Mechanised Choir

A 'vocoded' choral instrument, 'ah' and 'oh' vowels sang through a TC Helicon Talkbox Synth pedal... Become one with the Machine

The story

Inspired by mucking about with my ‘TC Helicon Talkbox Synth’ pedal (a second-hand find) I wanted to create a synthesised vocal sound, but (hopefully) with enough life and character to not sound fully synthetic. The mod wheel fades between the two vowel sounds.

Originally I had planned on a slightly more complex instrument but ultimately some things didn’t work out, such as the round robins which somehow ended up being too different to be usable, and it became a matter of diminishing returns. And let’s be honest, I ran out of steam/enthusiasm! But still, I really enjoy how it sounds!

The samples cover every note from midi numbers 45 to 71 (A to B, just over two octaves) and then I’ve artificially extended the range just a tiny bit, down to 36 and up to 72. I’ve indicated this by colour-coding the on-screen keyboard, white and light grey respectively, and then out of range keys are dark grey.

Anyway, thanks so much to everyone on the Pianobook discord server who gave feedback and advice over the course of development. Thanks especially to Sid_B for helping me troubleshoot a loop-point issue and putting me on to Polyphone, which I ended up using to set my loop points when REAPER and Audition were both misbehaving in different ways! And thank You for giving my instrument a go! I hope you enjoy it and find some use for it.

A quick demonstration video


Reviews for Mechanised Choir

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • A fun little choir with fantastic UI

    I really love the character of this pack, and the UI artwork. It's a simple choir library with plenty of customisability that I could definitely see myself using for some video game ambient music. I'm getting some clicking/crunch noises when using the modwheel to move between the Oh/Ah, which could be a CPU issue depending how efficient dS is in its group-switching. But that is my only fault with the library. Great job Tobias!

    Eamon22 April 2022
  • Beginning of something great

    I don't know what it is about Tobias, but I'm fascinated by his work. First, buzzy bee caught my eye as a creative person making their own analog gear to then make a digital version. THEN came the cedar box instrument with a perfectly imperfect sound. Now the mechanised Choir. Tobias has taken his own voice to create a beautifully artificial instrument. This instrument sounds best while slowly manipulating the center control shifting from "OH" to "AH" and back again. This does make me wish for a LFO, but I don't know if that is possible with DS. Tobias has also created an incredible UI that is impossible to overlook. I love the visual world you are creating. I'm confident that Tobias' profile is going to blow up very soon. You are an brilliantly creative dude and I'm always excited to see your latest creations.

    obolig07 May 2022
  • A smooth vocalizer-like sound

    This is a great and well-executed idea of a synthetic choir. It has a very warm sound with the option to switch from an Oh to an Ah vowel sound via the modwheel. WIthin the awesomely designed GUI, you will find Attack and Release settings on the left, along with some effects on the right. Everything sounds good and clean, and plays good too within a range of 3 octaves.

    Alex Raptakis23 April 2022
  • Gorgeous UI and characterful sounds

    I now know what GUI stands for! (Gorgeous User Interface!). There's a lot of artistic skill on display here: visibly and audibly. The UI sets the bar very high, and the audio is wonderfully edgy - is it processed real or is it synthetic? Turning the resonance up all the way and the cut-off frequency almost all the way down gives a very pure sound that strips away the strong resonances and gives a very nice tone that will be very useful as an extra layer for choir sounds and string sounds. I might have used a translation table to give more control of the lower end of the cut-off frequency, but this is just personal preference - I prefer 'linearised' controls where the user perception is the 'linear' bit (and I know it is difficult to achieve!).

    A look inside the 'Samples' folder reveals chromatic samples, which is pretty unusual, and a lot of work! The looping sounds good, with only the B4 needing a longer sample to avoid the cyclic modulation. For added instant Christian Henson-appeal, then I would have been tempted to run the samples through one of the many 'tape transport' emulations which are currently fashionable, but that's always the factory preset designer's quandary: instant wow versus long-term usability.

    If this was me, then I would have stretched the samples lower and higher, just to see how far they can go! I've never been one for restricting the range of instruments, and exploring pitches beyond the beyond can be a fertile place for inspiration.

    Overall, then, an eye- and ear-catching little instrument that does synthetic vocal resonances very nicely, and a strong contender for being layered with other sounds.

    synthesizerwriter06 May 2022
  • Great UI!

    A very cool idea and a slick interface. Quite a retro choir sound and I found the instrument came to life with the chorus and verb provided. I really love the GUI on this pack. It elevates the whole experience and is a lot of fun to use. Chur!

    Scott J Mason07 May 2022