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Vocal harmony pedals. Anyone use them live?


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#1 dave_bass5

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:18 AM

My singer is thinking of getting one to help out with the vocal sound, as none of us in the band are very good at harmonies.
We understand these are just fancy double tracking devices but feel it could help without overal vocal presence.

Just wondering if anyone uses one live. Not looking at the sophisticated rack versions, just the pedals, and it wont have a guitar plugged in to it so i expect it will based on key only.


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#2 Stylon Pilson

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:54 AM

View Postdave_bass5, on 11 September 2017 - 07:18 AM, said:

it wont have a guitar plugged in to it so i expect it will based on key only.

Without a guitar or other instrument, how will it know what pitch to harmonise to? Or will you just set it up to do a 5th or octave?

I was in a band where the singer used one of these. It can sound good, as long as you don't overuse it, but the main problem we had was just the number of technical problems it created on a gig. The singer was always having problems with getting it set up right, and sound guys often didn't like it, so as time went by we used it less and less, until we ended up not using it at all.

I think that as long as your singer is technically competent and is able to learn how to operate it, and more importantly knows when *not* to use it, then it's worth giving a try.

S.P.

Edited by Stylon Pilson, 11 September 2017 - 07:55 AM.


#3 dave_bass5

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:16 AM

You set the key of the song in the pedal i believe.

My singer is definitely not technically minded, and i am worried about this side of it. We will be using our own PA for gigs so we will have full control of it, but yes, this is a worry. It will be more for thinking the main vocals up, without just adding the usual reverb/delay, so i think it will be used quite a bit but turned down so its not too prominent.


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#4 Oopsdabassist

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:24 AM

When I started doing BV's I knew I sang flat, so acquired this from another basschatter.

https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B002W0Z8DU

Mainly because it had an auto tune function. However it also has a harmoniser that you can set to a 3rd or a 5th or an octave, above or below. its set to 1 footswitch, either on or off, so simple to use. if used sparingly it can work, but just having it all the time does start to sound a bit weird.

As I got more confident with singing BV it got used less and less to be honest.

Edited by Oopsdabassist, 11 September 2017 - 08:24 AM.

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#5 crez5150

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:32 AM

I've used the Voice Live which does a stirling job..... as with any unit that changes the original signal, its in how you set it that gets the best from the unit.

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#6 Happy Jack

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:45 AM

I use this https://www.anderton...t-harmony-pedal

in conjunction with a TC Helicon Mic Mechanic.

The Mic Mechanic is a superb tool, and really helps if you sing in a band but you're no Robert Plant.

The VoiceTone H1 is probably the easiest to use of their harmony pedals. If you play guitar (or bass) then you run a signal from your instrument to/through the pedal, set the key to 'Guitar', and it works out the key for itself. If you sing and play no instrument, then you simply set the key manually to whatever the song is in.

Like all such tools, it pays to spend some time rehearsing with it to see what works and what doesn't.

[Blindingly obvious] If used without an instrument, it's harder to use as a pedal since you need to place it where you can change the key easily. [/Blindingly obvious]
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#7 dave_bass5

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:33 AM

Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. Ill send her links of the different boxes. The TC one does look rather cool so ill try and push that. We wont be gigging for a while we should have plenty of time to figure it all out.

I like the DOD one as you can have set lists programmed in, but i expect the others do that as well.

I can see a few funny moments coming up though.

The rest of us will do backing vocals at some point, its just proving difficult (at least for me) to play and sing new songs at the moment.

Edited by dave_bass5, 11 September 2017 - 10:33 AM.


"Maybe the Nazis wouldn't have been so hacked off if they weren't left hanging for all their high fives"

Gear List:
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#8 CameronJ

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:34 AM

I've used a Voicelive Touch 2 for a number of years now and love it. I am a solo vocalist/beat boxer, very technically minded and have spent a good amount of time learning the ins and outs of the unit down to MIDI commands etc. You definitely need to have a somewhat technical mind to really get the most out of the higher end TC units. The more entry level pedals/units are MUCH simpler but you should definitely still devote some meaningful time getting to grips with everything they can (and can't) do.

