We’ve got a fascinating topic for you today as we look at the most highly rated Autotune/Pitch Correction pedals from 2023. Our list features pedals from certain brands specializing in vocal effects and processors, including Boss, TC Helicon, Flamma, Electro Harmonix, and Zoom.
In a nutshell, here is our list of the best autotune/pitch correction pedals:
Not only will these pedals do wonders for any pitch issues that you or the vocalist in your band might have, but they also deliver several other great features. For instance, by setting the song’s key, you can conjure up mesmerizing harmonies using some of the pedals.
Some of these units also allow you to route your instruments through them, which opens up further options like guiding the harmonies based on the chords and melodies being played. Furthermore, you can have a lot of fun with vocal pedals as some of them allow you to create loops, a feature that helps immensely when writing songs.
So whether you want a tool to adjust the incorrect pitch or just need a pedal to add mechanical properties and abrupt robotic pitch shifts to your songs, you’ll surely get a kick out of the pedals discussed below.
11 Best Autotune/Pitch Correction Pedals for Voice in 2023
1. Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer
The Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer can do wonderful things on a live stage.
If you’re a musician who sings a little or a professional vocalist, you’ll be thrilled to have a device as versatile and intuitive as the VE-20 pedal. This nicely constructed, bright red dual pedal switch unit is a vocal processor with rich features.
The great thing about processors is their ability to manage several different effects and modes compared to single effect units that are somewhat limited. On the VE-20, you’ll find six effects: Dynamics, Pitch Correction, Tone/SFX, Double/Harmony, Delay, and Reverb.
- Pitch Correction
First and foremost, if you’re not having your best vocal performance and think your pitch will be off, don’t worry. This amazingly engineered vocal processor can make live pitch corrections as the vocalist sings. As you navigate through the menu, you’ll notice that there are 4 types of pitch correction modes. The “Soft” mode is subtle and slow to react, while the “Hard” mode makes quick adjustments. The “Electric” mode has a stair-step approach to pitch correction. Finally, the “Robot” mode reacts according to the specified note. You can also set how the pitch adjustment should be made. Out of the two options, you can either make corrections chromatically to the nearest semitone or select a key for the VE-20 to adjust automatically. In addition, you can change the gender of your voice to match masculine or feminine characteristics and even set the amount of pitch correction.
- Dynamics & Tone/SFX
Other than pitch correction, you can adjust the “Dynamics” of your voice. The settings under this mode include turning the effect on or off, adjusting the depth, and enhancing the dynamics of your vocals. The “Tone/SFX” are sound effects that can be applied to the vocals on the fly. The submenu includes options like enabling a preamp to change the tonal characteristics, adding distortion, or adding exciting effects like Radio, Strobe, Chorus, and Flanger. You can also adjust the gain of your vocal signal or further fine-tune the sound through a four-band EQ.
The “Double/Harmony” mode is especially useful if you’re performing without backing vocals on stage. You can enable or disable the effect through the submenu or add features like double tracking. By setting the song’s key, you can specify the interval by which the vocal harmonies should manifest. In addition, through the unison setting, you can add another layer of the same melody sung to add thickness and depth.
- Delay & Reverb
These are the two more common features on most vocal and instrument pedals. The “Delay” effect can be applied to your vocalis between 1ms and 4000ms. You can also specify how many delay repeats should be played back and the level of the delay effect. The reverb section has five types: Ambience, Room, Hall 1, Hall 2, and Plate. If you wish to make your own adjustments, you can play around with the Size setting to limit or enhance the reverberations and also set the reverb level.
- Looping Feature
You don’t need a separate looper pedal if you have this powerful vocal processor at your feet. The VE-20 allows the user to loop vocal passages for 38 seconds. You could also be more creative and loop instrument sounds or percussions to bring creativity to your jam sessions.
The processor has as many as 30 vocal presets that can be applied to your vocals on the fly. These presets are broadly classified under four categories marked Standard, Double, Harmony, and SFX. The pedal also offers 50 slots to create and save presets for instant recall.
- User Interface
The most appealing thing on the user interface is the black display screen with the vivid orange font that shows presets and different customizable parameters. Below the interface is a row of buttons and knobs. Starting from the far right is a dedicated button to adjust the “Reverb Level” instantly. Next to it are a few navigational controls to enter the menu, scroll through parameters and exit it. The center of the interface has a knob that can be rotated to cycle through all the presets. On the extreme left is the “Phrase Loop” button to enter looping mode. The footswitch can also activate the looping function apart from its standard responsibility of turning the processor on/off. The pedal switch on the right can activate the Harmony effect or any effect you choose, depending on how the pedal is programmed.
- Back Panel
The back panel has a toggle switch to power the unit on/off, next to which is the 9V power input. If you’re not a fan of wires, you can insert 6AA batteries in the pedal, and you’ll be good to go. The output section has stereo XLR outputs so you can send one to a PA system and one to a recording device, depending on the setup. You’ll find a quarter-inch headphone alongside the XLR/quarter-inch combo jack input. Having a combo jack opens doors to mic and instrument connectivity as required.
With the Boss VE-20 at your disposal, the sky is the limit. Having a shaky pitch isn’t a problem anymore. You can also unleash your creativity by adding distortion, reverb, flanger, echo, delay, harmonies, and other cool sound effects with the utmost ease. What’s more, is that 6 AA batteries can power the vocal processor.
