If you’re in a hurry, the best vocal harmonizer pedal is the Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer. It’s simple, tough and easy to figure out.
The TC Helicon VoiceTone H1 Vocal Effects Pedal is the top alternative for those looking for one-button operation with no special effects.
If you can afford to splurge on professional-grade equipment, we’d go for the Eventide PitchFactor.
But for the full list, these are the options for the best vocal harmonizer pedals:
Reviews of the Top Pedals for Harmonizing
A best-seller and a complete vocal effects processor, the Boss VE-20 is the choice of many beginner and professional musicians alike. It’s also reasonably priced for such a complete package.
With effects ranging from vocal harmony and loops to strobe, distortion and pitch, you can use this for both work and experimenting. The double and triple harmony options are easy to control, which is key at a gig when you have to be fast. You can also set the key on the machine to help it find the right pitch.
Another great thing about this pedal is that it’s virtually indestructible. It’s as adaptable to take with you on the road as it is for your home studio.
Also, the controls are clear and intuitive, and the two foot pedals are smooth and large enough to operate. This is a bonus because the instructions aren’t the least bit helpful.
Note that it works with both AA batteries or a power cord, which adds to the versatility. If you have a limited power supply, you can always pop in four batteries.
Best for Acoustic Performances
Acoustic performers and singer-songwriters, take note… the TC Helicon Play vocal processor has tons of harmonies and effects, and it boosts both your vocals and guitar. It’s a fantastic addition to your gear when going on a solo gig, recording or writing songs at home.
The controls are easy to use, and the harmony sounds natural, which isn’t always the case with vocal harmonizer pedals. This model also has other effects, including a natural compression that evens out your louder and quieter notes. It will give you a more polished performance, which is all the more important when it’s just you without a band to back you up.
You can also build layers into your performance with some of the longest loops available. If you update the software, you’ll have access to a full minute of looping. The annoying part is that you’ll have to download the update from TC Helicon, but it’s free to do so.
Finally, the machine has inputs for both guitar and a mic, but for the outputs, you can mix it up or choose separate outputs.
The Boss VE-2 is another classic that’s a part of many musicians’ pedalboards. It’s not a fancy voice processor station, but a professional, heavy-duty pedal that can take even rough handling. It also has the option to use condenser mics that need phantom power to operate.
Operating this harmonizer pedal is very clear. You can set up the song key beforehand with a knob or let the automatic operation mode take care of it. The auto-key detection also works when the key changes in the middle of a song. However, higher notes can get a little off-pitch.
If you’re not happy with either of the harmonizing options, there’s also a hybrid mode. It takes your key setting and the guitar input to match your song key. You can also leave the guitar out and just attach the mic input if that’s your preference.
On top of harmonies, it has echo, reverb and delay effects and a tone corrector, so it’s enough for most gig and studio settings.
It also looks simple and professional, more so than some of the more modern options. The lettering is small, though, so it can be hard to see on a stage.
Another complete option for acoustic performers, the Boss VE-8 is well-known among musicians. You have to have some knowledge to work it, but it’s an amazingly durable and versatile processor for vocals and guitar.
It comes with the tough Boss build and quality sound technology that gives you a natural vocal harmony option.
We like how the auto mode follows your guitar’s tone to create the perfect harmony for your performance. On top of this, the signal is clear, and you can correct your tone with ease.
You can choose to add effects, from reverb to distortion to your vocals and some nice acoustic resonance to your guitar. It also offers looping of up to 80 seconds, but without an undo-redo option for your last loop.
The look is very traditional, which means the pedal has only the usual knobs and buttons without a screen. It’s not necessarily simple, and it can take some time to find the perfect adjustments. On the other hand, you won’t have to scroll through menus on a display.
Overall, you can create really beautiful tones with this pedal, and it’s professional and complete enough to take with you on gigs.
Best Vocal Harmonizer for Live Performance
This TC Helicon pedal is a simple and trustworthy vocal harmonizer. It doesn’t have other effects, so it won’t double as a looper, compress or tone your guitar for you. Instead, it’s a solid product for those looking for a small, affordable harmonizer that can handle gigging.
