Chances are you've heard the talkbox at some point. It usually takes the shape of a floor stomp with a long tube coming from it. The musician puts the free end of this tube in the mouth and alters the sound by changing the shape of the mouth or position of the tongue. Joe Walsh made good use of such a setup for Rocky Mountain Way in the early 1970s and 80s big hair rock fans will have experienced it in Living on a prayer from Bon Jovi. More recently, the effect can be heard on 24K Magic by Bruno Mars. Now ElectroSpit has made the talkbox mobile and tube-free with the ESX-1, a headphone-like wearable that sits around a musician's neck – neckphones?
The ESX-1 is placed around the neck with the "magnetic vocal projectors" resting on each side of the Adam's apple. The device is then plugged into a smartphone running a companion app, which is where the voice replacement magic happens.
"You place the ElectroSpit around your neck and launch the ElectroSpit app," said producer and ElectroSpit co-founder Bosko Kante back in 2016 while working on the prototype. "Next you chose a song, press play, the background music starts playing out of the ElectroSpit speaker, and the melody vibrates through your neck and out of your mouth. You form the words with your lips and then bamm… you're singing in perfect pitch. You can customize the sound and share on social media."
The device has its own built-in amplifier, is compatible with instruments such as guitar or synth (players run a cable from the instrument to the jack in the back of the neckband), and will also work with any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). The altered sounds flow out through the ESX-1's own speakers, and into a microphone if on stage or recording.
The ESX-1 has been years in development and is now ready for manufacture. To get it into production, ElectroSpit has launched on Kickstarter where the project has already reached its funding goal with about a month left to run. Pledges start at US$227 and, if all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in December. The video below has more.
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