Vocal effects pedals and processors have become an invaluable tool for those who want to enhance their live performances. These add depth and vigor to a song and have been used by iconic performers like Cher and T-Pain.
Because of their importance, we thought it suitable to provide a detailed guide to the best vocal effects pedals and processors on the market. The products we reviewed offer great quality and the best vocal effects for live performances.
From our list of incredible devices, the best vocal effects processor is the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2. Being a premium product it offers the reliability you need when performing.
Our recommended best vocal effects pedals and processors are:
- TC-Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2
- Zoom V6 Vocal Processor
- Boss VE-500
- Behringer Virtualizer 3D
- TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic 2
- Boss VE-20
Reviews of Best Vocal Effects Pedals and Processors
Best Vocal Effects Processor for Seasoned Professionals
Pricing a vocal processor at over 400 dollars seems very illogical. But before you resort to the usual skepticism that accompanies expensively priced products, you should try to understand the amount of value you get when purchasing this device.
TC-Helicon is an accredited producer of the best vocal effects processors on the market, and one must trust that they’re able to deliver on any quality promised. Manufacturing most of their products in Canada, instead of popular China, makes the company better suited to regulating and monitoring the build quality of their effects processors.
Since the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2 is the most expensive on our list, it unsurprisingly has the best features. For example, the powerful and easily mountable microphone that allows you to add a four-voice harmony and multi-track looper. Even in studio recording, these features give the impression you have multiple backup singers when you don’t.
Pre-installed vocal effects are of a different and higher standard than most products on the market. They sound authentic and genuine, ensuring that you maintain the beauty of your original voice.
Real-time adjustments afforded by the vocal processor are convenient and give you full control over the sound you deliver. The six-track VLOOP feature offers loop-specific effects that can be easily modified depending on your needs using the innovative Touch Matrix Interface.
A product as highly-priced as this isn’t for amateurs. You need to have an audience and perhaps be earning a living from music. The features are incredible, and because the device is for a particular niche—professional vocalists—we decided to make this the top recommended product.
Best Vocals Effects Pedal for Harmonizing
Having virtual backup singers with the vocal effects pedal from Zoom Corporation allows you to blend three voices effortlessly. From the Voice, Harmony and Effects controls, you can use up to three vocal processors all the same time; this creates a seamlessly blended sound that will be considered very professional.
The Format Shift Pedal is robust enough to last through extended use. You can adjust your vocal character in real-time, this feature will be regularly used and has been designed to be reliable and durable.
Professional standard vocal effects have been loaded into this device. The Zoom V6 won’t allow you to sound like an amateur using cheap, badly crafted products. The depth and richness of sound is amazing. Anything “unprofessional” about your performance wouldn’t be a result of this processor.
Audio engineers and professional artists have created 40 useful preset patches. The added space for storing up to 100 user-made patches is convenient. It’s complemented by a setup function that allows you to activate and efficiently return to your favorite vocal effects settings.
The unique feature this product has is Zoom’s groundbreaking SGV-Microphone; this has been designed to isolate and enhance your voice by carefully suppressing the sounds emanating from other instruments on stage. It not only allows the audience to hear your altered and improved voice but ensures the device accurately processes your vocals.
The Zoom V6 is a high-performance product and has a premium price. We wouldn’t recommend it to those who aren’t regular performers. Hobbyists that haven’t developed an audience to perform in front of would find the investment needed to purchase this device difficult to justify.
Best Vocal Effects Processor for Guitar Effects
Guitar effects are important when performing, especially for talented musicians who can sing simultaneously. Having a dedicated guitar effects processor that compliments your vocals is imperative to creating a lively and jovial ambiance. There are few better tools to do this than the Boss VE-500.
With its numerous vocal processing capabilities, guitar effects seamlessly blend with vocal effects. The electric voices that match electric guitars and more toned down effects suitable for acoustic performances are just two examples of the versatility offered by this device.
Equipped with accurate pitch correction and featuring vocal harmonizers, the VE-500 has high performing BOSS algorithms that remove the guesswork of operating the device. These enable you to find the appropriate effects for your performance.
