Vocal processors are electronic devices designed to modify the sound of a singer’s voice in real time. They are commonly used in live performances to enhance the vocal performance’s quality or create new sounds and effects. These devices can offer a variety of effects, such as pitch correction, harmony, delay, reverb, distortion, and more.
In a nutshell, here is our list of the best vocal processors for live performances in 2023:
4. TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme
5. Flamma Innovation FV04 Harmony
7. TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic 2 (Budget)
12. Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW
Some vocal processors also feature a built-in looper, allowing singers to record and loop their vocals live. By utilizing vocal processors, you can enhance your vocal performances and create unique sounds that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with just your natural voice.
Vocal processors can be both hardware and software-based. Hardware vocal processors are devices connected to a microphone and a sound system controlled through knobs, buttons, and menus. On the other hand, vocal software processors are digital programs that can be installed on a computer or a mobile device.
They can be controlled through a graphical user interface and used with a microphone and an audio interface. Many singers and rappers use vocal processors in live performances. For example, T-Pain is known for using Auto-Tune, a software-based vocal processor, to create a distinctive sound for his music.
Another rapper, Travis Scott, uses a hardware-based vocal processor, the TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3, to add effects to his voice during live performances. Singers like Adele and Ed Sheeran have also used vocal processors to enhance their live performances, with Adele using the TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 and Ed Sheeran using a custom-built vocal processor created by his team.
These vocal processors allow these artists to add depth and character to their vocals and create unique sounds that complement their music. Now let’s get to the main topic of discussion.
Top 12 Vocal Processors For Live Performance 2023
1. Boss VE-20
The Boss VE-20 is a compact hardware-based vocal processor designed for live performances.
It offers a variety of effects, including harmony, pitch correction, delay, reverb, distortion, and more, which can be controlled through buttons and knobs on the device. The vocal performer also features a built-in phrase looper, allowing singers to record and loop their vocals live.
With its user-friendly interface and compact design, the VE-20 is popular for singers who want to add effects to their live performances without complex setups or extensive programming.
The VE-20 offers a variety of effects, such as pitch correction, harmony, delay, reverb, distortion, and more. These effects can be customized and controlled through knobs and buttons on the device.
- Phrase looper
The VE-20 has a built-in 38-second phrase looper, which allows you to record and loop your vocals live. This feature is great for creating vocal layers and adding complexity to a performance.
- Vocal stompbox
can be used as a vocal stomp box, allowing you to control your effects with footswitches while performing live. This feature lets you switch between different effects easily and presets, freeing up your hands to play an instrument or engage with the audience.
- 3-part harmony
The 3-part harmony feature allows you to create vocal harmonies in real-time, adding depth and richness to your vocals. The VE-20 offers several harmony types, such as octave up, octave down, and third harmony, and can also be customized to create unique harmonies.
- Pitch correction
The pitch correction feature helps you stay in tune by correcting your pitch in real time, allowing you to focus on your performance without worrying about hitting the right notes. The VE-20 offers several pitch correction modes, ranging from subtle to more aggressive.
The Boss VE-20 is a vocal processor that offers a variety of effects, presets, and sounds for enhancing vocals in live performances. The device has a user-friendly interface and 30 memory locations for storing customized presets.
Next, it can be operated using battery power, providing up to seven hours of continuous use. It is ideal for outdoor performances or situations where an AC power source is unavailable. Lastly, the VE-20 is durable, featuring a rugged metal chassis, solidly built knobs and buttons, and sturdy input/output jacks, making it suitable for frequent use in live performance settings.
The Boss VE-20 vocal processor has some limitations that may be a drawback for some performers. For example, the range of effects is limited compared to more advanced processors. The device is not MIDI-compatible, which may be a limitation for some performers who need synchronization.
Next, the editing capabilities are also limited, which may not suit performers who require fine-tuning. Additionally, the compact and portable design of the device may be challenging for users with vision impairment. However, the VE-20 remains a durable and convenient option for enhancing vocals in live performances.
2. TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play
The TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play is a vocal processor designed to enhance the sound of your voice in real time.
It is a popular device for live performers and studio recording artists. The VoiceLive Play features over 200 preset effects, including reverb, delay, harmonies, pitch correction, and modulation. The unit also features a built-in looper, which allows performers to layer their vocals and create complex arrangements on the fly.
The device can enhance any vocal performance in the studio or on stage with its high-quality preamp and processing capabilities. Its compact size and portability make it a great option for gigging musicians who need a reliable and versatile vocal effects processor.
The VoiceLive Play can generate up to eight harmony voices based on the singer’s input. The harmonies can be controlled using the footswitches on the unit or via MIDI and can be programmed to follow specific chord progressions.
The built-in looper in the device allows for the creation of layered vocal tracks, which can be used for live performances or creating studio demos.
The VoiceLive Play has a built-in tuner that can be used to ensure accurate pitch when singing.
