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I want to make a simple vocal-based sound effect on OS X.

What software can I use to do this? Is it easy to do with Garage Band? Is there a specific tutorial I should look at?

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Are you looking for something like a vocoder? See this if you're not sure. youtube.com/watch?v=-hqvvNcvenU –  adurity Sep 4 '09 at 7:44
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If it is a vocoder you are looking for, the only one I know of for mac is a module inside of Propellerhead Software's Reason (a great piece of software, but not a bargain - $499). If you go this route, you can record your vocoder track and import it into GarageBand (or Logic). http://www.propellerheads.se/products/reason/index.cfm

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As a saide note, Audacity is free, open source and does the job regarding the Vocoder effect, have a look here: manual.audacityteam.org/man/Vocoder –  Shadok Dec 12 '12 at 13:58
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This may not be what you were asking, but you can open a terminal and type

say -o out.aiff "Hello World"

to write a sound file with text-to-speech output in it.

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