XILS Labs | XILS 5000 Vocoder Plug-in

XILS Labs | XILS 5000 Vocoder Plug-in

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XILS 5000 Vocoder

The Organic Vocoder, First and Last step for Vocoding

A Legend is Reborn !

Inspired by the EMS Flagship Vocoder ( EMS 5000 -1976-) , XILS-lab used the knowledge acquired during the creation of the emulation of both the VCS3 synthesizer and the VP300 VocoderPlus to develop the XILS 5000 Vocoder Model


A Vocoder is a synthesizer that accepts an external sound source, a musical instrument or prerecorded signal, so that you can process it, with or without the keyboard, into a huge variety of sounds.

Human voice, the most variable sound of all, can be fed into the Vocoder, so that you can alter its pitch, Tone, Vibrato, and all its characteristics, allowing you to synthetize a Choir from a single voice, or to create melodies from ordinary speech.

You can also process Drums, percussive elements, or Guitars and… every kind of synthesizer as well, to breathe some analog life into them, or completely reshape them. You can even derive pure synth patterns from… drumloops! Everything is possible!

XILS 5000 Vocoder

Clarity, Purity: The XILS Vocoder 5000 emulates the sophisticated filtering techniques and incredibly complex circuitry of its analog counterpart to achieve the same organic sound, precision and… clarity.

Easy to use for beginners, yet incredibly powerful for Veterans: The user interface offers a standard single panel view. Everything is there, right in front of you, with a great number of presets to get you started. Should you want, or need, to go deeper, the Logo Center Panel will switch to a vast selection of advanced panels displaying the advanced parameters of the XILS Vocoder 5000 module you wish to explore and experiment with. And there are dozens of advanced parameters, for your joy.

Back to the 21st Century: Because it’s from XILS-lab, it offers many advanced features that its ancestor could not have offered at that time: the number of Bands, Filter types, Filter’s Emphasis and Emphasis ponderation, more Slew Rate mods, more Freeze mods, 2 LFOs (Original had none), Detailed FM and PWM, more Oscillator Waveforms, an improved Input detector (Sibilants), Gate input etc., etc.

You can also populate the Matrix by freely drawing lines, and it has its own presets. (This is very useful once you’ve found the perfect template for a certain voice.)


A Vocoder, What is this ?

A Vocoder is an effect that takes two input signals and combines them to create one output signal. The first signal is called the Modulator, and the second is called the Carrier.

Typically, vocals are used as the modulator (But you can also use drums, percussive material, or any other musical signal, like an orchestra or a complete track).

A Synthesizer is used as a Carrier (Oscillator with different waveforms, that can be played with chords, white noise… or anything with a rich harmonic spectrum).

The Modulator signal is then split into several Frequency bands using a Bandpass Filter Bank. The same bank is used to split the Carrier signal. The levels detected in the modulator’s spectrum are then applied to the carrier spectrum, resulting in what we commonly know as "Robotic Voices", when a vocoder is used in the simplest way.

For good results, understandable and clear synthetic voices, 22 bands are used in our legacy EMS 5000 model. (Less bands were also commonly found in other hw vocoders: 10, 12 bands in most limited budget-line units.)

The quality of a vocoder depends heavily on the following components:

  • The filter bank: it must provide a good analysis spectrum. Each band must be equally measured (without any digital artifacts).
  • The band level analysis: the way each band level is measured, and is the key factor for a hi-end vocoder with clarity and precision.
  • The synthesis band modulation: the way each synthesis band gets modulated is also part of the vocoder sound, its quality and its smoothness.
  • Synthesizer carrier: Without a good synthesizer feeding the vocoder’s filters, results will not be as good as expected.

The XILS Vocoder 5000 will fulfill all your expectations:

  • The synthesizer sound is based on our acclaimed VCS 3 oscillator emulation (The original also had EMS oscillators of course)
  • The 20 or 22 band filter bank is based on our analog-like, zero-delay behavior filters, ensuring that all bands are equally measured.
  • Level analysis and spectrum followers were developed in our labs over many years and considered state of the art by all reviewers, as you can see in our VP-330 emulation.

Finally, something else that makes the XILS Vocoder 5000 incredibly powerful and versatile is the Matrix patch area: You can connect any band of the modulator to any band of the carrier. This means endless sound possibilities. No other Analog Vocoder will ever offer you more flexibility and freedom!

More than an extreme Vocoder

The XILS Vocoder 5000 is also a wonderful synthesis tool with a Voice/UnVoice detector, a Pitch Tracker and a Frequency Shifter which can make it fun to manipulate voices, drums, bass lines or anything!
You can even play it as a not-so-standard synthesizer. And you can mix all these signals along with the Vocoder output and dry signal in the most subtle, convenient and precise way: All the modules have their own set of parameters, including output levels.

The XILS Vocoder 5000 Modules and features in a glance

The XILS Vocoder 5000 provides all the modules of its legendary ancestor ... And more :

  • A Matrix Patch Area (22x22 or 20x20)
  • Two Synthesizer cores
  • Two oscillators per core, modeled on the EMS VCS3 oscillator
  • One noise per core
  • Two LFOs per core
  • One VCA-ADSR per core
  • One 22 band filter vocoder
  • One 20 band filter vocoder
  • Stereo analysis and synthesis available
  • Side chain for adding an external audio source to the carrier
  • A virtual keyboard, which can be saved within your presets
  • A finely tweaked analog-like pitch tracker
  • An input gate for reducing the noise
  • A Voice/UnVoice detector
  • A full output mixer applied to any of the internal audio paths
  • A huge Frequency Shifter effect
  • All parameters are MIDI controllable
  • Presets for quickly showing-off the XILS Vocoder 5000 in all is glory

The Vocoder 5000 Modules explained

Let’s take a look at each module in detail.

