Best Vocal Effects for Live Performance 2021

(Last Updated On: May 19, 2021)
Different types of vocal effects that are suitable for singers and live bands.

Gone were the days when there were no amplifiers and effects to enhance the vocals of a singer. But now, there are myriads of vocal effects that you could use to expand and improve your vocals. One such equipment for enhancing your vocals is the vocal effects processor. Using this vocal gadget, you can readily raise the quality of your vocal sound a notch higher. You can also gain a professional edge over others in your performance. But what is a vocal effects processor?

You can use these vocal processors to make your live performance more enticing and endearing to your audience. Moreover, vocal processors sit between the microphone and the PA system. This means that this vocal processor has already processed your voice before your voice enters the PA system. 

Buyer’s Guide: Types of Vocal Effects Processor

The vocal effects processor basically comes in three types, namely:

  • Stand mountable
  • Tabletop
  • Pedal-controlled

So, you got three options when it comes to choosing a vocal effects processor. Your choice, however, of a processor, basically boils down to how you perform and your setup onstage. It also depends on whether you are singing alone or whether you are playing an instrument while you sing.

If you are a DJ, for example, or an EDM performer, you can readily opt for a tabletop type of vocals effects processor. You can simply put them on your disc jockey’s table so that you can operate them easily. 

If you are a vocal performer, however, you can readily go for a mountable device. You can mount it on your mic stand to operate it while you sing on a standing position. On the other hand, if you are someone who plays instruments, you should opt for the pedal type of vocal effects processor. The pedal type of processor is also called “stompboxes,” because you basically stomp on it to operate it. However, your foot should be agile enough to operate this type of vocal effects processor because it usually comes with multiple footswitches. 

Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider When Buying a Vocal Effects Processor

If you want to buy a vocal effects processor, you would sometimes get confused. Why? Because there are myriads of brands and models of this device on the market today. Adding to this confusion are the different types of this device. Hence, before purchasing this device, you need to consider the following factors:

1) Pitch Correction Feature

Singing is challenging, especially if you are going to sing continuously to a live audience. Yet, with the use of pitch correction (AutoTune), you can readily correct pitch or pull your pitch towards the correct or desired note. In some genres of music, the pitch correction feature of vocal effects processor has already made a significant impact. In most cases, of course, it is used to correct the pitch, but in some cases, this feature is highly desired for the distinctive quality it can give a sound. In some way, it renders the vocals a tinge of a more pronounced effect that is highly unique and desirable.

The processor usually comes with a ‘Hard Tune’ effect. This effect allows you to lock your pitch to a certain note. It efficiency locks your pitch to this keynote while producing a quick warbling sound as if you are simply drifting between the notes. Vocal effects processors, in a way, allow you to pin your sound to a particular scale or key. But more often, you would get satisfied with the chromatic mode to get near the desired note.

2) Harmonies

The most obvious and outstanding feature of vocal effects processors is its ability to create harmonies. It can use instrument inputs to make the harmonies and to fine-tune instrument inputs to the chord. It can also fine-tune your voice to the desired note. This feature is called “Smart Guitar-Controlled Harmony. 

Hence, before buying a particular vocal effects processor, you need to see to it that the prospective model that you are going to buy has this feature. The reason for this is that, without this feature, you will be required to set the key manually if you want to create harmonies. Moreover, you also need to do the manual setting for every change patch and song whose interval of harmonies you would like to adjust.

If you would opt, for example, for a pedal type of vocal effects processor, you will find the number of harmonies that you can produce simultaneously varies from pedal to pedal type. The range that pedal-type can produce is from 1 to 4 extra voices. You can, however, work on the characteristic of these harmonized voices. You can tweak their timing variations and pitch. Moreover, you can alter the gender of the vocals.

3) Looping and Vocal Effects

The primary reason why many musicians utilize pedals for vocal effects is that they want to have control over their vocal effects. They want to put a rein on the delay/reverb and EQ of their vocal effects rather than rely heavily on the mixers. Hence, you would often find a lot of pedal-type vocal effects processors that only offer these basic effects. 

