eBay of the Year: Kraftwerk's original vocoder

Lots of people say things like 'RARE legendary' in eBay auctions for DX7s and Casio VL-Tones, but eBay item #300001522431 doesn't go for hype, just saying "prototype VOCODER of german 70´s Electronic Pioneers". What's on offer is Ralf & Florian's vocoder, built to order by a local electronics company, and later used on the intro to 'Autobahn'. No bids so far at $3,800, with ten days to go. (Thanks, Kaden)
UPDATE: It went for $12,500!

This piece of junk is worth more than 22 years of MTV.
If was going to lay out that kind of money I think I'd want a bit more provenance than "there's a picture of it on the album". I'd probably demand that Ralf and Florian came round my house and signed it. I can't see a problem with that: I mean, they're outgoing guys, aren't they?
That doesn't sound too interesting. Here's a better auction on eBay right now, an EMS VCS3 Putney:
I never question claims on ebay unless there's something really outlandish being proposed. I prob won't end up owning this anyways as I am not all that wealthy. For me it's about the porn aspect: immediately I began scheming on how I could (conceivably) pawn all my garbage to aquire this! It didn't occur to me that yeah, it may or may not be EXACTLY what it's purported to be but the best thing about this auction isn't really a thing; it's like Tom said in response to another poster's post about the questionable musicality of a nixie clock (from memory) if it makes you smile....' I have been calling my friends all day to let them know about this auction!
For me, it's all about the feeling you get when you:

A)show a girl your new toy
B)be a totally obsessed music nerd
C)demonstrate for a girl
D)have a girl in your studio; basically DREAM about what this will do for your deal or thing or personal metaphor or whatever!

I mean I guess it comes down to personal taste but...really, a(relatively) mass produced 3 osc monosynth versus a living breathing one-off piece of history? You can still get a vcs3 from EMS built to order although there is a waiting list! I mean: C'mon!!!!!

I have the Paia vocoder and a couple of 2600's (YAY!!!!) and tons of analog stuff some of which is just collecting dust but would I ever get rid of it for some virtual-unlimited-polyphony-workstation-sample bank stuff? NO! for a practical musician the roland vocoder or paia(true analog) or microkorg(virtual) is probably a safer bet. In fact, there are tons of analog vocoders (they've been around since the thirties of forties). It's certainly not about being practical or living in the 'real world' for real....are we not men????? NO we are DEVO!!!!!

Fact is, haters love to get on MT and downplay anyone's little thrill! It's part of the anonymity of internet. I'm not saying that that anyone has been especially negative but this really is why we get online and look at MT first thing. Thanks, Tom!

P.S. Wouldn't you? I saw Kraftwerk when they toured a year and a half ago and they all have a paunch and do not actually play anything live just stand in front of laptops and MAYBE tap a foot in time or something. very concept-y....apparently the concept goes so far as to have had this same schtick for 7 or 8 years now. I really enjoyed it but it was a little boring in parts.. they had robots do we are the robots while they guys went backstage and put on tight led/neon light outfits. sadly these guys are (either all or mostly) shaped like eggplants now... my girl and I got in trouble there because ---if you can believe it--- there was no dancing allowed at the venue! Then, after a while---and--- since everyone started to dance they couldn't tell us to stop anymore. The tickets were ridiculously expensive but it was totally worth it.

Sorry, anonymous, I wasn't trying to rain on anyone's parade, I was just working up to a rather weak joke about Kraftwerk's reclusivity.

And the Vocoder is a marvellous and ancient piece of technology that had no less than two of the true geniuses of the 20th century work on it: Claude Shannon and Alan Turing. The Wiki page mentions that it was originally designed as a speech encoder: in fact it was the core component of both the Delilah and System X systems developed during the second world war to encrypt speech traffic.

So in owning this object not only would you be able to fire it up and sing Autobahn (and I would, if the threat of divorce wasn't already hanging over my head) but you'd also be singing through an object with a direct connection to the devlopment of information theory.
the artist is living in the mirror
with the echoes of himself

even the greatest stars
live their lives in the looking glass
...does a dust cover cost extra? jeez. Even if this thing works, it looks ready to die at any moment. Anyone who pays all that money will prob find their lust turns to shame rather quickly.
Even if you put aside the obvious fact that the bloody thing was hand made for Kraftwerk, it's still a damn fine vocoder. Remember Ananas Symphonie? That thing sounds perfect! I'm not looking for a vocoder at the movement, but If I where I would by this one... otherwise I would be a complete idiot, since this is probably as good as it gets.

Besides it's not like it's that expensive either considering that it's a working artifact previously own by the greatest electronic musicians of all time... you can't even get a decent car for 3,800$.
Owning this vocorder would be like owning a splinter of the true cross.
The guy who's selling it tells me that it is working, but there is hum and pot scratch noise and the winner of the auction will need to service (i.e. rebuild?) much of it and ought to contact the engineering firm that built it.

