Viva Vocal Velvet!
By Craig Anderton, Editor In Chief, Harmony Central
Onstage or in the studio,vocals are the center of attention - and thanks to modern digital processing, you can transform your raw voice into a "produced" sound with the hallmarks of a superbly-engineered studio recording. Add harmonies, correct out-of-tune notes, do "hard-tuned" pitch correction for hardcore hip-hop, or just sweeten your voice to the max with the traditional triad of EQ, dynamics, and reverb.
In addition to stage boxes whose split personality also makes them ideal for the studio, computer recording fanatics can choose from specialized plug-ins that hone in on vocal processing like a laser. Whether you seek gender-bending character changes, automatic doubling and thickening, or simply want to bring out the very best in your natural voice, there's a vocal tool for any task.
TC Helicon VoiceTone T1
It doesn't get easier than this: The T1 floor pedal listens to your voice, pinpoints problem areas, then applies compression, de-ess and EQ to smooth levels, tighten articulation, and remove mud . . . it's like an intelligent, robot engineer. The T1 also plays nice with other VoiceTone pedals like the R1 reverb, C1 pitch corrector, H1 intelligent harmony synthesizer, E1 echo and tap delay, D1 doubler, and X1 megaphone/distortion.
, MSRP $179.00$129.00
IK Multimedia iRig Mic
Can you really get cool vocal processing with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch? iRig Mic is exceptionally cost-effective - it includes a unidirectional condenser mic, the VocaLive Free app (with real-time choir harmonization, pitch correction, vocal doubler, de-esser, and more), the AmpliTube Free app for bass and guitar players, and an app for quick audio recording. Want more? Optional-at-extra-cost processors are available for download.
Antares Vocal Express
Production Tools for Vocalists
From the inventors of Auto-Tune, this plug-in bundle for all major DAWs features Auto-Tune EFX2 realtime pitch correction and Auto-Tune vocal effect, Punch Evo vocal impact enhancer, DUO Evo stereo vocal modeling auto-doubler, WARM tube saturation generator, and Mutator Evo Extreme vocal designer. This flexible collection of vocal processors delivers - do anything from sweeten your voice to create bizarre alien vocal effects.
, MSRP $500.00$149.99
The VE-20 turns BOSS's expertise in guitar pedals to a foot-controlled, compact vocal processor. Clearly designed for the stage, it's extremely user-friendly; along with three-part harmonies and pitch correction, other effects include reverb, delay, distortion, and chorus. A 38-second looper lets you layer parts to stack harmonies, there's phantom power for condenser mics, and you can run it off batteries or an AC adapter.
, MSRP $381.50$279.00
Softube Mix Bundle
When mixing vocals you need stellar EQ, dynamics control, and reverb. This bundle not only offers emulated FET compression - great for smoothing your voice - but three different equalizer types, so you'll surely find one that adds the right spice to your particular voice and mic. Top it off with the TSAR-1 reverb's beautifully transparent, diaphanous sound quality (based on synthesized algorithms, not convolution), and this bundle can flatter just about any voice.
TC Helicon VoiceLive Play
TC Helicon's experience shows - from adaptive vocal EQ and dynamics control, to keying harmonies to instruments or audio input, to a signal path including two harmonies, two doubled voices, pitch correction, de-essing, noise gate, reverb, and more (a looper, too). Over 200 presets are organized by genre for quick selection. Even cooler: each preset has a base sound and an alternate setting - add intensity just by hitting a footswitch.
, MSRP $345.00$249.99
DigiTech Vocal 300
This stage-friendly multi-effects (with built-in expression pedal) isn't about harmonies or pitch correction, but provides a huge potential range of vocal characters. It can do seven effects at once, drawing from voice character, compression, EQ, gate, several modulation effects, doubler, detune, pitch shifter, whammy, delay, eight different reverbs, de-esser, and more - there's a good reason why the 300 has been a best-seller for years.
, MSRP $249.95$199.95
Nectar is an integrated plug-in suite optimized specifically for vocals - it delivers automatic pitch correction, manual note editing, breath control, noise gate, dynamics, saturation, EQ, de-esser, doubler, limiter, delay, and reverb. What's more, a vast collection of "Styles" presets makes it easy to dial in the sound you want; access Nectar's sophisticated toolset with "plug and play" ease, or if you're a parameter jockey, dive into deep tweaking.
, MSRP $299.00$249.99