A live performance can be a nerve-wracking experience for any musician, but the right gear can help to make it go as smoothly as possible. In this article, we’ll show you how to keep your voice and guitar in tune with a vocal processor that provides pitch correction for vocals being sung by the singer performing to backing tracks or as part of a band.
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What is a Vocal Processor?
A vocal processor is an effects unit that will allow the user to add effects to their vocals when singing, there are many different makes of vocal processors all of which provide functions and settings to make singing live a less stressful experience.
A vocal processor is very similar to a guitar effects pedal, but instead of the guitarist using it to alter their tone and add different sounds from pedals such as reverb or delay, singers can use these small audio devices during live performances. The most common functions on a vocal processor are pitch correction along with harmonisation.
The right gear for live performances can make a big difference to the performance of any music artist.
Some of the best vocal processors will enable the singer’s mic to be interactive with the guitar so when a chord is played on the guitar the singer’s voice will be auto-tuned to correspond with the guitarist’s chord playing so you never sound out of tune when singing.
Harmonising is also a great feature of a vocal processor, this will add a harmonious voice to whatever you sing which can give a much fuller sound especially if you perform live with backing tracks in a duo for example.
Best Vocal Processors for Live Performance
Many music artists have their favourite processors depending on what effects they require for performing live at a music gig, below we have selected our top 3 vocal processors that will help any singer achieve the best results when playing guitar and singing live.
This processor provides an unrivaled FX automation for live performance, it also features a backing track playback with separate controls for up to 100 songs.
- Adaptive Tone for perfect EQ, compression, de-essing, and gating.
- Hundreds of downloadable presets plus 250 included factory presets to fit your musical style.
- Dedicated outputs for stereo PA, stereo guitar, and monitoring
Voicelive 3 Extreme sets you free to focus solely on your performance with groundbreaking FX automation and backing track playback. Awe-inspiring vocal effects and rich guitar sounds run effortlessly by themselves. From the first song idea to the execution of complex live arrangements, everything you’ve worked for comes together in VL3X.
- Backing track import with FX automation for “tap-dance free” performances, synchronised to tracks.
- Performance recorder for live direct 24-bit audio, output to a USB flash drive.
- A complete vocal sound with next-generation harmony processing, effects, and tonal quality.
- Complete guitar sound via TC Electronic stomp-box effects, Amp Tones, and flexible outputs to your amp or PA.
- Powerful 3-phrase looping lets you create and store entire songs on-the-fly.
Audience Connection Like Never Before
Every single detail you need to make your song exceptional – every FX change, every harmony, every loop – every sonic nuance – can be prepared on VL3X before the show. This will totally transform your relationship with the audience for over 100 songs?
Recording & Sharing Power
The onboard audio recorder perfectly complements your backing tracks and FX sequencing by allowing you to capture everything you do in brilliant 24-bit quality. Record every live performance, every home practice, with professional studio fidelity and effects – both vocal and guitar. Turn your tour into EP material or your late-night jams into SoundCloud gold.
Your Voice Front & Center
With a mind-blowing vocal FX path featuring 11 independent effects blocks, over 180 different pre-programmed styles and more than 250 factory presets available right out of the box (and more available for free download), VL3X represents the absolute pinnacle of singers’ technology and is the perfect partner for your voice.
Guitar FX & Amp Tones
The guitar section of VL3X puts a premium stompbox collection at your feet – with rich tones from legendary FX makers TC Electronic – plus 30 amp emulations that can be customized far beyond belief. Together they make up an unbeatable piece of guitar road-kit.
Dedicated Vocal PA and Guitar Out
What makes VL3X an incredibly flexible performance system is the dedicated stereo vocal and stereo guitar amp outputs. Send your guitar sound directly to your favourite amp completely independent of the vocal output going to the PA, it even works when you’re looping.
Top Effect Capabilities
Doubling creates an effect that makes your voice sound “larger” in the mix. It’s an extremely popular effect in a wide variety of musical styles from Pop to Hip-Hop and everything in between.
Also known as Echo, delay repeats the input sound in various ways, from single “taps” to multiple panned asynchronous repeats. Often, a delay is mistaken for reverb in a song. It’s typical in a recording to use a small amount of both delay and reverb to create the desired spatial effect.
Short for Reverberation, reverb simulates an acoustic space like a concert hall or a bathroom. Typically, slower songs use longer reverb and faster songs use shorter reverb.