The Matrix Patch Area

  • The patch area allows you to connect any band of the analysis filter bank to any band of the synthesis filter bank.
  • It’s very easy to edit the formants, replacing a man’s voice a child’s one, making some special effects, or getting the weirdest electronic voices.
  • This patch area is also very useful in sculpting sounds in a very precise way when you use other signals as modulators, such as drums.
  • Fast use: We added a preset manager dedicated to the patch area: It provides some initial configurations (formant +1, formant -2, inverted...) or you can save your own Matrix patches.

XILS Vocoder 5000 Heart: the Filter Bank

  • A Vocoder’s global quality depends heavily on its filter bank quality.
  • Thanks to its deep experience in filtering algorithms (Analog like, un-wrapped, zero-delay behavior filters have already been used in XILS-lab synthesizers for many years), XILS-lab has developed a very accurate filter bank that splits both Modulator and Carrier signals into bands of EQUAL width (Which is quite difficult to achieve in the digital domain).
  • This results in the most accurate software vocoder ever made, almost 100% identical to the original machine. We added some new features: you can tweak the emphasis, and add a ponderation curve.
  • The ponderation curve allows you to adapt the filter of each Filter’s Bands so that it can deliver some very smooth and warm bass frequencies, while totally preserving clarity, without the "tube" effect.
  • More possibilities: you can choose the number of bands (22 or 20 bands and the filters order (12,18 or 24 dB/oct)

At the power of the XILS Vocoder 5000: the Oscillators and the Noise

  • Inspired by the EMS VCS3 oscillators, already emulated in the acclaimed XILS 3, XILS 4 synthesizers, the XILS Vocoder 5000 provides two warm sounding, clear and transparent oscillators.
  • Oscillator Frequency (FM) and Shape (PWM) can be modulated (Vibratos etc.). Oscillator frequency can be fixed, or you can use Keyboard Tracking (The key to nice vocoding chord effects). It can also follow the input voice/signal frequency via the Pitch Tracker module.
  • Next, we have the Voice/UnVoice module: Oscillator levels are automatically adapted to match the input voice behavior, sibilant or voiced.
  • Clicking on the "Advanced" icon opens, as it should, the Oscillator Advanced Parameters Panel: Here, you can choose the Oscillator Waveform (Saw, Pulse, Triangle, Sine), specify its shape, and select the FM and PWM sources (LFO1, or LFO2).
  • Finally, the Noise Generator: is also a full part of the synthesizer sound, and, like the oscillators, can be driven by the Voice/UnVoice module.

Vocoding clarity: the Voice/UnVoice and Slew Rate modules and freeze function

  • Voice or UnVoice: Based on our exclusive DeeS algorithms (XILS-lab transparent De-esser device) which separates, smoothly but firmly, the sibilant from the voiced part of the input voice, the XILS Vocoder 5000 provides an easy but accurate way to choose which generator must be used as Carrier while vocoding: the Oscillators or the Noise.
  • Voice or UnVoice: a very simple and easy module with Threshold, Frequency and Smoothness knobs. That's all!
  • Slew Rate: This module analyzes the input filter bank, then applies the result to the Synthesis filter bank. Without this module’s advanced algorithm, the vocoding voice wouldn't be as understandable and smooth.
  • For a better result and clarity, you can add a ponderation curve to the various bands, allowing a smoothness in the lower part of the spectrum, for a warmer sound as well as a fast response in the upper part of the spectrum giving more and better clarity.
  • The Midi-controllable Freeze switch will, as you would expect, freeze the spectrum (or any part of the internal algorithm, pitch, slew, voice/UnVoice), allowing you to use the XILS Vocoder 5000 as a huge resonator filter.

The Frequency Shifter

  • Like its analog ancestor, the XILS Vocoder 5000 offers a particular effect called the Frequency Shifter.
  • As its name implies, this effect shifts the whole spectrum of the incoming signal(s) by a certain frequency.
  • Depending on the set frequency, the result can be anything from a simple, subtle level modulation to huge ring modulator-like effects.
  • There are several components in this effect. Each comes with its own Level and Panoramic, to achieve wide stereo processing. The Advanced Settings Panel gives you more options.
  • This effect can be simultaneously applied to any of the XILS Vocoder 5000 audio paths. The frequency shift can also be driven and controlled by the Pitch Tracker Module for even more fun!

See, and control, what you hear: The Mixer and the Vu-Meters

  • When hearing is not enough, the XILS Vocoder 5000 will give you great visual feedback.
  • All the 22 or 20 bands are displayed by led-based Vu-Meters in the Bands mixer.
  • Input Speech/Signal (Modulator), internal synthesizer (Carrier), Vocoder and global output levels are displayed using needle-based vintage Vu-Meters.
  • Finally, the level of each band can be smoothly adjusted in the Mixer (and… MIDI controlled).

The XILS Vocoder 5000 is available with the following formats (32 and 64 bits):

  • Mac OSX 10.8 and later : VST, Audio Unit, AAX (32&64 bits, native)
  • Windows 7,8,10 ; VST, AAX (32&64 bits, native)

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