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A vocoder (//, a portmanteau of voice and encoder) is a category of speech coding that analyzes and synthesizes the human voice signal for audio data compression, multiplexing, voice encryption or voice transformation.
The vocoder was invented in 1938 by Homer Dudley at Bell Labs as a means of synthesizing human speech. This work was developed into the channel vocoder which was used as a voice codec for telecommunications for speech coding to conserve bandwidth in transmission.
By encrypting the control signals, voice transmission can be secured against interception. Its primary use in this fashion is for secure radio communication. The advantage of this method of encryption is that none of the original signal is sent, only envelopes of the bandpass filters. The receiving unit needs to be set up in the same filter configuration to re-synthesize a version of the original signal spectrum.