JH Living Vocoder [BUILD THREAD]

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Haralds:Werk
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Post by Haralds:Werk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:40 pm

SynthMaffio wrote:Hi, I am new here and as my first post I would like to ask a question.
I want to start building this magic vocoder and I decided to built it with a modules system, like the elektor vocoder, an easier and less expensive way. So I bought a 3U rack with 19 slots, which will contain all the filters and input/output modules, including a pitch extractor (an extra thing and very useful). Then all controls will end into a front panel above the rack. Do you think it's a good project?

Thanks in advance
Yes. You can use the Elektor Vocoder for inspiration and adapt the circuitry from Juergen. It will be a lot of work though. I doubt that this way is easier and cheaper. Nothng for a beginner. As Juergen has said elsewhere "Nothing for the faint of the heart"
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Post by OrganFixer » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:31 pm

So I'm at the point where I'm thinking about what to do about an enclosure and a panel. The easy way out (and not a bad solution) would be to use Techman's panel and box it up like he did. But I was thinking if I mount the PCB vertical on the back of the box it can have less width and be shallower but it would have to be taller. However that ends up being a lot of work for a box that is almost as big as Techman's anyway. The pcb is 12 X 16 so that would be the minimum front panel. But realistically you would need to add at least an inch right? So 13 x 17 (Techman's panel is about 19X9) and if I want to put the power connector out the back it will probably need at least another inch in one of the directions. The upside would be it wouldn't need to be very deep. maybe 8 inches or so would be good. But then I would also need to think of where the transformer goes to minimize noise. Anyway, I'm just brainstorming and thought I'd throw that out and see what other people think. Any opinions out there?

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Post by Luka » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:33 am

My design which is about to be built is an upright box similar to ttsh. The front panel is 465mm W x 310 H. This is roughly the pcb size with an extra inch or so in the width which allows me to mount deeper panel components down the side (mic input / jacks etc). Sliders / leds / patch bay have sub boards. The case will be wood, only 200mm deep at the bottom and a bit thinner at the top.

It has been a lot of work designing it all but I'm pretty much done. Hope to have it all completed by the end of the year (only get time here and there during the weekend and some evening nights if im lucky)

I added an internal vco to my design too which is normalled to the excitation input. The other mod is a speech insert which is after the mic amp and the speech level pot. I thought this would be good if you want to use a frequency shifter or some sort of effect in line. The ems2000 has an inbuilt freq shifter.

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Post by OrganFixer » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:05 pm

Luka,

You have convinced me to design my own upright design. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking something obvious that made it a bad idea. Your mods sound interesting. The speech line in seems easy enough. Is it just a jack on the panel wired in to the right spot? The VCO sounds more involved. Like you, I'm hoping to finish this year so I think I'll try to avoid that one. Right now I'm just toying around with a front panel design.

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SynthMaffio
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Post by SynthMaffio » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:39 pm

Thanks Harald for the reply!

Has anyone ever thought of including a pitch extractor in this project?
I did some research but I did not find any diy device that was built and working

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Post by Haralds:Werk » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:27 pm

SynthMaffio wrote:Thanks Harald for the reply!

Has anyone ever thought of including a pitch extractor in this project?
I did some research but I did not find any diy device that was built and working
What do you mean here wiith pitch extractor? A pitch to voltage converter? This must be an module on its own not part of a vocoder. May be this is of interest for you: This is the pitch 2 voltage converter from my Shakuhachi 2 Synth project
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SynthMaffio
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Post by SynthMaffio » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:56 am

Yes, a frequency to voltage converter, I'm sorry if I did not specify it.
It is used in the EMS 5000 vocoder. The pitch extractor converts operator voice intonation into a CV signal that can be sent in the synthesizer (analog, with CV input) to control the frequency of the oscillators. So, when I change the frequency of my voice, the synthesizer frequency changes too, following my intonation. The output of the synthesizer goes to the excitation input of the vocoder.
This trick makes you sing like a real robot.
Without this device you must use the keyboard or the pitch wheel of the synth to change the oscillators frequency.

Here three demos of the EMS 5000

http://www.strings.ph.qmul.ac.uk/~thoma ... 5000p4.mp3

http://www.strings.ph.qmul.ac.uk/~thoma ... 00p5ab.mp3

http://www.strings.ph.qmul.ac.uk/~thoma ... 00p6ab.mp3

4) Pitch extraction with 'S' sounds and ascending pitch.

5a) As 4 but all formants shifted up a quarter octave.
5b) As 4 but all formants shifted up one octave.

6a) As 4 but all formants shifted down a half octave.
6b) Using white noise for excitation instead of the oscillator.

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SynthMaffio
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Post by SynthMaffio » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:10 am

This is not a simple converter that uses pulsetrain but the frequency of the voice. It needs some stages before it gets into the converter. I found two interesting projects created specifically for this case but I wanted to use something more immediate, less complicated and sure that it works pretty well.

