Can this vocal effects processor face up to the competition?
Item: Boss VE-5, Vocal Effect Processor
Price: US $279, UK £219
At A Glance: The Boss VE-5 is a vocal effects processor that is built primarily for live use. It features six types of vocal effects – reverb, delay, double/harmony, dynamics, pitch correct, eq & SFX – as well offering a phrase looper designed for real-time vocal performances where you want to create harmonising or layered beat-boxing effects. Once you have a sound you like you can save it as a preset and there is also a “Favourite Sound” button to provide immediate access to preferred sounds. It has an XLR microphone input with phantom power, an aux input for playing backing tracks through and a mono XLR-output to connect to your mixing desk.
High Notes: The VE-5 offers many of the same effects found on their popular VE-20 pedal unit; however it is designed to mount on a microphone stand to make the controls easier to access for singers not performing with an instrument. Unlike some other similar units, the VE-5 features battery operation, making it an ideal tool for street performers who want to bring some extra vocal processing to their act. You can also use an external foot pedal with the unit to trigger effects such as harmonies if you need extra control – this is not included with the unit however.
Off Pitch: Some users have rated the quality of the effects to be slightly lower than that on other similar units; however they are still an improvement to the built-in effects found on many budget mixing desks. If you don’t feel you can rely on batteries for your live shows, the unit can also be powered via an AC adaptor; however this is sold separately, which is a shame. Also, although it is nice to have the option of two different colours to buy the unit in, both colours are perhaps a little unsubtle on stage for some singers. Finally, unlike the 3-part harmonies offered on the VE-20, the VE-5 is only capable of 2-part harmonies.
VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The VE-5 is capable of sounding great and with its lightweight and easy to travel with design, will no doubt appeal to many singers. On the other hand, there is also a lot of competition at this price and other similar units from other manufacturers that have extra features such as stereo operation and longer looping times. Overall, the Boss VE-5 is a fun unit to play and experiment with, however it would definitely worth comparing it against the competition in your local music store before deciding if it is the right unit for you.
Manufacturers’ Website: http://www.roland.co.uk