Korg OASYS: Using the vocoder with a drum groove

Note: also applies to the Korg Kronos.


You want to create vocoder effects based on the sound of a drum groove, to enable "drumming" the sound of a program.


  1. It's easiest to first set up and check the pad to be used for the vocoder effect with a microphone-based modulation.
    1. Plug mic into audio input 1. Set to Mic level, set the level knob to max (for now).
    2. Go to an INIT Combi. Set timbre 1 to Program B005 Synbrass The Sailor.
    3. Play a chord to ensure that the program plays correctly.
    4. Go to 0-8 Audio In/Sampling. Uncheck Use Global Setting.
    5. Set Input 1 Bus Select to L/R. Verify that the Mic is working - you should hear it when you talk into it at this point. Set Bus Select back to Off.
    6. Set FX Ctrl Bus to 1 - we are going to control the Vocoder FX with FX Control Bus 1.
    7. Go to 8-1 IFX Routing1. Set Timbre 1 Bus select to IFX 1.
    8. Go to 8-5 Insert FX. Set IFX 1 to [ON], and set to effect 26: Vocoder.
    9. Play a chord on the keyboard. You should hear nothing. But while holding the chord, talk into the mic - voila, vocoding. The timbre of the synth brass sound will be modulated by your voice, allowing you to "speak the sound." If you go to 8-7 IFX 1-12, select IFX 1, you will see that in the Modulator Section, the Source is set to FX Control 1, which is what we routed the Mic to in the Audio In/Sampling section.
  2. Now that you've ensured that the vocoder effect is working with microphone-based modulation, add a drum timbre to the combi and make some changes to enable the drum groove to modulate the vocoder effect.
    1. Go to the Main Page 0-1. Select from the Page Menu "Copy From Program".
    2. Set to "C020 Trance Kit". Checkmark [x] with KARMA, leave others off. Set To: Timbre02, Module A. Execute.
    3. If KARMA is not on, turn it on. Play a chord. You should be getting a drum groove.
    4. Go to 8-1 IFX Routing1. Set Timbre 2 Bus select to IFX 1 (uncheck DKit), so both the pad sound on Timbre1 and the Drum Groove are routed to IFX 1.
    5. Go to 8-5 Insert FX, IFX 1. Set the Modulator to Source: Input, and Select: R Only. Why? Because, here's the tricky part that everybody misses: When you route 2 timbres into the vocoder, and you want 1 to be the modulator, and 1 to be the carrier, and not to crossover with each other (although that can be a useful effect also), you pan them to opposite sides. We selected "R Only" in step 6. So go back to the Main Page 0-1, and pan Timbre 1 to L000 (the carrier), and pan Timbre 2 to R127 (the modulator).
    6. Play a chord - what the heck? Timbre two has reset itself to Center 64! We set it back to R127, and play a chord. It jumps back to the Center. Ah well, that KARMA stuff is at work. Go to KARMA 7-2 MIDI Filter, and uncheck Transmit MIDI Filter CC A. Now we can play a chord, and it will stay at R127 (CC A was transmitting a pan value).
    7. Now, when you play the pad, you should hear the drum track acting as a modulator on the pad sound.


  • Programs with a lot of harmonics, like sawtooth wave based programs, are good for vocoding.
  • Try changing Vocoder Formant to "-2" (sounds good on drums), and playing with the Response Parameter. Also try adding some Modulator High Mix (this lets the high frequencies like the hihats and cymbals come through). Try adding a little Noise Level (i.e. 5 or 6 - a little goes a long way. )
  • With this setup, you can now go back to timbre 1 and start changing programs, and listening to the effect of the vocoder on different programs.
  • To see an example of this in action, select Combi A021 Vocoder Remix Hits. If you solo different parts, you will find eventually that timbres 1,2,3 are the carrier, and timbre 13 is the modulator. Solo those 4 parts, and listen (while holding a chord in the middle/upper part of the keyboard.
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