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Live vocal processor comparisons

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Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby forumuser637535 » Fri May 17, 2013 11:13 pm

I'm singing in a covers band at the moment, using a beta 57a into a Focusrite penta compressor. It's a nice signal chain, but I want to investigate the vocal processors out there that might offer me a bit more. I'd also like to leave the focusrite in the studio instead of lugging it to gigs.

I'd like to work on getting a rich vocal that cuts across the mix without taking people's heads off.

Good compressor
Harmoniser/doubler
Easy & quick to use/set up

Not bothered about looping or other extreme solo artist fx.

So what live vocal processors do you recommend?
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Persian Bit » Fri May 17, 2013 11:43 pm

Hi,
I've been using this on stage for a long time and been really happy with it. somebody was looking after such thing a while ago here in this forum and I posted this back then.

Image

as far as i knew few months ago, it should be around 280 US $. very versatile and useful. the overall sound and preamps are just fine and you get all those stuff you need.

more info on:
Boss VE-20 Vocal Processor
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby OneEng » Sat May 18, 2013 12:23 am

Take a look at one of these: http://www.tc-helicon.com/products/voicetone-harmony-g-xt/

You can pick them up for around $200.00.

The TC Helicon reverb on this unit is outstanding. The harmonies are very real sounding, and it just sounds good. You don't have control over the eq and compression settings, but it sounds pretty darned good.

They make one that is much more flexible, but it costs more of course.

I have one of these and a VoiceWorks as well. The VoiceWorks is a rack unit and has tons of features and capability ..... but most of the time the Harmony G XT is all I need.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby forumuser637535 » Sat May 18, 2013 1:52 pm

Thanks for the recommendations guys. Does anyone use laptop/soundcard for this? I already have one set up as part of my rig, maybe it's worth using it with a footswitch?
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Goddard » Sat May 18, 2013 2:19 pm

*gregster* wrote:Does anyone use laptop/soundcard for this? I already have one set up as part of my rig, maybe it's worth using it with a footswitch?


Dunno of any soundcard with such vocal harmonizer features built-in (other than the old Yamaha SW100XG when fitted with a PLG "VH" add-on card (which could also be fitted into some Yamaha synths)).

One can certainly use standalone or plug-in vocal processing software running on a laptop, although latency might become an issue.

Digitech have offered a range of "Vocalist" processors over the years for studio and live use as well.

Edit: the Roland VS-20 with onboard fx/harmonizer is a USB audio interface (i.e., external "soundcard") as well, and can accept a foot switch.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby forumuser637535 » Sat May 18, 2013 5:24 pm

If I was going to use a laptop for this, what software would you suggest for running the plugins?

I know Logic Mainstage is what I'd try on my mac, but it's a PC laptop... Is there something especially for live signal processing, rather than a sequencer/recording software?

Really grateful that people are taking the time to respond to these questions, by the way. It's always so nice to interact with nice people!
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Goddard » Sat May 18, 2013 7:38 pm

Plenty of VST hosts to choose from. You might try out Cantabile:

http://www.cantabilesoftware.com/

And one VST plug-in that comes to mind is Choralozoide, which also happens to be free:

http://www.gersic.com/plugins/index.php?daPlug=1218

OTOH, if you have an i-device, you might try out the free version of IK's Vocalive app.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby OneEng » Sun May 19, 2013 2:18 pm

Goddard wrote:Plenty of VST hosts to choose from. You might try out Cantabile:

http://www.cantabilesoftware.com/

And one VST plug-in that comes to mind is Choralozoide, which also happens to be free:

http://www.gersic.com/plugins/index.php?daPlug=1218

OTOH, if you have an i-device, you might try out the free version of IK's Vocalive app.

I wouldn't personally recommend it. The "latency" people keep talking about is the delay between when you sing, and when the effected signal shows up out front.

When using a PC, you always have the delay between the communication connection and the PC (times two as it goes back and fourth) as well as the windows latency. The windows latency is also prone to being unsteady as windows does various tasks in the background.

Doing these effects for recording is an easy job for a PC since it can take its time applying the various efx.

