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Buying Advice on Vocal Harmonizer


Cabo

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I'm looking for buying recommendations for a vocal harmonizer for live use. I'm playing in a tribute band that needs more than 1 background vocalist, but I'm the only one who can sing. Also I might try it for a duo I'm playing with. I'm looking for something that would not require a guitar for input. Is anyone using one of these while playing keys?

 

Like most, I'm the first one to tell guitarists to turn theirs down and to use it less often. But I do think it could add some value if used sparingly and not too high in the mix. Any input / experiences appreciated.

 

Yamaha Montage M6, Nord Stage 4 - 88, Hammond SK-Pro 73, Yamaha YC-73, Mainstage, Yamaha U1 Upright

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I used the TC Helicon Harmony M pedal for quite a while. It uses MIDI to 'read' your chords. It's a lot of fun. If you use it carefully, sparingly, tastefully, you can get away with it. Otherwise, it sounds kinda weird. I've had the most fun with it when NOT trying to do cover songs, but just being creative -- making weird cool sounds.

 

I may try the Voicelive 3 pedal someday -- it's the latest and greatest TC pedal. It reads guitar input and MIDI chords.

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@OP Do you have a rhythm guitar player in the function band?

 

I've tried TC Helicon and Digitech units in the past - function bands I've worked with have invested in the top of the range units at various points. There are issues. There's a reason those YouTube demos have a singer and guitar or singer and keyboard - playing straightforward "singer songwriter" coffee shop fare - and not a function band doing an Earth Wind and Fire number.

 

I'm still using an old Korg iH - mic feed split before it reaches it (there's only an XLR in and no phantom power) and stereo outputs going into a stereo volume pedal then into more effects. It's not for function band stuff - it's for soundscapes.

 

If you want a little bit of harmony way back in the mix - I like the new(ish) Roland Ve-2 but you'll need to pass a guitar through it to give it a fighting chance of generating harmonies that work with the chords. It runs off batteries (big plus). You can set it to a key (even with the guitar in being used). It'll take the key info and use it to guess what will be an ok harmony even when there's no guitar playing.

 

I like the Helicon harmony pedal too - for what you've described - a little bit of added colour mixed not too loudly. Again - feed it with a guitar.

 

Live these work best with dynamic mics - it'll harmonise everything it picks up. Everything. You don't want a whole heap of drum, cymbals and bass guitar spill.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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If you go with TC Helicon, I would suggest one of the "recent" units that have some kind of humanization parameter, that lets the back vocals slightly drift in pitch. On older pedals (in case you were thinking of buying used) the back vocals are basically always "auto-tuned", giving it even more an electronic/robot effect IMO.

"Show me all the blueprints. I'm serious now, show me all the blueprints."

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