As for operation, you can use your guitar as the trigger for the key, but it works with a keyboard, too. There’s also a manual setting if you don’t trust the automatic key finder.
Vocal harmonizer pedals will sometimes have a bit of a robotic tone, but this one sounds quite natural and realistic compared to many other brands. It’s super simple to use, with just three knobs for creating an instant two or three-tone harmony.
The functions are a bit limited, and there’s no specific volume control for the harmony. However, you can blend the unprocessed, dry sound and the harmony with the controls to tone them down.
If you already have all the other functions you need, from compression to reverbs, this TC Helicon vocal harmonizer pedal is the best choice. It also saves valuable space on your pedalboard. The only negative of the size is that when you hit the button, you can accidentally touch the settings knobs as well.
Best for Studio Use
The Roland VT-4 Voice Transformer is not technically a pedal, but rather a full-effects station for vocalists that’s great for a home studio. It comes with harmony options, pitch control and numerous other vocal effects. And the best thing is that you can pile them on top of one another, which is something not all harmonizer pedals allow.
A vocal harmony can be tricky to get natural-sounding, and this particular processor doesn’t work as well with female voices. They’ll likely sound a bit mechanic, but if that’s your style, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
This voice transformer works either connected to a power source or with four AA batteries, giving you some versatility and five hours of playtime on the batteries. You can also use them with a condenser mic that requires phantom power to work.
The controls are intuitive but relatively small and not easy to see on a dark stage. As such, we’d recommend this model for home or studio use. But it’s also great for experimenting with different ideas when you’re writing new material. If you’re gigging, it’s not the option we’d go for simply because of the controls and the flimsy feel.
Overall, for such a complete package, this option is also quite affordable.
Best for Professional Use
We just had to include this processor, even though it has a much higher price point than other vocal harmonizers. Eventide is the brand that created the digital voice processor with its legendary H910, so it has a lot of experience, which transfers into this option.
The PitchFactor is a harmonizer made specifically for guitars and keyboards, but it’s also an industry secret among professional singers. Even though it’s optimized for instruments, it works great on vocals.
One important thing to note is that the PItchFactor doesn’t have the XLR input of a vocal harmonizer. As such, you’ll need to run your mic through a preamp or mixer and use a ¼-inch output to connect to the processor.
As far as the controls go, they do take some practice at first. You can also download the Eventide app for your phone or computer to get more insight and control for this harmonizer.
The sound is the most important part of any harmonizer, and in this field, the PitchFactor is a perfect 10. While you might get so busy with pitch shifts and synthesizers that you won’t even use the harmony, it has a great, natural tone.
The professional options also come with a higher price tag, so it’s not the right option for those looking for a bargain. It’s most definitely an interesting option for musicians looking for a solid vocal processor that they’ll get years of heavy-duty use from.
Easiest to Use
The TC Helicon Perform VG is included for being the simplest, easiest-to-use processing station in our review. It offers a wide range of effects that give some nice support to solo performers, especially acoustic, at a very reasonable price.
This pedal has tones, effects and a two-voice harmony function you can control with your guitar. If you add a footswitch to the mix, you’ll be able to program and change between harmonies on the fly when you’re playing. The harmony sounds even better on female voices.
Apart from harmonies, the TC Helicon Perform VG has some pitch correction and compression. This is really helpful for smoothing out your vocal performance and making you sound like a pro. It also works as a low-noise preamp for your mic.
The look is a bit game console-ish, which might not be for everyone’s taste. Also, the buttons can get jammed, and the casing isn’t super tough.
Despite this, users mention that the sound is excellent, and many don’t expect such a professional, natural sound from such a flimsy little pedal.
What Is a Harmonizer?
A vocal harmonizer detects the key from your mic, guitar or keyboard and creates instant two or three-voice harmonies when you sing.
With many models, you can also introduce the key manually, but this can get uncomfortable when you switch keys in the middle of a song.
