If you are vocalist, amateur or professional you are probably familiar with strength issues that can appear when singing. There are many times including while recording in a studio or during performances when your singing will be off. Electronic vocal processors are devices that can help you with these problems. The core principle is that they take in the current signals and make the right adjustments for the best vocal results.
Increasing your vocal strength is only one of the features of a vocal processor. They are able to do much more than that to help you get that professional sound. Many vocal processors can create multiple-part harmonies and loops or add in some cool effects for obtaining the desired sound. The technology has come a long way as you can now have a virtual sound engineer and your backup singers nicely packed in a simple portable device. If getting your hands on a quality vocal processor sounds appealing to you, there are a few things to be aware of before you jump in and make the purchase. You might also be interested in our articles about the best synthesizers and the best digital pianos.
The ability to add harmonies is important for any high-quality vocal processor. And to bring more convenience, some devices come with smart features that use guitar or instrument inputs to change the harmonies so that they fit the played chords and your singing note. This happens without the need for manual tweaking so if this is important to you, make sure you get a vocal processor that can do this.
2. Pitch Correction (AutoTune)
Some vocal processors have more advanced features for pitch correction and this effect can be very useful for those looking for a bit of discreet help with more difficult songs.
3. Vocal effects and looping
Not all vocal processors allow you to control a wide range of effects like compression, delay/reverb or EQ. Some are more basic when it comes to this and only offer core effects. If your music style is more experimental it’s probably recommended to look for more exotic voicings.
A basic XLR connection should suffice for most vocalists but others which sing and play guitar simultaneously will probably require dedicated outputs for guitar and vocals. In this way, you can rout the guitar separately to a guitar amp and at the same time deliver the vocals straight to the PA.
Now that you have a rough idea about what a vocal processor has to feature in order to satisfy your needs, let’s take a look at the best such devices on the market right now. These have been carefully picked and analyzed to provide the best value for the money.
TC Helicon is the leading brand in the industry of vocal processors as they have a very comprehensive range of products fitting for many types of users and lots of complex needs. It’s hard to place one of their models above others as they have many solid candidates, but the VoiceTone Harmony-G XT seems to take the crown as it packs so many incredible features at a good price.
This is a device built to make your voice shine with outstanding quality harmonies and vocal effects. TC Helicon equipped the Harmony-G XT with many groundbreaking effects from their VoiceLive series of processors. There are lots of things to get excited about which are included in your performance arsenal like for example the several harmony choices, reverb, pitch correction, tone control, doubling effects, and A/B switching between effects.
It is capable of many feats including the ability to listen to your performance and match the right notes that sound best for your particular song. This is all done automatically so it’s very helpful especially if you don’t have a very extensive musical knowledge. You only plug in and select between a few parameters like 3rds and 5ths, octave up and down, and the Bass interval.
In this vocal processor, you can find a powerful reverb algorithm with a special selection of styles found on the VoiceLive series. Four overdub-style doubling effects are available along with two more doubling voices. Lots of presets are already loaded for you and among the things you definitely have to try we can count pitch correction and µmod. Mixing in the guitar signal to share reverb is also possible.
From a standing position, you can toggle between five built-in presets. Each has its own settings of harmony, effects, and doubling. Editing the presets is not very difficult and if you prefer, you can always configure and store your own personal combinations.
If you want to kick your vocals into high gear, the Harmony-G XT by TC Helicon is one of the best choices out there. With many improved technologies for beautiful harmonies and quality reverb, you can sound like a pro and considerably improve your tone. Overall this is an excellent vocal processor with an impressive selection of effects and settings. Reasonably priced, this device is strongly recommended.
- NaturalPlay guitar-controlled harmony algorithm
- Tone switch adapts to your voice
- 6 reverb/delay combinations for vocal and guitar input
- 10 presets, each with A/B options
- VoiceSupport app
- High-quality mic preamp
The Behringer Virtualizer 3D FX2000 is a high-performance multi-effects vocal processor offering robust input and output options, 100 presets and 100 user presets as well as true Real Sound Modeling stereo and 3D effects. Packing more than 70 new algorithms and many other incredible features, this machine will give you the tools to impress the audience with a powerful vocal performance.