There is also the issue of having a PC that you are dependent on for your gig. Personally, I like a solid metal box designed to be jumped on rather than a PC that could get bumped by a drunk girl and finish off my gig.

What is the allure of using the PC? Cost?
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 19, 2013 4:05 pm

I'd agree with OneEng, latency will be the killer, anything over a few ms is going to be disconcerting or worse. A dedicated box is always going to do the job better and with more reliability. Also I would never use a PC live for anything I couldn't do without.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby forumuser637535 » Mon May 20, 2013 9:33 am

Sam Spoons wrote:I'd agree with OneEng, latency will be the killer, anything over a few ms is going to be disconcerting or worse. A dedicated box is always going to do the job better and with more reliability. Also I would never use a PC live for anything I couldn't do without.

I'd always thought that latency with a decent sound card was less of an issue, but maybe that's just not the case...I don't mind if a mic stops working- I can always just plug it in direct if the computer dies for some reason (though it never has...pretty stable win xp asus)

What are the high-end hardware models that handle this kind of thing?
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon May 20, 2013 5:39 pm

*gregster* wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:I'd agree with OneEng, latency will be the killer, anything over a few ms is going to be disconcerting or worse. A dedicated box is always going to do the job better and with more reliability. Also I would never use a PC live for anything I couldn't do without.

I'd always thought that latency with a decent sound card was less of an issue, but maybe that's just not the case...I don't mind if a mic stops working- I can always just plug it in direct if the computer dies for some reason (though it never has...pretty stable win xp asus)

What are the high-end hardware models that handle this kind of thing?

Latency with a decent soundcard will be better but it's all aimed at studio use, usually with direct monitoring to avoid latency in the cans. To be comfortable I'd think you'd need a latency of around 10ms or less (and, from what I've heard, low single figures if you use IEMs) i've check what my MacBook Pro is doing and Reaper says 10ms so probably ok for monitors but maybe not quick enough for IEMs

As mentioned above, look at the TC-Helicon range, even the cheapest have top quality fx, very smooth reverbs and other processing. Will do what you want from around £200.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Bazza » Mon May 20, 2013 7:32 pm

TC Helicon Voice Live 2 is very cheap at the moment and a great unit for what you want.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby OneEng » Tue May 21, 2013 12:14 am

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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Johnduffin » Tue May 21, 2013 2:39 am

Have a look at the TC Helicon Voice Live and the Voice Live 2. I have the Voice Live and it sounds like its more than enough for what you would want. It does looping but you can ignore it. The Voice Live 2 is a slight update with a better interface but doesn't seem to do much more apart from more flexible looping and nothing extra that you would want. (Check the comparison on the TC website).

The Voice Live interface takes a bit of getting used to if you want to edit etc... but its easy to set up presets and trigger them while playing. There's lots of flexibility in it with a guitar input and effects and MIDI inputs to control harmonies. It will even take condenser mics and supply phantom power (not that you would ever find that out by looking at it!). Download the manual to see. Its something that may grow on you as you get used it and start to use the deeper functionality.

Best of Luck!

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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue May 21, 2013 8:47 am

Johnduffin wrote:Have a look at the TC Helicon Voice Live and the Voice Live 2. I have the Voice Live and it sounds like its more than enough for what you would want. It does looping but you can ignore it. The Voice Live 2 is a slight update with a better interface but doesn't seem to do much more apart from more flexible looping and nothing extra that you would want. (Check the comparison on the TC website).

The Voice Live interface takes a bit of getting used to if you want to edit etc... but its easy to set up presets and trigger them while playing. There's lots of flexibility in it with a guitar input and effects and MIDI inputs to control harmonies. It will even take condenser mics and supply phantom power (not that you would ever find that out by looking at it!). Download the manual to see. Its something that may grow on you as you get used it and start to use the deeper functionality.

Best of Luck!

