ZOOM 1201 by BassX
Personally, i like any sort of gear that is cheap to buy but can do a lot, Zoom makes a lot of very versatile and affordable products. One such example is the Zoom 1201.
It is a multi effectprocessor with very usable and tweakable effects like reverb, delay, chorus, flanging, phasing, pitch shift, ringmod, rotary, distortion etc. Not very exciting one might say, and obviously it is no Lexicon, but it also has an 11 and 18 band vocoder, which in this priceclass is pretty unique. The Zoom 1201 namely can be had for about $40 second hand, which just makes it a no brainer. Even if you don't need extra effects, for less than the price of a restaurant meal, you get a versatile and useful piece of gear.
There are 3 banks of 11 effect types with each 11 variations, so it has 363 effects in total. It has controls for input level, mix, output level and effect adjusting like reverb and delay time.
It has 18 bits converters and a 44.1 kHz sampling frequency, so it does sound “hi-fi” and not “cheap” like the price is. Plus it has stereo input and output. And yes, the power supply is external.
In vocoder mode, the microphone or other source is connected to the right input, and the modulator, like a synth or guitar, to the left input. Make sure you use a proper microphone so that the result is intelligible. The best is to run the mic through a compressor to avoid signal peaks.
So, as this is just a cheap and straight multieffect processor, this review is pretty short, as is the manual :-). Because of the price it is mainly overlooked and many may think it is “cheap-sounding”, which is isn't.
And the fact that it has a 11/18 band vocoder is something that is perhaps not very well known.
Here are some Zoom 1201 vocoder sound examples :
Zoom 1201 vocoder sounds