Homer Dudley initially developed vocoders at the Bell Labs in the 1930s, whilst he was experimenting with speech synthesis. Vocoders work using a modulator signal, like a voice or drum beat, and a carrier signal, such as a sustained pad or synth sound.
These signals are then split through a number of bandpass filters that combine and output the common frequency between the two signals. An iconic use of that robotic-vocal sound, created by a vocoder, can be found in Kraftwerk’s 1978 track, ‘The Robots‘.
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