Here’s how to turn your voice into an epic melody, even if you can’t sing: vocoder edition! This strategy also works with a generated AI voice.
How to turn voice into melody
I’m Cep, and in just a few minutes you can change any vocal into awesome music almost effortlessly. All you need is a vocoder. You can also use Auto Tune, but that’s a topic for another time.
I for one can’t sing whatsoever. But with a vocoder I can even make Beyoncé jealous.
What is a vocoder
A vocoder is an effect that can transform the human voice. It will produce a robotic and watery kind of sound and is often used creatively or for special effects.
Vocoders are included in most audio software packages, such as Ableton, Audacity, Logic Pro, etc. So feel free to use your favorite app.
I happen to be an FL Studio user. But don’t worry, you can easily copy all steps to your own application.
How to use a vocoder
To make the vocoder work, and sing like Beyoncé, you will need two sounds.
The first sound is called the “modulator”, and this is usually a vocal. The second is called the “carrier” and can be any other sound, such as the lead from a synthesizer.
The vocoder will use the carrier to shape the modulator. Today we want to shape your voice. So, your voice will take over the characteristics of a sound of choice.
Enough theory. Let’s get this party started.
Prepare before vocoding
To use a vocoder, we need to prepare our project in three steps.
STEP 1: Prepare your vocal (a.k.a. the modulator)
Open your app and add your vocal sample (a.k.a. modulator) to your project. Usually you can drag and drop it into your app. Just throw it onto the playlist.
I’ve also prepared a project, and you can listen in the video what my sample sounds like.
Next, open your sample and make sure to send it to a track on the mixer. For example, route it to mixer track 1. If needed, feel free to add some effects. But generally speaking, try to keep your vocal somewhat clean.
STEP 2: Prepare another sound (a.k.a. the carrier)
Add a second sound that functions as the carrier. All it needs to do is play a melody. Therefore, any instrument would be a great choice, such as a synthesizer or the screech of a cat when you step on his tail.
So, simply add an instrument to your project. For example, the “3x Osc” in FL Studio. But keep in mind that sounds covering the whole frequency range tend to work best as carriers.
Of course, tweak the sound to your liking and create a nice melody. You will need this melody in a minute to make yourself sing.
The tune and length of the notes will dictate how your voice sounds after vocoding.
Now, if you have a hard time creating catchy melodies or solid sounds, you can take a shortcut and get my books The Ultimate Melody Guide and Synthesizer Explained. You need both a good sound and neat melody to get best results.
So, once your sound and melody are polished, throw them onto the playlist and synchronize them with your voice. Just stretch and tweak your vocal until everything fits together rhythmically.
For now, good enough is good enough.
Next, send your instrument to a track on the mixer, but don’t route it to the track of the vocal. For example, route it to mixer track 2. And again, feel free to add some effects to beef up your sound.
STEP 3: Route the carrier & modulator to another mixer track
If you did what I did, your vocal will be on mixer track 1, and your synthesizer on mixer track 2. Now, route both these tracks to track 3 only (or whichever free track you wish to use.)
In FL Studio click on track 1 and track 2 respectively, right-click on the “send” button of mixer track 3, and select “Route to this track only”.
So to be clear, track 1 routes to track 3. Track 2 routes to track 3. And track 3 routes to the master output by default. That’s how Beyoncé did it and that’s how we do it.
Now that our homework is done, let’s turn your voice into an epic melody.
On mixer track 3, or whichever track you have used, click on an empty slot and find the Vocoder effect. In FL Studio the vocoder is called “Vocodex”. Simply select it to add it to the mixer.
As I told you earlier, the vocoder needs to know which sound is the modulator, and which is the carrier. That’s why we have routed each sound to separate tracks, and each separate track to the vocoder.
All we have to do is tell the vocoder which is which. So open your vocoder and find the modulator/carrier settings. Then use the input boxes to assign number 1 to the modulator and number 2 to the carrier. These numbers simply belong to the mixer tracks we have used.
Some vocoders however, such as Fruity Vocoder, differentiate the carrier from the modulator by stereo channel (left & right). In that case, simply pan your vocal on mixer track 1 all the way to the left. And pan your other sound on mixer track 2 all the way to the right. Or vice versa. That should work.
Once you have set it up, it’s time for magic.
How to make melodies with your voice
Slide the level of the carrier and modulator all the way down and make the mix level fully wet. Then, press the play button in your app and your hit song will come to live.
In the video, I’ve also added a snare from my EDM sample pack. You can download it for free by clicking the link.
Of course, this is just the first step, because you can change the effect with all the vocoder settings. The best way to learn is by trying them out and play the sound while tweaking.
Let me show the fundamentals real quick.
How to vocode
- With the wet level you can control the loudness of the vocoder effect.
- The modulator and carrier levels determine how much of the original sound will pass through.
- With the hold, attack, and release you can define when and how the sound starts, stays, and stops.
- The number of bands controls into how many frequencies ranges, or gates, your sound will be split up.
- The bandwidth dictates how wide each of these frequency bands, or gates, is.
And I invite you to explore the other options at your own time, else the last few viewers will be gone watching funny cat videos.
But before you click on that cat video, check this out. If you change the sound of the carrier, your voice will change as well. It will match the characteristics of this sound.
That’s pretty epic. You can shape your voice choosing another sound or tweaking it.
But you don’t have to stop there. If you add chords to your melody, your voice will fatten. Your single voice will turn into a harmonious choir. Again, get my book The Ultimate Melody Guide to get results in no time.
This way you can change anything from the carrier to get an original vocoder effect: the type of sound, the length of the notes, the melody itself, the mixer effects, and so forth.
Vocoder voice effects
Afterwards, you can still shape the vocoder by adding effects to that mixer track. For example, add a reverb or distortion to boost the sound. Just go wild.
I think Beyoncé is out of a job because you can now turn any vocal into awesome music effortlessly.
So, if you have any question, just drop a comment, and don’t forget to subscribe to Screech House for more music production shortcuts.