- Input and Output Options
The device has various input and output options, including XLR and 1/4″ jacks, MIDI in and out, and USB. This allows for easy integration into your setup and compatibility with various equipment.
- Presets and Editing
The VoiceLive Play features several presets that can be easily accessed using the device’s footswitches. Additionally, you can create your custom presets and save them for later use.
- User Interface
The device has a user-friendly interface, a large display screen, and intuitive controls. The free VoiceSupport app can also control the device, which allows for deeper editing and preset management.
Now, let’s understand the pros of using the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play. Firstly, it is a versatile process that can enhance both vocals and guitars. For vocals, the device offers a range of effects, harmonies, and pitch correction, as well as a built-in looper for layering vocal tracks. The harmonies can be controlled in real-time, allowing for dynamic and expressive performances.
It also offers a range of effects for guitars, including delay, reverb, distortion, compression, amp modeling, and a built-in tuner. The separate input and output options make integrating vocals and guitars into your setup easy, allowing seamless switching between the two.
In addition, it offers several powerful features for enhancing the sound of vocals and guitars. The BodyRez feature uses EQ and compression to enhance the natural tone of the input, while the feedback fighter helps eliminate unwanted feedback from microphones and guitars.
The EQ tone shaping feature allows you to adjust the frequency response of your vocals or guitar to achieve a desired tone or correct any problems in the sound. The device has a single XLR input for connecting a microphone and a separate instrument input for connecting a guitar or other instrument.
It also has stereo 1/4″ outputs and a headphone output, allowing for monitoring and recording in various settings. Lastly, VoiceLive Play has a USB port, which can be used to connect to a computer for recording or integrating with software.
Now, let’s discuss some of the cons of the unit. Firstly, the VoiceLive Play may not be accessible to all musicians or producers due to its high-end pricing. Next, the device has a user-friendly interface, but mastering all its features may require time and effort. Therefore, it’s recommended to only invest in it if you are willing to commit to learning how to use it effectively.
Another potential drawback of VoiceLive Play is that it requires a specific type of power supply, which may be inconvenient for those accustomed to more standard power options. Additionally, while it is a powerful vocal processor, it may not match the processing capabilities of more advanced studio equipment.
However, for those looking for a versatile and high-quality vocal processor, the VoiceLive Play could be a valuable investment.
3. Zoom V3 (Budget Multi-FX)
The Zoom V3 is a budget-friendly multi-effects processor for beginners and live music performances.
It offers a variety of effects, including distortion, reverb, delay, and more, all controllable via an easy-to-use interface. The unit also features a built-in looper and rhythm section, allowing performers to create complex arrangements on the fly. With its compact size and easy-to-read LED display, the V3 is a great option for gigging musicians who need a versatile and reliable effects processor.
The unit’s intuitive interface and affordable price point make it a great choice for beginners experimenting with different sounds and effects.
- Multi-Effects Processor
The Zoom V3 is a multi-effects processor that offers a variety of effects, including distortion, chorus, reverb, delay, and more. It allows you to create unique sounds and textures and experiment with different effects.
- Easy-to-use Interface
The V3 features an intuitive interface with large, easy-to-read buttons and an LED display. This makes it easy for you to navigate the different effects and settings.
- Built-in Rhythm Section
The unit has a built-in rhythm section, which includes a variety of drum patterns that can be used to create a backing track for live performances or practice sessions.
- Looper Function
The V3 features a looper function, allowing you to record and layer multiple guitar parts or vocal loops. This can be used to create complex arrangements in real time.
- Versatile Vocal FX
The device offers a range of voice effects that can be used to create unique and creative vocal textures. It includes a talk box effect that emulates the sound of a talk box guitar effect, a vocoder effect that blends a synthesizer’s sound with a vocal input, an octave effect that can create harmonies by shifting the pitch of the voice up or down, a beat box effect that emulates drum sounds using the voice, and a telephone effect that simulates the sound of a telephone conversation.
The Zoom V3 is a compact and portable multi-effects processor that offers a range of benefits for musicians. It is small and lightweight, making transport to gigs or practice sessions easy. Additionally, it can be connected to a computer via USB, allowing you to record and edit your performances with your favorite DAW software.
The V3 is also a budget-friendly option with a harmony effect, which can be adjusted to follow the lead vocal in various ways, providing a more dynamic vocal sound.
However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider. The editing capabilities of the V3 may be limited compared to more advanced processors, and it lacks an expression pedal, which may be a disadvantage for those who want more hands-on control over their sound. Additionally, the plastic construction of the unit may not be as durable as more expensive alternatives.
The V3 also has a limited number of effects and presets, which may not be suitable for you if you want a wider range of sound-shaping options. The Zoom V3 is a good option for those seeking a portable, affordable multi-effects processor. Still, it may not be the best choice for those seeking advanced customization or durability.
4. TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme
The TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme is a multi-effects vocal processor designed for live performance and recording.
It features many effects, including harmonies, delays, reverbs, modulation, distortion, EQ, compression, and more. The unit allows you to create up to 500 presets, each with up to 10 effects chained together. The VoiceLive 3 Extreme also includes a looper with up to 45 minutes of recording time, a built-in microphone preamp, and phantom power for condenser mics.
Additionally, the unit can be controlled using MIDI or an optional footswitch, providing musicians with a versatile and powerful tool for shaping their vocal sound.
The VoiceLive 3 Extreme provides many effects, including harmonies, delays, reverbs, modulation, distortion, EQ, compression, and more. You can chain up to 10 effects together to create custom sounds.
The device features many presets, allowing you to easily store and recall up to 500 custom sounds. These preset can be customized using the unit’s vast array of effects, including harmonies, delays, reverbs, modulation, distortion, EQ, compression, and more.
The presets can be easily accessed during a live performance, making it easy for performers to switch between different sounds and vocal effects with the touch of a button. The ability to save and recall presets is a powerful tool for performers, allowing them to create a library of custom vocal sounds tailored to their unique performance needs.
The VoiceLive 3 Extreme includes a powerful looper with up to 45 minutes of recording time. This feature is great for creating live backing tracks or looping vocal parts during a performance.
- Mic preamp
The unit features a high-quality microphone preamp, accommodating dynamic and condenser microphones. It also provides phantom power for condenser mics.
- MIDI control
The VoiceLive 3 Extreme features MIDI connectivity, allowing the unit to be controlled using MIDI messages. This makes it easy to integrate the unit into a larger setup, such as a digital audio workstation (DAW) or a MIDI controller.
MIDI messages can control the unit’s parameters, including effects, presets, and looper functions. That allows for greater flexibility and control during live performances and recording sessions.
The VoiceLive 3 Extreme is a vocal processor with numerous pros and cons. Its footswitch and vocal tuning features provide a hands-free, reliable, high-quality vocal processing experience for live performances.
The device features a variety of connectors, including XLR inputs and outputs, MIDI in and out, and USB connectivity, making it easy to integrate with other equipment and to record directly into a computer. The device’s user-friendly interface allows real-time adjustments during a live performance.
However, the VoiceLive 3 Extreme is considered a complex piece of equipment that requires time and effort to master, and the high price may limit the accessibility of the device to some individuals or small groups on a tight budget.
The device is also relatively large and bulky, which may limit its portability and flexibility. It requires significant power, which may limit its use in certain settings or with certain equipment configurations.
5. Flamma Innovation FV04 Harmony
The Flamma FV04 Harmony is a compact vocal processor that allows you to add real-time harmony effects to your voice.
You can create rich, layered vocals that enhance their performance with eleven harmony modes, including unison, octave up, octave down, and fifth. The device also includes built-in reverb and delay effects and a pitch correction function that helps you stay on key.
The FV04 Harmony can be used in various settings, including live performances and recording sessions. Its intuitive controls and compact size make it a great tool for beginners and professionals.
The device’s pitch correction function helps you stay on a key by automatically adjusting your pitch in real time. The FV04 Harmony includes built-in reverb and delays effects that can be adjusted to create the desired vocal sound.
- Easy-to-Use Controls
The device has intuitive controls, including just three knobs, making adjusting the various settings and effects easy. In addition, it is compact and lightweight, making it easy to transport and use in various settings, from small studios to large stages.
- Versatile Connectivity
The device has XLR and 1/4″ inputs and outputs and a USB port for firmware updates. In addition, the FV04 Harmony can be powered by either an AC adapter or four AA batteries, providing flexibility in powering the device.
- Special Vocal Reverb
The processor includes a built-in reverb effect that is specially designed for vocals. The reverb effect can be adjusted to create various vocal sounds, from subtle room ambiance to large, spacious reverbs. The device offers four different reverb settings – Room, Plate, Hall, and Church – each providing a unique reverb sound.
The Room setting is a small, intimate space reverb, while the Plate set is a classic reverb sound often used in recording studios.
The Flamma FV04 Harmony vocal processor has several pros, making it a desirable choice for singers, producers, and DJs. The device is compact and portable, making it easy to transport and use in various settings, including live performances. Additionally, it offers a range of harmony modes, time-based effects, and other effects, making it a versatile device for enhancing your performance.
Furthermore, the FV04 Harmony is affordable, making it accessible to singers, songwriters, and home recording enthusiasts looking for a vocal processor that offers a range of features and settings at a reasonable price point.
However, the device also has some cons that buyers should consider. The FV04 Harmony’s battery life may not be sufficient for extended use, and it does not offer phantom power, which may be an issue for you who need to power condenser microphones.