Boasting 24-bit AD/DA conversion and high-quality oversample rates, the FX2000’s effects are clean and pure. There are 12 different reverbs and three delays that you can choose from as well as countless amp simulators, filters, flange, EQs, distortions, and much more. Up to seven parameters are tweakable and an extra 2-band EQ on each effect can be adjusted. To exactly dial the desired sound, you can combine effects in serial or parallel configurations.
To hook up it up you can use the XLR and 1/4″ inputs. In case you might need it, there’s a -10dB pad for taming troubling signals. There’s extensive MIDI implementation due to the MIDI in/out/thru ports which will allow you to connect the vocal processor to any controller you want.
There are lots of presets to choose from, 100 in total and Behringer included 100 more slots for user presets. Creating and recalling the perfect combinations can be done in no time. This device provides true stereo processing to obtain the most realistic channel separation in a stereo image. LED level meters are included for getting an optimum performance.
An excellent vocal processor for recording or live performances, the Behringer Virtualizer 3D FX2000 is a product that you shouldn’t miss if you are interested in leaving a more lasting impression to your audiences. With an attractive price, fitting for lower budgets, this could be the perfect vocal processing solution for many aspiring musicians.
- Wave-adaptive virtual Room reverb algorithms
- Modulation, dynamic, psychoacoustic and EQ algorithms
- 11 effect combinations with selectable serial/parallel configuration
- Authentic amp simulation, distortion, and special effects
- 24-bit A/D and D/A converters with 64/128-times oversampling
- 100 factory presets plus 100 user memory locations
Best Live Vocal Effects Processor
For those vocalists with more demanding needs when it comes to producing heavily processed vocals live, the Roland VT-3 could be a potential solution. Part of the AIRA series and working seamlessly with other products from this line, it is an extremely capable vocal processor that can transform your voice by smoothly altering pitch and formant in real time. It can be a huge help when you’d like to add those aggressively processed vocal sounds into your stage performances and studio tracks.
The VT-3 can turn your voice into synthesizers, hard-tuned and lo-fi sounds, and synth basses among many others. But that doesn’t mean it’s only suited for making robot voices. This vocal processor can be subtle and musical when needed as there are many potent settings to adjust including reverb, instant bypass, and smooth wet/dry fader control. Two distinctive Auto-Pitch effects are integrated for getting some awesome pop and electro vibes. Creating VP-330-style Vocoder sounds is possible without requiring a keyboard.
Made for keeping up with thrilling live performances, it is built for creative speed. The high-quality specs wouldn’t mean much if you couldn’t quickly make the right adjustments. To simplify the user interface, Roland added brightly lit controls in a vibrant green shade. You can feel a smooth and immediate response from all the controls and functions without having to worry about latency issues or clicking. Another advantage of this device is how portable is it, small and light enough to slip into a bag with ease.
Considering what a great vocal processor this one is, the only thing left to discuss would be the price. It’s not very high, quite competitive actually so this is another solid point for the Roland AIRA VT-3. The smooth control, cool sounding effects, and the stylish design really make this a big winner in the market for vocal processors.
- Dedicated Pitch and Formant sliders
- Three favorite settings can be saved for instant recall
- Reverb and Mix Balance sliders
- Pure green LEDs and brightly lit controls
- Lightweight and durable construction
- USB audio interface
- Standard XLR/TRS combo jack
Anyone serious about singing will quickly realize that sounding your best is a more complicated matter than vocal techniques or talent. You have to understand the strongest elements of your voice and to be able to make use of the right tools to achieve your full potential. This is where a powerful vocal processor like the TC Helicon Perform-V comes into play. It can offer the professional vocal sound that will amaze all your fans.
The Perform-V is a machine capable of understanding precisely what fits your voice and it can shape it for impressing your audience. One of its magic tricks is the Tone button which will take care of your vocal sound just with a single press. A cool aspect about the Perform-V is how it lets you have complete creative control. You can add subtle pitch correction and anti-feedback to protect from any accidental screeches.
This vocal processor is fully packed with lots of exciting sounds, dazzling effects like reverb, echo and the double. These controls make all the good singers sound great and you can explore them with ease thanks to a very user-friendly interface.