The durable and sturdy vocal processor is ergonomically designed to be easily portable. The compact device comes with numerous inputs for different types of guitars. Stereo outputs exist to send vocal outputs to a PA mixer or recorder. Couple this with the included librarian software, editing is made hassle free with the BOSS VE-500.
Despite being tailored to deliver guitar effects, one could easily use this as a stand-alone vocal effects pedal and processor. But this would make the price difficult to justify.
There are very few products on the market that adequately deliver the performance needed by singing guitarists. This vocal effects processor is one of a kind, and many would be more than satisfied with the device.
Best Multi-Effects Processor
Behringer has manufactured a reliable and multi-functional product for a very reasonable price. The Virtualizer 3D is embedded with 71 captivating algorithms that give you more creative freedom when performing with vocal effects.
These algorithms include wave-adaptive reverb types that create an authentic and natural delay and reverb. The impressive psychoacoustic, equalization and dynamic algorithms offer different ranges and pitches to your voice.
Editing freedom is one thing the Virtualizer 3D has over the previously reviewed model. It has seven adjustable parameters and two-band equalization per effect; this will make your studio performances or recording sessions more enjoyable.
Memory is another aspect that’s incredible on this device. 100 presets and 100 user memory locations seem excessive, but no one has ever complained about having too much choice.
A three-year warranty is included with the voice processor; this solidifies its reliability and durability.
With such great attributes, you may be asking why this product isn’t considered the best vocals processor. The numerous functionalities of the product make it more complicated to use, and, because of this, we wouldn’t recommend it to beginners. Despite being competitively priced, a vocal effects pedal and processor with fewer features could be better.
Best Vocal Effects Processor for Reverb Delay
TC-Helicon is a reputable manufacturer of music-related devices and features two incredible products on our list. Despite having numerous others that haven’t made the cut—like the TC-Helicon VoiceTone Harmony G XT—we thought the Mic Mechanic 2 deserved to be on the list because of its compelling value proposition.
TC-Helicon has sought to create a product for those who regularly use reverb delay, echo, and pitch correction functions. The result is the impressive Mic Mechanic 2. The assigned reverb delay, echo and pitch correction controls show just how niche this product is.
Updated from the first generation, the device now features a high-performance pre-amp microphone that ensures pristine and clear vocals. The ergonomic design allows for quick, painless setup and ease of use (how hard could analog displays be?)
The drawback of this device is obviously the limited options. If you wanted to harmonize, you wouldn’t be able to do so effectively with this device. The TC-Helicon VoiceTone Harmony G XT is a device that specializes in that. But most performers regularly employ reverb delay and pitch correction, making this device a very relevant music product.
Best Vocal Effects Pedal
The Boss VE-20 provides you with interesting options to alter or enhance your voice. The impressive vocal effects include harmony, delay, double track, and a whole lot more; this makes the device suitable for live performances that will leave your crowd enthralled.
Ease of use is a welcome feature of this product. Beginners can employ real-time pitch correction tools while being in full control of how this vocal effects processor compliments their voice. In the past, controlling the numerous effects offered by this product had been a momentous task, but the backlit, 16-character LCD screen ensures this is no longer a problem.
The phrase looper is a direct descendant of Boss’s beloved Loop Station RE-20XL. You can layer and loop phrases with the 38 seconds of mono record time you get with it. The configuration of this vocal effects pedal allows you to create—in real-time—three-part harmonies and layers, improving your chances of having a unique and distinct performance.
Editing power is compromised; as impressive as the product is, being able to only edit a few parameters for each effect could be too restrictive for the more creative artists among us; this is a massive drawback for professional or seasoned users of vocal effect pedals and a vocal processor. But most of us haven’t reached this level and would find the Boss VE-20 an incredible purchase.
How to Choose the Best Vocal Effects Pedals and Processors
Choosing the best vocal effects pedal or vocal effects processor from the plethora offered on the market today can be a momentous task; this is the case for beginners who are unaware of the attributes to look out for. Along with our review, we have compiled a buying guide to illustrate the key features you must consider before buying a vocal effects pedal or vocal effects processor.
