Darth Vader wouldn't be Darth Vader without James Earl Jones — no doubt about it. But that doesn't mean you can't try to recreate his spine-chilling voice with the help of some reasonably accessible audio tools — and you don't have to be a recording engineer to do it. Here are some neat ideas (along with some video tutorials) that can help make you sound like Darth Vader.
In this tutorial video, Blinkfarm uses Cubase to create a reasonably good effect. Other audio editing apps that can be used in this way include Cakewalk or Pro Tools. Unfortunately, however, these programs are relatively high-end and tend to be expensive. But if you want as realistic an effect as possible, this technique is probably your best bet. And what's great about this tutorial is that Blinkfarm walks you through the various effects you'll need (pitch shifting, phasing, chorusing, etc.) — effects that are readily accessible in most audio editing software and external FX units. The exact software program is not important — it's the way these effects are stacked — what creates that characteristic Darth Vader sound.
If Cubase or ProTools is too expensive, you can always download Audacity for free. The video to your left will show you how to do it with this open source, cross-platform program. The effect may not sound as realistic, but it's better than nothing. It's also important to remember that the source voice should resemble James Earl Jones as much as possible, so you may want to recruit a friend with a deep voice, or even hire some voice talent.
For those in need of something more portable, like for your next cosplay adventure, there are a several options. There's Hasbro's $200 voice changing mask, though it produces a tinny, robotic sound that's not very realistic. Actually, it's quite awful — but again, it all depends on your need. And if you need to keep it real cheap, there are masks as low as $15.00 with voice presets.
Now, if you're not afraid of getting into some DIY, this video from NBNA100 will definitely be of interest to you. His portable design calls for an iPod i-Station 11 and a Ben-10 voice changer. What's great about this design, aside from the low cost, is that your voice will be amplified (it's 6 watts) to help it stand out and mask your source voice. It's also flat, so it can rest underneath the chest plate.
I'm sure there are other ideas and products available. If you have any suggestions, please add to comments.