TC Helicon integrated many interesting pre-made sounds that you can access on the free Perform-V app for smartphones and then transmit them to the preset buttons without the need for additional accessories. Recreating a specific vibe for your musical style is very simple and convenient.
Downloadable presets have a ”HIT” function which adds a new layer of intensity to your performances. It works well for striking choruses or emphasizing a certain phrase. To activate it, you just need to push the preset button a second time. The setup of this vocal processor is very easy to figure out thanks to the Automatic Input Gain as you just have to plug in a mic and keep the Set button pressed while you sing.
The only drawback of the would be the limited connectivity as it only has a standard XLR connection. This isn’t a big issue though and for most, it will be enough. All in all, this is an intuitively constructed vocal processor with lots of creative features to help you sound more professional and for this price, it’s a real bargain.
- 3 Reverb, 3 Echo, and 3 Double types vocal effects
- Powerful Anti-Feedback function
- Visual Pitch meter
- Dimmable buttons
- Free app for iOS and Android which adds additional vocal effects
For those interested in something more advanced, the TC Helicon VoiceLive 2 is a powerhouse that provides convenient Stompbox access to lots of effects suitable for any style, and incredibly realistic vocal harmonies. It’s built like your personal sound engineer which always ensures that your tone is smooth and constant.
It is able to respond naturally to all your favorite instruments including guitars or MIDI keyboards serving up some of the most impressive vocal harmonies. Thanks to a new algorithm designed for the optimum smoothness in terms of sound, even more extreme vocal styles can benefit from it.
The Tone button adaptively applies the right EQ, compression or De-essing settings to your voice so you don’t have to worry about anything. When you’re not singing, Adaptive Gate will reduce mic input so that you can worry less about various parameters and focus more on your music because that’s what really matters.
Controlling the vocal and guitar inputs as well as the looping of your effects can be dunned with a single button. Useful functions like the overdub, stop, undo, or erase can also be activated with ease and for stereo looping, you can have a maximum of 15 seconds whereas for mono you get up to 30 seconds.
To unleash your true vocal power, the VoiceLive 2 gives you access to 6 FX blocks with virtually unlimited combinations. Editing all parameters can be done pretty intuitively and there’s also a step feature for simple preset chaining. Connectivity-wise, this vocal processor has USB for backups, audio streaming, and updates.
One of the best harmonizers and vocal processors that money can buy, the TC Helicon is ridiculously configurable and everything sounds very realistic. Many vocalists will love this device which although it offers a lot it can be a bit more confusing to set up and get everything configured. It depends on how advanced you are and how deep you want to go when tweaking your vocals. The cost is not exactly low so keep that in mind too, but if you want a solid vocal processor all around, definitely check this one out.
- 250+ presets with step sequencer
- Up to 8 voices with MIDI keyboard control
- One button access to global Tone, Pitch, and Guitar FX
- Realistic Vocal Harmonies
- Tone, pitch correction, and Guitar FX can be used at the same time
- Stompbox access to Vocal FX for any style
The greatest TC Helicon vocal effects, looping, and harmony are integrated into the Voice Live Play vocal effects processor along with hundreds of artist inspired presets for giving you the best tools to enhance your singing. This device gains a spot on this list thanks to a solid package of features for the money.
Perfecting vocals is always one of the most important aspects for any producer and if you wish to obtain a bit of that studio magic everywhere, then this voice processor is for you. It offers automatic backing harmonies, pristine EQ and compression, and vocal double tracking. Some quality reverbs are also included together with the hard-tuned robot-voice, basically all the popular effects that can be heard in vocals in today’s top hits.
Speaking of hits, the Voice Live Play provides a HIT feature for some extra control when you add a harmony or other effect at the right moment for your song. You can choose ”Vocal Cancel” when you’re not on stage and practice with your favorite tracks from a plugged-in MP3. The vocal processor can offer complete statistics for your voice. Another interesting feature is the embedded RoomSense mics for controlling harmonies from the sounds of instruments found nearby.
If you are in need of a performance looper, you can use the VLOOP which enables you to create vocal loops for layered live performances or solo jamming. It can be useful for soundcheck as you can record a short phrase and then check levels while you hear yourself.
