Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best vocal effects 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated September 1, 2021
Best vocal effects of 2018
Not all vocal effects are created equal though. After carefully examining the reviews and ratings of the people who have used them earlier this listicle has been made. So this is not only going to give you an insight to the best vocal effects of the 2018 but also those which are user friendly and easy to work with. You can make a choice based on the my list as you shop.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this vocal effects win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.
№2 – Boss VE-20 Vocal Processor Multi Effects Pedal -INCLUDES- Blucoil Power Supply Slim AC/DC Adapter 9V DC 670mA with US Plug AND 10’ XLR Microphone Cable
Why did this vocal effects come in second place?
Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.
№3 – TC-Helicon Perform V
Why did this vocal effects take third place?
This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
vocal effects Buyer’s Guide
Vocal effects and looping
Not all vocal processors allow you to control a wide range of effects like compression, delay/reverb or EQ. Some are more basic when it comes to this and only offer core effects. If your music style is more experimental it’s probably recommended to look for more exotic voicings.
Adding some wild possibilities for your vocals, the TC Helicon VoiceTone Ceffects processor looks very promising for those with lower budgets. Among the main features of this compact device we can find sound correction from subtle to jagged HardTune, Mic Control for remote on/off toggling, and the ability to chain the unit with other VoiceTone C1’s for improving your sound even more.
Under the hood of this unit, you can expect to find the same quality processing from TC Helicon’s flagship VoiceLive vocal processors. A quiet mic preamp is also present and its reliability can rival that from high-end touring mixers providing a decent level of quality analog to digital conversion. A USB connection is included for firmware updates. The construction of the device is pretty solid, the metal casing seems to be built with durability in mind.
This vocal processor is capable of opening up some new vocal territory. It all starts with a clean correction of your voice. All that’s needed is to set the key or use the guitar input. The popular pitch-gliding HardTune effect is included and with just a simple knob twist you can sound like an alien in no time. Due to Mic Control, you can take charge of the unit right from your mic commanding both the stage and the audience.
What’s great is how you can chain it to other identical units for mixing and matching effects which create your own personal sound. It can also work nicely with Ditto Mic Looper, the looping pedal for singers. Using the Singles Connect Kit, you can mix and match a maximum of four vocal effect pedals without too much cable clutter.
As long as you understand the capabilities of the VoiceTone Cand its limits you won’t be disappointed. It can’t do magic for your vocals but it provides good correction and decent enhancements for this price. Looking back over its features, this remains a safe recommendation if you have an interest in a relatively inexpensive but great quality vocal processor.
Notes: The C 21does a particularly good job of accentuating the “air” and “silk” in any sound source, with a notable presence bump that centers around 13kHz without ever sounding harsh — even on female vocalists who work primarily in the upper register. The switchable high-pass filter can be useful when recording very close to the microphone, but in this case we’ve got our talent about 9″ from the capsule and wanted to keep the bass response as linear as possible. The tonal quality of this microphone is extremely close to the C 41XLS, so if you don’t need the multi-pattern functionality of the 414, you’ll find the C 21to be quite the bargain.
Notes: Compared to the C 214, the first thing you’ll notice is the much more direct capture of the vocal with essentially no room tone or natural reverb. That’s what’s made the SM7B a favorite among voiceover artists and vocalists with home studios that have less-than-ideal acoustics. It’s also among the lowest-output mics used in this little exercise and does require quite a bit of muscle from your mic preamp — in this case, around +50dB. The Motown classic used here as an example certainly doesn’t show it, but these two traits actually make the SM7B an amazing microphone for metal screamers and any sort of aggressive lead vocal.
Notes: Among the condenser microphones auditioned here, the Blue Mouse has the most distinct character and “built-in EQ” happening. The upper midrange on the Mouse has a pretty significant bump as demonstrated here. In the case of this singer, it actually works out pretty well. As with the TLM 103, this microphone has a pretty big bass boost when used up close that’s not exactly in play here as we’ve got the talent 8-9″ from the mic.
Notes: Perhaps the polar opposite of the Mouse, next up we’ve got a circa-1970s Sony C-38B. This microphone is much more neutral in its frequency response and nowhere near as sensitive as any of the other condensers in this video. The C-38B’s average output level, even without the internal pad engaged, is closer to a dynamic microphone than a typical condenser microphone. There’s a slight high-frequency push in the form of a shelf inherent to this microphone, but by stepping slightly off axis just a few degrees you can actually tame this down and get a sound that’s about as close to “flat” as is possible with a large diaphragm condenser. There’s also an internal switch for high-cut and a rotary switch for bass roll-off which are not in play here.
