Do they Really Have A Voice Changer Like They Did in "Charlies Angels"?

You know like in the “Charlie Angels” movie(yes, I know that movie has tons of bogus things in it)but I have seen them used in other movies. So I was wondering do they have a real voice changer that works?


I’ve seen ads for voice changers; they exist. I don’t know anyone who bought one.

Corollary question:

Is the voice-modulation device that Peter Frampton uses on Do You Feel Like I Do related technologically to the “voice box” that Charlies’s Angels (the movie) postulates?

Wildest Bill, this is a WAG, but it smells like the voice modulator as shown in CA is bogus.

To jog memories, this is the scene when LL Cool J parachutes into the boat, then removes “his” latex mask and voice modulator, thus revealing that Drew Barrymore was in disguise. First 5 minutes of Charlies’s Angels.

bordelond, I’d bet money that Peter Frampton was using a Bagman, made by Electro-Harmonix. If I recall correctly, it was a speaker inside a box, with a tube that a singer/guitarist ran up their mike stand. The tube went inside the musician’s mouth, and they would mouth out words while playing, giving voice to their guitar playing.

Yes, Peter Frampton uses a “voice bag” or “talk box”. cornflakes is essentially correct - you connect a plastic tube to a PA horn driver driven by the guitar, and stick the other end in your mouth so that you can vocally shape the output from your guitar playing, and “sing” it out over a normal mike.

The gimmick is almost as old as electric guitars. Joe Walsh was one of the big popularizers of it in the 70’s, but it existed long before then. Some background:

Vocoder technology also goes back several decades. Most people are familiar with vocoders as cheesy “robot voices” in bad sci-fi flicks, but any sound source can be used. I once saw a vocoder demonstrated by a salesman who produced quite a credible “choir” from a standard “string-machine” synth. As he rather rudely put it, “If you want background vocals, you don’t have to hire a dozen black chicks.”

Another interesting data point - I read an interview with the creator of the “Hey Arnold” cartoon on Nickelodeon. One unique thing about the way he did his show was that he got actual children to voice the child characters, rather than adult voice actors. The show has been running several years now, and there’s an obvious problem - the kids grow up. At the time of the interview, he had changed out the kid playing Arnold, which was obvious to the listening audience, but he had stayed with the same voice actor for Arnold’s sidekick, Gerold. The kid playing Gerold was by then a teenager, but he said that he could electronically tweak the voice back into it’s prepubescent range and it sounded OK. It didn’t work to attempt to tweak the voice of the kid playing Arnold once his voice changed.

You can buy a telephone voice changer at:

as well as other weird stuff.

You can do it (not on the fly) with many audio edit programs. I have Cool Edit and it does it. I am sure you can doit with many others. You record and then add all the effects you want. But to do it on the fly you would need a specialized program or gadget. They do exist, nothing new.

Yeah – but do they have something about the size of a bottlecap that you can tape to your throat?

Pitch changers and voice activated synthesisers are standard fare in the music industry.

The weakness of pitch changers is when they are set to change note in large discrete steps when the vocalist slides a note, Cher made a feature of this in the song ‘Do you believe’
There are other devices that will not only chage the pitch of a note but also ensure that the singer sticks to the right key, this is very useful when the song has key changes in it as it takes some skill to do this perfectly in natural singing.

It is also possible to sample the voice of another person with a good singing voice as they do the scales and use this to modulate onto a poor singers work, which is why I hate boy/girl bands so much.
You get the bad singers inflexions enough to make it identifiable as partly theirs but its actually not their singing voice at all.

Recent example, Ricky Martin came to my hometown very recently Leeds, England to perform at the ‘Party in the Park’ concert which is held there every year.
The digital electronics desk went down but the amplifiers, mixers and pre-amplifiers were ok. Most of the artists carried on regardless but dear old Ricky refused to go on stage.
Colour me cynical but it wouldn’t be that he needs more ‘support’ from the digital processing to enhance his singing than others now would he ?