On the other hand, some musicians would like to experiment on their styles. These musicians would surely like to have additional vocal effects like synth, alien, vocoder, voicings, and robot. Many of these more intricate processors have additional features such as format shifting effects that could change the voice quality by lightening or deepening the sound character. Moreover, this effect can even alter the sound’s gender. This effect is primarily used for improving the tonal character for harmonizing backups.

4) Outputs and Inputs

Another thing that you need to consider when buying a vocal effects processor is its output and input features. Of course, some vocalists are contented with having XLR connection that goes straight to the mixing console. Yet, if you are a vocalist who also plays an instrument, you may be wanting to have a separate output for your instrument. Thus, if you are one of those who play an instrument and sing at the same time, you better look for one that has a dedicated output for vocals and guitar. 

5) USB Recording

You should also look for something that offers direct USB recording. This is important if you are fond of live streaming your video online.

6) Guitar Effects

There are many vocal effects processors nowadays that have guitar effects, making the vocal effects processors very likable equipment for vocalists who play guitars as well. Most of these guitar effects are designed for acoustic players. Moreover, these guitar effects’ features include basic delay, reverb, EQ and filters, modulation, etc. These features, of course, are very appealing to vocalists who play guitar at the same time.

Most Recommended Vocal Effects Processors on the Market Today

If you are keen on buying one, this list of the most recommended vocal effects processors would surely facilitate your search for the ideal one:

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may get a commission if you make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

1) TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme

The TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme is a perfect choice if you want to enhance your voice during live performance further. It is considered the VoiceLive 3’s extreme version. It provides several better functionalities that include lengthier looping time of 5 hours or 8 minutes per track. It is also capable of playing backtracks.

The VoiceLive 3 Extreme offers a complete vocal harmony processing, tonal quality, and effects. It also comes with a greater memory capacity, which is four times greater than that of its predecessor. This vocal effect processor takes vocal enhancement to the next level. 

You can also use it to process your guitar with amp models and effects that are based on the well-known TonePrint family of TC Electronics. It also provides awesome effects automation features as well as USB export and import of loops. You can easily access this wide array of effects by tapping on the processor using your toe. The VoiceLive 3 Extreme is surely a great choice.


2) TC-Helicon EQ Effects Pedal

The TC-Helicon EQ Effects Pedal is mainly designed for producing natural and accurate harmonies. It is designed for vocalists who play guitars at the same time. It features smart harmony effects that produce your back-up singers virtually. Moreover, it fine-tunes your backup vocals’ pitch to the chords being played. As such, it produces accurate harmonies and the harmonies it produces finetune with your pitch even if you change keys or modulate your voice.

The TC-Helicon EQ Effects Pedal, also known as “The VoiceTone Harmony-G XT” comes with the “Auto Chromatic Pitch Correction” feature. This allows you to adjust the singing pitch to match the chords that are being played readily. This feature can surely reconcile microtonal differences. Eventually, this feature can enable you to really sound good.

The good thing about this processor is that you can readily switch it from one preset to another preset using your foot. You can also choose between A or B effect within each designated preset. In a way, this processor is easy to configure. Moreover, it features a mic preamp that comes with phantom power that is of high quality. It also comes with XLR input along with Guitar in and out, and you can get updates for this processor via USB. This processor is undoubtedly worth buying. 


3) Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer

Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer is an all-in-one compact effects and preamp solution for vocalists and acoustic guitar players. It features dedicated preamps for guitar and mic, each of which comes with its own effects. The mic preamp, of course, carries more features. These features include reverb, distortions, electronic, robot, and smart harmony effects. On the other hand, the guitar preamp is also loaded with modulation, delay, and acoustic resonance effects.

This vocal processor has been garnering great reviews for the studio-quality voice it produces and its guitar processing capability. Many describe this processor as a commendable all-in-one pedal that allows you to enhance and explore great sound potential as a singer-guitarist. You would surely love to have this processor at hand while you perform onstage. 