There are no docs with it, nor schematics.
I hope that if the thing is re-built, or serviced, that it be completely drawn out in schematics that could be made public.

I'd build one.
so there's your answer - nearly 4000 bucks and it barely works - to get a decent noise out it it needs to be rebuilt. And there are no schematics. That's more like woodworm from the splinter of the true cross.
At this price he's obviously aiming to sell it to a rich Kraftwerk-fanboy with no clue how to make music anyway. No need for shematics, documents or minty fresh condition... :/
Don't forget that Kraftwerk is some kind of famous :P
hum, pot scratch? = barely works?

It could be serious, but could also be a ground + dirty pots, oooohhhh, tragic!
The guy said the band pass filters do work. Just needs maintenance. It's 35ish years old!

From the look of it, it's fairly well laid out. Seems very cleanly designed. Main thing is a bunch of band pass filters, probably straight forward designs.

It's German engineering, and that's excellent in my experience.

If I had the cash, I'd get this over an EMS vocoder. Just cuz it's cool.
And that, Doktor Future, is why you don't have cash.
C'mon you retards, it's KRAFTWERK'S VOCODER! It's not about usablility or performance, nor is it even about the condition it's in. This is the machine that created the incredibly original, distinctive sounds by yours truly! If you think owning original recordings from K would be out of this world, imagine owning a custom, working piece of gear, and not only that, but a VOCODER! If you consider owning an alternate device or worry that you won't be able to fix it or use it then you don't understand the purpose of this gem and shouldn't own it.
Nope, the reason that i should not own it is that it'll cost me way over 2 month salary and I have better things to spend my hard earned cash on than old robot voice makers, no matter who used it before. It's a question of common sense.
This piece of equipment will not be the original Kraftwerk vocoder,it may be of the same period but I am certain that it is a publicity hoax.
"This piece of equipment will not be the original Kraftwerk vocoder,it may be of the same period but I am certain that it is a publicity hoax."

Why are you certain?

And how is anyone getting publicity (apart from Music Thing, I guess)?

It could be a fraud, certainly, but I'm not sure how it's a publicity stunt.
Well, seems to be a hype...
1.- Why would Kraftwerk get rid of one of their piece of originality?... If I was them, I wouldn't let anybody close to "my sound"!
2.- What about their financial situation? It's 35 years old prototype, a kind of work of art, a valuable collectible. What lead them to sell it?....
3.- It's just a 12-chanel vocoder, and worse than almost all gears in this aspect later went into production. Despite of that I'd place bid of 4000 USD!...

it's possible that kraftwerk sold it in the eighties already when they rebuilt their klingklang studio and went digital. i think they are not retro gearwise at all, it's all about technical Fortschritt, you know.

and whoever buys this vocoder will likely put it in some kind of museum. he might even start a "electronic music café" imperium following the infamous "hard rock café". anybody in here will franchise?
Of course it's "real"! Don't be silly... And, of course, logically KW is selling it! By definition they are pioneers of electronic music ably having demonstrated that they are not and did not live 'practice' lives; why would groundbreaking pioneers need a piece of equipment around (that obviously needs repair) that isn't MIDI compatible, isn't reliable--- and that they already used to famous and recognizable effect the first time around? The answer is they do not need or probably want it and can assuredly afford a higher spec'ed modern unit with DIFFERENT and less cliched features? Doesn't make it good OR bad ----those are aesthetic leaps of faith. It all depends on your definition of usable or what constitutes successful art and process. Sorry for the run-on rhetorical questions...my two centavos
I read in an inteview that they went 100% softsynth since "tour de france" and love it, no need fo hardware anymore.
this first link takes you to the youtube page with KW vids (i like the radioactivity one a lot watch for the arp Oddy):


link 2 takes you to their wiki info page:


I checked out the link 'desperately seeking KW' its a little eccentric....or desperate! anywho...what's with the 3rd reich style quotes? were they taken out of context,; is it a misunderstanding or typical irresponsible journalism? does anyone know or is it a mystery?
re: kraftwerk going softsynth

Yes, it's true that as you age your hearing goes.

I'm sure they can't tell the difference anymore :)

[I saw them in Toronto. Okay music. Less than weak performance]
Web tasarım, Kurumsal Web Tasarım ve Özel Web Tasarımı - Design
No dancing allowed? Yeah, I can believe that in Europe, especially in Britain or Germany, where people seem perfectly willing to follow the most inane rules and laws, as long as "everyone else" is forced to obey, too. On both sides of the Channel, they long for that 1 month a year when they can leave their homeland and visit some faraway place where people aren't uptight about such things as dancing at a music show, or crossing a street against the light when there are no cars in sight.
thanks very:)

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For the record: accord to "Synth Britannia", a docmentation on BBC 4 in oct 09 was purchased by Daniel Miller aka "The Normal", founder of mute records . . .


Best regards from Germany, J. Daehn
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