While the device can provide supplemental heat to a small to medium-sized room, it may not be sufficient as the sole heating source for larger spaces. Additionally, the FV04 Harmony requires regular maintenance to function correctly, and it comes with a one-year limited warranty that may not provide sufficient coverage for some consumers.
Finally, while the FV04 Harmony is designed for easy installation, it still requires some assembly and setup, which may be challenging for some users.
6. Zoom V6-SP
The Zoom V6-SP is a multi-effects processor designed for vocalists and performers.
It features a variety of effects, including reverb, delay, harmony, and distortion, as well as built-in pitch correction. The unit also includes a looper with up to three minutes of recording, allowing you to create layered vocal arrangements.
The V6-SP has a streamlined design with a large display screen and easy-to-use controls, making it ideal for live performances or recording sessions. Additionally, it has a USB audio interface for recording directly to a computer and can be powered via USB or with an optional AC adapter.
- Multi-effects processing
The V6-SP offers a variety of effects, including reverb, delay, harmony, distortion, and more. These effects can be adjusted using the unit’s intuitive interface, allowing you to create a customized sound.
- Pitch correction
The device includes built-in pitch correction that can be used to correct and improve your pitch. This feature can be especially useful in live performances where you may be dealing with an imperfect sound environment.
The unit has a looper with up to three minutes of recording time, which can be used to create layered vocal arrangements or to record harmonies on the fly.
- Large display screen
The V6-SP has a large display screen that shows important information such as effect settings and loop duration. This makes it easy to use in live performance settings.
- USB audio interface
The unit can be a USB audio interface, allowing you to record directly to a computer. This feature makes it easy to capture high-quality vocal recordings without the need for additional equipment.
- Power options
The V6-SP can be powered via USB or with an optional AC adapter. This makes it convenient in various settings, from home studios to live performances.
The Zoom V-6 SP is a versatile and portable vocal processor designed for live performances, offering various features that make it ideal for use on stage. The compact and lightweight device makes it easy to transport to gigs or recording sessions.
It provides high-quality sound processing, enhancing vocals and providing professional audio output, and has a range of effects that can be adjusted using intuitive controls. Additionally, the unit has various connectivity options, including XLR inputs, USB audio interface, and headphone outputs, allowing you to connect to various devices.
Furthermore, the device is affordable, making it accessible to many users. However, the V-6 SP has some limitations, such as limited processing power compared to larger vocal processors, a learning curve for mastering its features, and limited durability, as some users have reported.
The device may also not be compatible with all devices or systems, and some users have reported issues with customer support and technical assistance from the manufacturing company., enhancing vocals and providing professional audio output, and has a range of effects that can be adjusted using intuitive controls.
Additionally, the unit has various connectivity options, including XLR inputs, USB audio interface, and headphone outputs, allowing you to connect to various devices. Furthermore, the device is affordable, making it accessible to many users.
However, the V-6 SP has some limitations, such as limited processing power compared to larger vocal processors, a learning curve for mastering its features, and limited durability, as some users have reported. The device may also not be compatible with all devices or systems, and some users have reported issues with customer support and technical assistance from the manufacturing company.
7. TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic 2 (Budget)
The TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic 2 is a compact and affordable vocal effects processor designed for singers who want to enhance their live performances.
The device features a range of high-quality effects, including reverb, delay, pitch correction, and a built-in EQ and compression. The Mic Mechanic 2 is easy to use, with a user-friendly interface and intuitive controls that allow you to adjust the effects to their liking. It can be powered using batteries or a standard power supply, making it ideal for use on stage or in the studio.
- High-quality vocal effects
The Mic Mechanic 2 has various high-quality vocal effects, including reverb, delay, chorus, and flanger. These effects enhance your vocals and add depth and dimension to your performance.
- Pitch correction
The device features automatic pitch correction, which can help you stay in tune and improve your overall vocal performance.
- Adaptive EQ and compression
The Mic Mechanic 2 has a built-in adaptive EQ and compression, which helps balance your vocals and keep them clear and consistent.
- Easy-to-use interface
The device has a simple and intuitive interface, with a large rotary knob that allows you to select and adjust the various effects. There are also dedicated buttons for on/off, reverb, delay, and pitch correction.
- Battery or AC power
The Mic Mechanic 2 can be powered by four AA batteries or a standard power supply, making it ideal for use on stage or in the studio.
- Mic control functionality
The device features mic control functionality, which allows you to switch effects on and off using your microphone. This is especially useful for live performances, as it lets you keep your hands free.
The TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic 2 is a compact and portable vocal effects processor that is easy to transport and mount on a microphone stand. Its sleek design and matte black finish give it an elegant look, and its large rotary knob and dedicated buttons make it easy to use even in low-light conditions.
Its affordable price point of around $150 makes it accessible to singers on a budget. However, some users may find the effects selection limited compared to other processors on the market, and there is no option for manual EQ control.
