The STVC was one of those projects I’d assumed was lost in development hell somewhere. We first heard about it around NAMM in January 2018 and then it dropped off the radar. But now, somewhat in the shadow of the release of Kyra, the STVC String Synthesizer is here to show us how to do the old string/vocoder thing properly.
The STVC came about as an extension to the Waldorf Streichfett string machine. They added a vocoder, expanded the effects section and turned it into a quite beautiful keyboard instrument. Otherwise the sound engine is more or less the same as the rather bewitching Streichfett.
The String Section is built with octave dividers followed by a complex mixer, some EQ and an ensemble effect. The large silver registration knob sweeps through the mixer and EQ settings providing alternative textures. The Solo Section is a 16-voice synthesizer that compliments the strings but can also handle being a lead instrument on its own.
Once you enable the vocoder it replaces the EQ section for the strings with a filter bank that models the incoming voice. You can push this around into all sorts of formant tranformations. One key feature is the “Freeze” button which captures a short fragment of speech and allows you to play, shape and tweak the sound without having to be constantly talking into the microphone. There’s also a “Tweak” function which allows you to modify the modulation. The expanded effects section includes Animate which fiddles with the registration knob, Phaser and a Reverb.
It sounds lovely.
For a synth from Waldorf the price tag of €849 seems very reasonable.
- Waldorf STVC webpage.