Sennheiser MD 44II
Notes: The Sennheiser MD 44never gets the attention it deserves as a vocal mic. These mics offer the sort of nuance and detail that you’d expect from condenser, and offer a “Brilliance” switch to boost high frequencies around 5-8dB when necessary. In this example, we’re leaving that flat, as well as the rotary high-pass filter to let the beautiful sound of this mic come through untouched.
Before you can record anything, you should decide if a home recording rig is an ideal choice for you and your purposes. Home recording is a cost effective way to lay and improve upon your ideas. If you have never recorded anything before, there can, however, be a steep learning curve.
Learning how to get a mix right, how to mic up certain instruments, adding effects, isolating and eliminating noise can all take a while to master.
If you are looking for a top quality production sound, it is still possible to achieve that at home; assuming you are patient. A professional studio engineer has years of experience behind a recording desk. They should be able to identify and fix tonal errors. They will also be able to get a good mix, in a shorter period of time.
Learning to record is almost as complex as learning to play an instrument. It is easy to learn the basics but can take years of dedicated work and practice to perfect.
If you have that level of dedication and know that your first project will take longer to launch, then a home recording set-up could work for you.
PC vs Stand Alone Units
Stand alone units have been deemed obsolete. While basic dictaphones and cell phones can record, these will not produce the quality that is expected. All recording is done with computers nowadays. The requirements for PCs are always changing. If you are unsure whether or not your PC can handle what is required, just ask your salesman. Remember, the more intensive recording you want to do, the better your PC would need to be.
Soundcard & Inputs
If you are just looking at laying down some basic tracks with your guitar, then a simple USB soundcard will do the trick. You could start with a basic two channel USB sound card.
If you want to record a full band, then you would need a soundcard with more inputs.
A basic rule of thumb is to always take more inputs than you would need. It is better to have input channels that you never use than to only have two and end up needing four.
Headphones are an important part of the recording process. While you are playing or singing, you should be wearing headphones. Headphones allow you to isolate what you are playing so that you can hear what you are playing better.
If you never practice with headphones on, listening to yourself at first can be disconcerting. Headphones tend to be unforgiving. They will highlight every mistake you make. This is good, though. Using headphones will show you your weaknesses and allow you to fix them.
If however, you want to record acoustic instruments or vocals, keep reading.
Different mics use different capsule designs and pick up sound in different ways. That is why it always uses the right mic for the job.
Recording high quality vocals can be a daunting process for a beginner, which is why we’ve decided to offer a guide to infusing your productions with the human voice. RA’s Jono Buchanan gives you the know how.
Those of us who get hooked on producing electronic music don’t tend to think about vocals first. The thrill of combining a great collection of drum samples in a loop, a bass part, maybe a lead line… these are usually the things that inspire us. Then, over time, our capacity to refine both the sound choices we make and how the musical structure of our tracks flows becomes more sophisticated. We’re great at picking up new techniques from the records we hear and, what with even the most basic DAWs offering native effects and sampling capabilities, the vocals we need can often be found on sample CDs. The time may come, however, when you suddenly find yourself humming a catchy hook over a new track. If the reason you haven’t yet taken the vocal recording plunge is because you aren’t quite sure how, this piece is dedicated to answering all the questions you ever wanted to ask about basic vocal recording.
Choosing a microphone Recording a vocal means borrowing or buying a microphone and, if you’re intending to do plenty of this kind of work, go for the latter, particularly as it’s possible to get hold of microphones capable of great results for a relatively small financial outlay. Microphones fall into two main categories: dynamic and condenser. There are several operational differences between the two which could easily eat up the entire word-count of this article so, briefly, the crucial point to consider is that condenser microphones tend to be a studio choice, whereas dynamic ones are favoured onstage. Condenser microphones require a power supply in order to work, which can either be provided by batteries or, more usefully, by phantom power, which is often indicated by a +48V button on a mic preamp or an audio interface. You might also consider the purchase of a pop shield, which is usually a circular guard which attaches to a microphone stand between the singer and the microphone and is designed to split up plosive “p” and “b” sounds which translate to unpleasant bass-y pops on your recordings. There is a huge range of microphones available in both categories but good places to start for those on a budget are, for dynamic microphones, the Shure SM5and Rode Mmodels and, for condenser microphones, the SE Electronics SE2000 and AKG’s Perception range. The other essential piece of gear you’ll need apart from your computer and host software is an audio interface, which will transfer your vocal recording to computer, via USB or firewire. Again, a huge range of models are available, with low-cost options from companies including M-Audio, Novation and Focusrite more than capable of doing a great job. Ideally, you’ll need to buy or borrow a microphone stand and get hold of a pair of nice-sounding, comfortable headphones too.
