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Vocoders & Don Lewis

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I recently saw a thread somewhere (I thought it was here and searched but couldn't find anything - I just remembered that it was on a FB group page) that talked about Don and his contributions to synthesis and kind of plugging a DVD documentary on him called "The Ballad of Don Lewis". I ordered the DVD myself but haven't watched it yet (on vacation with no DVD player at the moment).


Anyway, the point of my post is this. He did some video demos of Roland products, more specifically the VP-550, VP-770, and VP-7 and did a phenomenal job of replicating a gospel choir. Here is an example:



Adrian Scott does a pretty good job of showing off what the VP-770 can do on this series of 3 videos:


I looked around for used Roland VP series and their prices on the used market have become astronomical. I then looked into software emulations and found that most of the demos have lots of vocoder but it's all robotic type voice changing stuff. Then again, most of the emulations I saw were of the VP-330 which may or may not do what they are doing in these videos. What is it about the VP-550/VP-770/VP-7 that allows him to coax those type of choirs and the phrasing out of it and can that even be emulated in software? Not interested so much in doing the talk-box, Mr. Roboto kind of things. But man ... to be able to have those choirs back you up would be awesome. Anybody here aware of how that all works and if any of the software emulations can do this? Thanks in advance.

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My favorite is this one, so much that I even transcribed the harmonization.



Life is subtractive.
Genres: Jazz, funk, pop, Christian worship, BebHop
Wishlist: 80s-ish (synth)pop, symph pop, prog rock, fusion, musical theatre
Gear: NS2 + JUNO-G. KingKORG. SP6 at church.


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I love that aspect as well. No one else has chosen to dive deeper, beyond the robot realm. The problem is the Vocal Designer, which is Roland-proprietary. Its a SuperNatural-type thing that welds the mic to a focused choir library, which no one else has attempted. Its a very good example of how well Roland gets some specialty things to impress at a high level. I'm sure you could cobble a similar effect together with one of the higher-end samplers, but it most likely wouldn't have that kind of system integration and instant-grat effect. Don is a living proof-of-concept for it. :thu:

 "You seem pretty calm about all that."
 "Well, inside, I'm screaming.
    ~ "The Lazarus Project"

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