Tim Exile is a mad, Reaktor-patching genius. What I love about his instruments is the emphasis on performance. THE FINGER put you at the helm of wild, keyboard-based effects. THE MOUTH continues the MIDI keyboard triggering, but focuses, as the name implies, on using your voice and microphone as the main input. See some of the effects in the goofy video below, but know this: a wide range of sonic mayhem is possible with this instrument.

I got to spend some time with Tim in Berlin early in the summer as he was still building The Mouth, and it was great to watch his process. The patching interface in tools like Reaktor encourages experimentation, mashing together sonic bits Frankenstein-style, and he was still discovering new sounds. In its final form, the tool does tonal and rhythmic processing of audio materials, with harmonization, separate “synth,” bass,” and “vocoder” sections, effects, matrices, editing, and performance controls. You can think of it as a way of playing a synth with a mic, as a vocoder, as a mouth-manipulated timbral generator – whatever you like.

I also admire that Tim is merging interactive musical objects and performance tools, that he can build a tool to use himself onstage that also works as a way of delivering his musical ideas to others or could be a serious tool for someone else.

Cost: US$79, and thanks to the new Reaktor platform, you don’t even need a copy of Reaktor to use it. You can run it in the full Reaktor 5.5, or you can run with the free player.

I’m playing more with The Mouth today, and hope to talk to Tim this week. Got some questions you’d like answered? Fire away.

The Mouth product page

Tim is also getting ready for a TED talk:

  • dead_red_eyes

    Pretty snazzy!!!!

  • ben

    Any hope that this will spit out midi to control other sound generators?

  • just watched this video. pretty interesting stuff. question: what modes is it available in? stand-alone? vst? au? If yes to stand-alone, what is the MIDI implementation like?

  • Steve Elbows

    Flick its a reaktor instrument so it will run standalone or as a plugin. The manual is available on the product page if you want far more detail. Im just about to buy it and will report back.

  • Steve Elbows

    Well I havent tried it yet but ben, yes Ive just read in the manual that it can send midi out.

  • BellectroniQ

    As usual, from both Tim and NI, amazing bit of kit. I did a little scat (not that kind!) this afternoon and fed it through The Mouth and got some crazy sounds out of it. Not just harmonization wise, just crazy, totally usable sounds. Well impressed.

  • Not sure what to think as I already bought this when it was called 'Vokator'…which is now discontinued by NI (i.e. won't run in modern os environment).

    First Mic Modeler, now this? As I said, not sure what to think (and I have a voucher so it could be mine for $20!) but Vokator was far more comprehensive from what I saw in the 'Mouth' demo's and it was dropped πŸ™

    Now I am off to replace all the CD's that replaced my vinyl collection with flash drive versions (until the flash drive version is released on vinyl that is) πŸ˜€

    To quote George W., "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…won't get fooled again"

  • Peter Kirn

    @Loopy C: Vokator and The Mouth really have very little to do with each other. For one thing, Tim built The Mouth up basically from scratch in Reaktor, which should tell you something. Yes, there's a vocoder module — but the similarity ends there, and I don't agree that Vokator is more comprehensive, just different. I think that'll become clearer once we get further into it. I feel your pain on Vokator, but just think of this as a different animal.

  • Armando

    @Loopy C – I have the exact same experience/feelings about spectrasonics and NI/Stanton Final Scratch v1 days. Talk about getting screwed with no lube.

  • s ford

    that was the greatest video i have seen on this site.

    tim exile is a legend.

  • Armando

    Tim is a badass that's for sure. This is sick!

  • I love Tim's work. I wonder if he will make his UI's more MT screen friendly though…

    A must buy!

  • rawore

    crashed reaktor for me on a win7 system standalone, have to wait to play

  • Well Peter, given:

    -I have great respect for your tastes and opinions
    -Am normally VERY receptive to any/all interesting new audio gadgets
    -Admit there might be some emotional baggage concerning 'Vokator'
    -It has MIDI out

    …and finally since it will only cost me $20, how about I just go grab it and will let you know πŸ˜‰ Be back later.

  • @Peter "thanks to the new Reaktor platform, you don’t even need a copy of Reaktor to use it" – does it mean that you can play all Reaktor 5.5 ensembles in the free player? For example – those made by me, which I'd like to share with somebody who doesn't own Reaktor?

