The way talkbox works is a very basic concept, yet at the same hard to execute. At the core is a horn driver, sometimes called a compression driver.
This is the same speaker element used commonly in large PA concert speakers.
The horn driver needs an amplifier to drive the sound. This is where you would normally plug in your synth. In the case of a TalkStar, Banshee, or MXR talkbox the amplifier is built in and already connected to the driver.
Instead of the plastic ‘horn’ usually attached to the driver for a PA speaker, the talkbox projects the sound of your synth (or as originally designed – a guitar tone) thru a vinyl tube into your mouth. This tone, now in your mouth, will replace the buzz created by your vocal chords and allow you to speak and sing with that new synthesized musical tone. At the same time, you will need to play notes on the keyboard and use the bender and modulation wheels to add style and feel to your performance.
The most difficult aspect to talkboxing is learning to cut off your vocal chords to let the synth tone be your new voice. Then using your mouth shape, teeth, lips, and tongue to form words like you would in your regular speech, you time up playing notes on the keyboard and trying breath! The sound of talkboxing is coming directly out of your mouth, so to record or perform live you only need a microphone to capture it. That’s basically all there is to it.
If you have your talkbox setup ready to go, start by playing a note on your synthesizer, making sure there is plenty of volume coming out of the tube. Now put the tube into your mouth and change the shape of your mouth like a wah-wah effect. This is the basic idea of ‘shaping’ vowel sounds – by changing the size of your mouth cavity you are creating a ‘filter’, just like your normal speech does to the buzz created by your vocal cords. Then you add the ‘articulations’ or ‘consonants’ to form full words. The tube will need to be placed out of the way to don’t interfere with proper speech – and we will go over all of this in more detail in the next lessons.
It seems impossible but it’s not… it just takes an understanding and solid practice. You can master this!!!!