Get Daft Punk and Herbie Hancock’s vocoder of choice with the X201 plugin

Said to have been used by the likes of Kraftwerk, Herbie Hancock and Daft Punk - not to mention to create sci-fi sounds for Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica - the Sennheiser VSM201 is a vocoder with a special history. Now, thanks to XILS-Lab, DAW users can be part of that history, too, thanks to the release of the X201 Vocoder emulation plugin.

The X201 offers two filter banks, each of which has 20 frequency bands. Each filter bank can process the incoming signal  - typically a voice - or the carrier signal, which can be the internal synth or anything else you might fancy. MIDI notes sent to the carrier can be applied to the voice.

There’s also the Silence Bridging section that offers a multiband, frequency-dependent envelope follower engine that will shape the signal according to its harmonic content.

The X201 is actually said to be more powerful and versatile than the original hardware, with internal circuitry parameters being exposed. A suite of suitably vintage analogue-modelled effects is included, too: Chorus, Phaser and Delay, plus a ‘digital’ reverb. This means that, as well as functioning as a vocoder, the X201 can also work as a simple filter bank/multi-effect.

X201 is available now from the XILS-Lab website for the introductory price of €89, with a full price of €149. It runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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