This is a complete vocal FX pedal providing instant access to many of your effects through convenient presets with the right sounds and styles. Browsing hundreds of preset sounds is simplified thanks to the display on the front panel. It comes with dedicated outputs for your voice and some additional inputs to plug your headphones and auxiliary devices.
Considering everything about the TC Helicon VoiceLive Play, the general verdict is a highly positive one. It’s not an easy task to find any flaw with this vocal processor, maybe the lack of a power button could be considered a small inconvenience but overall, this is certainly a worthy investment for any aspiring singers and quite fun for more professional live applications.
- Vocal Effects, Harmony, and Looping
- 200+ song & artist inspired presets
- Vocal Cancel feature
- Room Sense
- Automatic backing harmonies
In case you were looking for a very balanced option, the Boss VE-2 is a vocal processor packing some amazing harmony styles and offering studio style processing in a stylish battery-powered module. It comes equipped with lots of essential effects giving you many configurable settings to tweak your vocals until you get the desired sound.
A respectable automatic harmony generator, this vocal processor really shines if you plug in your guitar so it can understand the chords you’re playing. You can combine the key-tracking function from the VE-2 with the automatic harmony detection for making some impressive harmonies that both follow your voice and match your music. Spanning 12 1- or 2-voice options, you get to choose from plenty of harmony styles, each with a variation.
Harmony seems to be one of the specialties but it doesn’t stop here. It comes loaded with great effects for enhancing live vocals. With a simple one-knob effects control, you can dial in delay, reverb, or a combination of these. An Enhance button is provided for implementing a bit of studio polish as it smoothes out your vocals with just one push. If you press it again, you can add in subtle pitch correction that will automatically help you stay in tune and this could be very useful in loud environments where you can’t hear yourself that well. It’s pretty effective at making automatic harmonies more stable too.
Great vocals during live performances are essential but what about the studio? The VE-2 is quite flexible. Three buttons that are easy to reach allow you to store and recall your favorite settings and thanks to an auxiliary input, you can perform along to backing tracks. This vocal processor runs on AA batteries supplying decent phantom power to any condenser microphone. USB connectivity enables the device to work as an audio interface for taking advantage of its features into the studio.
The Boss VE-2 is proof that you don’t have to go over your budget or need to lug around a heavy gadget to cover all your vocal processing needs with ease. The price is quite fair considering how easy it is to use and enjoy. A decent option for a high-quality vocal processor when all things are taken into account.
- Battery-powered stompbox
- Auto Harmony function
- Enhancer with real-time pitch correction
- 24 harmony types
- Friendly user interface
- USB audio function
Adding some wild possibilities for your vocals, the TC Helicon VoiceTone C1 effects processor looks very promising for those with lower budgets. Among the main features of this compact device we can find sound correction from subtle to jagged HardTune, Mic Control for remote on/off toggling, and the ability to chain the unit with other VoiceTone C1’s for improving your sound even more.
Under the hood of this unit, you can expect to find the same quality processing from TC Helicon’s flagship VoiceLive vocal processors. A quiet mic preamp is also present and its reliability can rival that from high-end touring mixers providing a decent level of quality analog to digital conversion. A USB connection is included for firmware updates. The construction of the device is pretty solid, the metal casing seems to be built with durability in mind.
This vocal processor is capable of opening up some new vocal territory. It all starts with a clean correction of your voice. All that’s needed is to set the key or use the guitar input. The popular pitch-gliding HardTune effect is included and with just a simple knob twist you can sound like an alien in no time. Due to Mic Control, you can take charge of the unit right from your mic commanding both the stage and the audience.
What’s great is how you can chain it to other identical units for mixing and matching effects which create your own personal sound. It can also work nicely with Ditto Mic Looper, the looping pedal for singers. Using the Singles Connect Kit, you can mix and match a maximum of four vocal effect pedals without too much cable clutter.
As long as you understand the capabilities of the VoiceTone C1 and its limits you won’t be disappointed. It can’t do magic for your vocals but it provides good correction and decent enhancements for this price. Looking back over its features, this remains a safe recommendation if you have an interest in a relatively inexpensive but great quality vocal processor.
- HardTune and Correction effects
- Clean, quiet mic preamp
- Mic Control
- Durable construction
- USB connection