Review: TC-Helicon’s Play Acoustic


Is this the perfect effects unit for singers who perform with acoustic guitar?

Item: TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play Acoustic, Vocal and Guitar Effects Processor

Price: $299 (US), £235 (UK)

Mic Rating: 5/5

At A Glance: The VoiceLive Play Acoustic is TC-Helicon’s latest addition to their poplar line of vocal effects units. It is designed for singers who perform live with acoustic guitar and combines a large array of TC-Helicon’s vocal effects with separate effects section for acoustic guitar. As well as guitar effects such as reverb and chorus, one new effect found on the device is “Body-Rez”. This is designed to sweeten the tone of your acoustic guitar’s piezo pickup and make it sound more like a mic’d -up acoustic. There is also an anti-feedback module that includes a notch eq and low-cut filter. There is a massive selection of vocal effects including reverbs, delays, doubling, pitch correction and harmony generation. The Play Acoustic also incorporates TC-Helicon’s excellent “Adaptive Tone” feature that automatically sets optimal settings for eq, compression and de-essing.

tc_helicon_play_acousticHigh Notes: The quality of the vocal effects on the Play Acoustic is far superior to what you would find on the vast majority of mixing desks and is far more flexible and easier to use than bringing a selection of separate effects units to every gig. Its ability to store presets means you can have a different vocal effects chain for every song you perform if you want that you can easily select using the foot switches. There are a wide range of vocal sounds to get you started, however you can also create your own effects chains from scratch and you can also download extra presets onto the unit via USB that have been created by TC-Helicon using the VoiceSupport software. Its mic input has phantom power, so you can use both dynamic and condenser microphones (as well as TC’s special mics with “Mic Control”) – and it has dual XLR outputs for stereo operation or for sending your vocals and guitar to separate channels. Other features found on the Play Acoustic include a guitar tuner, looper, headphone out with in-built mics to capture the ambient sound when using in-ear monitors, aux-in for connecting a MP3 player and an on-board mixer for balancing your levels.

Off Pitch: When compared to the Play Electric there are not as many different guitar effects, however there are enough for most users and the addition of the Body-Rez effect is particularly useful.

Audio Demo:

VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The VoiceLive Play Acoustic is an excellent device that has more features than can be easily covered in this review. I recently tried it at a few gigs and definitely had some of the best vocal and acoustic guitar sounds that I have ever had in a live setting, with hardly any effort setting it up. It is simple to use and contains all the effects you need to get a great sound to send to your PA system. If you are a singer who also plays acoustic guitar, you’ll definitely want to try out the Play Acoustic.

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