Boss VE-2 Vocal Harmonist Processor Review

The VE-2 is the little brother of the VE-8.

Rated as one of the best vocal harmonizer pedals in 2021, it promises to produce lovely harmonized vocal solutions, particularly for vocalists who perform with a guitar, to create enhanced, studio-quality sound.

What makes the VE-2 stand out is superior reverb/delay and an enhancer with real-time pitch correction.

Boss was founded in 1973. It specializes in manufacturing musical equipment and accessories and has contributed significantly to the industry’s advancement, creating several renowned vocal effects units such as the V-5, VE-8, and VE-20 series. 

Our focus here is on the VE-2, and after extensive research, here is our Boss VE-2 review.

Pros

  • A simple interface and easy to set up
  • Nice harmonies that track well with your voice
  • Battery-powered stompbox
  • Fairly-priced; you get the same quality as found in more expensive Boss pedals
  • Auto-tone control

Cons

  • Fewer guitar adjustments compared to the VE-8
  • Front dials are too close
  • Sound tends to be noisy and inaccurate at high mic settings. Using a Dynamic mic instead of a Condenser would produce better results.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Vocal Harmonizer Pedal

Do you or one of your band members often sound off-key? 

A vocal harmonizer pedal offers a perfect blend of features and qualities to solve that and boost your confidence. But, if what you’re after is just a louder sound, then a harmonizer is not for you. What you need is an amplifier to make the sound from your speakers louder.

A harmonizer pedal provides various harmony types to add to your voice, plus vocal enhancement with reverb, delay effects, and pitch correction.

That said, there are factors to bear in mind when purchasing a vocal harmonizer pedal, including:

  • The range you need
  • Weight and dimensions
  • The effects best suited to your needs

Features and Benefits

The following are some of my top favorite features in our Boss VE-2 review:

Different Harmonic Configurations

The VE-2 has various harmonic configurations (a total of 24 variations) to cover anything in a song, which is nice because it provides a fun list of possibilities. Select a key you’re singing in and it’ll generate harmonies based on that key. 

It also has a feature called “Auto Harmonist” that detects chord progressions used and figures out the musical key the vocals should follow, which comes in handy if you want to connect an instrument. 

Further, it creates beautiful harmonized vocals that follow your singing with a pitch that automatically tracks the chords played to a connected guitar, a preset key, or a combination of the two. Whatever instrument you plug in, it detects the input and automatically adjusts the harmonies based on your input. 

Another interesting feature of the VE-2 is the hybrid mode. For example, when tracking a guitar and receiving no input, it’ll default back to the key you selected on the key selector.

In addition to the harmony, the VE-2 has pitch correction, which, when blended correctly, adds a superb and unobtrusive subtle thickness to areas where there are usually harmonies. Each time there are key changes in the song, it detects the chord changes and adapts the harmonies accordingly.

Connectivity Options

The unit has a range of input/output and connectivity options, making it very versatile. These include:

  • An XLR input (mic in) and XLR output: The primary input/output connections.
  • Guitar-in (also known as TRS input) and thru (output): The output is a great option if you want to relay the guitar signal to a different terminal, such as an amplifier after the VE-2 has analyzed the guitar signal’s key.
  • Other connectivity features: 48V phantom power for powering condenser microphones, ground lift, 9V power supply input, headphones line out, variation memory, and microphone sensitivity (mic sense).

USB Output

The VE-2 has a USB output, allowing vocalists to use it as an audio interface.

Recording singing and real-time harmonies without sound enhancement can be difficult, requiring a complex setup with multiple devices.

However, with the USB output, singers can record vocals into a DAW (digital audio workstation), which is great because they can easily capture sounds for music recording, social media videos, and more. This well-thought-out feature reflects how well the engineers understand their market.

Effects

The VE-2 vocal harmonist multi-effects processor combines sophisticated sound with simple operations to deliver complete effects solutions for all singers, especially those using a guitar. These include reverb/delay, while adjusting the pitch in real-time.

Another amazing feature is the enhance button, which when pressed once evens out vocals, producing a more refined, studio-type sound. When pressed twice, it subtly corrects the pitch for stable harmony. However, I found the reverb to have a bit too much echo, even when it was at the lowest setting.

The VE-2 also has a cordless stompbox and a simple interface.

Portability

The VE-2 is sturdy and portable, enabling you to create great sound quality wherever you sing. That’s a feature I appreciate considering I get to practice at the studio, then perform at concert stages and then go back, and I can quickly move around with it.

What’s more, the VE-2 can run on a PAS-series AC adapter or four AA-size batteries, allowing flexibility to decide which option works best depending on the environment.

I like that I can set it up with my system of all battery-operated equipment and amplification. This would be useful when playing outside where no electricity is available.

However, I recommend the AC adapter for playing live because it eliminates worrying about batteries running out while on stage.

Social Proof

I scoured the internet and found the following exciting user reviews:

Alternatives

Here are some alternatives to the Boss VE-2: 

1. Boss VE-20 Performer Multi-Effects Pedal

The Boss VE-20 has various effects – distortion and pitch, vocal harmony, and loops to strobe, making it suitable for both experimenting and gigs. 

Here’s how it compares to the VE-2:

  • It’s very durable and virtually indestructible, which is great for carrying around to rehearsals and performances.
  • The controls are easy to use, with harmony options that are easy to adjust.
  • It works with both a power cord and AA batteries, adding to its versatility. You can use it to perform outdoors for shorter gigs or if the power supply is limited.

If this sounds like the pedal for you, go check it out!

2. TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2

The TC Helicon has a multi-track looper and a powerful mic to which you can add four-voice harmony, giving the illusion of multiple backup singers. This is one of the best vocal effects pedals for professionals.

Here’s how it compares to the Mic Mechanic:

  • Real-time adjustment, affording you full control over the sound you deliver.
  • Superior pre-installed vocal effects that differ from the VE-2
  • Powerful and easily mountable mic.

If you’re a professional musician looking for a dependable pedal, give this one a try.

3. Roland VT-4 Voice Transformer

I don’t technically classify the Roland VT-4 as a pedal. Instead, it’s more a full-effects station featuring pitch control, harmony options, and many other vocal effects. It is generally suited for an at-home studio.

Here’s how it compares to the Mic Mechanic:

  • The female voices sound mechanical.
  • You have the option for it to be battery operable, with up to five hours of power.
  • It has intuitive controls, but they aren’t practical in low light settings.

If you’re looking for a full-effect station featuring several fun options, experiment with the Roland VT-4!

Conclusion

Overall, the VE-2 provides value for money. It makes it no longer necessary to rely on a sound engineer to make vocals sound clean-cut and professional. With simple operation and layered effects, it creates polished, studio-quality sounds. 

Having used several stompboxes, I found that the more I used the VE-2, the more I loved it. Click here to give it a try.



Michael Southard

Michael is a multi-instrumentalist with extensive knowledge of audio production. He loves trying new gear to discover gems to create unique sound.