How does Boss’ low-cost vocal effect pedal stand-up to the competition?
Item: Boss VE-1, Live Vocal Effects Processor
Price: $149 (USA), £109 (UK)
Mic Rating: 3.5/5
At A Glance: The BOSS VE-1 Vocal Echo is designed to provide reverb and other vocal effects in a compact and user-friendly unit; allowing singers to easily create a more professional vocal sound every time they perform on stage. It is designed so that you don’t have to be a pro sound engineer to be able to use it and all of the controls are easy to quickly access from the front panel. It comes with seven presets to get you started which you can then use the controls to tweak to your liking by altering the effect level and depth. As well as reverbs, the VE-1 also includes Double, Pitch Correct, and Enhance effects to help put the finishing touches to your vocal sound.
High Notes: The VE-1 is simple to operate and can operate on both batteries and AC power. Its presets are well thought out, and if you’re a more advanced user, additional detailed parameters are available to fine-tune sounds even further. There are seven types of ambience effects with adjustable settings and the double-tracking effect is useful for thickening your vocal sound. Once you have found the settings you like you can save these to recall at a later stage. There is a useful button to quickly disable the effects when speaking to the audience and an enhance feature to add some polishing EQ your vocals. The device also features a built-in USB audio port that enables you to record directly to a DAW from the device.
Off Pitch: Although the USB interface recording feature is potentially useful, it is a shame it does not also allow you to record a second track simultaneously such as having the option to connect a guitar to the device. Similarly, there is no AUX-in which would be useful to singers performing with backing tracks who want to control the mix with a single device or who wanted to record themselves singing to a backing track through the unit. Also, the stored presets are not as quick to change during a song as would be ideal – you have to hold down the pedal for several seconds for each change (or buy their external pedal at additional cost).
VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: For what the VE-1 costs, Boss have managed to cram a lot of useful features into the device. The ability to use the VE-1 with batteries make it a great choice for street performers as well as singers performing in outdoor settings where mains power is a problem. Where the device is slightly let down however is with the quality of the effect. While they are perfectly useable (and better than you’ll often find included on some low-end mixing desks), they are not really up to the quality found on many of its rivals’ vocal effect units. The reverbs feel a little two-dimensional and the pitch-correct effect is best suited to being used as a deliberate effect more than for natural sounding correction. Overall the VE-1 feels like a case of “you get what you pay for” – it offers a lot of great features for the price, however if you spend a bit more you will get a better sounding product.
Manufacturer’s Website: Bossus