The right accompanist singers can be difficult to locate. Also, getting a bunch of singers on stage with you might not fit your act! However, along with rhythm and melody, musicians often hear harmonies in their heads. Singers, do you daydream about how good it would sound if only someone sang that fifth that you can hear so vividly in your imagination when you perform?
Maybe you’re an electro-performer, and you crave low pitched or robotic voices in your performances, which come from your mouth instead of samples.
Well, thanks to modern technology, you can recreate these sounds, without having to rehearse with other people!
- At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 8 Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedals On The Market
- 8 Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedals
- 1. TC-Helicon Harmony Singer (Budget Choice)
- 2. Digitech VLFX
- 3. TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G XT
- 4. Boss VE-2 (Editor's Choice)
- 5. TC Helicon VoiceLive 3
- 6. Roland AIRA Series VT-3 Voice Transformer
- 7. Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer
- 8. EarthQuaker Devices Pitch Bay Polyphonic Harmonizer and Distortion Generator Effects Pedal
At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 8 Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedals On The Market
TC-Helicon Harmony Singer (Budget Choice)
Boss VE-2 (Editor's Choice)
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Buyer's Tips: What to look for when choosing a vocal harmonizer pedal
- First thing you’ll want to make sure is that your vocal harmonizer pedal actually focuses on harmonizing! This might sound stupidly obvious, but getting a vocal processor with a harmonizing feature (rather than it being the main function) can end up being unable to fulfill the role you need it to play. What you’re listening for is a natural tone in every layer.
- Since you’re likely looking to get a chorus effect, it’s worth looking into how effective your harmonizer is at ‘gender-shifting’ your vocals. This is when the extra vocal layer created by the harmonizer is able to sound like a female or male singer is accompanying the original voice.
- Tied in with this is the ability to pitch shift your voice. Going too far with this can make you sound like a crappy Darth Vader clone, but done right it can really kick some more extra range to your singing abilities.
- Finally, have a look at how easy it is to program. Will it take the key from a guitar being played? Does it have easy to use presets? If it’s not going to be a joy to use, find one that is!
8 Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedals
1. TC-Helicon Harmony Singer (Budget Choice)
One of the easiest to use and most versatile of the list, the TC-Helicon is a very good starting point if you’ve never used a harmonizer before.
When used sparingly, it can come across as really realistic, so it’s perfect for the singer who just wants to sound like they’re singing with another, in the odd chorus here and there.
One *key* feature is that, if you plug it in after the guitar, it picks up on the key from the guitar and ensures that the harmonies it creates fit in with it. Neat, eh?
2. Digitech VLFX
A little more complex than a harmonizer stompbox, this one has a few extra features to play with so you can really start to play with the vocals in your live performances.
The harmonizer feature uses the highly advanced musIQ, which allows for superior pitch detection. There’s also a pitch shifter, a delay effect and a reverb option!
As well as these features, the pedal features a looper, and a guitar tuner. What more could you ask for?
3. TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G XT
A vocal processor that’s got an emphasis on getting harmony done properly thanks to TC Helicon putting in the technological know-how. It’s a little more sophisticated than the Harmony Singer, but that doesn’t mean one is inherently better than the other.
There are inputs for both guitar and vocals, and this clever box ensures that the vocal harmonies it creates fit well with the chords you play on the guitar.
There are also a variety of effects including echo and reverb, so you really can have fun multiplying your voice in a style of your choice!
4. Boss VE-2 (Editor's Choice)
For a singer looking to improve on natural talent, this is a great little kit. If you’re looking to recreate the sound of multiple singers, or give your tone a different ‘feel’ or even just to give it some extra depth through a little reverb, this is a superb choice. On the other hand, if you like playing with effects and want to push past what a natural voice sounds like, this isn’t the way to go.
Like some of the other pedals, this Boss box has a key-keeping function, so you can sing with the confidence that it will harmonise in tune (as long as your guitar is in tune!).
It’s easy to use and not too wild.
5. TC Helicon VoiceLive 3
A high end harmonizer built for professional usage, this is going to be out of reach for hobbyist musicians. If you aren’t already playing music for a living, you’ll probably want to wait until that point before considering this one.
It’s impressive amount of features mean you’ll need to spend some time with the manual before you can get what you want from this pedal, but boy will it be worth it!
For its exceedingly natural tone, the Boss VE-2 takes the cake. It’s one of the easiest to use in the market, and does exactly what you want it to be able to. It does lack some of the crazier effects of other pedals, but if that’s what you’re looking for then perhaps the Digitech or the Roland models will suit your needs better.
As we’ve seen, the Digitech VLFX, The Boss VE-8 and the TC Helicon Voicelive 3 all have a looping function. If you think you might require this, then the choice has to be between those three. You’ll only kick yourself afterwards if you end up buying two separate pedals which could have been combined into one!
Based in London, UK, Zac Green is editor-in-chief and head writer at online music magazine Zing Instruments. He’s a self-confessed music fanatic and spends most of his time jamming, gigging, or tinkering with his 1979 Campervan. He has a particular passion for indie, hip-hop, gypsy and rare groove jazz, as well as blues, alt rock and electronic music.