A vocal processor is not necessarily a harmonizer. A harmonizer helps tighten your voice on the recording, blending it together so it has an even, perfect pitch. The processor has the work of producing your voice in the optimum signal range for the harmonizer to do its job. The processor adds the lush tones and depth to your vocals while the harmonizer helps keep it clean. The best vocal processors often are also harmonizers.
Number One Best Vocal Processor: Boss VE-20
My choice for the best vocal processor is the Boss VE-20. Modeled after the stompboxes favored by guitarists, this processor gives you all the control you need when recording. The VE-20 provides real-time pitch correction via the foot switch, also allowing you add rich layers to your vocal harmonies. The VE-20 is especially well-suited to the stage. Its phrase looper allows you to be your own back-up singer, as it loops a 38 second recording of your performance and adds layers of harmony over it.
The Boss VE-20 offers versatility between the stage and the studio, but can be overkill if all you do is record. The versatility of this processor earns its place as number one.
Second Place: TC-Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G XT
The TC-Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G XT is both a processor and a harmonizer. This vocal processor harmonizes the vocals and guitar while smoothing your vocal tracks for a professional quality sound. The FX presets on the TC-Helicon G XT work across a range of music styles, so you aren’t limited in the genre you choose. Most importantly, while meant to be used with a guitar and vocal combo, it also provides a clean mix even if you are singing without instrumental backup. The primary drawback of this processor is it catches all the background noise during stage performances and must be pointed away from your amps. This sensitivity is a plus in the studio, though.
If you plan on using a vocal processor mainly for recording, the Harmony-G XT more than delivers—though it’s made more for studio use than onstage performance. It doesn’t provide the versatility of the Boss VE-20, but it comes in as a close second.
Third Place: DigiTech Vocal 300
The DigiTech Vocal 300 works well for both classical and cutting edge vocal styles and distortions. It delivers up to seven effects at one time and 38 programmable studio effects. Of these effects, many are targeted at the amateur, so the professional musician may only find a handful useful. There are some feedback issues during live performance, but it makes an excellent processor for studio use.
The DigiTech doesn’t offer as many benefits to the serious musician as other models, but its sturdy construction and ease of use makes it a dependable choice. The useful effects, programmable parameters and fully adjustable effects outweigh the simplicity of the processor.
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