10 Best Vocal Processors in 2020 (review)
Vocal processors let you add harmonies and change your voice, among other things, to enhance your performance. Today, we’ll be looking at some of the best vocal processors in 2020. All of the products listed here are top of the line, user-friendly, and offer a variety of extra features.
We’ll also be looking at everything you need to know about picking the perfect vocal effects processor. We will be discussing how to choose the right processor for your needs and what the different effects are. We will also be looking at the differences between a vocal processor and a pedal processor, allowing you to make an educated decision on your needs. By the end of this review and buying guide, you’ll have no trouble choosing the right model for you.
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The Best Vocal Processors
1. TC Helicon Harmony-G XT Vocal Processor
The TC Helicon Harmony-G XT Vocal Processor Pedal is a fan favorite among performers that want a processor that can improve the tone and harmony of their voice.
This equipment features improved harmony technology and effects like reverb to make your vocals sound excellent. It also offers VoiceLive 2 vocal effects that analyze your guitar and vocals. The software adapts the vocals to the chords you are playing to create the correct harmony parts.
Even though you can use it in a studio, the Harmony-G XT is also a vocal processor recommended for performing live on stage. That’s thanks to its pedal-operated controller. This pedal removes the need to interrupt your performance to bend and change settings. Plus, it’s built tough, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it.
If you need to update the device’s software or library, you can easily do it through its USB slot with a flash drive.
2. TC-Helicon Harmony Singer Vocal Processor
The TC-Helicon Harmony Singer is an electronic vocal processor that can make both inexperienced and experienced users sound like musical geniuses. Its lavish vocal sounds and perfect backing harmonies make it great for recording in the studio or playing live on stage.
Other features it offers include a wide range of guitar effects and voice effects processors. It has a notch filter and phase controls that minimize guitar feedback while playing or recording, as well as separate guitar and vocal outputs. You can also opt for a stereo mix between the two.
It does lack guitar thru and out renders, which may reduce the effectiveness of the play acoustic option for live performances. Overall, the Harmony Singer makes you sound as good as possible with natural-sounding vocal harmonies and quality sound that comes out exactly as you want it to.
3. Boss VE-8 Vocal Processor
The Boss VE-8 Vocal Processor is ideal for singers who play guitar. This vocal effects processor provides a competitive edge by making every performance sound like a top-notch studio-quality recording.
Its user-friendly interface and wide range of effects deliver powerful creative features that you can easily use to achieve impressive real-time harmonies and a professional sound every time you perform.
If you travel a lot, you’ll appreciate the compact and lightweight design of the VE-8 that makes moving with it a breeze.
Other amazing features include its chromatic pitch correction for live vocal tuning that delivers the best quality sound in real-time. You can also access a vocal doubling effect, looping effect, and hard tune electronic voices from the vocal effects pedal to take your one-man show to the next level.
While there’s a lot that you can achieve with this effects processor, learning how to do most of them well will require a lot of practice and referring to the manual. As long as you don’t mind the learning curve, the VE-8 will make a great partner for your future performances.
4. TC Helicon Voice Live Play
The TC Helicon Voice Live Play keeps things simple, but its processors will give you loads of options and features to record in the studio or perform live on stage with the perfect harmony and pitch.
Via the user-friendly interface on the VoiceLive Play, you can create lovely sounding music that has beautiful vocals and acoustic guitar effects. The simple interface and stompbox design let you use the processor and perform with minimal distractions.
This portable electronic vocal processor allows you to use your guitar to control voices added to Natural Play Harmony. It also has impressive reverb, minimal microphone feedback, and a low-noise mic preamp for crystal clear guitar and vocals.
With over 200 preset sounds to sing along with, this voice processor is a superb choice if you want to keep things simple yet have all the features necessary to make you an amazing performer.
5. TC-Helicon VoiceLive 2
If your vocal strength is lacking, the TC-Helicon VoiceLive 2 Vocal Effects Processor can give you the effects to achieve the vocal range you want. Vocalists use the VoiceLive 2 to achieve a smoother studio tone and richer harmonies. The device comes as a powerful floor processor that’s easy to use.
