Here is our Vocal Effects Processor roundup, featuring pedals that will enhance your singing and add excitement to your vocal performances.
With these pedals you can add sparkle to your singing by applying a touch of EQ and reverb, you can also smooth out the edges by using pitch correction, and you can carry virtual backup singers that sing great harmonies. Finally, some of these pedals can let you go wild, with gender-bending, robot, alien and other effects. To give you a good idea of what each pedal can do, we have also included video demos.
The processors below are best suited to live use, if you want hardware for processing vocals when recording then check out these Channel Strips on Gearank.com.
TC Helicon VoiceLive 2
TC Helicon is arguably the go-to effect brand for vocalists, and VoiceLive 2 helped establish this reputation. The main strengths of this unit is its intuitive operation, quality sound and impressive versatility. Users are happy with its organic sounding 8-voice harmonies and doubling. Features like auto-mic, auto-gate and adaptive tone makes it truly plug and play, it automatically adjusts gain, feedback, EQ and applies the right compression. Picky singers can override the auto settings and manually tweak important parameters. The built-in effects are not too shabby either - you can go crazy with its looper, megaphone, distortion and other vocal effects. Finally, it can adjust its broad 8-voice harmony based on your instrument or voice. With a bit of patience in figuring out the controls, and tons of presets - you will find why many consider the TC Helicon VoiceLive 2 as the best vocal effects processor.
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TC Helicon have released version 3 and you can read about it in the Gearank guide for The Best Vocal Effects Pedals.
DigiTech Vocalist Live 5
Vocalist Live 5 may not have as many bells and whistles as you'd hope, but it works really well on things that actually matter - vocal harmonies and subtle enhancements. It gives you four natural sounding harmonies that automatically matches your pitch or chord progression, and you don't even have to know the song's keys to make it work. You can fine tune the harmonies by editing their tone and gender, giving you in-depth control over key details of your harmonies. The built-in effects are satisfactory, featuring compression, noise gate, pitch correction, warmth and EQ, allowing for subtle but essential adjustments that could spell the difference between good and bad vocals. Finally, Vocalist Live 5 comes with effects for vocals and even for guitars - ideal for solo singer/guitarists that want to add flare into their performance.
Boss, known for their guitar and bass pedals, is bringing their expertise to vocalists with the Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer, a dedicated pedal for singers. This unit does not have any instrument inputs, rather it has one dedicated mic input and focuses on vocal harmonies, real-time pitch adjustments and effects. This stripped down design aside from making it easy to use, also allows for a smaller and more compact effect pedal that is convenient to carry around. It lets you create up to 3-part harmonies and layers and provides you with interesting effects like Radio, Distortion and Strobe. A nifty 38 second phrase looper is also included which you can easily utilize during live performances. Finally since the VE-20 is made by Boss, you can expect that it is built "like a boss". This is great if you are looking for an inconspicuous and portable vocal pedal.
Electro-Harmonix V256 Vocoder
The Electro-Harmonix V256 Vocoder pedal is not for the faint hearted. If you are looking for transparency and subtle effects you should scroll up because this unit is the exact opposite of that. With the V256 Vocoder, you can color your vocals with crazy effects, turn your voice into 3 types of robots or reveal your inner geek with alien sounds. This pedal lets you do all this with the help of your instrument. If you think these crazy sounds are all achieved at random, you will be impressed with its wide range of controls, which lets you fine tune the vocoder's finest details. It also comes with a nifty vocal pitch correction feature called Reflex Tune. This is definitely not a pedal that you can use on every song, but when tastefully applied, it can help you create interesting performances.
Use the comments section below to let us know if you find other vocal effects pedals that can out-perform out top picks.
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