Best vocal processors
While almost everyone loves singing, it does not mean everybody can sing. I should know because I am one of those people. I like to sing in my car, out loud, along with the radio, but I also sing at home, to the horror of my partners. Yes, I am a lousy singer, but it makes me feel good, and I will keep doing it. I am just a regular person, but the lousy singing can happen to anyone, even famous performers. Lucky for them, they have vocal processors that help them sound better.
A vocal processor is a device that you can use at home, in the studio, as well as when you play live, and it intentionally alters the signal using audio effects. Basically, this piece of electronics will correct and improve your singing, but it will not make you sound like a robot. Vocal processing has come a long way, and these days, you cannot even tell when an audio processor is being used.
Types of vocal processors
Just like anything else, there is not only one kind of vocal processors. Depending on what you need and where you plan on using the vocal processor, you may be needing one of the three types below:
The rack-mounted vocal processor
This is the vocal processor that is designed to be mounted on a portable rack along with other pieces of equipment. It is long and thin, and it is the best vocal processor for people going on tours. If you are serious about your singing, this design is the one you want to look at first because it provides a more permanent solution. Of course, you need to buy the rack itself first (if you do not already have it), or housing, how is otherwise called. It is true that this option is a bit more expensive, and the extra empty slots in the rack will tempt you to buy more rack-mounted effect, so you will probably spend more money in the long run.
Foot-pedal vocal processor
This is the most convenient type, and many musicians use it. The straightforward foot pedal has been the go-to solution for all musicians during performances in the studio or on stage. Why is it so convenient? Because it provides instant toggling, and you do not have to interact with a rack-mounted vocal processor. This type can usually suffer through a lot of abuse, and there is no need for extra equipment. Even if you step on it every day, the foot-pedal vocal processor generally has a pretty extended lifespan.
Table-top vocal processor
Last but not least, the table-top vocal processor is generally used by people who record at home or the ones who perform in coffee shops and other small establishments. It is a versatile piece of equipment, but the interface is less efficient than the competition. Table-top vocal processors are also poorly constructed, but if you take care of your gear and you do not use it that much, this might as well be the best vocal processor for you.
What to consider when looking for the best vocal processor
There are many models you can find, both in-store and online. However, not all products will fit your singing style, and some are not to your liking, which is why you need to narrow them down. One way to do that is paying attention to what you are buying by adequately analyzing the specification. Here is what you need to consider before you make a purchase:
- Sound quality – this is probably the most important aspect because a vocal processor needs to be a silent singer, so to speak. You do not even need to know it is there (when you do not want special effects,) which is why quality is a crucial factor. The unit needs to deliver every effect just like you want it. If you wish to sound like a robot, for example, the processor needs to accomplish that. Furthermore, the sound needs to come out clear, and no distortion is a must. While you cannot test this quality just by looking at a product online, you could read some vocal processors reviews online. Other people who have already bought a particular product are able to tell you whether or not the unit you want has excellent sound quality.
- The vocal processor needs to be versatile – versatility is yet another important factor. You want a product that has a wide range of effects such as subtle reverb compression, equalizer, and some pitch correction is another must. At the same time, the device needs to be compatible with musical instruments and accessories, especially guitars, harmonicas, pianos, microphones, and so on.
- Playing style – not everyone can use the same vocal processor, primarily because the play style may differ. For example, if you are a solo singer, you need a vocal processor that produces the harmonies, unlike a chorus that can achieve that all by itself. A solo artist will always need gear that can produce loopers, while several singers can handle the singing without.
- Construction – when you have a table-top vocal processor, this is not such an issue, but when you need a foot-pedal or a rack-mounted vocal processor, you need a product that can withstand abuse. After all, things can get broken during transport, people drop items, which is why the quality of the device matters very much. Also, the controls need to be protected because they are usually the first ones to fly off in case of accidents.
- Mic preamp – if you sound good but not everyone can hear you, all your efforts are for nothing. That is why my advice is to purchase a vocal processor that comes with a decent mic preamp. It will improve the sound quality, but audibility is enhanced as well. Nonetheless, go for a product that is not affected by interference. Even if you want to sing louder, the sound should be precisely as you want it.
- Do not forget about pitch correction – this may be the last item on my ‘what to consider list,’ but that does not make it less important. That is because when it is used correctly, the pitch correction should deliver excellent sound. The effects are fantastic, and you will sound like a pro.