With all the processing going on, the autotune feature does take some of the natural characteristics away from the vocals. If you plan to purchase the VE-20 for pitch correction, perhaps you could also look into the more modest pedals on the list that do the job well and cost a little less.
2. FLAMMA FV01 Corrector Vocal Pitch Correction Effect Pedal
Very simple in its operation, the FV01 unit can be the perfect companion for your singing needs.
You can toss the user manual out the window, as even a layman can figure out the three-knob user interface. The metallic exterior is solidly built, and the knobs and controls also feel great. The bright red chassis with white branding and graphics give a premium feel.
The pedal measures 3.4 inches by 4.9 inches by 2.4 inches, which doesn’t make it a small unit by any means. However, as you examine the sides and the backs, you’ll be more impressed by the connectivity options you get with this rather robust pedal from Flamma.
- Correction & Tone
The “Correction” knob is responsible for fixing the pitch of your vocals. Marked 0 to 100, you’ll hear no correction when turned down to zero and almost a robotic autotune effect when the correction value is turned up. The idea is to find the sweet spot around the halfway point to get the right amount of correction that feels more natural and less mechanic. Under the three knobs is a “Tone” button that offers three settings for vocals. There’s a normal mode in which the pedal operates by default. When the button is pressed, it changes color to show the selected mode. When the light is red, the bass frequencies are boosted for more warmth in your vocals. Press again to boost the upper register for brighter vocals. The light turns blue in this setting.
The user interface is nice and clutter-free. Three significant knobs conjure up all the magic. The “Delay” knob does what it says, adding a delay effect to the vocals. All around the dial, you’ll see abbreviations for Tape Delay, Digital Delay, and Slap delay. Each delay type has a curve near it. You’ll hear less of the effect when the knob is set to the thinner end of the curve. However, as the knob moves towards the thicker end, you’ll hear the delay effect intensify. The number of repetitions or feedback can be altered by rotating the correction knob. Finally, the footswitch acts as a tap tempo button for the delay effects.
The “Reverb” knob is engineered like the Delay control. You get three settings of reverb, including Room Reverb, Hall Reverb, and Plate Reverb. In the Room setting, the unit mimics the acoustics of a smaller room. The Hall version has a much more expansive ambient feel. The Plate reverb section recreates reverberations associated with vintage Plate reverb units. At the lower end of the curve, you’ll hear a subtle reverb effect compared to when the knob is set at the top of the curve.
The pedal has a single-foot switch design, but the switch itself is multifunctional. Pressing it once turns activates the tone correction, reverb, and delay knobs. Pressing a second time turns off the vocal correction while the other effects remain activated. Finally, pressing a third time will turn the pedal off completely.
Like a regular guitar pedal, you’ll find the quarter-inch guitar in and guitar out ports on either side panel. The back of the unit is a lot more happening. The pedal has a 9V power input next to a switch that activates/deactivates the 48V phantom for the neighboring mic XLR input. The output is also configured on an XLR port. You’ll also get a ground lift switch to remove low-end hum and two up/down gain adjustment arrows at the back of the unit.
The Flamma FV01 is excellent for vocals, depending on how you wish to use it. The pedal offers various pitch corrections and dedicated inputs for a vocal mic and an instrument. In addition, three types of reverb and as many effects for delay make way for lots of creative applications.
A nicely executed pedal for the most part, and there’s decent pitch correction and several reverb and delay options. However, the footswitch is what most users may have a problem with. There has to be a more straightforward way to activate and deactivate different parameters rather than tapping the footswitch multiple times.
3. TC Helicon Voicetone C1
You’ll notice going through this list, TC Helicon is a dominant force in the vocal pedals/processors market.
The Voicetone C1 unit has been meticulously designed with pitch correction in mind. The circuitry inside is engineered so that you can keep the pitch correction level to a minimum or dial it up to the point where it starts to sound robotic, as heard on a few Cher tracks.
The layout resembles the Flamma unit with a simple single footswitch and three knobs on the user interface. Being multifunctional, the pedal is not restricted to just vocals. It has many input and output options to connect an instrument and let your imagination run wild.
You get three knobs on the user interface. The knob on the right marked “Gender” drastically changes the tone of your voice as you move it to both extremes. While fun to experiment with, the voice will sound more masculine in a lower setting. If turned fully to the right, you’ll almost hear a helium effect on a male voice. For best results, it’s best to set this parameter according to your gender first and then make minor adjustments.
- Off – Hard Knob
For some reason, they decided not to name this the “Pitch Correction” knob, but that is what it does. When turned fully counterclockwise, there’ll be no correction whatsoever. At the other extreme, you can conjure up some mechanical autotuning. The best place to start is the noon position to keep the vocals sounding organic and have enough correction to keep everything in pitch.
- Dial in the Key
This knob tells the Voicetone the song’s key so that its innovative algorithm picks up on it and devises a strategy accordingly to keep your vocals in check. Rotating the knob cycles through the chromatic scale to get a full range of notes, including all the sharps and the flats.
- Let the Guitar Decide
If you don’t want to depend on the C1 pedal to make decisions regarding the vocalist’s pitch, you can connect your guitar and let it guide the correction process. The pedal will recognize the notes in the chords and adjust the vocals according to the guitar’s pitch.
