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Review: TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play GTX

Is TC-Helicon’s latest effects pedal the perfect device for singer-guitarists? -asks Chris Kennedy

Type: Vocal Effects Processor

Price: US $350, UK £289

Mic Rating:

At A Glance: VoiceLive Play GTX is an effects pedal for singer guitarists who want to process their vocals and guitar tone all within one simple unit; this is not to be confused with the VoiceLivelay which is only for vocals. It combines TC-Helicon’s vocal effects and harmony generation technology with guitar amp modelling and effects from TC-Electronic. It comes with over 200 preset sounds to get you started and has foot controls for switching between them and for turning assignable effects (such as harmony) on and off. Also included is TC-Helicon’s Adaptive Tone feature that intelligently controls EQ, compression and de-essing to provide the perfect tonal balance; and a live looper section that works with both vocal and guitar. The unit has an XLR input for connecting your mic, a ¼ inch jack guitar input and output (to connect to an amp if you want to bypass the guitar effects), a stereo AUX input in to connect an MP3 player (this is also useful for connecting an electric piano or synthesiser), a MIDI input, stereo XLR outputs, a USB connection for organising presets and updating the units firmware, and a headphone output.

High Notes: The unit has a fantastic array of great sounding vocal effects that are flexible and easy to edit. Each effect section has a range of different versions (for example there are eight styles of vocal delay, each with their own editable parameters) meaning that you can easily create effect chains to suit pretty much every musical genre. The guitar effects section includes 11 amp emulations ranging from clean jazz-style amps to hi-gain metal amps. These can be combined with a range of in-built guitar effects such as reverb, delay, chorus, phase and flange to create your perfect guitar sound. The guitar effects are separate from your vocal effects and there is a special setting for acoustic guitar. All the individual effect parameters are adjucted via the controls on the front of the device and there is also a useful ‘mix’ button that opens up a virtual mixer section that allows you to quickly adjust a range of global levels (such as guitar level or output level).

Off Pitch: It would be nice if the unit also included a line-level output (instead of just a mic level output) so that it can be connected directly into a power amp or active speaker system that does not have mic inputs without the need of a mixing desk. Also, the radio and distortion vocal effects are quite prone to causing microphone feedback in a gig setting. This, however, is a common problem with live vocal distortion effects and TC-Helicon has usefully included an adjustable gate to try to minimise this problem.

A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says:  The VoiceLive Play GTX has far too many functions and effects to individually list in this review. One function I haven’t mentioned but have found particularly useful is that of its “RoomSense” mics. These are designed to pick up the sound of the other instruments around you which you can then feed into your headphone monitor mix. This is great if, like me, you use wireless in-ear monitoring at gigs and do not like to feel too isolated from the rest of the band. If you are not interested in the GTX’s guitar functions then  you may want to look at the VoiceLive Play, which contains all of the vocal effects but without the guitar processing abilities. Overall the VoiceLive Play GTX is a fantastic piece of kit with an impressive array of features for the price that sets it way ahead of the competition.

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.tc-helicon.com/products/voicelive-play-gtx/

Other Reviews:

Review 1

Review 2

  • Robert_walker

    I use this in a duo its excelent.the only thing is the documentation and uset guide
    the Gtx has 200 preset already of 500 available.
    Great effects on voice all editable.and great effects and
    amp modeling for guitars all editable.more info on extra pedal
    plug in. And usability of the unit and patch libray software and
    were to down load would be helpfull.
    Great for guitar and vocal i use double patch for rythm n solo at a single foot tap change guitar sound and vocal patch.sounds better when switching in n out of harmonies in songs.hold foot down to talk and tune. Get one try one. There is a lot of editable effects for voice and guitar.

  • Kiril_petroff

    Nice unit! I use it professionally as a troubadour and the voice section is simply perfect – I couldn’t ask for more! The guitar section is good – especially the cleaner sounds, but is still coming short of the competition like line 6 and boss modellers on the heavier lead sounds. Still possible to achieve great sounds though… Looper is very  good and though only 15 secs in “Undo mode” is one of the thigns I find most important in my job. I try to use it while playng along a drum machine, but it’s almost impossible to keet it in sync more than a couple of loops. It would be great if the looper could MIDI-sync with other devices like a drum machine or sequencer… I believe such an option is possible to add in a following firmware update, and that would be the option to make the unit “the most versatile ever”!

  • Virotax

    This unit is fantastic!!! It has so many tools. In order to really describe it you need to write a book.

  • TC Helicon please send me a sample unit so that I can evaluate it and use it to make the money I need to be able to afford to buy one. LOL!

  • R Leon56

    Is this able to power a condenser vocal mic?

  • Hi – yes it works great and supplies the +48V phantom power. I use my studio vocal mic (a Rode NT1) with my VoiceLive Play very often and it sounds really good. You just need to select “Condenser Mic” in the settings menu.

  • I have one and it sounds great. What is the midi line for? Please explain.

  • chris

    so it can identify the key for harmony generation if you are using a keyboard with it

  • Anonymous

    I use this unit for all of my solo performances and always get complemented on the sound quality. It is fun and easy to use. My only complaints (hardly a complaint considered the price) are:
    1. I would love a real offline editor where I can tweak the setting on my laptop and then sync it back up.
    2. I would love a longer loop time.

  • Jamie

    Can anyone advise about what type of earbud or other headset might be good for this . Wired is fine for me, but I have no experience with a monitoring of this sort. Thanks

  • chris

    I use the Shure SE215 with a wireless sender – you may need an extensions cable to use it wired though

  • J.J. Lloyd

    This is a great product. I cannot imagine anything working better and more simply for a singing guitarist. I simply love mine. I read some bad reviews on the guitar settings, but I use mine with a clean acoustic sound so I can’t speak to that. I couldn’t give this thing a bad review if I tried. It does take some “tinkering” to get the sound that you want but I’m sure since everyone’s ears are different that is normal. Get one…Take the time to set it up and play with it until it does what you like…never buy another pedal again. I love it!