You can select the sound you want instantly by simply stepping on buttons on this floor-based vocal processor. One button accesses tone, pitch, and guitar FX, while others help you find the right preset, and much more. There’s also a USB slot for audio streaming, updating, or backing up your settings.
Get natural sounding harmonies when you hook your guitar or keyboard to the VoiceLive 2 Vocal Effects processor or use the vocal harmonies option with up to eight voices. The new harmony algorithm takes things a step further by smoothing out even the most extreme vocal styles.
There’s so much to look forward to when you choose to use this multi-effects pedal powerhouse for your next show.
6. TC Electronic Voice Live Touch 2
The TC Electronic Voice Live Touch 2 is a simple looking vocal effects processor that’s capable of far more than its appearance suggests. For instance, you can use it as a stand mountable or desktop processor. The mic stand slot and looper let you conveniently switch between effects without breaking your performance.
With the help of its user-friendly Touch Matrix interface, you can also create and add effects in real-time — either from the mic stand while performing or at a desk while producing or DJing. There are so many ways to have fun while making music with the VoiceLive touch vocal effects.
7. Boss VE-5
Looking through vocal processor reviews, you’ll come across the many positive things amateurs and professionals have to say about the Boss VE-5.
It has a compact, simple-to-use tabletop design ideal for performers that are always on the move. You can also easily attach it to various microphone stand types to function as a Boss audio electronic voice processor.
Aside from singers, beatboxers, webcasters, or anyone else who wants better quality sound or sound effects can use this tool.
Like the VE-20, the VE-5 offers six VE-20 vocal performer multi-effects, all of which are high-quality and include Double/Harmony, Reverb, Dynamics, Tone, and more. There is also a Phrase Looper for better real-time harmonizing and other vocal performances.
However, unlike the VE-20, the VE-5 doesn’t offer three-part harmony, which is okay as long as you don’t make the type of music that requires such effects. If you are dissatisfied with a setting, you can easily tweak it to suit your needs.
8. Roland VT-4
The Roland VT-4 is one of the top vocal processors for creating great-sounding musical pitches and format effects. Tweaking your voice from female to male or small to big in real-time is as easy as turning a knob.
You can use this voice processor to create multiple vocal effects at the same time, including various retro and modern options or reverb echo to create something unique. There’s also pitch correction for creating a hard-tuned effect.
You have the option to plug a keyboard to the processor to create multiple-part harmonies with voicing in real-time. For your convenience, the VT-4 runs on batteries and can also be powered by a USB cable. Combine this with the voice processor’s compact design and you have a very portable device that you can take with you to use whenever you are ready to record.
9. Tascam TA-1VP
The Tascam TA-1VP is not a cheap vocal processor, but it’s worth every penny if you’ve been looking for the perfect effects processors for performing live on stage.
You can also use it to get a more polished sound when recording in the studio. In fact, the TASCAM’s TA-1VP is one of the few vocal processors with flawless Auto-Tune technology.
There’s a jack on the front panel for plugging in your microphone and phantom power for condenser microphones. There’s a dedicated button for each processing effect and a big library of classic effects to choose from.
You can set the level of the Auto-Tune module to suit your needs and conveniently retrieve your settings through the presets on the front panel. In summary, the Tascam TA-1VP is an effective and easy-to-use voice processor for studio mixdowns and/or live performances.
10. Boss VE-20
The Boss VE-20 Vocal Processor Pedal is one of the best guitar effects pedal options for singers with guitar skills. It’s a vocal performer multi-effects pedal that’s simple enough for both pros and newbie performers to use. It’s also high-quality with a strong body and durable pedals.
Instead of one effects pedal, it comes with two big ones. This means there are fewer chances of you missing them in the heat of your performance.
When it comes to quality sound, the VE-20 vocal performer multi-effects processor again does well, delivering a range of features, including double-tracking, pitch correct, reverb, and more. Simply put, the VE-20 is a versatile performer multi-effects pedal for the harmony singer who can also play guitar.