- Dimensions & Connections
The pedal measures 5.4 inches by 3.5 inches by 2.3 inches and has a diecast metal construction with a base lined with rubber to keep it in place on the floor. The top panel has an XLR jack that works as a mic input and an XLR output for connecting to a speaker system. You’ll also find a 12V power input and a USB port to connect the unit to a computer for firmware updates. The right panel has a quarter-inch input for connecting a guitar to guide the correction process. The opposite side has an output for the guide instrument and a mic gain control knob.
Minimalist and to the point, the C1 is extremely easy to use. You get a separate knob to adjust your vocal tone according to gender. The range of autocorrection is vast, so you can experiment and find the best setting for yourself. Finally, you can either set the key of a song manually or through a guide instrument.
Some basic mic effects like reverb or delay would’ve been a nice addition to the pedal instead of the Gender knob, which I don’t see having much use apart from if you want to sing in Darth Vader’s voice or mimic the chipmunks. Maybe something to think about for the next version.
4. Boss VE-2 Vocal Harmonist
The gorgeous red vocal processor is an impressive piece of equipment from the Boss range.
The user interface is designed to categorize all controls into sections depending on their functionality. The helpful text makes it easy to navigate, and the 24 factory presets are enough to keep you entertained for years to come.
If factory presets are not your thing, you can easily create your settings and save them for recall at any time. The unit measures 4.56 inches by 6.18 inches by 4.62 inches and can be a great addition to any vocalist or songwriter’s setup.
The “Enhance” button is responsible for improving the characteristics of your voice signal. Like with any raw vocal track, there can be irregularities like ups and downs in volume or pitch issues. Pressing the Enhance button opens up doors to lots of corrective measures. The backlit button changes color when pressed to indicate which mode is active. When the button is red, any irregularities in the volume of your vocal track will be adjusted to sound smoother. When pressed again, the button turns green when volume and pitch correction occur simultaneously.
- Harmony Section: Types
The cluster of controls in the center of the unit controls the harmonies. Starting from the left, the “Balance” knob is like a blend or mix control that sets the balance between the harmonies and the vocals. As the knob is moved clockwise, the harmonies become more prominent than the dry signal and vice versa. The second knob in the section controls the harmony “Type.” There are 7 different types, including Unison, High, Higher, Low, Lower, Octave up & Octave down. Other variations combining these types are High and Higher, Low and High, Octave up & Down, Lower & Higher, and Low & Lower. Finally, the “Variation” knob under the Type control helps dial in a thicker version of the selected type.
- Harmony Section: Key Selection
The dial next to the Type knob selects the “Key.” The knob ranges from A to G, and all the sharps/flats in between give you access to the complete chromatic scale. However, if you don’t want to set the key manually, you also have the “Auto Harmonist” feature. When Auto Harmonist is off, the pedal uses the key set through the Key selection knob as a reference for the harmonies. When pressed once, the Auto Harmonist button turns red and allows the connected guitar to be used as a reference to guide the harmonies. The intelligent circuitry inside adjusts automatically to the chord progression being played on the guitar. If you press the button again, the pedal enters “Hybrid” mode, where the VE-2 not only goes by the manually set key but also uses the guide instrument as a reference to generate the harmonies.
With a multitude of controls at your disposal to dial in different variations of vocal effects, it would be difficult to memorize the preferred settings to recall every time you found yourself in a particular situation. The VE-2 has a dedicated “Memory” button to save and recall as many as three button/knob settings, which will put your mind at ease.
You can’t have a vocal effects processor with the most essential effects for mics, i.e., “Delay” and “Echo.” The black knob on the lower left corner of the control panel is specifically designed to dial in both these effects. The knob has three sections. The section on the left can dial in a range of Reverb. The area in the middle helps dial a combination of Reverb and Delay, while the right side is where the Delay can be set separately.
The footswitch on this pedal can perform multiple functions. Firstly, pressing it once activates the Echo and Enhance controls. Press it again, and you will have entered the Harmony on mode. In this mode, Echo, Enhance, and Harmony features are active. While in any of these modes, long pressing the pedal will switch to bypass mode.
- Inputs & Outputs
The back panel on this exciting pedal from Boss is loaded with connectivity options. On the extreme left are two Guitar outputs. One works as a port to guide the harmonies according to the guitar rhythms. If the instrument is connected to the “Thru” jack, the guitar’s signal goes through the unit without change. Also on the back is an XLR input for connecting a microphone. Next to it is the mic sensitivity knob and a phantom power switch. An XLR output sends the signal to a mixer or a PA system, while next to it is a USB port for recording or sending your computer’s audio for playback through the output jack. An expression pedal input also exists on the back to activate the Type Variation or cycles through the presets stored in the memory. In addition, a GND switch helps reduce noise. The power section has a 9V input and an on/off switch. The unit can be just as easily powered by 4 AA batteries.
The VE-2 from Boss is a solid vocal processor that is not limited to just pitch correction. You also get the maximum control over creating vocal harmonies with various types and variations. The footswitch functions by toggling many different settings by tapping and long pressing. Furthermore, the unit can also be powered by batteries.
Destined to do great things, the pedal does have a few issues. Perhaps putting the Delay and Reverb effects on separate knobs would add more range and adjustment possibilities. Furthermore, the Enhance button does activate the pitch control feature, but there are no further controls to find the right amount of correction for the situation.
5. TC Helicon Mic Mechanic 2
TC Helicon is back with another simple-to-use unit dedicated to the modern vocalist.