Functions and Vocal Effects
Vocal processors have the primary function of adding captivating effects to your voice. As a musician, you’re trained to differentiate between good, pleasant sounds and those that are irritating and unbearable.
Despite us mentioning specifications in scientific units of measurement, these should not be a definitive illustration of the capabilities of such a device. You need to listen to performances where particular vocal effects processors have been used and decide if that’s the sound you’re looking for.
No amount of detailed specification can convince you of the authenticity and quality of a sound, especially if you’re the one who’s performing. You need to feel comfortable with the device that’s enhancing your performance, and the only way to do so is to listen to the effects produced by the device.
The vocal effects processors we reviewed are reputable and consistently used by top performers.
Functions that allow creativity are also important to consider. For example, there are creative ones among us who prefer to record their own vocal patches; this is acceptable, and the choice to do so depends on each vocalist.
If you’re one of these people, opting for a vocal processor or pedal with a substantial amount of memory is recommended. These devices will give you more freedom to personalize and tailor your performance to compliment your voice.
Manufacturer and Warranty
Despite manufacturing methods improving over the years, good quality products haven’t embarked on a similar trend; this has been fueled by the need to produce cheaper products while simultaneously creating more profits, resulting in a lack of trust in competitively priced products.
Vocal effects pedals and processors are only as good as the materials and digital circuitry used to configure them. A well regulated digital circuit provides even sound output and ensures, if battery-powered, the vocal effects processor lasts a long while.
The materials should be robust enough to resist damage with constant use. A pedal, for example, is prone to excessive force throughout its lifespan. If a particular pedal were made of cheap materials, it would break easily. Depending on where this happens, you could ruin your performance and irreversibly change your audience’s perception of you.
To avoid such unlikely outcomes, you must invest in a vocal processor from a reputable brand. Brands like TC-Helicon and BOSS have each featured two products on our list and are regarded as the top producers of vocal processors in the world.
Portability and Power Supply
As a performer, you aren’t always going to be in control of the venues where you’ll use your vocal processor. Whatever gear you use should allow you to perform exceptionally well with little to no preparation. Because of this, the versatility and portability offered by a vocal effects pedal and processor are definitive factors when deciding whether to purchase it.
When referring to portability, one usually considers weight and size. A device that’s compact and lightweight is definitely the best option when traveling. The problem with most effects processors that claim to be compact and lightweight is that they compromise on features you’d expect from heavier and bigger products.
If features are compromised, the inconvenience of having to carry extra weight is a suitable compromise. The products reviewed on our list are both lightweight and offer adequate features for great performances. Take the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2; it weighs only 5.44 pounds but is our top-rated product.
The other issue with portability is power supply. If you’re always performing in a well-lit arena with an incredible amount of extension cables, battery-powered devices may not be a necessity. But if this isn’t the case, you may want to choose a battery-powered vocal processor; these are convenient and allow you to perform in various places, like at a bonfire in the forest.
Many modern vocal processors allow you to use both AC power and battery power; this ensures maximum versatility. A good example of such a product is the Zoom V6 Vocal Processor. It can be powered by AC adapters or AA batteries. You can easily switch between the two depending on your environment.
This guide has hopefully shown you the benefits of using a vocal effects processor and pedal. As stated earlier, these take nothing away from the authenticity of your voice but enhance your performance. Your voice is an instrument, and vocal effects processors optimize it.
From our list, we found the TC-Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2 to be the best. It offers incredible professional sound quality. It’s highly-priced compared with other vocal effects processors, but you will get value for every dollar spent.
You should remember that being awarded “the best vocal effects pedal and processor” doesn’t make the VoiceLive a suitable purchase for everyone.
Others may find the Behringer Virtualizer 3D and the TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic 2 as better vocal processors. The Virtualizer 3D offers multiple effects, and the Mic Mechanic is adept in reverb delay. Because of the variety of music that can be produced, finding vocal processors that suit everybody is highly unlikely.
Equipped with this information, use your voice and talent—accompanied by a good quality effects processor—to produce music. Music makes the world go round, and people like you are more important now than ever before.