by Stefan Wyeth | 3,8 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 4 Minutes
The best vocal effects pedals

Which are the the best vocal effects pedals?  ·  Source: Maelle Ramsay / Unsplash

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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.

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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

Boss VE-20

Boss VE-20 Bundle

Boss VE-20 Bundle

Customer rating:
(84)

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 Voco-Loco

Radial Engineering Voco-Loco

Radial Engineering Vocoloco

Radial Engineering Vocoloco

Customer rating:
(27)

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.

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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 Endeavours MAW

Old Blood Noise Endeavours MAW

Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW XLR Pedal

Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW XLR Pedal

Customer rating:
(13)

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

Zoom V6 SP

Zoom V6 SP

Zoom V6 SP

Customer rating:
(5)

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

TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme

TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme

TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme

Customer rating:
(192)

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Image Sources:
  • Boss VE-20: Boss
  • Radial Engineering Voco-Loco: Radial Engineering
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW: Old Blood Noise Endeavors
  • Zoom V6 SP: Zoom
  • TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme: TC Helicon
The best vocal effects pedals

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7 responses to “The best vocal effects pedals for studio and stage”

    Sean says:
    2

    I’m really glad to see this post, because vocal pedals ought to have WAY more attention in live music market. Unfortunately the best the market has to offer are pedals that are pretty low in quality and more gimmick than meaningful.
    The Boss ve20 is an over 18 year old dinosaur, and the 7 year old voicelive 3 (this predates iphone4 technology…) sounds like a toy compared to most console preamps and built in effects.
    The industry really would benefit from a vocal pedal that does only a few things, and well:
    Preamps that are on par with studio or large venue quality preamps.
    Reverb, ducked delay, and possibly a simple auto tune, that are natural.
    I wish we had a Helix quality vocal effect pedal but given the lackluster product offering in the market that is a long way off.
    For what its worth, Ive used most of these up there, and the Roland vt-4 blows them all out of the water by a mile. Unfortunately its designed more towards ed and dj music. For example, xlr in but only 1/4 out. And desk top format, it footswitch form

      Brennan says:
      0

      Actually there has been a great solution for years now. It’s called the Eventide Mixing Link. It’s a swiss army knife for FX, allowing linking of multiple types of sources together with no issues. I use it to run my vocals or any other instrument through any guitar fx or any other fx chain I want including my phone or laptop or rack gear and it is the size of a stompbox. Even has mic pre built right in. It’s the heart of my chain for live. You can use it to custom build your best vocal chain using the multitude of guitar stompboxes or run line level keys or synths through the same or just run your phone app fx from your pocket. It’s great.

    Champ says:
    1

    I’m hoping that next decade we’ll see better vocal effects. Up till now there still aren’t any pedals that sound fantastic on voices. Unless you go for a very robotic, chipmunk or alien type of sound, then every pedal will basically do the job.

    Elek B. says:
    -1

    Interesting, would like to know more details.)

    Paul says:
    0

    Like Sean says above, I’d love to see more vocal (and wind instrument-oriented) pedals. I use an OBNE MAW with my sax and recorder. It is freakin’ awesome. Best pedal investment I’ve made bar none though I love many of the other pedals i have.

      Karen says:
      1

      I’m an older Woodwind player, which one do you think works best for that? Don’t sing a lot.

        Paul Boos says:
        0

        Seeing this a little late; I personally use the MAW and a TC Electronics Quintessence (for harmonizing). I add in some vocoder for robot effects on my voice from time to time using an EHX v256. This is a pretty complete and simple set-up IMHO.

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