Zoom is having a busy year with multiple product launches in its popular multi-effects and digital recorders categories. The latest addition to its line-up is a first-timer for the manufacturer – a vocal effects unit named the V6. Considering Zoom’s decades-long experience with multi-effects, I can’t help but wonder what took them so long.
Regardless, the V6 seems to be just as useful for vocalists as the G-series floorboards are for guitar players. It even ships with a proprietary microphone to get the point across – the handheld SGV-6 shotgun mic, designed for vocal isolation by means of ambient and stage noise suppression.
Voice, Harmony and Effects
The V6 is a fairly typical-looking Zoom floorboard that comes complete with an expression pedal but trades color screens for a numeric display. The available effects are divided into three sections – Voice, Harmony, and Effects. Additionally, the expression pedal controls a formant shifter that works without changing the pitch.
The Voice section has 12 effects suitable for vocals, such as doubling, octave up/down, and pitch correction for EDM-style vocals. Additional choices include vocoder, bass vocoder, whistle, robot, talkbox, deep and child.
Harmonies and Effects
The Harmonizer lets you add two voices to create three-part harmonies. There are five choices, ranging from Lower to Higher. I assume they correspond to intervals and Zoom named them like this to make the unit accessible for singers unfamiliar with intervals and other music theory stuff. Any two of them can be active at a given moment.
The Effect section has Delay (with Time, Feedback and Mix properties); Reverbs (delay + reverb, hall, room, plate), echo, chorus, distortion, telephone, and beat box.
There’s no in-depth parameter tweaking – you get two Adjust knobs for the Voice and Effect sections, a Key selector for the pitch correction and harmonizer, and a Mix knob. However, Zoom will be selling an optional expression pedal for more control over effects parameters.
The package is rounded out by a voice enhancer (preset EQ + de-essing), single-knob compressor, and a looper which records and overdubs up to 3 minutes and 30 seconds of audio. There are 40 factory presets to get you started. The V6 also functions as a bus-powered USB audio interface, recording at up to 32-bit, 44.1kHz. An AC adapter is included, although the V6 can run for 3.5 hours on four AA batteries. There’s a line output for connecting to mixers and a headphone out with volume control.
The V6 is greatly simplified, which should make for a very immediate live performance tool. If well implemented and easily accessible, the harmonizer and looper will make some pretty wild arrangements possible, with little to no technical distractions for the singer. And then comes a nicely varied effects selection to take things over the top. I’m also interested in how the SGV-6 mic fares in eliminating room, background and stage noise while preserving a nice vocal tone.
Price and availability
At EUR 369 (incl. European VAT), the V6 is priced in the ballpark of TC-Helicon’s VoiceLive Touch 2 and well below the popular Boss RC-505 looper and effects station. The V6 packs plenty of performance potential for the money, especially if the effects and included microphone sound good.