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Can a ring modulator be used to achieve a vocoder or talkbox effect? Answered

Using a microphone as one input and a keyboard on the other input of a ring modulator.

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Yes, although you'll have to make sure the inputs are at the right level for the modulator. That's how the Dalek voices were done. (Looks like the rich editor is broken so here's the link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalek#Voices )

HERE'S a link to a circuit for one. (Needs split power supply - Could probably run at +-9V off a pair of PP3s.)