John

I have a VL2 and have just sold an original VL. I suspect what you have is a VL2 as the original VL did not have looping. They released a limited edition, updated VL2 as you describe, the VL2 Extreme. The VL2 is an absolute bargain just now, Thomann have them up at £380!
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Johnduffin » Tue May 21, 2013 10:03 am

Sorry, Voice Live TOUCH....
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue May 21, 2013 12:41 pm

Johnduffin wrote:Sorry, Voice Live TOUCH....

Cool, Actually this may do the job http://www.tc-helicon.com/products/harmony-singer/ at only £145. :)
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby OneEng » Wed May 22, 2013 12:28 am

Sam Spoons wrote:
Johnduffin wrote:Sorry, Voice Live TOUCH....

Cool, Actually this may do the job http://www.tc-helicon.com/products/harmony-singer/ at only £145. :)

Interesting. I wasn't able to find anyone selling them yet though. At ~$190.00 USD I am not sure I wouldn't go the extra money and get the Harmony G XT. The Harmony G XT can be had on ebay for ~ $160 USD used, $220.00 USD B-Stock and $260.00 new.

The Harmony G XT adds the ability to have 2 harmony parts vs one, has pitch correction built in, has 2 patch quick switching (a/b), and a 10 patch library you can switch between songs (each with 2 patches for quick switching within a song). It also has a USB update capability which is also used for a patch library (free software from TC Helicon). Quite a bit more functionality for not much more money.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed May 22, 2013 10:11 am

I had a Harmony G for a while, I was a little disappointed with the tracking of guitar chords but the XT is supposed to have improved that. Both it and the XT seem to be discontinued now, the equivalent is probably the VL Play range. If you can find a Harmony G XT that's probably the way to go.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Music Wolf » Wed May 22, 2013 3:44 pm

I've been using the G-XT for around 2 years now. When I got it I was the only vocalist in the band (and calling myself a 'vocalist' at all is probably breeching the Trade Descriptions act). In the beginning I was using the harmonies, pitch correction, eq and effects far too much.

Now we have a proper singer and I sing lead on the odd number whilst providing backing vocals on the majority of the tracks. I'm far more sparing on the harmonies (often adding just a single part with the G-XT). I've stopped using the fx and eq as I find that it's much easier to add from the desk.

A good unit and lots of fun but I wish that it could be controlled by MIDI or a remote switch (so that I could have done everything from one pedal board).
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby forumuser637535 » Thu May 23, 2013 9:03 pm

Thanks so much guys, will look into all these suggestions!
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Goddard » Thu May 23, 2013 10:45 pm

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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby AlecSp » Fri May 24, 2013 10:32 am

Don't know if it's just me, but all the demos I've ever seen of any of the harmoniser pedals/units have left me very cold. (including the one linked to above) Very odd harmonies, that lack any soul.

I know it's generally felt that they don't stand up to critical solo listening, but work much better in a mix. But I've never been that happy with any that I've heard. I guess I just like it au naturel too much!
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri May 24, 2013 6:50 pm

Alec Spence wrote:Don't know if it's just me, but all the demos I've ever seen of any of the harmoniser pedals/units have left me very cold. (including the one linked to above) Very odd harmonies, that lack any soul.

I know it's generally felt that they don't stand up to critical solo listening, but work much better in a mix. But I've never been that happy with any that I've heard. I guess I just like it au naturel too much!

I agree, artificially generated harmonies are never as good as a some guys singing together but they definitely can add something in the right context. BTW I did like Tom Lang's demo of the original VoiceLive :)
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby forumuser637535 » Sun May 26, 2013 2:11 am


The VL touch 2 looks very nice...hmmmm
Just had a chance to gig with a VL touch, and it's very impressive the way that it embiggens (that IS a word) the sound. Nice doubling fx, harmonies are OK (if not turned up loud, they add a nice bit of body, especially having the octave above mixed in there: it's like added harmonics in your voice)...

Very intuitive and easy (though the LED screen is ridiculously inadequate. I have a small seizure every time I try to read it too close.
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Re: Live vocal processor comparisons

Postby Falconhell » Wed May 29, 2013 5:44 am

Embiggens is a perfectly cromulent word. :bouncy:
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