Sound Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for sound engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


im looking to use a vocoder to create a monster/demonic vocal. I have sampled the sound of a roaring fire and im looking to place a vocoder on the track, modulating it with my voice so the vocal articulates the fire sample, much in the same vein as this video :

Now im using Logic and Ableton. I know how to set it up, but im having difficulty minimising the filtered vocoding effect. It sounds like its being played underwater and doesnt sound clean and i was wondering if anyone has any advice?

many thanks


share|improve this question

Hi Tom,

Remember that vocoders work in the frequency domain. What you are doing is passing one sound through the spectral envelope of another. If you like, think of the carrier spectrum as a sieve which the modulator passes through. If you try to pass a sound which is only low frequency energy through one which is only high frequency energy, then you get nothing. EQ the result can't help because there is nothing there to boost.

Part of the problem is that the sound which you have picked probably does not have many frequencies which match your voice, but also the dominant frequencies in fires are like noise - no strong, continuous partials, and this is adding to the problem.

It's worth playing around with pitch-shifting and equalising both signals so they work together, but probably you need to pick another sound. Have you tried animal type sound like in the video?


share|improve this answer
@Mark Durham, that is an excellent answer. Thanks! – Jay Jennings Jul 5 '12 at 17:42

One thing to consider is whether the listener needs to hear fire or needs to THINK that he/she is hearing fire. My suggestion is to build a complexly layered sound that is reminiscent of a roaring blaze (perhaps a sample of a forest fire or a molten steel mill), and add something with a voice-like tone to it as Mark said. Vocode THAT combination. Once that's done, instead of using a vocoder on the crackling flame effect, use a gate and send the voice track into the sidechain of the gate. The end result, with a little TLC, should be a well-vocoded roar with a crackling element that pumps up and down along with the voice.

Happy mixing!


share|improve this answer

I second, fire as an impulse in your favourite Convolution Reverb also do this take your voice and run it against zplanes pitch tool and add layers of your voice on different octaves...the logic behind this is you adding more signal to your modulator, thus giving you more control over the carrier sound that provides necessary timbre towards the goal your carrier sound adds more partials to the over all sound...

share|improve this answer

Also try using the fire as an impulse in your favourite Convolution Reverb (Space Designer in Logic can do this)... by playing with the Decay, EQ and mix settings you may get closer to what you're looking for.

share|improve this answer

thanks for the reply. I have tried using animal sounds, now with waves morphoder.Now morphoder appears to be perfect as it offers a mixer section allowing me to bypass the filter and morph the carrier and modifier signal, however the morphoder's sidechain input doesnt seem to act like a traditional sidechain (i.e, the signal for carrier is heard even when modifier isnt playing)

share|improve this answer

thanks for all the advice, its coming along nicely, i'll post the finished clips when they're done.

One more question. The gating effect is brilliant, but is there a wya of having the flames work as an reverse de esser. I.e they are only audible for sibilant sounds? IS it simply using an eq before the noise gate to cancel out unrelated frequencies?


share|improve this answer
@Tom - Try setting a DeEsser on your vocal track first, bus your vocal to an Aux and run it through a notch EQ at the frequency that your DeEsser is set to. Then route that signal into the sidechain of your Gate. The next part depends on what sounds best to you. Either drop the same EQ on your gated signal and widen the Q a touch, or drop the same DeEsser on your gate signal but monitor the sidechain. With minimal fader riding the gated signal should blend nicely into the hole of your vocal – Steve Urban Jul 7 '12 at 5:37

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.