How to Choose a Vocal Effects Processor – 3 Key Features to Look For
As you can see from even the small sampling of models we’ve covered here, vocal processors come in many shapes and sizes with unique features. With so many options from various brands, finding the perfect one for you may prove daunting. To help with this, here are the most important features to look out for when trying to select the best vocal processors for your needs:
Looking through processor reviews, you’ll see that the best products all have something in common – the ability to add several harmonies while singing.
This feature is a vital one in a live vocal processor, regardless if it’s for studio or stage use. With the ability to add harmonies, you’ll be able to add and combine guitar inputs or inputs from other instruments to adjust the harmony and pitch of your singing to fit the instrument’s chords.
Even better are vocal processors that offer Smart Harmony, which automatically adds backing vocals to enrich your singing. It’s especially useful for singers who have weak vocals.
The number of harmonies that you can add (and how much you can tweak them) will vary from processor to processor. For the best results, go for a vocal processor pedal with a harmony feature that matches your needs.
Pitch Correct (Auto-Tune)
While certain artists have abused the use of auto-tune, it’s nonetheless a useful tool for fixing tuning issues. Top-notch vocal processors give you the power to control the level of auto-tune in a song. The more control you have, the better the results you can get rather than excessive or ineffective auto-tuning.
Vocal Effects and Looping
If you want consistent control over EQ, compression, delay/reverb, or other basic vocal effects, you need the right voice processor. The typical processor only offers core effects. More versatile models offer more options like alien, vocoder, robot, synth, and more for unique audio results.
The processor may also offer options that let you deepen or soften your voice through formant shifting. Do it correctly, and you can make a female artist sound like Barry White or vice versa. You can also use such effects to keep a singer in tune or use it to replace backup singers and add harmony to your song.
Another useful effect is the guitar effect. For artists that sing and play guitar, a processor that offers this effect is the perfect “all-in-one” performance unit because it means you won’t need a separate voice and guitar pedal. This keeps equipment overhead down and a performer’s rig less complicated.
What are the Differences Between a Regular and Pedal Vocal Processor?
The majority of effects processors are useful for adding effects like voice doubling, echo, reverb, and more to boost the quality of your song recordings or live singing. All these effects and more are accessible to turn you from a regular Joe to someone who sounds like the ultimate rock star or an R&B angel.
The design of most vocal processors makes these effects accessible with just the push of a button or the turn of a dial—but that is only convenient if you are recording in a studio. If you are performing live on stage, having to pause to change effect settings may distract from your performance.
Fortunately, there’s a perfect solution, and it comes in the form of pedal vocal processors.
Pedal vocal processors, also called stompboxes, are a popular choice among singers who are performing live with guitars. Such performers prefer pedals because it allows them to multitask.
For example, while singing and playing the guitar, the performer can conveniently use the pedal to select vocal effects on the processor and harmonize with the guitar. The alternative to this (if using a non-pedal processor) would be to stop playing the guitar to change the effects by hand.
Stompboxes typically have multiple switches, so you’ll need to be quite nimble to hit the right buttons with your feet when necessary. Regular vocal processors, such as tabletop and stand mountable types, on the other hand, are better for DJs, studio recordings, or live performances where the singer’s hands are free of instruments.
As the name implies, a tabletop processor can be on a table or DJ station, while mountable vocal processors are attached to microphone stands.
Which Vocal Processor Should You Choose for Live Performances?
Based on our experience and what customers have to say, we pick the Boss VE-5 as the best voice processor for live performances.
The Boss VE-5 is perfect for live shows because you can attach it to your microphone stand and control it directly without interrupting your performance. It also comes with a wide variety of effects that you can use to boost the quality of your vocals. On the downside, if you are a singer and guitarist, using a VE-5 may interfere with using your guitar. If you’re going to be playing the guitar, you may be better off with a stompbox like the Boss VE-20.