Like most vocals-based TC Helicon units, the Mic Mechanic offers several controls to shape your vocals and remove imperfections. Covered in red with white adornments, this vocal effects pedal measures 2.3 inches by 3.5 inches by 5.4 inches.
You can’t help but compare the Mic Mechanic 2 with the Flamma FV01, as their control layout is the same. However, surely something unique is going on under the hood as the circuitry and execution from both these brands makes their respective pedals sound very different.
- Correction & Tone
The pitch of your vocals can be adjusted using the “Correction” knob. The recommended starting point is the 12 o’clock position. The correction effect becomes more subdued as you dial below the upright position. Turning fully clockwise will create a robotic pitch correction effect. The mid-range is where your vocal track will get the pitch adjustment it needs without sacrificing its organic characteristics. A lot of tone shaping and other vocal effects can be added by manipulating the “Tone” button. By pressing this button, you can activate the automatically adjustable equalizer and de-essing to reduce sibilance. Furthermore, if you hold the Tone button and press the footswitch, you can alter the sound by increasing or decreasing its brightness.
The “Echo” knob is multifunctional. With this knob alone, you can control three types of Echo. The “Tape” setting is designed to recreate the warmth of analog tape delay units from the 60s. Not a fan of old-school analog stuff? Well, you can always crank up some digital delay to enjoy pristine clarity and exact duplication of the dry signal. Finally, the slap delay produces a single short burst echo. The Echo knob is surrounded by three curves which represent the three types. The thinner end of the curve is where you hear a more subtle effect, while on the thicker side, the Echo effect is enhanced.
The multifunctional “Reverb” knob is also designed to control various reverb types. The knob categorizes the three types as “Room,” “Club,” and “Hall .” So you can experience the shorter trails and compact reverberations of a room, the widespread ambiance of a hall, and a little bit of both in the club setting.
- Connection Jacks
The back panel of the Mic Mechanic has a separate power button to switch the unit on or off. Next to it is a 9V power input. This TC Helicon vocal pedal can also be powered by a 9V battery which is always a welcome feature. Finally, you can send the output signal to a mixer or a PA system through the XLR output or send your mic signal into the unit via an XLR input.
The Mic Mechanic is relatively simple to use, and everything is self-explanatory. The unit not only offers three echo types but gives access to three very usable reverb effects. The Correction knob works well, and the Tone button is great because of its adaptive nature and adequate sibilance reduction capabilities.
The Echo and Reverb knobs take a bit of getting used to. The higher end of the previous echo/reverb type is very close to the lower end of the following echo/reverb, making it tricky to get things right in the first go when performing live. A button to toggle the types and a knob to adjust the level would’ve been a better solution.
6. Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer
Here’s another outstanding unit from Boss explicitly designed for the acoustic guitar player who sings.
By looking at the user interface, you’ll see how well the layout is organized under different classifications. Each section on the unit has its dedicated footswitch for activation. Starting from the area on the left, you can shape the tone of your guitar.
The Vocal section also has some standard features on the VE-2 unit with some valuable additions. A separate output area helps set the levels of the Guitar and Vocal sections. But the fun doesn’t stop there, as the VE-8 Acoustic Singer is also equipped with a looper section.
- Vocals Section: Pitch Correction
When altering your vocals’ pitch, the “Enhance” knob and “Correct” buttons are the primary controls. When rotated, the Enhance knob adds more consistency to your vocals by adjusting the volume levels caused by varying distances from the mic. The Correct button, on the other hand, can be pressed thrice for different modes. The tiny display on the unit indicates the mode in each situation. No pitch adjustment happens when the correction button is off. Pressing it once sets up “St” or soft correction, which subtly changes the pitch to make harmonies sound pleasant. Pressing it another time will engage “Hc” or hard correction, which is more intense. Finally, when pressed a third time, the correction is switched off.
- Vocals Section: Reverb Types
There are two controls in this section as well. The “Type” button is used to choose between the three available reverb types, including “Ambience,” “Room,” “Hall 1,” and “Hall 2.” Ambience is the most immersive and wide-sounding reverb effect. The Room setting creates a small room or studio feel, while Hall 1 and 2 have longer reverb trails.
- Vocals Section: Harmony
The master knob in the Harmony section is of the utmost importance. You can use it to add distortion to the vocals, add a radio effect and even make the vocals mechanical with abrupt step like pitch changes. Depending on your goal, the same knob can be rotated to access six different harmony settings. You can add harmony settings like High, Higher, High & Higher, Low, and High & Low. Next is the “Level” knob for adjusting different parameters according to the selected vocal effect. Below the knobs are two valuable buttons to dial in the correct key for the harmonies.
- Setting the Key
The “Key” button sets the key manually, while the “Auto” button can adjust the harmonies’ key based on the chords played on the connected guitar. The Hybrid setting can also be activated here, which is when the VE-8 will consider the manually set key and the chord progression being played to deliver the right-sounding harmonies. This section can be activated or deactivated using the dedicated footswitch.
- Guitars Section: Resonance & Reverb
The guitar section has four knobs. The top two control the “Acoustic Resonance” and “Reverb.” The Resonance knob can dial in or cut back the resonance. The “Shape” button under it acts as a three-band equalizer as pressing it toggles between “Wide” mode, which favors the lower frequencies, “Mild” mode, which enhances the middle frequencies, and “Bright,” which is treble-centric. The Reverb knob increases or decreases the reverberations depending on the reverb type selected by the “Type” button. The options are the same as found in the Vocals section (Ambience, Room, Hall 1, Hall 2).
