When we listen to music, the vocal sound is the first thing our ears naturally single out as a focal point. This makes vocal production a great tool to define yourself as an artist, especially in today’s rather saturated musical landscape. To help you do this, we’ve selected some of the best vocal effects pedals for studio and stage.
Which are the best vocal effects pedals?
Vocal effects offer a range of sonic possibilities that you can use to your benefit while, recording, performing, and rehearsing. From EQ and compression to reverb, delay, and pitch-based effects, you can find ways to set up effects chains to accentuate each section of your songs.
Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer
The simple but effective Boss VE-20 is one of the most popular vocal pedals available. Although it may not offer the most sophisticated control for effects design, most of the standard presets are usable.
You can achieve pretty decent reverb, delay, phase/flange, and distortion sounds without too much menu diving, but the interface design does fall slightly short for use in live performance situations.
Overall, the VE-20 is a great choice for beginners or those who are only seeking to use vocal effects rather sparingly. The harmonizer does sound rather artificial and the looper is rather limited, so perhaps look elsewhere for these features.
Boss VE-20 Bundle
Radial Engineering Voco-Loco
The Voco-Loco from Radial Engineering is a versatile solution for adding an effects chain to vocals or other acoustic instruments like saxophones and trumpets.
It’s equipped with a decent preamp, EQ, and two footswitches for engaging the effects loops in different ways. The main feature is obviously being able to use any guitar pedal available which is incredible, and you have the ability to carefully balance your wet and dry signal.
That being said, not every pedal sounds great on vocals so be sure to try before you buy. Not everyone wants to sound like the Beastie Boys with a Boss DS-1, but it’s certainly an option.
Radial Engineering Vocoloco
Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW
Old Blood Noise Endeavors make some interesting pedals to put it mildly, and the MAW is extremely outlandish even by their standards. What started as a simple design request to build an XLR effects unit, quickly turned into a monster with huge creative capabilities.
The MAW gives you a preamp and two independently blendable effects chains. This provides a range of different effects including octave shift, rotary, flange, phase, delay, and reverb.
In addition, you also have the option of using additional pedals with the aux send/return, and there’s a completely dry post effects XLR out for mixing purposes.
Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW XLR Pedal
Zoom V6 SP
If you’ve used Zoom multi-FX pedals before, you’ll know they are packed with features. The Zoom V6 SP has just about every effect you can think of, and a few you probably haven’t heard yet.
The layout is broken down into three sections: one for altering the character of the voice, one for creating harmonies, and one for adding effects. Meanwhile, there is also a pretty involved looper and formant shifter, which gives you plenty to play with.
Overall, you have plenty of creative tools to build layers of lush effects and the Zoom V6 SP comes with its own shotgun mic to get going immediately.
Zoom V6 SP
TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme
The VoiceLive 3 Extreme is the flagship of the TC-Helicon vocal pedals, with all the live performance features you’d expect in this price range. Rather than being simply a vocal effects unit, this pedal gives you workstation-like control for stage performance.
The ability to playback your backing track and sync effects automation over different sections of each song in your set is one of the most unique features. This allows you to worry less about the technical side and more about your performance.
In addition, you have individual switches for each effect category and extensive connectivity options for both studio and stage. This type of pedal, however, is geared more toward guitar-playing singers and songwriters, so keep this in mind.
TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme
More about the best vocal effects pedals:
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- Boss VE-20: Boss
- Radial Engineering Voco-Loco: Radial Engineering
- Old Blood Noise Endeavours MAW: Old Blood Noise Endeavours
- Zoom V6 SP: Zoom
- TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme: TC Helicon