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How the voice of the Cylon was made (finally!)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author How the voice of the Cylon was made (finally!)
samplebias2
Wanted to share with you guys first, through a wild coincidental connection I ended up speaking with the last person alive who worked on the original Battlestar Galactica TV show and engineered the voice. The guessing and speculation is over:

Voice of the Cylon 6-part documentary series
Shakespeare
nanners

Some good memories there for this child of the 70s.
Randy
I always thought they just used a Marshall Time Modulator. I recall hearing a demo of a voice through it (probably on one of those thin plastic "records" that came in magazines) that sounded just like a Cylon.

Randy
hinterlands303
Wow - super thorough! Seeing it (very briefly) restored some of my faith in humanity. We are such a delightfully weird species; not only do we create Cylon voices for reasons that are, frankly, hard to explain but 50 years later someone is so taken by this sound that they embark on this mystery to discover its origins.

Maybe an alien robot civilization will watch this one day and decide we are worth sparing from annihilation. Or maybe we’ll be gone already but they’ll still enjoy this video. Either way, bravo!
pricklyrobot
Randy wrote:
I always thought they just used a Marshall Time Modulator

That was part of the Darth Vader voice, wasn’t it?
commodorejohn
Well now I want to filk "The Sluggard"/"'Tis the Voice of the Lobster" but I'm just not familiar enough with the show...
samplebias2
hinterlands303 wrote:
Wow - super thorough! Seeing it (very briefly) restored some of my faith in humanity. We are such a delightfully weird species; not only do we create Cylon voices for reasons that are, frankly, hard to explain but 50 years later someone is so taken by this sound that they embark on this mystery to discover its origins.

Maybe an alien robot civilization will watch this one day and decide we are worth sparing from annihilation. Or maybe we’ll be gone already but they’ll still enjoy this video. Either way, bravo!



Thanks! Even when I read the Mark Vail book "Vintage Synthesizers" back in the 1990's he pointed out that synths had evolved so far by that point that the brand new stuff structurally could not even sound like the old old stuff. I keep hearing vocoders in all these new pop songs, mainly for BKV's on hooks, software is ok for that purpose but they don't come close to real analog. It's a shame the EMS specimens are so very very rare
Licudi
Interesting to see the ARP 2500. Always assumed it was 'just' an EMS.
jjclark
This is good stuff.
mhtones
Brings back memories! That was the coolest sound on tv back in the day.
MindMachine
Excellent! Now I know what to buy. Mr. Green

Thanks for the work.
IR
Interesting, for some reason I thought it had a very short delay/reverb with high feedback, it appears that is not the case unless I missed something..
samplebias2
IR wrote:
Interesting, for some reason I thought it had a very short delay/reverb with high feedback, it appears that is not the case unless I missed something..


There have been all good guesses over the years, this one, Marshall Time modulator, Ring modulator. It really is just a PWM tone at 1-2 very specific widths throughout the show, that's it. Sometimes added sine and triangle.


There's a few in the 1980 series where it deviated WAY WAY outside the norm, like really off. The ARP filters are known for being "ringy" and the LA2A/tape/limiting really really pushes those tones up to the front of the sound.

Who doesn't wish they could go to 1978 right now and go on a shopping spree? So much MOJO ....
CosmicFlight
Really cool, thanks for sharing that Guinness ftw!
Orgia Mode
yeah cool!
samplebias2
Well I just got in my CMS ARP 2500 clone Eurorack modules (oscillator and multimode filter). I now have every piece of original gear used to make the Cylon voice for the first time under one roof... it is spectacular- they got lucky that Jerry Goldsmith's ARP 2500 was there to use or the Cylon voice would have just sounded like Funkytown or Midnight Starr.... the resonance and rings coming from/enhanced by the hipass filter are the same frequencies that the tape boosted and that's why the unique sound has never been duplicated....

CYLON VOICE DEMO #2
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