- Guitars Section: Notch & Chorus
You will often encounter feedback issues with a mic pointing towards an acoustic guitar. The “Notch” knob helps subdue the feedback. If the problem doesn’t stop there, you can always reverse the phase by pressing the “Phase” button. The final section has the Chorus controls. The knob can adjust the intensity of the Chorus effect. At the same time, the “Type” button gives you access to Chorus, Tremolo, Phaser, Delay, Mod Delay, Slow Gear which creates violin sounds, and Ring Mod, which delivers a mechanical metallic tone. The section can be activated using the dedicated footswitch below it.
The “Looper” feature helps loop your guitar or vocals for 80 seconds. The footswitch is used heavily in this section. Pressing it once starts the recording, and pressing it a second time initiates playback. Press it again, and you’ll enter overdub mode. Finally, pressing the footswitch twice stops the loop, while a long press clears it.
The back panel is rather crowded. On the right, you’ll find a power button that turns the unit on/off, next to which is the 9V power input. Six double A batteries can also power the unit. The USB port allows you to record on your computer or route your computer’s audio through to the output jack on the VE-8. You’ll also find a pair of XLR stereo outputs and a pair of quarter-inch stereo outputs on the back. The mic section includes an XLR input, a phantom power switch, and a knob to maximize or minimize mic sensitivity. Finally, the back panel has a quarter-inch guitar input, an aux-in, and a headphone output.
You won’t find another high-end unit that can correct vocal pitch, offers a separate guitar/vocal section, and delivers a well-executed looper. Also, the back panel is loaded with stereo outputs, a guitar input for guiding the harmonies, an auxiliary input, a USB port to play sounds from your computer, and a comprehensive mic section.
The pedal targets a specific kind of music enthusiast who can play the acoustic guitar and sings. If you can do only one of these, you’re just paying for an expensive unit you’re not entirely going to use, and that’s a shame, given what the Boss VE-8 can do.
7. TC Helicon Duplicator
Over the years, TC Helicon has established itself as one of the leading brands in vocal effects.
Their products are a perfect blend of simplicity, versatility, and affordability. The Duplicator is another exciting offering from TC electronics that covers the basics well, provides adequate controls for pitch correction and tone shaping, and throws in the voice doubling feature.
Nicely built, the metallic exterior is rock solid and hosts three high-quality knobs. The overall dimensions are 2.3 inches by 5.4 inches by 3.5 inches, making it a somewhat large pedal but still much smaller than some of the Boss units covered thus far.
- Pitch Correction
As found on most TC Helicon units, the “Correction” knob is responsible for dialing the right amount of pitch correction. The recommended starting point is at the noon position. Moving the knob to the left will reduce the correction and keep your vocals natural and organic. Past the 12 o’clock position, the pitch correction intensifies to the point where you can add mechanical characteristics to the vocals.
The “Tone” button is convenient and delivers many valuable features. Firstly, pressing the button activates de-essing, automatic EQ, compression, and noise gate. This way, you eliminate sibilance and cut the noise a fair bit to make things quiet and clear. Furthermore, while long pressing the Tone button, you can toggle the brightness or darkness of the sound using the footswitch.
If you want to capture the acoustics of a small furnished room or a sizeable echoey concert hall, the Duplicator has you covered. The “Reverb” knob is marked “Room,” “Club,” and “Hall.” You can increase or decrease the amount of the reverb type by moving the knob within the relevant region. The Club setting falls between a room’s limited reverberations and a large hall’s ambiance.
Next to the Reverb control is the “Doubling” knob. Similar in design, this knob gives you access to three different settings, which include “Tight,” “Loose,” and “Octave.” Doubling is when your voice is duplicated and played back with the original. In the Tight setting, there is little to no variation in the duplicated sound. When in the Loose range, you can adjust the timing and pitch of the doubled voice to separate it from the original. Finally, the Octave setting considers the original note and adds a voice that’s an octave below it.
- Connection Ports & Footswitch
All the inputs and outputs on this unit are top-mounted. Starting from the left, you’ll note a power switch next to the 9V power supply. The pedal also has an XLR output to connect to a mixer and an XLR mic input. Finally, the unit also has a micro-USB port which can be used to connect to a computer to update the firmware using the VoiceSupport application. Lastly, the footswitch is designed to bypass what the doubling knob does, but the pitch correction, tone, and reverb effects remain active. You can turn all the knobs down if you don’t want these features activated.
Like most TC Helicon pedals, the unit uses a three-knob and one-tone button design which is easy to comprehend and use. The back panel has handy input/output options. The doubling feature is good as it adds another dimension to your voice. The pitch correction has a decent range and does the job well.
The device is purely designed for doubling and pitch correction. If you’re looking for other effects commonly used in vocal performances, like echo or adding harmonies, you may want to look towards a more detailed vocal effects processor.
8. Boss VE-500 Vocal Performer
When it comes to vocal processors and pedals, Boss offers a variety of pedals to cater to your every need.
The very useful VE-500 can add effects like Reverb, Delay, Distortion, and Modulation to your vocals, among other things. The Boss unit also possesses a powerful Harmony generator and a detailed Pitch Correction section, so you don’t need to worry about pitch issues.
