Synth, vocoder and filter bank in one small unit

Moog Spectravox Filter Bank Vocoder

Synth, vocoder and filter bank in one small unit

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Christof Baer
last updated this article on 
May 12, 2024
 and first floated it on 
May 8, 2024
Moog Spectravox Filter Bank Vocoder

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Spectravox by Moog: A New Entry in Modular Analog Spectral Processing

Moog Music has announced the release of the Spectravox, a semi-modular analog spectral processor. As part of Moog's semi-modular family, the Spectravox is designed to offer new options for sound manipulation and design, combining traditional Moog sound characteristics with modern features.

Overview of Spectravox

The Spectravox utilizes a 10-band filter bank, an analog oscillator, and a white noise generator. This configuration is somewhat common in sound processing equipment designed for a wide range of audio manipulation, from producing drones to generating tonal sweeps. Its format of 60HP makes it compatible both as a standalone synthesizer and as part of an expansive Eurorack setup.

One of the notable features of the Spectravox is its dual-mode functionality, which allows it to operate either as a synthesizer or a 10-band vocoder. This feature is facilitated by a secondary filter bank that processes the spectral characteristics of incoming sounds, potentially allowing for a variety of sound blending and manipulation techniques.

Connectivity and Usability

The Spectravox includes a combo XLR/jack input, enabling connectivity with various audio sources such as microphones or other sound modules. This feature aims to make the Spectravox adaptable in different musical setups, enhancing its utility in diverse environments.

The extensive patch bay suggests that Moog intends for users to explore in-depth sound design. Such a setup may appeal to those who enjoy complex audio manipulation and have a penchant for hands-on, tweakable interfaces. However, it’s important to note that the actual ease of use and learning curve are not specified, which might be a consideration for potential users unfamiliar with modular synthesizers or Moog’s semi-modular systems.

Historical Context and Design Influences

The Spectravox’s design is informed by a historical lineage of sound processing technology. The concept of a 10-band filter bank borrows from earlier vocoder technologies developed as early as 1928 by Homer Dudley. Moog also references the influence of Wendy Carlos and Bob Moog’s exploration of vocoders in the 1960s, which have been emblematic in electronic music. This historical nod is intended to connect the Spectravox with a deep tradition of sound innovation.

Moog Spectravox vs. Moog 16 Channel Vocoder

To understand the place of Spectravox in the realm of sound processing tools, it's useful to compare it to Moog's own 16-Channel Vocoder, a more specialized device aimed at sophisticated voice synthesis and sound shaping.

  • Functionality: While the Spectravox offers dual roles as a synthesizer and vocoder, the 16-Channel Vocoder is primarily focused on vocoding functions. It features 16 adjustable filter bands compared to Spectravox’s 10, allowing for more detailed manipulation of sound characteristics.
  • Target User: The 16-Channel Vocoder is designed for musicians and sound designers who require precise control over each aspect of the sound spectrum. In contrast, the Spectravox caters to users looking for a more accessible entry into modular synthesis with the added versatility of vocoding capabilities.
  • Integration: Both units can integrate well into existing setups, but the Spectravox’s semi-modular design might appeal more to those who prefer immediate playability without the necessity for extensive patching that the 16-Channel Vocoder might entail.
  • Price: Moog 16 Channel Vocoder's price ($4,999) is about 10 times that of the Spectravox ($599).

Our View

As a new product, the Spectravox's actual performance remain to be seen. It promises a blend of interesting sound processing techniques with contemporary modular functionalities. For musicians and sound designers, the Spectravox offers a new avenue of exploration.


Moog Spectravox:



Jamie Lidell creating a track with Moog Spectravox

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