4) TC-Helicon Vocal Effects Processor

The TC-Helicon Vocal Effects Processor offers pitch correction and smart harmonies for vocalists who also play guitar. It can readily analyze chords and formulate unique harmonies as you transpose from one chord to another. Moreover, you can either mount it on your mic stand or your guitar stand for easy use. 

It also features other special effects like reverb, auto-chromatic correction of pitch, echo, adaptive EQ, compression, gating, and dressing. Moreover, it features an anti-feedback processor if you want to increase the volume when you are on stage. It also comes with a BodyRez guitar effect that enables you to enhance your acoustic guitars’ sound.

As a singer, you would surely appreciate the different effects this processor offers. Moreover, as a vocalist and guitarist at the same time, you will find its guitar effects very helpful. The downside, however, of this equipment is that some users complain of the difficulty in shifting settings while they play their guitars. It lacks a footswitch controller that could have facilitated the setting shift. However, since this processor is stand-mounted, its lack of footswitch controller is amply compensated by its many salient features.


5) Zoom V6 Vocal Processor

Zoom’s first product is engineered specifically for vocalists. It comes with preloaded patches and tons of vocal effects, a built-in looper, along with a novel Formant Pedal. The Zoom V6 Vocal effects are divided into three distinct sections. They are also ergonomically laid out on two tiers. 

This layout lets you change your vocals fast via a simple tapping of your foot. You will find 12 voice effects on the Voice section that range from Unison to Vocoder. It also includes a vocal effect called Pitch Correct, well-used among EDM sound of today. 

On the other hand, its Harmony section comes with added two backing vocals along with its five harmony selection options. The Zoom V6 Vocal Processor is engineered for intuitively creating the necessary harmonic intervals according to your selected key. 


6) TC Helicon Play Acoustic Vocal Effects Processor

If you want an intuitive vocal and guitar effects processor, you should consider the TC Helicon Play Acoustic Vocal Effects Processor. It comes with professional vocal tone and effects, as well as natural-sounding harmonies. It also comes with Bodyrez filtering as well as onboard EQ. 

The TC Helicon Play Acoustic Vocal Effects Processor also comes with di for a great acoustic guitar tone. It also comes with guitar feedback-proofing along with a notch filter together with phase controls. Moreover, it comes with separate guitar and vocal outputs, or you can opt for a stereo mix of both outputs.

This vocal and guitar effects processor comes with an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface. This makes editing your wide array of presets easy and quick. You can also use the “Genre” button for processing the on-the-fly effects. Moreover, you can plan your effects using the “Favorite” for recalling your presets for every gig. It also comes with the VocieSupport app to download more effects and songs and keep your firmware updated.

The Play Acoustic is not just there for design. Its VLOOP performance looper allows you to create vocal and guitar loops for added depth, dimension, and drama to your performance. You can also use the “HIT” feature for greater control of the pedal.


7) Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer Multi-Effects Pedal

It is an integrated effects and loop pedal that you can use on stage as a vocalist. It features the best vocal-effects technology in the market today. With its footswitch, you can quickly add rich harmonies and vocal layers to your voice. Moreover, you can expand your creativity with its other effects like Radio, Distortion, and Strobe. You can also create layers and loops in real-time using its Phrase Looper. 

Boss VE-20 auto-corrects your voice pitch and adds cool vocal characteristics to transform your vocals entirely. It is marketed likewise as a stompbox with the view of the vocals in mind.

You can also create layers and loops in real-time using its onboard Phrase Looper. You can be engaged in chaining a maximum of six effects with its use, including the pitch correct, dynamics, tone/SFX, delay, double/harmony, and reverb. Besides, you can perform anywhere and anytime using the VE-20, for it runs on battery or AC.


