to give you the raw patch sound, while turning it all the way to the right will give you the audio signal you are feeding into the Virus with some of the basic patch signal processing applied.

  • I got slightly better Cylon-like robot voice results with the following settings:

    Vocoder central freq: 0
    Vocoder Q-Factor: 100 (this parameter seemed to affect the understandability of the spoken voice the most - the higher the better, but too high and I started getting too many tonal artifacts)
    Vocoder Freq Spread: 100%
    Vocoder Balance: 0

  • i know that the Vocoder was introduced in the Virus B so you might be better of searching for a manual for the Virus B or C

    but your right ...theres fuck all documentation on this in the recent manuals

    but as vocoders go...theres definatelly better out there

  • I am also confused about how to get the vocoder working. i patched an input in an selected a vocoder patch from the VC in cubase but could never get anything out of the virus.

  • Many thanks to Jörg for this response from Access Support!

    Dear Maxim,
    Thank you for your email. First off I would recommend to actually use the Virus TI Control plugin inside Logic, as this would make programming any sound - even a Vocoder patch - way easier. Are you using the Virus TI Control plugin at all?

    To use the Virus TI Vocoder please go on like this:
    - select an 'init" patch in your Virus TI Control PlugIn

    - make sure you got a signal coming through the analog inputs of the Virus TI

    (you can easily check that by going to the TI Control "FX" page and changing the INPUT Mode from "Off" to "Static" - if you hear an audio signal then, then everything is set up correctly - switch back the INPUT again to "Off" after checking that)

    - now activate the Vocoder (press the Edit button in the distortion section twice and scroll with the parameter buttons until you see Vocoder 1/4) and set its mode to "Oscillator" or "Osc Hold"

    - move both SPREAD parameters completely to the right

    - move the CENTER parameter to its middle position

    - now hold down a chord on your masterkeyboard or send notes to the TI via your sequencer

    -> you now should hear the vocoded audio signal

    Now you can start from there and change oscillator settings, etc. to create a unique vocoder sound. So changing the oscillator waveforms and other oscillator setting will have a general influence of the sound of course.

    Let me know how far you get with this and if you need further assistance.
    By the way there's no further documentation on the Vocoder available, I'm afraid.

    Best wishes,

    Jörg Hüttner

  • Here is an ugly video where you can see what I tried:

    1) I first play an audio loop direct to the master.
    2) Then I play a few notes from the INIT patch.
    3) I root the audio loop to the Virus Control and demonstrate it does work by putting the input as static.
    4) I activate the vocoder in OSC mode.
    5) I randomly tweak buttons to make it work...but nothing :S

    The sound is really bad..sorry!

  • make sure virus control's I/Os are setup correctly (you need to choose the 3/0 mode in order to get audio from Live to the TI). this mode will disable the virus as a soundcard. also you need to create an appropriate routing into the virus, i'm not a live user - maybe somebody else can point your towards the right direction. you need to use Virus Control's Aux Inputs

    alternatively contact access support by email

  • heres how I got it to work in Live 9.
    a) Make sure you are not using TI as sound card
    b) Create a Virus TI track
    c) in VC set Virus to 3/1 (you need 1 input)
    d) on Virus select a Vocoder preset (easiest to get started!) e.g. VocoPad XM
    e) press I/O on live
    f) on audio track that you wish to use as source, change "Audio To" to Virus TI track

    then play your audio track (and keep it looping) , and then play chords on your Virus.

    from there of course you can create your own presets, and play with vocoder settings.

  • EDIT: I move my topic to the Troubleshooting section.

    Here is an updated, commented video with good sound quality.

    I tried in this video all the steps you asked me to do. I'm ready to do screensharing with anyone.

    I've been using Atomizer and other input systems without any issue.


  • I found the vocoder to be pretty underwhelming if I'm honest. Stock Ableton Live vocoder is much better.
    What's confusing when setting it up is you do not actually need to set the input to static or dynamic to hear the effected audio. I have input set to off. That will actually mess it up, if you set the input to static or dynamic. Just setup the virus as you normally would to use it as an effect send for example, and then that's it....just load up the vocoder preset (I use the VocoPad XM preset) and have a midi loop going to the virus channel that is setup with the vocoder preset.