The human voice is a powerful instrument in itself, but Ukraine-born engineer and musician Vlad Kreimer is looking to transform vocal sounds into intriguing synthesized soundscapes with the help of the Pipe. This mouth-controlled effects processor and synthesizer can turn a player's voice into a digital beat machine or rocking lead synth.
The first Pipe prototype from Russian-based Soma Laboratory, which recently expanded into Europe, first appeared online last year and has now been tweaked, improved and made ready for mass production.
At the moment, the voice/breath instrument includes eight different algorithms, named Orpheus, Filterra, Reverb, Pulse, BassDrum, Octava, Generator and Harcho, but the upcoming production model with have four more. Most of those currently available – such as Filterra, Reverb and BassDrum – are pretty much self explanatory, but you'll need to watch the video at the end to get a grip on Orpheus and Harcho.
The handheld Pipe features a contact vocal microphone/mouthpiece and its own communication box, with left and right signal outputs. Kreimer says that a single cable will serve both output and power duties. Buttons to the top turn on the mic and add effects, while cylindrical knobs to the right side tweak parameters, select the active algorithm and control volume. Soma has also cooked in some lighting that shows through grilles at the top and end.
Kreimer is promising users "unprecedented levels of vocal processing" for an expected price of between €400 and €450 (US$490 - $550). Pre-order is open now, with shipping expected to start by the beginning of (Northern Hemisphere) spring. You can experience an extended demo of the pre-production Pipe in the video below.
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