The VoiceLive Play Acoustic is an extremely valuable and versatile tool for the singer/songwriter (acoustic guitar player and vocalist). It allows you to send a refined vocal and acoustic signal to your sound technician. TC Helicon offers a number of specialized harmonizer solutions. One for example comes in the form of the ‘Play Acoustic’ processor. Not only is particularly good, but it is certainly one of the most versatile vocal harmonizer pedals on the market.
Focusing on the vocals, you can make use of the vocal effects. Play Acoustic brings so many features that it’s hard to cover them all. To start with, let’s clarify that there are two different types of effects encapsulated in this device . Guitar effects and vocal effects. Vocals section comes with Adaptive Tone technology. In essence, this feature automatically EQs your voice, adds compression if necessary and de-esses mic channel. Then we have couple of types of reverb, delay, harmonizer and hardtune to name but a few.
Controls on this pedal are kept nice and simple. For a unit that offers so much, it is impressively easy to use. The center of the top panel is dominated by a large display, with a number of buttons located by it. Many of these buttons are used to navigate around the user interface and to select different features. A great thing about this setup, aside from its digital format, is the fact that everything is illuminated. You can still navigate the pedal easily even when in the darkconditions. For the harmonies, you’ll need to play with the different options to find the harmony effect you need for a particular song. You can also set the key for the song, or let the pedal determine the key from your acoustic guitar input. I personally found auto works well most of the time, but I had better results when I set the key for the harmonies.
The VoiceLive Play Acoustic comes with a number of additional features that are quite useful. You can use it as a looper, and you’ve got a tuner onboard as well. Personally I enjoyed using the reverb and BodyRez effects. The BodyRez is also available as a stand-alone pedal. It really does add a nice resonance and body to your instrument on both the bottom and top end of the EQ spectrum. I found it easy to dial in a sound (you get a lot of parameters) for my specific acoustic guitar, and it really did make a big difference in the sound.
It’s no secret that we had high expectations in regards to this pedal’s performance. After playing with a few of their other models, TC Helicon has really grown on us, especially in the harmonizer segment. Unsurprisingly, Play Acoustic met and exceeded all of our expectations. One thing we were most concerned about was that auto equalizing mode for vocals. That simply sounded like something that just wouldn’t work right. We were proven wrong. As weird as it is, the Adaptive Tone technology was actually pretty accurate with compensating for different vocal profiles.
You can change the mic input gain as well as the mic input type. Input/output settings are extensive and flexible. I would recommend visiting the TC Helicon link above and taking a look at the manual to see everything this pedal is capable of.
At the end of the day, our time with TC Helicon Play Acoustic was great. The pedal was very responsive, quick on its feet and followed input with clinical accuracy. While there are definitely cheaper models on the market, this one is absolutely worth every penny you invest in it.
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