Peter Frampton's "Talk Box"

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by xX5thQuarterXx, Jan 5, 2007.

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  1. xX5thQuarterXx

    xX5thQuarterXx Active Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Hey guys, so i have been trying to find infor on peter frampton's "talk box" all day. Does any body have any info on how it works and mabye how much this setup costs?
  2. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Member

    Feb 15, 2006
  3. Scoobie

    Scoobie Active Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    I think the original talkbox that everybody used was.............Made by Dunlop, the Heil talkbox.
    If I remember right , It was ran from the speaker out on your amp to a mic pre fed into the PA(FOH). It didn't set up like a stomp box, it was different. You would push air through a plastic tube to the talk box .

    It was along time ago, but I had one for awhile.

  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Rocktron makes one. I don't know how good it is.
  5. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    It was a Heil talk box, as was "Sweet Emotion", "Rocky Mountain Way", etc. (I read somewhere a long time ago that Walsh said Frampton never DID thank him for making him a millionaire with his idea, or something to that effect). :p

    Amp out into compression horn driver (like in a PA horn) to plastic tube affixed to project a few inches past the element of a microphone.
    Play a note on guitar, amp drives the compression driver pushing sound through the tube that is stuck into the player's mouth. The player moves his mouth around to form (mainly) vowel sounds (wheee, whaaa, whoaaa), sound is projected out of mouth into microphone and into the PA. Simple. Frampton got pretty good with it, as he was able to actually articulate some consonants...(dho you vfeel wlike we dwhoo..)

    Those things rattle your teeth and numbziside your head if you play one with a loud amp!

    You could build one yourself if you had an extra horn driver lying around.

    They have a switch built in that will switch from the main speaker to the talk box driver. To be extra careful with a tube amp, a buffered, power-filtered switching circuit could be added that would help eliminate speaker switching pop, and possible damage to a tube amp. The preference is to present a load at all times that a tube amp sees. A switch alone would, if even for a very short period, disconnect the load while switching in the other load. That's how I made one, anyway.

    I don't know how they make them now, but I would guess they provide something like that.

    Also, some may work a bit differently than others. I think a Digitech processor version (which I think also does vocoder stuff) let's you plug an instrument and a mic into the box, and handles it electronically by mixing the signals, or something, and then that goes to an amp or PA.

    The real ones have the plastic tube that loosens fillings...but sounds good.

    Here's a Wikipedia link I found that might interest you:

  6. xX5thQuarterXx

    xX5thQuarterXx Active Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Thanks guys that helped alot! I never noticed the plactic tube. but now that i know its there i pickwed it up when i watched "do you feel like i do" live. Thanks.
  7. karbomusic

    karbomusic Active Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Ain't dat the truth... Spot on. I never purchased a talk box, I took an old horn driver, stuck a hose in and never looked back. Used it for maybe 10 years and still have it tucked away. I eventually built a box and added input/outputs and a switch so I could switch between my speaker cab and the talk box. Watch your ohms if a tube amp, if you are switching from one to the other and one looses the connection it can fry your amp. The amp has to have a load so make sure your switching is 100% reliable.

    Your right, it'll blow your teeth right out of their sockets if its too loud. One cannot truly appreciate 50/100 watts of gtr amp until they stick one in their mouth. Great fun though and always a crowd pleaser...

  8. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    I still use my Heil Talk Box. For me, it's an indispensable part of my arsenal. If you listen to the classic live track of Frampton playing "Do You Feel Like I Do", you'll hear the audience going nuts when he uses the talkbox. I get that reaction every time I use it. It's a real attention getter.

    Many years ago, I wrote a post on in this forum with a very thorough explaination of how I use the Talk Box. There are many factors which make a big difference in it's sound. Try a search if you're interrested.
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    There were several companies who built these things back in the day. The Heil was the first commercial success while Kustom had 'The Bag' and another company (the name escapes me now) had one called the Tube.

    The Bag is a psychodelic colored, goatherder water jug shaped thing with the tube out one end and it can be hung off of a mic stand. These go inbetween your amp and the speaker outs of your amp. None go back to the FOH. The switching has to have a resistance to avoid pops and the exploding amp syndrome. They cancel your speaker and send the sound up the tube which you use the vocal mic to play through. We set a mic up separately and EQ it accordingly. Some people used to use a small metallic fitting for the mouth end. It had a better sound as far as being able to form words but I tried it and it really rattled the brainpan.

    I have had both a Heil and still have 'The Bag'. They're getting quite rare now but as Smawg says, the impact they have on the audience is quite remarkable still.

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