Some people know it as the Cher or T-Pain effect. We call it HardTune. It’s a very aggressive form of pitch correction that forces the voice to “jump” from one note to the next in an almost robotic way. The effect works the best when confined to a set scale, where the intervals between notes are more noticeable. To get the most out of the effect, you’ll need to adapt your singing style to help accentuate the way that your voice shifts from note to note. Try sliding between notes.
This vocal processor has it all providing top-quality effects for live singers to really make an impact at live gigs or performances. With next-generation harmony processing, effects, and tonal quality you can’t go wrong with the Voicelive 3 Extreme.
Boss VE-500 Vocal Performer
The Boss VE-500 is the perfect choice for a singing guitarist, this unit allows you to use up to 9 effects all at the same time giving a really fine tuned sound.
- Advanced vocal multi-effects stompbox for singing guitarists
- Automatic vocal harmony/pitch correction powered by newly enhanced BOSS algorithms for natural sound with smooth tracking
- Class-leading sound quality and high-powered BOSS DSP engine for processing vocals with up to nine effects at once
- Extensive selection of effects specially tuned for vocals; Enhance section for shaping core tone, plus reverb, delay, modulation, distortion, EQ, filter, and many other types for further processing
- Versatile and creative vocoder effect for generating electronic voice and talk box sounds based on guitar input
- Flexible effect routing options for processing live and harmonized vocals together or separately
- Dedicated looper
- XLR mic input with adjustable sensitivity and available phantom power
- Guitar input for harmony, pitch, and vocoder processing; Thru output for sending an unprocessed signal to guitar pedals
- Stereo XLR outputs for sending vocal sounds to a PA mixer or recorder
- Three assignable footswitches for real-time performance control, plus support for up to two external footswitches or an expression pedal
- 99 user memories for storing patch setups
- Three assignable knobs for quick access to essential parameters while performing
- MIDI input and USB-MIDI for guiding harmony/pitch engine from an external MIDI keyboard or DAW backing tracks
- Editor/librarian software (Mac/Windows) for sound editing and patch management via USB
Amazing Automatic Pitch Correction
The VE-500 also includes a dedicated pitch correction section, which is guided via guitar or MIDI just like the harmony function. You can employ it for transparent pitch stabilisation, which is especially useful if you’re not such a great singer but still need to contribute some lead and/or backing vocals to your band’s sound. It’s also possible to switch in alternate modes that provide the heavily effected sounds heard on modern hits, including hard pitch correction, electronic tonalities, and even robot-voice sounds.
This vocal processor really does enable guitarists and singers to expand their sound by providing real time harmonies, pitch correction, and much more.
TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2 Vocal Processor Pedal
Our final selection is the harmony singer 2 by TC Helicon, for those of you that think size matters! this small effects unit will rock your socks off when it comes to supercharging your live gigging performance.
The harmony singer 2 provides a choice of 8 harmony styles, all controlled via your guitar. Also included are studio-grade reverbs, with proprietary Adaptive Tone, and a hands-free mic gain setting, making this vocal processor a must-have for any band or solo artist.
Reverb simulates a physical space, allowing your voice to fit into the music perfectly. Whether it’s the ambience of a small room or the massive reverberation of a concert hall, its vocally tuned reverbs always bring out the best in your voice.
Choose Your Harmonies
From the classic “third up” harmony voice to combinations of voices above and below your own, there’s a style in the harmony singer 2 to fit almost every song. Experimenting with different harmonies can spawn new and creative song ideas, so be sure to try all eight of them!
A simple battery-powered effects pedal with guitar-controlled harmony, reverb, and tone settings will really help you to play the guitar and sing with freedom and style leaving your audience shouting more at the end of every song.
The right live performance equipment is essential to keep your guitar and vocals in tune. TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2 will provide you with the tools necessary for creating a harmonious sound when gigging with a band or backing track music, while also including studio-grade reverbs and pitch correction functions. The TC Helicon Voicelive Extreme provides 250 factory presets which can be applied specifically on vocal tracks, plus an extensive selection of effects specially tuned for vocals, also, generate auto-tune pitch correction from the guitar’s input! There is no excuse not to sing out loud and clear when you have this innovative product at hand! The Boss VE-500 vocal performer will amaze you with its newly enhanced Boss algorithms for a more natural sound. Live performing guitarists and singers will really benefit by using a vocal processor with a large variety of effects and unique vocal harmony functions.