User's Guide




©2013-2022  Vito Biliti  @vbiliti


Current version 2.0.5, updated December 2021



To understand the basics of talkboxing, please first see the TUTORIAL:


Skip ahead to DEVICE SETUP



DO NOT SING into it like a microphone- that is not how a talk box works.

Point the speaker directly into your mouth. Be sure to clean your device first.

When you play the notes, the speaker should be sending the sound waves straight into your mouth. The shape of your mouth creates the effect, not your voice.

Shape your mouth to different sounds and practice basic vowels at first. Try giving the notes a wah-wah effect.  Hard consonants will take time to master, and eventually full words, phrases, then of course, lyrics.

You should still breathe like you are really singing, just don't actually say anything. The sound from the phone replaces your real voice. Whispering is allowed if that helps.

All musical instruments require a certain amount of practice, and this is no exception. Spend some time with it.


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Description automatically generatedSETUP

Pocket Talkbox comes ready-to-go for most iPhone and newer Androids, set up like in the tutorial, with the main speaker being on the foot of the phone. Using this speaker will produce the best talking effect and allow you to see the keyboard while you play.

If your device allows, disable accidental edge swipes.  On iPhone, do this by turning on Guided Access.  From now on you can lock into any app with a triple tap of the power / home button.  On Android, see Screen Pinning.

Some devices, require a more creative setup and for that you have the SPEAKER menu. Please set the sound to only whichever speaker you will be pointing into your mouth.

If you are left-handed, or depending on where your speaker is located, you may want to use the FLIP setting to change the orientation of the notes.

Note: The save button works, but is pointless as the system now auto-saves when you exit each menu.  The back button is also redundant as you can tap anywhere on most screens to exit.



The top row of keys controls PITCH BEND (left) and OCTAVE SHIFT (right).

The typical keyboard layout has dark blue as the lowest note and light blue as highest.  Dark blue is not always the root of the scale, though.

VIBRATO - Slide to the edge of the screen to make the pitch ‘wobble.’

Access the SETTINGS MENU with a tap of the 3 lines at the bottom of the screen. If your speaker is also on this side, you can move this button to the other side in CONTROLS.  More controls coming soon!





Hold down an octave key (up / down buttons on right) to instantly shift all pitches 12 semi-tones higher or lower.  When you release the key, the octave will return to normal.  With this, you have 24 notes instead of just 8.  A 32-note expansion is planned for a future update.



While playing a note, press the up / down buttons to bend the pitch up or down to the next note in the scale.  The speed of the bend is adjustable in the settings menu.


To activate vibrato, slide your finger to the edge of the screen while playing.  In the settings menu, you can adjust the speed and depth of the sound, but please note that some devices produce unexpected results at high settings in the current version 2.0.5.  It is recommended to keep these sliders at 50% or less for now and I’ll be revising this for a future update.




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CLASSIC – The default SAWTOOTH wave, for clear, funky speech in the style of Daft Punk robo-voice.

SMOOTH – For the classic Zapp sound, 24K Magic.

VOICE – An airy breath effect.

GTAR – For a Bon Jovi electric guitar talkbox sound.

*More tones planned for future updates.


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Description automatically generatedSCALES

CUSTOM – Allows you to program and save your own scales, making up to 8 user presets.  For editing instructions see CUSTOM SCALES.

MAJOR - Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do.

MINOR – Harmonic Minor 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7-8.

BLUES – A traditional blues scale – 1-b3-4-#4-5-b7-8.

BLUE2 - A more practical blues scale. See it in action in the Blinding Lights and Papa Was a Rolling Stone videos.

CALI – This scale is set to the chorus of 2PAC's California Love. See the full California Love Tutorial with notes on screen.  To music theory people, this is a PHRYGIAN Scale!

Full scale modes and more song presets planned for future.



EDIT – When you first select the custom scale, you have the option to edit the notes. Tap or hold the up / down arrows to change each individual note.  Please note that the transpose slider cannot be applied here (yet), but the octave switch functions as normal.

SAVE – Select which slot to overwrite and rename.  Use the onscreen keyboard to rename your presets.  To exit the save screen without saving, tap to the right of EXIT.

LOAD – Replace the current setup with a previously saved custom scale.



·         MONO: This mode allows only one note to be played at a time. It supports hammer-ons and pull-offs and plays like a typical talkbox synth.

·         POLY: This mode allows multiple notes to be played at the same time. Use it for chords and to emulate a vocoder sound.


Other settings include:

- DARK (a screen filter to cut the brightness by an extra 50%).

- TRANSPOSE to globally change the OCTAVE and KEY (raise or lower the pitch of ALL notes).

- FACTORY RESET (restore all settings and presets to original state). WARNING - this erases everything including speaker setup and custom scales!




Pocket Talkbox is always in a state of development, and there is a list of features and improvements planned for 2.1 and beyond.

-          Customizable controls with the option to swap out a pitch bend or octave key for other functions, such as:

o           Sharp / flat key

o           Double octave key

-          MORE TONES – and the return of 3RDS!

-          MORE SCALE and song PRESETS

-          CUSTOM set note 9 and 0 for Pitch Bending

-          To allow full transposing of CUSTOM scales



As this app is always being improved, there is a list of known bugs and glitches to be worked out.  Please don't hesitate to report any unusual activity:

-          iPhone muted 2nd speaker still plays some sound even when audio is panned hard in system settings.

-          Vibrato settings past 50% can sound a little out of control, especially on Android.

-          Back button on custom save screen is tap on right instead of center where the text is.

-          Pressing the Pitch Bend down while already pressing up produces an unusual bend.