8) Zoom V3 Vocal Processor

Zoom V3 Vocal Processor is a robust and compact vocal processor that can always come in handy for stage and mobile use. It features 16 different effects, which you can utilize via the push of a button. Its features include pitch correction, distortion, chorus, and unison. Moreover, you can also assemble three-part harmony in minor or major using this vocal processor. You can also use crazy vocals features like the talkbox, vocoder, robot, and child effects. 

Its Formant Character changes the voice properties using the control parameter, although it retains the pitch. Additionally, the Zoom V3 allows you to dial-in reverb, compression, and delay utilizing a dedicated control knob.

Zoom V3 Vocal Processor’s built-in preamplifier is designed to deliver a professional-grade signal for the optimized transmission of microphones’ properties. You can likewise connect your headphones to it, and it also provides phantom power. At its back, you will also find an auxiliary input for connecting MP3 and smartphones.


Conclusion:

Performing onstage is a matter of projecting yourself. People will meticulously evaluate your performance based on your vocal consistency and the quality of your guitar’s sounds. Hence, having the best vocal effects processor when performing on stage is becoming a must nowadays for musicians to ensure that their performance will be impressive and remarkable to their audience.

In this review, we have endeavored to provide you with a good guideline on how to find the right vocal effects pedal. We’ve also listed the top brands and models that you should choose. We hope, therefore, that with this article, you can readily zero in on the right vocal effects processor for your personal use. 

How Singers Can Use Vocal Effects Processor To Enhance Their Live Performance

The vocal effects processor is basically a digital device that is designed to create significant effects like voice doubling, echo, reverb, and many other effects to enhance the quality of the vocals. Via a single touch of a button, you can readily alter the characteristics of your vocals. You can also manipulate your vocals to make it sound like a male or a female or even a child.

The vocal effects processor can also rectify your voice pitch automatically. It also features a harmonizer that could overdub pre-recorded harmonies and loops to provide your voice bulk and depth. The good thing about the use of vocal effects processors is that all the alterations and enhancements of your vocals occur simultaneously in real-time. 

With the use of this digital device, you practically can do a lot to enhance your vocals while you perform onstage. It is basically positioned between your microphone and the PA system or mixing board. Hence, before your input vocals reach the PA system, your input vocals are already enhanced. This means that your voice signal is already refined and improved before its entering the PA system. 

More often, this refinement of vocal quality is only done in a recording studio. Yet, with the vocal effects processor, you can practically mimic what is being done in the recording studio. Your audience, therefore, will feel that your vocals are almost perfect. 

This digital device appears to perfect your vocals in real time. Moreover, as a solo performer, for example, you will derive much help from the use of vocal effects processor because your audience would hear your vocals as if you have backup vocals. In a way, the vocal effects processor functions too like a sound engineer and a backup singer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Vocal Effects Processor

To further understand the value of vocal effects processors, you should look at the FAQs about vocal effects processors. Here are some of these FAQs:

Why Should You Use a Vocal Effects Processor?

Some audiences think that singers should not be altering their voices while they perform live. To them, singers should let the audience hear and appreciate their voices’ natural and raw quality. Moreover, They feel cheated by singers who make use of vocal effects processors.

Well, many people, however, are open to the idea of singers using vocal effects processors. They don’t care whether the artists they are following rely on these vocal processors. They admire these artists for their compositions and not for the quality of their voices. However, singers gain more advantages in using vocal effects processors because these processors enhance their vocal performance. 

Will Vocal Effects Processors Make Your Performances Easy?

If you are a solo performer who also plays the guitar, then, using a vocal effects processor would be of great help to you. Aside from enhancing your vocal performance, it can also improve your guitar performance.

The TC Helicon Play Acoustic Vocal Effects Processor, for example, comes with an intuitive user interface that lets you tinker with its features with ease. You can plug-in your guitar and mic onto it to enhance your guitar and vocal outputs. Moreover, you can make use of its preset effects to make your gigs easy to handle. Hence, without any doubt, the use of vocal effects processor like the TC Helicon Processor will make your every performance easy and better. 

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