Some people have other consideration factors as well. If you want to look at other features such as phantom power support, user-friendliness, price, and brand, feel free to do it. Just remember that the factors listed above are the most important, and they will help you choose one of the best vocal processors for you.
What are the best vocal processors?
Looking for a vocal processor seems tedious to you? No problem. I can help you pick a product that suits you. I have selected three excellent vocal processors, and no matter which one you choose, I am sure that you will enjoy it very much. Enjoy!
TC-Helicon Perform V
This vocal processor is one of the favorites online. A lot of people bought it and use it, and most importantly, they are more than satisfied with it. You could say that the TC-Helicon is an atypical voice processor. It is not rack-mounted, foot-pedal or table-top. In fact, you install it on your mic’s stand. You can put it at a comfortable level and use it while you sing at home, in the studio, or any other venue. It is highly convenient, and I am sure that if you go for it, you will like it a lot.
The TC-Helicon features an essential set of classic vocal effects such as 3 reverb, 3 echo, and 3 double types. One of the best things about the TC-Helicon is the iOS/Android app. How does that work? Getting the perfect sound may sometimes be difficult, which is why the unit connects to your smartphone, you open the TC-Helicon app, and you can use one of the many preset vocal effects there. The smartphone integration is one of my favorite features. You can access harmonies, Hard Tune, and even a megaphone.
The vocal processor from TC-Helicon has a powerful anti-feedback function. It is compatible with the TC-Helicon MP-73 and MP-76. It features Mic ControlTM to control the effects from your mic. You get a visual pitch meter, which will help you improve your technique. The dimmable buttons can be light-adjusted to your liking. Overall, this is an excellent vocal processor. It may not come cheap, but once you try it, you will see that it is worth the investment.
Blucoil Boss VE-20 Vocal Processor
As opposed to the previous product, this is a foot pedal vocal processor that will make your performance sound better. The fact that the sound effects are ‘down at your feet’ will make you feel in control, and you will be able to adjust your singing just the way you like it. It is a small but potent device that will prove to be most useful no matter where you decide to perform. Setting up is easy, and it is ideal for all of you who would like to add a distinctive sound to your voice.
The VE-20 vocal processor will allow you to create multi-part stacks such as upper third and lower fifth without any programming necessary. The harmonies you create can also be saved for instant recall whenever you deem necessary. The unit also features a 38-second phrase looper. The onboard looper allows 38 seconds of mono recording and layer phrases in real time.
Other features include a real-time pitch correction, which enables you to tune your performance, and special FX sounds. The latter feature provides colorful and expressive special effects such as strobe, electric, robot, distortion, chorus, and reverb. The package includes the vocal processor, a power supply adapter with US plug, and a Blucoil audio premium 10-feet XLR M to XLR F microphone cable.
Tascam TA1VP Vocal Producer Processor with Antares Autotune
Last but not least, this is yet another vocal processor that can help you improve your performance on stage or in the studio. This time, I chose to go with a rack-mounted vocal processor. You are limited as to where you can use it, but if you want to go pro, this is the unit you need. It includes a mic preamp, compression, microphone and tube modeling, and Antares’ famous Auto-Tune pitch correction.
The Auto-Tune allows you to adjust the settings for any level of pitch correction, on whatever scale you desire. All the settings can be recalled using the presets on the panel. You have a vast variety of sound effects that will help give your performance a unique sound. The Antares mic modeling can simulate a wide range of high-end studio microphones with variable proximity effect.
Other features include analog tube modeling effect, variable-knee compression, and downward-expanding gate processor. The XLR microphone input with phantom power and the ¼-inch footswitch input will make your performance convenient. Overall, this is is a product that will help you perform flawlessly.
I cannot make a choice for you, and even if I wanted to, I cannot because I do not know where and how you want to perform. However, if I had to make a choice between the three products, I would go with the TC-Helicon Perform V. what I like about it is that it does not matter if you are a pro singer or you just sing as a hobby. You can use it just as well. Not to mention that it delivers excellent voice processing. In my opinion, this is one of the best vocal processors you can put your hands on.
I find it amazing that a singer can get so much help from a piece of electronics. You have to admit that singing is not what it used to be, but it sounds a lot better these days. One of the vocal processor above will be of tremendous help whether you sing for a living or you just sing for your own pleasure. I can guarantee that no matter which one you choose, you will be happy with it. Click here to buy on Amazon
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