But that’s not all. An essential tool for helping in writing passages and complete songs is the looper feature. You can loop your vocals to layer them with overdubs, and the pedal also allows instrument connectivity so that you can go crazy with your creativity.
- Pitch Correction
The VE-500 has a very detailed “Pitch Correct” section spanning over three pages. You can have a lot of fun adjusting the parameters, including Type, Key Scale, Formant, Shift, Speed, and Stability. In the Type setting, you can see how subtle or harsh the pitch correction is. You also get Electric and Robot types that change the pitch by steep steps, like in a Cher song. The Key Scale is where you can set the note according to which pitch correction will occur. Next is Formant, which changes your voice by adding depth. You can dial in gender-based characteristics by rotating the knob in either direction. With the Shift knob, you can easily alter the octaves of your vocals. Finally, Speed and Stability adjust the velocity and sharpness/clarity of pitch correction.
The pedal’s display from the left shows patch settings, adjustable parameters, and different menus. Three multifunctional knobs labeled 1, 2 & 4 change various aspects of the preset displayed on the VE-500’s screen. Below the knobs is a row of button controls for entering the “Menu,” navigating and editing different effects, and exiting the menu. You can also set the key of vocal harmonies through a dedicated “Key” knob. Near the base of the unit are three footswitches where the first two are used to cycle through the presets while the third one activates or deactivates the harmony feature.
Like most Boss processors, the back panel has a plethora of input/output options. To the far left are two instrument inputs labeled “Input” and “Thru.” When connected to the Thru port, the signal goes through the vocal unit unprocessed. Next to these is an XLR input for mic connectivity and a pair of stereo XLR outputs. The pedal also offers a Midi input and a quarter-inch jack to connect an expression pedal or footswitch. The USB port on the back comes in handy when updating the firmware. Lastly, the back panel has a 9V power input and a ground lift switch to remove unwanted hum.
Being an all-in-one unit, the VE-500 is an exceptional tool if you want to write vocal parts for a song. You also have significant creative effects which you can apply directly to your vocals in a live setting to add depth and professional sonic characteristics. The 50 factory presets will keep you entertained for a long time.
As with most pedals from the Boss range, the VE-500 isn’t the most affordable unit on our list. You should review all the features in detail to see if you’ll genuinely use them for your daily vocal requirements. If not, perhaps the more to-the-point TC Helicon pedals could prove more fruitful.
9. Zoom V6 Vocal Processor
The V6 is a full-fledged effects processor with multiple capabilities, one of which is pitch correction.
Being a much larger instrument compared to others on the list, this Zoom unit measures 3.03 inches by 12.59 inches by 7.12 inches. At a glance, you’ll be fooled into thinking that the V6 is a guitar effects processor, primarily because of all the footswitches.
Another aspect that may throw you off is the expression pedal on the far right. But on closer inspection, you’ll note the three separate sections labeled “Voice,” “Harmony,” and “Effect,” all of which are designed to work on your vocals in a live or recording scenario.
- Pitch Correction
The “Voice” section has three knobs, each performing an important function. The voice selection knob is where you can choose one of two pitch correction methods. The options include “Key” and “Chromatic” pitch correction. In Key based pitch correction, the user can set the key by rotating the key selection knob. Once the song’s key is set, the “Adjust” knob can increase or decrease the intensity of pitch adjustment. In the Chromatic mode, the pitch correction occurs according to semitones. This is especially useful if you’re not sure about the key of the song. The Adjust knob can deliver subtle to a robot-like pitch alteration.
- Voice Section: Octave Up/Octave Down
The three knobs in this section take care of pitch adjustments and have several other effects that may come in handy during liver performances. Selecting the Octave up/down feature duplicates your voice and takes it an octave higher or lower. You can add up to three harmonies this way. The Adjust knob works like a blend control, adjusting the ratio between the original vocals and the harmonies.
- Voice Section: Child/Deep
Another feature the V6 possesses is the ability to change your voice to make it sound like a child’s voice. Your vocal tone becomes high-pitched, and the pitch correction feature also gets activated. The Adjust knob can dial in the amount of pitch correction. The Deep setting does the opposite and changes your voice by adding a very low pitch to make it sound heavier and more profound. The intensity of Pitch correction can be adjusted using the Adjust control.
- Voice Section: Unison & Robot
The handy “Unison” feature doubles your voice to make it seem like two people are singing simultaneously. The “Robot” setting is slightly different because you can generate a robotic voice by using the key selection knob to set the relevant key.
- Voice Section: Whistle & Talkbox
The “Whistle” mode is very unique. It changes the sound of the vocals to a whistle regardless of what is being sung. You can add more octaves by rotating the Adjust knob. The most significant number of whistle octaves that can be dialed here is three. “Talkbox” is another option you can choose by rotating the voice selector knob. This setting mimics a Talkbox combined with pitch correction. The Adjust knob comes into play for changing the intensity.
- Voice Setting: Bass Vocoder/Vocoder
You can connect an instrument like a guitar, bass, or keyboard to the V6 and have a lot of fun with the two vocoder settings. The “Bass Vocoder” delivers an octave effect lower than the original note. You can add or decrease the amount of pitch correction too. Both the regular “Vocoder” and “Bass Vocoder” modes can be used by manually setting the key on the V6.
