New Toys

Waldorf Lector Vocoder Plug-in

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Waldorf Lector Vocoder Plug-in

It is "limiting" to call the Waldorf Lector merely a vocoder. For years I've been waiting for a plug-in version of this unique (and time-honored) effect and Lector ver 1.0.1 is here from Germany-based Waldorf Music. Lector is now available in full 64-bit glory for MACs and Windows computers (AU and VST formats) and comes with many factory presets for immediate results. The hard part is deciding which result(s)--It is easy to get robotic voices, eerie and ghostly strings, "talking" drum loops, rhythmic pads, and much more.

There are three main ways I tried out Lector. I let a (stereo or mono) drum loop track provide a dynamic "trigger" for the 100-band analysis filter bank to modulate an atonal soundscape I made using the onboard synth and noise generators. That's the fastest way to very interesting sounds and effect treatments--particularly on percussive drums and drum loops.

Waldorf Lector Vocoder Plug-inNext I placed Lector on the insert of a lead vocal track and used a sustaining synth string track connected to the plug-in's side chain input as the "carrier" (in vocoder lingo). Now, the vocal (which was not even in the same key as the strings) articulated the string synth chord changes with speech phonemes--the string synth talks! How intelligible the words are is a function of the (word-identifying) consonants within the words themselves. Lector has an onboard mixing function to add back some of the vocal audio--but like any vocoder hardware or software, vocalists have to over-enunciate and pronounce their words carefully.

For the third way, you would play via MIDI, the internal 16-voice "analog-type" synthesizer to provide the carrier signal. It has two oscillators with sine, triangle, saw tooth, and square waves, sample & hold and noise sections, and the ability to use single and multi-samples instead of the oscillators. Now as the carrier signal and, along with your vocal, this is the most individually expressive and authentic way.

An interesting and unique feature of Lector is its vocoder formant filter bank. You can control the low and high frequency offset, bandwidth, and resonance to process the carrier's sound and also sync (and automate) a modulating LFO. This feature is in addition to the synth's filter and adds a whole range of vocoder sounds such as wahs and extreme filter sounds popular in today's Electro Pop records.

This is a plug-in I continue to learn and love more and more and I have not even gotten into the frequency and ring modulators, tube overdrive, transistor distortion and hard clipping and the six-voice chorus/flanger section, reverb, and sync'd stereo delay.

It's all there and you can buy it from MV Pro Audio dealers throughout the US and Canada. Check: and a fully working demo version can be downloaded at

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