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Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

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Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby dazzathedrummer » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:41 pm

Hi,
I've been tasked by my wife to find a suitable vocal effects pedal for her.

After searching the internet for a while, it looks like most pedals are based on providing autotune/haromies and looping functions and all other functions are secondary.

Tuning or looping options wont get used - we just need some good dynamics and time-based effects.

Ideally we'd like user definable patches so we can store effects on a 'per-song' basis. The ability to either mometarily punch in specific effects for, say, a specific word or phrase, or be able to switch patches without any change in sound to achive the same thing would be handy.

Any recommendations would be great - I guess the budget is around £300/£400 but happy to pay more for the right unit - it's for semi-pro use.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:52 pm

The pedal for vocals, IMHO, is... not using a pedal!

I would suggest attaching a good effects processor to your mixer. You could always add a control pedal if your vocalist really does want to control their own effects.

Failing this, go for a decent modern digital mixer that will include all of the send and insert effects you could ever want. For close to what you're looking to spend you can rustle up something like a Behringer XR18, or a Zoom LiveTrack, both of which will do all you need.

Just my opinion - others will differ.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:52 pm

If you do go the pedal route bear in mind almost all voice pedals are designed primarily to produce harmonies. But, whatever you buy you will probably find you only use a small percentage of it's features. Have a look at the TC Helicon range as they do some voice pedals with specific functions.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:26 pm

Is this a need looking for a solution, a nice shiny pedal looking for a need or just spare money that will otherwise be frittered away on food and shelter?

Personally I've not seen a vocal pedal used that didn't detract from the performance (narky old git alert).
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:54 pm

Mr Beat makes a very good point, most sound engineers (of whom shufflebeat and I are but two on this forum) hearts sink when a singer brings one to a gig. A singer I work with regularly likes to use one for reverb (which is lovely being a TC Helicon) and a little eq but seems incapable of setting the gain structure correctly :headbang:
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby MarkPAman » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:16 pm

:thumbup:

I'm with them ^^

:)
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby zenguitar » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:38 pm

I’m already dreading Valentines Day. The village pub has booked a local duo who have a couple of decades experience, but in recent years the girl singer has become very dependent on her vocal FX pedal and the guitarist has been unable to persuade her to back off the settings.

These pedals are great for harmonies and tuning. But delays, reverbs, and EQ are far better applied at FOH.

Comfort reverb is like crack cocaine for many singers.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:45 pm

I think a big problem here is that vocalists often think that what *they* are hearing is what the audience is hearing...
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby ore_terra » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:12 pm

The Elf wrote:I think a big problem here is that vocalists often think that what *they* are hearing is what the audience is hearing...
yeah, that's a good point.
Sam Spoons wrote:Mr Beat makes a very good point, most sound engineers (of whom shufflebeat and I are but two on this forum) hearts sink when a singer brings one to a gig. A singer I work with regularly likes to use one for reverb (which is lovely being a TC Helicon) and a little eq but seems incapable of setting the gain structure correctly :headbang:

I use a voicelive play 2. only delays and harmonies and gain set with indicator led (that must be green). 1st thing I do when I get to a venue is to tell the sound guy "I brought this pedal -- his face: :( --, but there's no reverb nor compression/eq -- his face: :D --"
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby MarkPAman » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:19 pm

Tip for sound engineers:
Have a Y splitter lead so you can also take a dry signal “just in case”.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby Music Wolf » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:33 pm

I use a VoiceLive2 but I only use it for harmonies. I leave the reverb and delay to the desk.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby AlecSp » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:48 pm

Horrible, horrible things...
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:56 pm

The Elf wrote:I think a big problem here is that vocalists often think that what *they* are hearing is what the audience is hearing...

My aforementioned singer mate is a lovely guy and has decent ears, he can run a PA for others and do a pretty good job. But I can't convince him that he can't accurately assess the FOH sound from on stage. He firmly believes he can tell exactly what the audience is hearing while singing from the usual place. Maybe I should get him to invest in a Bose L1 rig?
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:10 pm

If I may temporarily interrupt the chorus (pun intended) of pessimism, I've seen these pedals used to very good effect on occasion. Check out a mancunian lad called Alex Hulme if he's ever in your area.
Anyway...
Perhaps the OP can give us a bit more detail on exactly what effects they are wanting to use and how they're planning to trigger them?
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:20 pm

I did PA for Alex a few years ago, he is indeed a talented lad. IIRC his use of pedals is mostly live looping though rather than harmony pedals (and, TBF, I cannot remember exactly what he was using on the gig in question) which are a different thing entirely.

As you say Drew, knowing exactly what the OP is hoping to achieve will definitely help with giving useful advice.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 pm

We did a charity gig with him a couple of years ago and he had more pedal buttons than me and our guitarist put together- definitely using some vocal harmony stuff nowadays, and doing so very nicely I thought. :)
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby CS70 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:14 pm

The Elf wrote:I think a big problem here is that vocalists often think that what *they* are hearing is what the audience is hearing...

Which is caused generally by the small-time sound engineer's lack of skill.

The sound man's job is to make the sound in the monitor happen exactly as the performer wants, and then translate it to the FOH in the best manner.. because it's the monitor sound that will drive the performance.

Sound engineering is (should be) a function completely in the service to the performers' needs - even before the audience. Because a great performance with mediocre FOH sound will beat a mediocre one with fantastic sound any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby CS70 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:16 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:A singer I work with regularly likes to use one for reverb (which is lovely being a TC Helicon) and a little eq but seems incapable of setting the gain structure correctly :headbang:

The trick is to be both a singer and a sound engineer :D :D
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby Funkyflash5 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:34 pm

I often work with a singer who is also a producer and engineer, and he has a 3 or 4 pedal board for his vocals that get used primarily for harmony or delay that are only on for a portion of any given song. I can check next week at rehearsal, but I think most of his vocal pedals are from TC.
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Re: Advice on choosing a vocal effects pedals

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:41 pm

CS70 wrote:The trick is to be both a singer and a sound engineer :D :D

...driver, finance manager, therapist...

As is often the case there is nothing inherently wrong with well made toys, unfortunately they are sometimes set up with the operator attending to the sales pitch rather than the evidence.

If toys came with training sessions, not YouTube ads, to accommodate their integration into the system then there would be fewer issues like that described by Herr Spoons and their full potential could be enjoyed by everyone.

Also, harmonies in a different key are not really harmonies. A modicum of background knowledge and prep time could have avoided some very forthright conversations in the past.
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