Can this vocal processor for keyboard players replace the need for backing singers?
Item: Roland VP-7 Vocal Processor
Price: US $599 UK £375
At A Glance: The Roland VP-7 is a vocal processer that is great for singers who also play keyboards. Combined with a microphone and a MIDI keyboard, it can be used to produce instant vocal harmonies to accompany your singing. The VP-7 comes bundled with Roland’s DR-HS5 microphone, which is specifically designed for singing keyboard players and optimised to work with the unit. It also has on-board reverb and echo effects for adding the finishing touch to your vocal harmonies.
High Notes: The VP-7 is well suited to both lead singers performing with keyboards and for keyboard players in bands wanting to add backing vocals to accompany a lead singer. It can be used with any microphone not requiring phantom power via its XLR input and it has outputs to connect to a PA and headphones. The device has various options for creating harmonies and effects. These are based on the lyrics that you sing into the microphone ranging from 2-voice harmonies to a full gospel choir sound. It also includes a selection of vocoder effects, which will no doubt be of interest to electronic music producers. In a live setting a foot controller can be used to switch the harmonies on and off during the performance and it can also be used without a microphone to create choral backing sound by just playing your keyboard though it.
Off Pitch: If you are not intending to use the bundled microphone, then you may feel the unit is quite expensive when compared to some of its competition. Also, although the harmonies work well, they do have a tendency to sound a little artificial at times.
A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The VP-7 is simple to use with dedicated buttons for instant access to the preset sounds. There are also individual controls for volume, mic level, harmony mix, and ambience level. It has a good range of different harmony sounds that will suit most styles of music and the added inclusion of a vocoder gives an extra sonic option to enliven your music. The VP-7’s harmonies even work if you cannot sing in tune, which will no doubt appeal to non-singers who want to do backing vocals. There are other devices on the market that can also produce MIDI controlled vocal harmonies such as TC Helicon’s Harmony-M and VoiceLive 2. These are also foot controlled and, in the case of the VoiceLive2, also offer several additional effects and vocal looping.
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.roland.com