- Harmony Section
One common control that applies to both the voice and harmony sections is the key selection knob. When the harmony section is activated, the first step is to select the key manually. Once that is done, five harmony buttons can be pressed for different applications. These buttons are labeled “Higher,” “High,” “Fixed,” “Low,” and “Lower.” Different harmonies will be applied depending on the selection. Finally, the “Mix” knob sets the ratio between the vocals and the harmonies.
- Effects Section
Since raw vocals seem dull and boring, the V6 has a comprehensive effects section to spice things up in that aspect. The effects section’s design is similar to the control found in the voice area. The larger effect type knob selects the effect that needs to be applied to the vocals, while the Adjust knob reduces or decreases the intensity of the effect, among other things. Rotate the knob to unveil three different reverb sounds: Plate, Room, and Hall. You can also distort your vocals or add a telephone effect to them. If you’re good at beatboxing, the V6 offers a separate setting to enhance the snare and kick sounds you produce with your mouth. You can also dial in effects like chorus, delay, echo, and a combination of delay and reverb with the utmost ease.
- Looper & Memory
You’ll also find a built-in looper on the V6 that can record up to 3.5 minutes of audio. This audio can be mic-generated or instrument audio. The play/record button can be pressed once to start the recording and pushed a second time for playback. During playback, the same button can initiate overdubbing. You can stop everything by pressing the stop button or remove the last overdub by pressing it twice in quick succession. The same footswitches at the bottom can be used for storing patch settings. The process is relatively simple. Press the round “Store” button and navigate through the memory by pressing the memory footswitches to find an empty slot. Then press the Store button again to save the settings.
- Formant Expression Pedal
The V6 possesses a “Formant” pedal that you won’t see on any other vocal pedal or processor on today’s list. The purpose of the pedal is to imitate changes in vocal cords, throat shapes, and oral differences found in different people. In the toe-down position, more brightness is added to the voice, and in the heel-down position, the vocals become heavier.
You’ll find a dedicated footswitch on this very detailed vocal processor from Zoom to activate three different vocal effects engines. The unit offers 12 different adjustable types for vocals, a chromatic key selector, a section to add vocal harmonies, and 12 different vocal effects. You also get a looper section and plenty of memory to save your settings for instant recall.
For what it does, the V6 is quite moderately priced. But although feature-rich, some of the effects lack adequate depth. Furthermore, you won’t find a dedicated Reverb control on the unit, a common and essential feature on most vocal pedals that do much less.
10. TC Helicon Talkbox Synth
This TC Helicon unit isn’t a talk box in the true sense but delivers very accurate talk box sounds.
Contrary to what you see on most traditional talk box devices, there’s no rubber tubing connected to this pedal that you must sing into. Instead, the intelligent circuits inside will create that effect for you directly when you sing through a mic that’s connected to it.
Most pedals from TC Helicon stay true to the standard control layout, with three knobs performing different vocal functions and a button that takes care of the tone. The TC Helicon Talkbox Synth, while great for pitch correction, has a few goodies for the modern guitar player too.
Sitting in the center of the interface is the “Correction” knob. Labeled “Off” on the far left and 100% on the extreme right, you can set the pitch correction value using this control. Anything approaching the 100% mark will sound mechanical with a step-like shift in the pitch. The lower the value, the more human and organic the pitch correction will sound.
The “Reverb” knob is the same on most TC Helicon pedals. You’ll find “Room,” “Club,” and “Hall” settings here. Each type has been assigned a separate region around the knob to increase or decrease its value. Adding a slight level of reverb can work wonders for your vocals. The Club setting adds a moderate reverb level, while the hall setting is more expansive.
- Style: Classic, Modern, Classic +, Modern +
The unique feature this pedal brings to the table is the “Style” control. Just below this knob is a list of styles you can dial in. The options include “Classic,” “Modern,” “Classic +,” “Modern +,” and four “Synth” settings labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4. The Classic setting is based on a talk box that produces distorted horn sounds. In the Modern mode, you’ll hear a classic vocoder sound with excellent articulation and clarity. Both “+” settings add the dry guitar sound to the regular Classic and Modern modes.
- Style: Synth 1, Synth 2, Synth 3, Synth 4
The “Synth 1” setting adds a chorus effect to your guitar signal by doubling the sound and slightly changing the pitch of one layer. “Synth” 2 uses a square waveform to deliver rich and girthy distortion for your guitar. The third mode works like the Synth 1 setting but provides a much deeper tone a few octaves lower. Finally, you can dial in a unison effect that duplicates the original sound but with a 5th note above it for a vintage synth tone.
The “Tone” button is engineered in the same way as seen on other TC Helicon units. You can long-press the Tone button and use the footswitch to make your sound dull or bright. However, pressing the button independently will activate a combination of de-essing, equalizing, noise reduction, and compression.
- What can be connected?
The TC Helicon unit has an instrument input and an instrument thru a jack for connecting a guitar. The back of the unit has an XLR output for connecting to a mixer and an XLR input for use with a mic. Also on the back is a micro-USB port for updating the firmware when needed. The pedal uses 9V of power and can be switched on through the power switch on the back panel. Finally, the unit also has a ground button to suppress any humming noises quickly.
This voice unit is great for correcting the pitch of your vocals and curbing sibilance. You can add compression, reverb, and subdue the noise for enhanced vocal clarity. In addition, the Tone control is excellent for cutting or boosting frequencies, and the Style control brings the modern musician tons of talk box-related sonic options.