As said above re: the harmonies, DO NOT overdo it. I mean that in terms of how often you use them as well as the volume you have them set at. The louder you have the harmony volume set, the more apparent it will be that your singer is effectively being accompanied by a computer chip. Also, make sure your singer writes down the settings for each song and remembers to change said settings from one song to the next, lest the whole band face the embarrassment of wildly out of key harmonies. The bemused audience member will cast looks of blame at the guitarist, drummer and bassist assuming it's your fault. Because there will be plenty of people who aren't paying attention and just assume the BVs must be coming from you guys.

To really avoid this, you should go for one of the mid-ranged units (e.g. Play Acoustic or Play Electric) as, mentioned in earlier posts, they can be set to listen to the instrument plugged in and follow in real time. This can give you more nuanced results as the harmonies are no longer locked to the vocals but to the surrounding instrumentation, which can often sound more musical and natural. Just make sure the guitarist who's "controlling" the unit plays reasonably cleanly and that the Root and Third of the chord are loud and clear as this is what the TC algorithm uses as primary reference for tracking.

Above all, if you're going to go down this root, have patience with it but also have fun. If as you say your vocalist is "definitely not technically minded" then maybe steer clear though as whatever you buy may end up becoming the responsibility of another band member to set up and learn...which may breed resentment of it :lol:
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#9 JohnDaBass

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:48 AM

I have a TC Helicon Voicelive play. Very simple to use with over 500 downloadable patches. Helps with realtime pitch correction and simple on/off control. Very slick piece of kit.

#10 dave_bass5

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 02:21 PM

View PostCameronJ, on 11 September 2017 - 10:34 AM, said:

I've used a Voicelive Touch 2 for a number of years now and love it. I am a solo vocalist/beat boxer, very technically minded and have spent a good amount of time learning the ins and outs of the unit down to MIDI commands etc. You definitely need to have a somewhat technical mind to really get the most out of the higher end TC units. The more entry level pedals/units are MUCH simpler but you should definitely still devote some meaningful time getting to grips with everything they can (and can't) do.

As said above re: the harmonies, DO NOT overdo it. I mean that in terms of how often you use them as well as the volume you have them set at. The louder you have the harmony volume set, the more apparent it will be that your singer is effectively being accompanied by a computer chip. Also, make sure your singer writes down the settings for each song and remembers to change said settings from one song to the next, lest the whole band face the embarrassment of wildly out of key harmonies. The bemused audience member will cast looks of blame at the guitarist, drummer and bassist assuming it's your fault. Because there will be plenty of people who aren't paying attention and just assume the BVs must be coming from you guys.

To really avoid this, you should go for one of the mid-ranged units (e.g. Play Acoustic or Play Electric) as, mentioned in earlier posts, they can be set to listen to the instrument plugged in and follow in real time. This can give you more nuanced results as the harmonies are no longer locked to the vocals but to the surrounding instrumentation, which can often sound more musical and natural. Just make sure the guitarist who's "controlling" the unit plays reasonably cleanly and that the Root and Third of the chord are loud and clear as this is what the TC algorithm uses as primary reference for tracking.

Above all, if you're going to go down this root, have patience with it but also have fun. If as you say your vocalist is "definitely not technically minded" then maybe steer clear though as whatever you buy may end up becoming the responsibility of another band member to set up and learn...which may breed resentment of it :lol:

Thanks for all that. It would definitely not be on all the time, and very well back in the mix. Ive been impressed with some of the demo videos for these things, but can already see how annoying it will sound if overused. I think kept low in the mix will add more presence to the vocals, hopefully without it sounding like Steven Hawkins is back stage with some vocal sheets :-). Once we all start signing it will be even more hidden.

Oh, and i live with the singer so it will be me that has to sort it out. Still, one more thing to argue about wont make a big difference lol.


"Maybe the Nazis wouldn't have been so hacked off if they weren't left hanging for all their high fives"

Gear List:
Fender Sanblasted P bass | Sire Marcus Miller V7 5 | SQUIER CV 60's P | Squier CV Jazz with Wizard 74's & Lakland JO neck
GK MB800 | MarkBass F1 LE | Vanderkley 115MN6 | Ashdown MAG 300 C-115 | Zoom 60B | VTBass DI | Darkglass VMT | TC Electronics Corona mini

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