MATRIXSYNTH: Roland SVC 350 Vocoder | Where You Lie

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Roland SVC 350 Vocoder | Where You Lie

Published on Apr 1, 2020 Alex Ball

See the Behind The Mix walkthrough below.

"In 1979 Roland released one of the most famous vocoders of all time, the VP-330, but some may not realise that it had a lesser known sibling; the SVC-350.

The 350 is essentially the same vocoder found in the 330, but in rackmount format and without the synth parts. That said, it does have some unique features that don’t appear on the 330.

The 350 went on being made quite late into the 80s and the serial of this particular unit dates to July 1985 which ties in with Roland’s move towards rack mount and module-based gear at that time.

Here’s a 1980 article on “The Roland Rack”:

SVC-350 features: Starting on the left there’s a microphone input section (xlr and jack) which is the modulator and then an instrument or guitar input section that acts as the carrier. The Guitar input also has a “harmonics” knob to balance the incoming sound.

Your modulator and carrier then run through the 11-band vocoder that has 11 corresponding sliders that can boost or cut that particular band to sculpt the sound. These are labelled “voice character control”.

There’s then a balance knob to blend between the direct modulator signal and vocoder as well as quite comprehensive outputs and remote (footswitch) controls for different live or studio applications.

In also has the classic Roland stereo ensemble.

My original intention was to do a talkthrough of its features and also compare it to my Seekers Voice Spectra vocoder which I absolutely love. I started trying out some test sounds for that video and was laying them down and multi-tracking for comparisons and basically I wound up making a whole track so, I decided to follow where that was going and abandon the original talkthrough idea.

There is already a talkthrough video here anyway:

At the very start of the demo you actually hear a Juno and Seekers Voice Spectra (a bit weird I know, but it was intended as a comparison and this video unfolded in an ad-hoc manner). From 28 seconds we overdub with the SVC-350 and you can hear its mellower sound which compliments the more crystal-like Spectra.

From about 41 seconds I ran a Roland System 100m through the 350 with its own noise generator as modulator and an oscillator as a carrier which gave a slightly unusual texture to the ostinato I’m playing (controlled by the SH-101).

From around 55 seconds I tried a lower part singing an alternative melody and used a sawtooth from the Sequential Pro~One. I also ran a Sequential Drumtraks through the 350 as the modulator with a guitar as the carrier. The cymbals with the guitar created some particularly interesting sounds I thought (heard on the downbeat of every other bar).

As a contrast, in the middle things go acoustic in terms of voices and guitars. I quite like that moment as it’s as though we come out of electronics and into more natural sounds.

Gear / Sounds used:

Roland SVC-350 Vocoder (1979)
Seekers Voice Spectra Vocoder (1999)
Roland System 100m (1979)
Roland SH-101 (1982)
Roland Juno-6 (1982)
Sequential Circuits Pro~One (1981)
ARP Odyssey Mark II 2813 (circa 1976)
Musicaid Simmons SDS-3 (1978)
Sequential Circuits Drumtraks (1984)
Roland TR-606 Hi-Hats (1981)
Alvarez Baritone Acoustic
Squier Jagmaster Vista (1997)
Stagg SDM-50
G-Force Software MTron Pro (Flutes)
G-Force Software VSM (Solina)
Spitfire Audio Joby Burgess Percussion (Orchestral Snare / Rain Sheet)
Fairlight CMI III Drum samples (end solo only)

Mixed by Jakob at Sonic Peak Studio.

In fact Jakob has done a walkthrough of the mix of this track:"

Behind The Mix : "Where You Lie" by Alex Ball

Published on Apr 1, 2020 Sonic Peak Studio

"In this video I'll take the viewer through most of the work that went into creating this mix and master. It'll also form the basis for future videos in the series.

1:15 Playthrough with soloing and un-grouping
5:30 Basic EQ details
9:58 : Parallel Compression - more on that later
11:56 : Compression/Limiting/Transient Designing/Clipping
17:33 : Vokal Processing
18:34 : De-essing
18:43 : Dynamic EQ
19:32 : EQ
19:39 : Limiting
20:01 : Bus Compression/Limiting vs "Normal" Compression/Limiting
20:54 : Acoustic Guitars, bussing and processing
21:39 : Send/Returns
21:55 : A Word of Warning....
22:35 : Parallel Compressor
22:45 : Chorus
24:34 : Tal Chorus demo using acoustic guitars
25:10 : Waves Doubler
26:50 : Short Reverb
31:24 : Long Reverb
32:48 : Automation of Reverbs
36:27 : Delay
38:16 : Mastering"

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