Additionally, the pitch correction effect may sound somewhat artificial, and the device only features a 1/4″ output, which may limit its compatibility with certain audio setups. Finally, while powered by AA batteries is convenient, some users may find the battery life limited, particularly when using the device frequently or for extended periods.
8. Tascam TA-1VP
The Tascam TA-1VP is a vocal processor for live performance and studio recording.
It features Antares Auto-Tune pitch correction technology and other vocal processing tools like compression, de-essing, and EQ. The device also includes a microphone preamp with phantom power and can be used as a standalone processor or integrated into a larger setup.
The TA-1VP allows you to fine-tune your vocal performances in real time, making it a popular choice for musicians, singers, and producers looking to enhance their recordings or live shows.
- Mic preamp with phantom power
The device includes a high-quality microphone preamp with phantom power to connect your microphone directly to the TA-1VP without needing an external preamp.
- Vocal processing tools
In addition to pitch correction, the TA-1VP offers a range of vocal processing tools, such as compression, de-essing, and EQ, allowing you to fine-tune your vocal sound.
- MIDI control
The device can be controlled via MIDI, allowing you to integrate it into your larger setup and control it using a MIDI controller. That means you can use it in the studio as well as live.
- Standalone or integration
The TA-1VP can be used as a standalone vocal processor or integrated into a larger setup, giving you flexibility. That makes it easy for you to set up your existing rig.
- Easy to use
The device is designed to be easy to use, with a simple interface that allows you to access and adjust your vocal processing settings quickly.
The Tascam TA-1VP vocal processor is a compact and affordable device that offers a range of high-quality vocal processing tools. The device features Antares Auto-Tune, compression, de-essing, and EQ, which can fine-tune your vocal sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity.
The device’s compact size makes it easy to transport and use on the go, making it a great choice for musicians and singers who perform live. However, the TA-1VP has limitations, such as limited processing power and no built-in effects like reverb or delay. Additionally, the device does not have USB connectivity, and MIDI control is limited compared to other vocal processors.
9. Boss RC-505 MKII
The Boss RC-505 MKII is a powerful loop station for live performance and creative music-making.
It features five stereo tracks, each with its dedicated fader, a range of built-in effects, and a wide range of connectivity options. The MKII version includes dedicated buttons for commonly-used functions, improved mic preamps, and additional input/output options.
With the RC-505 MKII, users can create complex and layered loops, manipulate them in real time with various effects, and control the mix and output of their performance. It is particularly popular among beatboxers, vocalists, and electronic musicians, but it can be used in any musical setting where looping and live sound manipulation are desired.
- Five Stereo Phrase Tracks
The RC-505 MKII allows for creating up to five stereo tracks, each with its dedicated fader, allowing for precise mixing and manipulation of each layer of sound.
- Built-in Effects
The loop station includes a range of effects, such as filters, slicers, and reverbs, that can be used to shape the sound of the loops in real-time. This allows for creative and dynamic performances.
- Dedicated Buttons
The MKII version includes dedicated buttons for frequently-used functions such as record, overdub, and stop. This makes it easier and faster to use during live performances.
- Improved Mic Preamps
The device features improved mic preamps with phantom power and high-impedance input options. This means vocalists and other performers can connect high-quality microphones directly to the loop station without needing an external preamp.
- Multiple Input/Output Options
The RC-505 MKII includes multiple input and output options, including XLR, TRS, and MIDI. This allows for a wide range of connectivity options, easily integrating with other instruments and equipment.
The Boss RC-505 MKII Loop Station is a versatile and portable device suitable for many musicians and performers. With five stereo tracks and built-in effects, it offers a range of creative possibilities for beatboxers, vocalists, electronic musicians, and guitarists.
Its intuitive user interface and dedicated buttons make it easy to use, while its high-quality sound ensures clear and clean loops, even when using dynamic or condenser microphones. The loop station’s range of input and output options, including MIDI and USB connectivity, allows for seamless integration with other instruments and equipment.
The ability to manipulate loops in real-time, including effects, volume, and pan, also allows for dynamic and expressive performances. However, the RC-505 MKII is priced higher than other loop stations, and its five stereo tracks may not be sufficient for some performers.
Additionally, its lack of battery power, built-in tuner, and learning curve for mastering its features and functionality may be inconvenient for some users.
10. Roland VT-4
The Roland VT-4 is a compact and powerful vocal effects processor for live performances and studio recording.
With its easy-to-use interface and advanced processing capabilities, the VT-4 allows singers and vocalists to enhance their sound with various effects, including pitch correction, harmonization, vocoding, and more. The device features a variety of controls and presets, as well as MIDI and USB connectivity for easy integration with other instruments and software.
With its portable size and versatile performance capabilities, the Roland VT-4 is a great choice for any musician looking to elevate their vocal sound.
- Easy-to-use interface
The VT-4 has a simple interface with four faders for controlling the levels of various effects. You can quickly and easily adjust your sound without getting lost in complex menus.