  • Peter Kirn

    No, you can only play content made for Reaktor Player, and there isn't an open developer program at this time. I do think you'll see other Reaktor Player content, but it still has to go through NI.

  • asdf

    @Loopy i'm running snow leopard & vokator works for me.

  • rawore

    didn't crash again after restarting reaktor…

    try getting a max audio feed from stretta's straw, pointing a midi keyboard at it inside of ableton.

    pitch bend,

  • heisenberg

    If you try to reinstall Vokator on a clean Snow Leopard machine it won't take. At least that is my experience. Same issue with Spektral Delay.

  • Bert

    Aside from the awesomeness of the software..best demo song EVER!

  • aaron

    this video is amazing. i think i might buy this

  • I wonder what putting in a full recorded, mixed, song as the input would do…

  • exatari

    Exile has certainly improved his programming chops. His first release, The Finger is damn amazing however with a heavy loaded live peformance patch (I use Audiomulch for live performance on a PC), think 7 or 8 complex instrument VST's running at the same time you can occassionaly get CPU spikes depending on snapshots. However the Mouth is extremly optimized and switching presents live for goofball effects shows no noticable glitches. The interface is straight forward and as fun as the promo video it really doesnt show off everything. I am using it to augment a homemade experimental synth by adding low-end and a talkbox effect to the buzz and crackle. The formant filtering is the best I have heard in any software (even Clavia Nord Modulars). The mouth is definitely not a Vocoder or Autotune solution but it does some really intersting harmony/vocoder like FX. I would rather use the Mouth than say a low-end synth like a microKorg.

  • Bjørn Nesby

    Just want to join the chorus of Tim Exile praise. Apart from the obvious musicality, he seems like a truly generous guy. The fact that he's doing workshops/jamshops just for the fun of it, is inspiring.

  • tufted


  • john g

    I am quite a fan of the Finger, but am becoming less of a fan of NI and their customer treatment and as such I would recommend that anyone who has komplete not buy this product. Given NI's sales history it will most likely be included for free in the next Komplete update, and you will not be credited for its purchase. This has happened with NI and the Finger, as well as a couple of other Reaktor based instruments (like Massive).

    No offence meant to Tim, whose work I quite like. Its NI's policy emphasizing sales and new customers over existing customers that should change.

  • @john g: Why would they port it to a new instrument like they did with Massive since you can now load it in a player?

  • zongo

    "…there isn’t an open developer program at this time."

    Where is the criticism of NI Player being a closed system???

  • "Where is the criticism of NI Player being a closed system???" Because *cough* unlike Apple *cough* they give it to you FOR FREE! πŸ˜‰

    Bought Reaktor last christmas for 99, maybe they'll do it again.

  • ben

    john g, not to nitpick, but the Massive reaktor ensemble is a drum machine. The just reused the name for the synth, not the patch itself.

  • Peter Kirn

    @zongo: I'm actually quite disappointed that Reaktor Player isn't going that route, just because I'd love to see what people make. (That's my own desire – I'm not responsible for NI's business!) But honestly, at this point, it seems that for really open development of music tools, we should just use open platforms. NI has chosen their route because they believe it makes sense for their business. Since tools like Pd are open to commercial and proprietary development, maybe the right avenue is simply to improve those tools. Then you have alternatives that fit each model.

  • I just bought this. I was looking a real-time auto-tune-harmonizer that can be used live without taking all CPU.

    This works semi-fine. Big problem is that you can't save your presets without you own reaktor. That is the biggest problem with this. You pay 69€ for program that cannot save presets is insane.

    Is the any other harmonizer AU plugins? I have hardware vocalizer, but i want to replace that with plugin.

    Btw, check the music video i made for my band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8jpuBbKEr8

  • i am so excited about this product and cant help to listen to the tune at least once a day : )

  • Wade

    With regards to the mouth once you have sung a tune into the mic & into the input are there alot of different bass presets or only 4 presets ???

    Also wanted to know if the mouth can be used with the free reaktor 5 and what are the limits if any ?

  • hshs

    Yawn, another over-hyped products by NI and Tim Exile.. like the original release of the finger which never really worked as advertised.. it was buggy and non-responsive. As someone posted before, why spend money on this, when a fixed version will be included in the next release of Komplete?

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  • brey10124

    To all who bought Vokator from NI know that this company has screwed us in the past by dropping that software – and who knows what will happen in the future with "the mouth". Just plain bad customer treatment.