Recording Before you record, it’s a good idea to prepare your track for the addition of vocals. If your session has lots of plug-ins and effects running live, adding a real-time vocal is likely to tax your computer heavily and, as you want the session to run smoothly, minimize the risk of your computer’s CPU overloading by bouncing down a stereo backing track of your song. Then, open this file in a brand new session. You’ll be able to transfer the vocal performance back into your arrangement later, so don’t worry that you’ll be stuck with this mix.
Continue reading the main story
Anyone who has ever grabbed a microphone and belted out some Bruce or Waylon in a bar knows he could do better with subtle tweaks in technique, acoustics or blood alcohol content.
Mobile apps can help tremendously, with software that can train vocalists, provide backing vocals and instrumental tracks or record performances for others to hear.
In this realm, aspiring crooners who are armed with Apple devices will have an edge against their Android-toting counterparts (which is true with many music-related app categories).
DigiTech BP90 Bass Guitar Multi-Effects Processor
Here at MusicRadar we are as mad on new hardware as the next person, and we see rather a lot of it day to day.
It’s all too easy to drown in a sea of new product launches at such gear-fests as the NAMM show – it’s positively mesmerising – but let’s take stock for a moment and remember that it’s not always about the ‘new’.
It can be said that some things just cannot be bettered. A lot of music tech that has been created over the last 50 years has stood the test of time, and the one overarching reason for its longevity is character. Something that perhaps certain new kids on the block don’t have quite so much of, and the reason why we’ll always been drawn to the classics of yesteryear.
While certain vintage gear products may have been built like brick out-houses, some of their component parts aren’t quite as hardy. That’s why we have gathered up some handy tips for those of you who are thinking about buying some retro hardware, from the people who have lived with it for years.
Oberheim Xpander and Matrix 12
The six-voice Xpander first appeared in 198and a year later the 12-voice Matrix 1was released. Aside from the extra voices, there are no sound differences with the 1– it’s just two Xpanders with a keyboard attached.
Let’s get one thing straight, this is an analogue synth with digital control. The sound is pure analogue and, while it’s not as fat and punchy as some earlier Oberheim models, it has so many different sound-shaping possibilities under the hood it’s one of those instruments you’ll never tire of.
If that’s enough to whet your appetite, then here are a few things you should consider when taking the plunge into the second-hand market.
Sequential Circuits Prophet-600
Although the inflation-beating rise in prices for old gear may be anathema to some, the analogue revival does at least allow for certain synths to be reassessed.
This is never more true than when an upgrade comes along to address the shortcomings in the original. The Prophet-600 is one such synth. It was always overshadowed by the Prophet-5, which has gone on to become an undisputed classic, though the P600 claimed its own place in synthesizer history by being the first to feature a MIDI interface straight out of the box. This is of course understandable as Dave Smith played a significant role in the design of both.
However, let’s not forget that when the P600 was released in 198Yamaha were about to unleash the DX7, which ultimately went further down the road to a ‘digital future’ than anyone had imagined.
The Oberheim OB range became a staple of the American music scene of the ’80s.
These polyphonic analogue synths could also be found on European productions, despite being overshadowed by Roland and others – meaning they are harder to come by in the UK, and are (slightly) more affordable than their less well-equipped brethren.
Although there are design and sonic differences between the various OBs, they do have a recognisable ‘family sound’.
Yeah sure you could go for the new OB-collaboration between Tom Oberheim and Dave Smith for the classic OB sound, but it’s not an original.
The VCSis an unusual success story. Though it never sold in any great numbers, its sheer longevity is to be admired. While plenty of classic instruments have been revived in recent years, the VCSis unique in having never officially been out of production.
EMS themselves have gone through many changes over the past few decades and for a while were not in the business of producing synthesizers. Yet a few VCS3s have occasionally been made to order and every so often a small production run is trundled out of EMS headquarters (now in Cornwall) to fulfil a waiting list of very patient customers.
Meanwhile, the original models continue to be sought after and treasured by a growing number of electronic music aficionados willing to pay enormously inflated second-hand prices. If you consider yourself such an aficionado then read on…
UA 1176N Limiter
Some classic hardware just has inherent attitude. The 117has an upfront sound that engineers have used for years to mould productions of every genre. From Disco to Rock and back, the 117has repeatedly found itself at the forefront of music production. Walk into any major studio in the world and you can expect to see at least one 1176; in most you’ll find an entire rack full.