- Pitch correction
The built-in auto-pitch function helps you correct your pitch in real-time and stay key. This can be particularly useful for live performances without the opportunity to correct mistakes.
The VT-4 can create harmonies and add depth to a vocal performance by adding up to two additional voices. This is a great way to add interest and texture to a performance.
The device includes a powerful vocoder that can transform a vocal performance into a robotic sound or vocal synthesizer. This effect can create unique and interesting sounds for recording or live performances.
- Megaphone and radio effects
The VT-4 includes a variety of unique effects, such as megaphones and radio that can add character and texture to a vocal performance. These effects can be a fun way to add personality to a performance.
The VT-4 is lightweight and compact, making it easy to take on the go for live performances or recording sessions. The small size also means it can easily fit into a backpack or gear bag for easy transport.
The processor features several sliders that allow you to adjust your vocal performance in real-time. The pitch slider lets you change the pitch of your voice by up to one octave, making it easier to create harmonies or add a unique effect. The formant slider adjusts the formant of the voice, which can change the overall timbre of the voice and create a variety of effects.
The reverb slider controls the amount of reverb added to the vocal signal, which can create a sense of space or add a subtle effect. The balance slider adjusts the balance between the dry and wet signals, allowing you to blend the original vocal with the processed signal to create the desired effect.
The Roland VT-4 is a vocal effects processor offering various features and benefits for musicians and performers. It’s MIDI and USB connectivity makes integrating into a larger setup easy, while the compact and portable design allows easy transport.
Real-time harmony control gives performers even more control over their sound, while the high-quality microphone preamp ensures clear and accurate signal input. The device also offers various effects and a simple interface, making it easy to adjust your sound without getting lost in complex menus.
However, some may find that the number of effects available is limited compared to other vocal effects processors on the market. The device can only add up to two additional voices for harmonization. Additionally, the lack of phantom power for condenser microphones and limited MIDI control options may be a drawback for some users.
11. SOMA Laboratory Cosmos
The Cosmos from SOMA Laboratory is a creative looper and performance effects unit that creates meditative soundscapes by recording audio into a network of multiple delay lines.
The anti-looper device shifts and mangles your sounds over time, offering characterful soundscapes instead of clean, static looping. That can create interesting effects on your vocals, especially if you are into experimental music and live sound design.
- Multiple delay lines
The Cosmos has a network of multiple delay lines that allow you to create complex and evolving soundscapes. This unique feature sets the Cosmos apart from other delay pedals. The multiple delay lines can be controlled independently, allowing for many sonic possibilities. The Cosmos also allows you to modulate the delay time, creating pitch-shifting and chorus-like effects.
- Real-time control
The device has several knobs and buttons that allow you to manipulate your sounds in real-time, giving you creative control over your performances. The real-time control lets you tweak and adjust your sound on the fly, responding to music or environment changes. This is particularly useful in live performance situations where you must adapt quickly.
- Vocal effects
The Cosmos is designed to work with vocals, and it includes several built-in effects such as reverb, delay, and harmonizer that can be applied to your vocals in real time.
This makes it a great tool for singers and vocalists who want to add depth and texture to their performances. The built-in harmonizer allows you to create lush harmonies with just one voice, expanding the possibilities of solo performances.
- MIDI control
The unit can be controlled via MIDI, allowing you to integrate it into your existing setup and control it with other MIDI devices. This is particularly useful for musicians who use MIDI controllers or sequencers in their performances. MIDI control allows you to sync the Cosmos with other devices, triggering changes in tempo or effects at the same time.
- Compact size
The Cosmos is relatively small and compact, making it easy to transport and integrate into your live performances. The small size also means that the Cosmos takes up less space on your pedalboard, leaving more room for other pedals. The pedal is also lightweight, particularly useful for touring musicians who need to travel with their gear.
The Cosmos is a unique and immersive effects unit designed for creating experimental and ambient music. With multiple delay lines and modulation options, the Cosmos can create ethereal and otherworldly sounds, making it ideal for musicians looking for unique soundscapes. It is also a creative looper, allowing musicians to layer and manipulate audio in real time.
With its compact size and versatile functionality, the Cosmos is perfect for live performances, and its real-time controls and MIDI functionality allow easy integration into any live performance setup. However, the unit’s complex design may require a learning curve for musicians new to experimental music.
It also has limited applications, and its premium price may be out of reach for some musicians. The unit also has limited physical controls, and some parameters are accessible only through a digital interface, frustrating musicians who prefer hands-on control over their gear.
Finally, it does not offer preset functionality, making it disadvantageous for those who need to switch between different sounds quickly.
12. Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW
The Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW XLR Pedal is versatile with many sonic capabilities.
It features a switchable saturation section with blend, volume, and tone controls and an XLR preamp for use with microphone-level signals. Additionally, it has two independently controlled effects for added creativity.