Some models, like the Boss VE-20, allow for hybrid operation. This means that it takes the key from your guitar or keyboard and the manual setting.
Vocal harmonizer pedals are great for bands, but they’re ideal, even vital, for a solo artist.
What Does a Vocal Harmonizer Do?
The best vocal harmonizer will help you with many things:
- Gives you backup.
- Takes back control.
- Adds a dramatic effect.
- Expands your range.
- Polishes your sound.
Gives You Backup
A vocal harmonizer will take your voice and make it sound like a choir. This is why they’re especially popular for solo performers, whether just singing or playing the guitar, too.
If you’re on a solo gig, the best vocal harmonizer pedals will make it sound like there’s someone else on the stage.
Takes Back Control
This is where a harmonizer is truly ideal. When you’re gigging, you never really know what kind of help you’re going to receive from the sound guy. A vocal harmonizer will give you more control over your sound.
Adds Dramatic Effect
It also makes your performance deeper and more interesting, without needing a backing track or other people.
You can use one to add some punch and layers to your important lead lines. This adds to the dramatic effect of your song and improves your storytelling.
Expands Your Range
A harmonizer helps you expand your vocal range, too, when you adapt the settings for higher or lower notes. This comes in handy when you’re singing at the higher or lower end of your range and you’re not confident with some of the notes.
Polishes Your Sound
Many vocal harmonizer pedals will also include other effects, like pitch correction and compression, which help polish your sound.
While you’ll still have to rely on your technique, these tricks will give you a hand at sounding more professional. That’s why they’re a great confidence booster for those who are starting.
What Is the Best Vocal Harmony Processor?
In our review, the best vocal harmonizer is the Boss VE-20. It has a ton of effects apart from the harmony option at a reasonable price.
You can use the automatic or manual, or even hybrid settings, to find the key. It also has the sturdy Boss build that can handle rough treatment on the road and will last for years.
What to Look for in the Best Vocal Harmonizers
Focus on these areas when picking out an option for your needs:
As you’ve probably noticed, vocal harmonizer pedal options are pretty much dominated by the two heavy hitters:
- TC Helicon.
You likely won’t go wrong with pedals from these brands, as they produce quality sound and lasting, tough quality.
Boss is especially known for its super-tough materials that can take a real beating.
However, there are other quality options out there. Try Eventide, the manufacturer of the original digital voice processor, or Roland.
Where will you use your vocal harmonizer pedal?
If it’s for road use, you might prioritize a sturdy construction, a small size and a couple of big buttons or knobs.
For songwriting and studio use, you’ll probably have more room. Smaller controls will also be easier to see on a desk than a dark stage.
Controls and Effects
The more effects you have, the more buttons and knobs the pedals will have.
If you’re not a tech wiz, it’s probably better to look for pedals that are as simple as possible.
On the other hand, if you know you’ll need more effects, a more complete product could be the right option.
You can sometimes use a guitar harmonizer for vocals, but you’ll need to find a way to connect your XLR mic connector to a ¼-inch guitar input. You can usually do this with a preamp or mixer.
Also note that if you have a condenser mic, you’ll likely need a pedal that provides a phantom power source. Dynamic mics don’t require an additional power supply, so they’re easier to use with any pedal.
If you aren’t going to be using the pedal throughout the entire gig, you’ll probably turn it off. However, some vocal harmonizer pedals turn into tone suckers, altering your signal. If that’s your case, find either a pedal that’s buffered or has a true bypass.
In our opinion, the best vocal harmonizer pedal is the Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer. It gives you a clear, natural harmony with highly customizable options and effects.
If you already have other pedals and are just looking for a vocal harmonizer, the TC Helicon VoiceTone H1 is the top pick.
Conversely, the Eventide PitchFactor is a pro option that’s made for guitar but works on vocals. The control app is a definite plus, giving you more insight into your settings, but it does come with a steep price.
Still, for your simple, versatile everyday use for the road and the studio, we’d go for the Boss. It’s amazingly durable, complete and intuitive to use, and you can customize a lot of the settings. It also comes at a very reasonable price.