Talk boxes aren’t for everybody. Being a guitar player for almost 20 years, I’ve never felt the need to use one. Perhaps it’s something to take into consideration when thinking of buying this pedal. Secondly, to those who’ve used the regular tube-based talk boxes, the TC Helicon version may not sound as professional.
11. Electro-Harmonix V256 Vocoder
Old vocoder units date back to the 1930s when this technology was invented.
Homer Dudley, the mastermind behind the vintage vocoder, was a research physicist whose in-depth work in the field made the technology famous. Eventually, vocoders started being used during World War 2 for long-distance communication.
As years passed, we found a way to apply vocoders to music. Initially, they came in different sizes, shapes, and forms. You could find them in the shape of rack units and even plugins which is when Electro Harmonix stepped up and introduced a much more manageable-sized V256 Vocoder.
- Modes: Vox-Robo 1, 2, 3
When pressed, the white knob on the far right activates different modes. These modes are lined up in the unit’s center for easy reference. The corresponding LED will light up when any of these is selected. The top three modes named “Vox-Robo” 1, 2 & 3 add robotic characteristics to the vocals. The three slots are there, so you can save as many customized mechanical sounding presets here.
- Modes: Single, Major & Minor Drones
Compared to the Vox-Robo modes, the Drone modes are much more natural sounding and produce different variations of an organ-based sound. In “Single Drone” mode, you can vary the octaves of a single-pitch organ sound using the Pitch knob. The “Major Drone” is based on three major notes, while the “Minor Drone” produced an organ sound based on three minor notes. You can also change the octaves of the other two drones by adjusting the Pitch control.
- Pitch Control & Transposition, Instrument Ctrl & Reflex-Tune
In the “Transposition” mode, you don’t need a guide instrument to be connected to the vocoder as the “Pitch” knob will alter the vocalist’s pitch according to the requirements. The “Instrument Ctrl” or Instrument Control mode relies on the connected instrument for guiding the pitch of the vocals. Here the Pitch knob acts like a Threshold of sorts determining how loud the instrument will have to be for the pitch correction. Finally, the “Reflex-Tune” mode is a reactive setting where the Vocoder reacts according to the key set by the user to control the pitch of the vocals.
- Tone & Gender Bender
Next to the Bands control is the “Tone” knob, designed to act as an equalizer and cut or boost different frequencies at both ends. As you turn the knob to the right, the tone gets brighter. When turned to the left, you’ll hear the lower frequencies emphasized. The “Gender Bender” is the next adjustable parameter on the unit. Different vocalists have vocal tracts with different lengths and thicknesses, so rotating this knob manipulates these characteristics for several sonic applications. In essence, you can mimic the formant of female or male vocalists depending on the requirement.
- Blend & Bands
The “Blend” knob does what it says and adjusts the mix between the dry and wet signals. Turning fully clockwise will deliver a 100% wet signal, while turning the knob down fully will cut the wet signal completely. As vocoders function by breaking down waveform into bands and then putting them together for different tonal results, the “Bands” knob is a useful control on this unit. When turned to the left, you get 8 bands delivering a low-fidelity sound. As you crank up the Bands control, as many as 256 bands come into play to create a smoother sound.
- Connection Ports
The right panel has an XLR input for the mic next to the 48V phantom power toggle switch. You’ll also find an instrument input here. Another switch on the interface toggles “Lo” and “Hi” settings for mic gain. The opposite side has corresponding XLR and quarter-inch outputs. You’ll also find a Midi input here. Finally, the unit has a top-mounted 9V power input to drive the unit.
If you’re looking for a pedal based on Vocoder technology, you don’t need to look any further, as the V256 unit performs well in that aspect. There are many controls to alter your vocals in different ways and three separate modes, all allowing pitch correction for different circumstances.
Vocoders are a bit of an acquired taste as these units are not for everybody. The V256, although impressive, has some issues, like the mic gain tends to be very loud and may cause feedback spikes even at lower settings. Also, some modes aren’t very usable, like the additional Robot presets.
Each TC Helicon pedal discussed today offers pitch correction and tone adjustment features. However, the TC Helicon C1 Hardtune & Correction pedal is made purely for this purpose. The TC Helicon Talkbox Synth is another good option for experimentation if you’re a guitar player who sings. The Flamma FV01 Corrector pedal has a similar layout with dedicated controls for pitch correction.
If you’re a vocalist who’s into unplugged gigging, you can significantly benefit from the Boss VE-8, which has detailed sections for your acoustic guitar and ample controls to correct your pitch and add harmonies to the vocals.
The Boss VE-500 is the most expensive unit on the list but has one of the most elaborate pitch correction menus. You can also loop your vocals and instruments by using any of Boss’s VE-500, VE-8, and VE-20 units, making songwriting a cinch.
The Zoom V6 is another great option if you want instrument connectivity on a vocal unit with features like creating harmonies, vocal and instrument loops, and adding a wide range of effects. The expression pedal does a great job in varying formant settings, which may be helpful in certain situations. Also, being a Zoom unit, it is affordable, considering all the V6 can do.
So if you’re venturing into the world of singing or are a seasoned musician working with a vocalist who struggles with pitch, the pedals on the list will serve you well. It’s just a matter of what you’re looking for in the total package.
Sultan Zafar is a guitar player from Islamabad, Pakistan. He has been playing music with various mainstream musicians for over 20 years. He is a song writer and music producer. These days he spends his time exploring different music genres and collaborating with fellow musicians on various projects. Read more..