The device can be a great addition to live vocal performances. The XLR preamp on the pedal lets you connect your microphones directly, adding saturation and tone controls to your vocal signals. That can add warmth and character to the vocals and be especially useful for singers who want to add grit or distortion to their sound.
- XLR preamp
The MAW XLR pedal features a high-quality XLR preamp that allows for use with microphone-level signals. This makes it an ideal tool for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, and other sources that require high-quality preamplification.
- Multi-effects units
The MAW XLR pedal includes two independently switchable multi-effects units. The first unit includes two reverbs, short delay, and phaser, while the second unit features a range of selectable effects, including rotary, octave, flange, and long delay.
One of the key features of the MAW XLR pedal is its flexibility. It can be used in various settings, including live performances, studio recordings, and podcasting.
- Build quality
The MAW XLR pedal is built to last, with sturdy metal construction and high-quality components. It is designed to withstand the rigors of touring and heavy use.
- Expression Pedal Input
The MAW has an expression pedal input that can control various parameters, such as the arpeggiator rate, the modulation effects’ depth, or the sequence length in sequencer mode.
The MAW is a versatile and compact effects pedal that amplifies and shapes the sound of various instruments and audio sources. Its switchable saturation section with blend, volume, and tone controls allows for adding warmth and character to the signal. In contrast, foot-switchable controls are easy to use in live performance situations.
However, the pedal’s high-end components and advanced features contribute to its higher cost, which may be out of reach for some musicians on a tight budget. Additionally, the MAW may take time to learn and master due to its wide range of controls and features, and it does not offer preset functionality or some effects like chorus or phaser.
Finally, the MAW requires a specific power supply, and its complexity may overwhelm some users.
1. Boss VE-8
The Boss VE-8 is a multi-effects pedal designed specifically for vocalists.
It combines several vocal processing features, such as harmonies, reverb, delay, and distortion, with a built-in looper, guitar tuner, and versatile connectivity options. The VE-8 offers various creative possibilities for singers and performers, allowing them to enhance their vocal performances and create new sounds.
With its intuitive interface, dedicated knobs, and footswitches, the VE-8 is easy to use and provides quick access to all its features.
- Vocal effects
The VE-8 offers a variety of vocal effects, including harmonies, pitch correction, reverb, delay, and a range of special effects like distortion and megaphone. With the harmonies, you can add up to two voices to your vocals, and with pitch correction, you can adjust your pitch in real time, ensuring that you always sing in key.
- Guitar effects
In addition to the vocal effects, the VE-8 includes guitar effects like chorus, delay, reverb, and more. You can use the effects to enhance your guitar sound or to create layered sounds with your vocals.
The VE-8 has a built-in looper, which allows you to record and loop up to 80 seconds of your vocals or guitar playing. This can be a great way to create layered arrangements or to practice your performance skills.
- Easy-to-use interface
The VE-8 has a straightforward interface with dedicated knobs and footswitches for each effect. This makes adjusting your sound on the fly easy without navigating complex menus.
- Versatile connectivity
The VE-8 can be used with various devices, including microphones, guitars, and line-level sources. It also features XLR and USB audio outputs, which allow you to record or stream your performances.
- Performance features
The VE-8 has several performance features tailored specifically to vocalists. These include a built-in chromatic tuner, a memory function for storing your favorite settings, and a “vocal doubling” effect that adds depth and richness to your vocals.
The Boss VE-8 is a durable vocal processor that withstands touring and live performances. It features real-time pitch correction, which can help singers stay in tune, and can be powered by batteries or an AC adapter. Its compact size and mic stand mount makes it easy to use in various settings.
The VE-8 also includes versatile EQ controls that fine-tune your sound, but it has some limitations, such as offering only two harmonies and a built-in looper with only 80 seconds of recording time. Additionally, it doesn’t have MIDI connectivity, requires external power after only four hours of continuous use, and has limited control options for advanced users.
2. TC-Helicon VoiceTone H1
The TC-Helicon VoiceTone H1 is a vocal effects pedal designed for singers and vocalists looking to add harmonies to their performances.
The H1 features a range of harmonizing effects, including high and low harmonies, octaves, and detune effects, all of which can be controlled via a simple and intuitive interface. The device also features TC-Helicon’s Adaptive Tone technology, can be used with live and studio setups, and is compatible with various microphones and sound systems.
The compact design and easy-to-use interface make the TC-Helicon VoiceTone H1 popular for vocalists looking to enhance their sound.
- Harmonizing effects
The H1 offers a range of harmonizing effects, including high and low harmonies, octaves and detune effects. This allows you to create rich, layered vocal arrangements with just one voice.
- Adaptive Tone technology
The device features TC-Helicon’s Adaptive Tone technology, automatically adjusting EQ, compression, and de-essing settings to optimize your voice’s sound. This ensures that your vocal tone sounds polished and professional.