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Post by Haralds:Werk » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:37 am

SynthMaffio wrote:This is not a simple converter that uses pulsetrain but the frequency of the voice. It needs some stages before it gets into the converter. I found two interesting projects created specifically for this case but I wanted to use something more immediate, less complicated and sure that it works pretty well.
Thank you for clarification. Pitch extraction from voice is indeed a hard one. Particularly with regards to the analog domain.
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Luka
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Post by Luka » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:24 am

got my test panel cut, already found a few issues but i am super excited about making some progress on this project. now time to etch some slider pcbs to see if they line up okay

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Image

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Eric the Red
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Post by Eric the Red » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:05 am

What a great build - keep us posted!
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Post by the bad producer » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:08 am

:banana:

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tjs
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Post by tjs » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:44 pm

Amazing. Maybe this encourages me to move ahead with my Living Vocoder, the main board is working, need to think about useful additions...

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Luka
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Post by Luka » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:17 am

more progress with test panel

etching panel pcb in progess (slow as usual)

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Post by Luka » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:40 pm

progress video



just need to wire up the silence bridging faders

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Post by bsilverberg » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:15 am

Luka, thanks for posting the video! Exactly what I was hoping someone with a working build would do so I could compare to mine. Yours sounds better. Did you happen to compile a list of component changes you made?

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Post by Luka » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:29 am

I think all the values populated are as per the ones listed by user 'sound' on the electro-music thread. 99% sure. I populated the boards about 3-4 years ago so I am a bit vague on it. I don't think I was very adventurous then.

I am about to start tweaking some stuff as my mic amp doesn't amp the mic signal enough. Seems like I need the mic amp maxed to get a decent signal for either mic or line speech inputs. Unsure if that is the desired config. I think my noise is a bit too loud when you are running in v/uv modes. The EXEC mode is louder than S mode but I think this is just due to S mode being filtered.

Can you post some examples of your build?

Also I created a facebook group for builders / users if you want to join
https://www.facebook.com/groups/550170508680992/

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Post by Luka » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:36 am

Also it is probably worth mentioning that in the video I am using a podcast from an ipod for the speech input and the audio would be heavily compressed. The synth input is from a CGS VCO which I built into the unit and it runs pretty hot i.e. modular level 10vpp.

I just played with the vocoder using my minilogue and it sounded a lot different. Still sounded really good though to be subjective :)

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Post by OrganFixer » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:18 pm

I powered up today. No smoke but not really working right either. Let the troubleshooting begin. I get the two input signals to pass and sometimes it seems to try to vocode. I think I probably wired up something in the panel incorrectly. I made a number of "educated" guesses there.

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Luka
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Post by Luka » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:50 am

The speech input amp has a speech output. You can use this as a test point for your mic. I have been testing by playing podcasts into it. It works well.

The synthesis compounder has a synthdry output as well.

Also you may want to check your replacement signal switches are wired up correctly. You don't get much output unless you have those set to the correct positions.

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Post by OrganFixer » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:09 pm

Hi everyone,
This will probably be my first of many requests for help troubleshooting this. I've been poking at it here and there without much success so I decided to do a more systematic approach reviewing each section one by one. In the speech input section I input a sine wave and noticed an oscillation imposed over the sine wave on the output. I eventually removed all the input cords and when I probe on pin 6 of the SSM2019 I see the oscillation below. Any ideas? Should I be worried about this? It sounds fine and passes the signal when the output switch is set to speech but I'm not sure if this oscillation will affect other things like the silence bridging since it is always there.

174kHz
1v peak to peak

Image

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Post by papz » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:27 am

In case someone is looking for a PCB viewtopic.php?p=2879663#2879663
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by Reese P. Dubin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:32 am

YES ME PLEASE
PM'D you

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Luka
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Post by Luka » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:49 am

OrganFixer wrote:Hi everyone,
This will probably be my first of many requests for help troubleshooting this. I've been poking at it here and there without much success so I decided to do a more systematic approach reviewing each section one by one. In the speech input section I input a sine wave and noticed an oscillation imposed over the sine wave on the output. I eventually removed all the input cords and when I probe on pin 6 of the SSM2019 I see the oscillation below. Any ideas? Should I be worried about this? It sounds fine and passes the signal when the output switch is set to speech but I'm not sure if this oscillation will affect other things like the silence bridging since it is always there.

174kHz
1v peak to peak

Image
I just checked that point on mine and I don't see any osc. I have a slight positive dv offset but no oscillation. There has been note of the amp being unstable. What values have you implemented in this section?

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Post by LED-man » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:08 pm

I just started 3 of 8 Bandpassfilter.
It’s an easy job.
Raoul used a good spaceleading for all parts.
Pcb quality is fine too.
I used polypropylene capacitors for the Filters, the total costs depends on this.

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