The 117has been around since Bill Putnam put together the ‘Revision A’ model in 196It was a groundbreaking design at the time as it was the first peak limiter that utilised 100% solid state circuitry.
Where a tube compressor adds warmth and colouration, an 117imparts clarity, impact and bite. This is what makes the 117popular and why it continues to be a mainstay in modern production.
The DXhas claimed its rightful and prominent place in synthesizer history for a range of reasons, good and bad.
On the one hand it harnessed a novel type of all-digital synthesis, allied to increased polyphony and portability. It would also be viewed as the death knell of analogue synthesis and harbinger of the ‘less knobs, more buttons and a small screen’ approach to programming.
OK, so thankfully the world saw sense and realised there is room for analogue and digital synthesizers afterall. It has, however, taken a rather long time for anyone to come up with a suitable replacement for the DX7.
ARP Instruments 2600
Brand loyalty is not a new phenomenon. Just as today’s pundits debate the merits of Mac versus Windows or Android versus iPhone, a battle for allegiance once raged between users of Moog’s synthesizers and those who preferred instruments made by ARP. Then, just as now, the debate was a powerful marketing tool.
ARP was founded by Alan R. Pearlman who, unlike other synthesizer pioneers of the day, emerged from a business background. As an entrepreneur, Pearlman saw an opportunity in the growing fascination with electronic music. Quick to realise the shortcomings of his competitors’ instruments, Pearlman resolved to make instruments upon which musicians could depend.
The first such instrument was the mighty ARP 2500 modular system, a massive wall of electronics that eschewed the patch cables favoured by Moog and Buchla for matrices of sliding switches. This allowed for a better view of the included modules, but resulted in crosstalk between the various components.
Now, it’s important to note that the suggestions below are not rigid. They’re suggestions drawn from the experiences and preferences of the pros in the “A Month of Field Recordists” series as well as input from the community. So, the goal instead is to show that there’s a viable kit for every point upon the arc of a field recordist’s career.
Because field recording is such a broad craft, it’s understandable to differ with the list below. There are dozens of viable options to record sound beyond the studio, many of which were not mentioned in the series at all. So, take what ideas you like from each category to explore the best options for you.
Also, please note that this article is not a list of endorsements or recommendations – after all, there’s no way to I could personally test every model listed here! Instead, the post is an intended as a handy list of options you can explore yourself. It’s always best to rent and test field recording gear before making an investment, if you can.
Note: prices and models are current as of December, 2016.
Number of footswitches
This is one of the most important features to consider because it affects how you will use the looper and what you will be able to do with it. Loops are created and controlled with footswitches, so generally speaking the more footswitches a looper has, the more control you will have.
The Ditto is an example of a looper with only one footswitch. This means functions such as record, play, stop, overdub and erase are all controlled with one footswitch. For example to record, you tap the footswitch once. To stop playback, you double-tap. To erase the loop, you hold the footswitch down. There are only so many functions that can be fit into one footswitch. While the Ditto can still do a lot, many guitarists find the single footswitch a big limitation.
Jump up to a looper such as the RC-300 (in the image earlier) and the extra footswitches give you far more control and flexibility. The RC-300 has footswitches and an expression pedal. A looper with that many footswitches means you can achieve far more and experience less limitations.
Keep in mind that while this makes it sound like you want a pedal with lots of footswitches, you may find that the right pedal for you only uses one or two footswitches for the features you want. So keep reading to find out which features are important to you.
The length of the loop the pedal can store will determine what you can do with your looper. The longer the length, the more options you have available. For most situations, almost all loopers have a long enough record time to be useful. Even many loopers built into multi-effects pedals (discussed later) have decent loop times.
To give you an idea, if you wanted to record a slow 1bar blues shuffle, it might take you around 30 seconds to play the 1bars depending on the tempo. If you wanted to record two repeats of the shuffle in one loop, you would want a loop time of around 60 seconds.
My general recommendation is to buy a standalone looper unless you want to have one single pedal to control everything for you. If you like the idea of having a multi-effects pedal to control your entire tone, save presets and deal with complicated rig switching, then this would be an ideal scenario. Otherwise, consider a standalone looper.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your vocal effects wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of vocal effects
- №1 — VocalSynth: Vocal Effects Plug-in
- №2 — Boss VE-20 Vocal Processor Multi Effects Pedal -INCLUDES- Blucoil Power Supply Slim AC/DC Adapter 9V DC 670mA with US Plug AND 10’ XLR Microphone Cable
- №3 — TC-Helicon Perform V