- Easy-to-use interface
The H1 has a simple and intuitive interface that lets you quickly and easily access all its features. The pedal features dedicated buttons for each effect, and the level of each effect can be adjusted using the knob in the center of the pedal.
The device is compatible with various microphones and sound systems, making it easy to integrate into your existing setup. It also features a mic input and a Thru output, allowing you to route your signal to other devices.
- Compact design
The H1’s compact design makes it easy to transport and use on stage. It can be powered by a 9V battery or a power supply (sold separately), making it versatile and convenient.
The TC-Helicon VoiceTone H1 is a relatively affordable and easy-to-use vocal effects pedal that produces high-quality harmonies. Its intuitive interface and customizable settings make it a great choice for singers who want to experiment with vocal effects and tailor their sound to their needs.
The pedal’s durable construction and compact size make it ideal for live performances. However, the H1 has some limitations, such as limited harmonizing options, control over harmonies, and no presets, requiring manual adjustments each time.
You may also need to tweak the settings manually to get the optimal sound for your voice, and a power supply is not included, requiring an additional purchase. Despite its limitations, the H1 is a great choice for singers on a budget or those experimenting with vocal effects.
3. TC-Helicon Critical Mass
The TC-Helicon Critical Mass is a vocal effects pedal for singers and performers.
The pedal features a range of adjustable settings, including the number of harmony voices, the mix level, and the pitch range. It also includes built-in reverb and delay effects to enhance sound quality. With its easy-to-use interface and high-quality effects, the TC-Helicon Critical Mass is a powerful tool for any vocalist looking to add depth and richness to their performances.
- Choir effect
The pedal allows you to create a “choir” effect by adding multiple harmonies and vocal doubling layers to your live performances or recordings. This can help you create a richer sound perfect for solo performances or small groups.
- Style, mix, and Reverb knobs for more control
The style, mix, and reverb knobs on the TC-Helicon Critical Mass are all important components of the pedal’s overall sound. The style knob allows you to select various harmony styles, including octave doubling, low and high harmony, and unison.
The mix knob controls the balance between your dry vocals and the added harmonies, making it easy to dial in the perfect blend for your performance. Finally, the reverb knob controls the reverb effect applied to your vocals, adding depth and space to your sound.
Together, these knobs give you a wide range of control over your vocal effects, allowing you to create a truly immersive and professional sound for your live performances or recordings.
- Gang feature
The Gang set adds voices to your harmonies, creating a full and rich sound perfect for group performances or choruses. It has unison, octave up, octave down, and up & down options.
- Melodic feature
The Melodic setting allows you to create more complex harmonies by adding pitches that are not necessarily related to the original melody. That can be useful for creating more intricate and interesting vocal arrangements.
Combined with the Gang setting, it gives you a wide range of control over your vocal effects, allowing you to create a truly unique and memorable sound for your live performances or recordings.
Now, let’s discuss the pros and cons of the device. The TC-Helicon Critical Mass is a vocal effects pedal with adjustable settings, built-in effects, and versatile connectivity. The pedal features a range of adjustable settings that allow you to customize your sound by adjusting the number of harmony voices, mix level, and pitch range to create the perfect sound for your performance.
The built-in reverb and delay effects help enhance the overall sound quality and create a more immersive sound experience. The pedal has an easy-to-use interface that makes adjusting your settings easy, and it can be used with various gears, including mixers, PA systems, and recording equipment. However, the pedal has some downsides.
Firstly, it requires time and effort to master, which may be a challenge for beginners unfamiliar with vocal effects pedals. Secondly, it is not the most affordable vocal effects pedal on the market. While it is reasonably priced for its features, it may be out of reach for some musicians on a tight budget.
Thirdly, some musicians may find sound customization to be limited. Lastly, while the built-in reverb and delay effects are a nice addition, some musicians may find that they are not as high-quality as standalone effects pedals.
In conclusion, if you are a singer/rapper looking for a versatile device with pitch correction, reverb and delay effects, distortion effects, etc., the Boss VE-20 and TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play are devices that will suit you. If you are looking for a device with great harmonization and vocoder effects, the Roland VT-4 and Zoom V-3 are great options.
Next, if you want something affordable, the Zoom V-6 SP, TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic 2, and TA-1VP are good choices under $500. The TA-1 VP also offers the classic Antares Auto-tune effect. Further, the RC-505 MKII and Roland VT-4 are recommended as the most versatile devices on the list, as they offer great effects at reasonable prices.
Suppose you are a guitarist along with being a vocalist. In that case, you can go for the versatile Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW XLR Pedal, the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play, or the Boss VE-8, as these devices offer guitar inputs and effects along with XLR input/outputs for vocals. Lastly, the Cosmos from SOMA Laboratory is an unconventional and creative looper that you can use for experimental music and live sound design.
I hope the article was of help. Thank you for reading.
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Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.