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Talkbox and Vocoder Pedal


  • Sanaa Finley
  • Declan Parker
  • Joey Willenbucher


Michael Heilemann, Dan Phinney, Sarah Smith, Tre DiPassio



The Talkbox is a classic effect used in classic songs such as Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” (video). It allows the player to modulate the sound of their guitar or synthesizer with their mouth by sending the instrument’s signal through a plastic tube. It uses a compression driver to feed the signal through the tube and distortion to give it harmonic richness. The distortion, driver, and amplifier for the driver are all housed within the unit, with a tube easily attachable on the top.


The Vocoder is a similar effect, used frequently by musicians like Daft Punk (video examples). Instead of accomplishing the “talking instrument” effect acoustically like the talkbox, it accomplishes it electronically, with the player talking into a microphone while playing the instrument. The instrument’s sound is shaped according to the sound of the voice.


  • Fully analog with a Class D amplifier
  • Uses fuzz for built-in distortion, giving the instrument signal more harmonic content
  • Midrange compression driver connected to plastic tubing via 3D printed part


  • Implemented digitally
  • Uses inputs from mic and instrument
  • Uses envelope followers to apply the frequency bands of the mic signal to the instrument signal
  • Has a “robotic” sound quality

Signal Flow

  • Teensy for simplified signal routing
  • Analog switch for bypass

Final Product

Here is a demo of our final product. The guitar and microphone are connected to the inputs on the pedal and the amplifier is connected to the output. It starts with Joey playing the guitar with the effects bypassed, then using the talkbox, and finally the vocoder.


We would like to thank our peers, advisors, and professors of the Audio & Music Engineering Program and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Rochester. We would also like to thank Paul Osborne of the Hopeman Shop for assisting us with our enclosure.

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