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
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/