There was time when it was only guitarists who used stompboxes, but lately vocalists have been getting in on the act with specialised pedals that can generate harmonies, add reverb and even correct their out of tune warblings. TC Helicon’s pedals always go above and beyond. One look at TC Helicon’s VoiceTone Harmony-G XT proves that. Speaking of VoiceTone, it’s one of the best vocal harmonizer pedals you can get right now. Today we’re going to take a closer look and show you what it has to offer.
This could be considered the little brother of the VoiceLive Play GTX, as they both use the same harmony algorithm. Great, automatic vocal tone-shaping, with five different settings. The doubling on this unit is VERY nice; very human-like.
The very core of VoiceTone Harmony-G XT is the all new TC Helicon processor. It is the best they have to offer, and it is every bit as good as you would expect. The pedal is a double wide design that features a rugged body and great build quality. When you pick it up, it has some weight to it which definitely inspires confidence. The layout of controls and inputs is simple and to the point.
The Harmony-G XT is the successor to TC-Helicon’s Harmony-G vocal effect and takes some features from the more upmarket VoiceLive 2. It’s designed to provide a variety of effects to enhance any singing performance including, among others, harmony generation, doubling effects, reverb, delay, compression and automatic chromatic frequency correction.
It always amazes us how TC Helicon makes their controls simple to work with. Instead of layering multiple rows of knobs, they pretty much-reduced everything to the bare minimum. Top of the interface features four knobs. There’s Input level knob, Guitar, FX, and Harmony. Underneath those, there is a number of stealthy buttons which don’t stand out all that much. These are used to select presets, store presets, chooseeffects and more.
Operation of the Harmony-G XT revolves around 10 programmable presets arranged in five banks as variations A and B. You can step through the banks with the preset button and switch between the A or B variations with the left footswitch. Each preset can be built up from several elements.
Even though it’s pretty cool to look at, TC Helicon’s VoiceTone Harmony-G XT is even more interesting when actually used. Being a guitar controlled harmonizer with a fairly powerful processor, we were interested to see how well it tracks and anticipates changes in the melody. Needless to say, its performance was stellar in this regard. Not only can you feel trust in the pedal to do its job, but you don’t even have to hook in a microphone for it to work. The idea is that you play your guitar to generate vocal harmonies, although there’s also manual selection of scale and key for singers without an instrument or horn players. You can also use a guitar to manually set a key by playing a chord and holding both footswitches down.
TC Helicon did a great job with this pedal. It might not have the fancy features like some other pedals do, but it covers the core stuff flawlessly. If you’re looking for a no nonsense harmonizer that packs a little extra flavor, this is the one to pay attention to. This pedal offers creative possibilities for vocalists and may be particularly suited to solo acts that want to add a little interest to their music or just present a bigger sound to their audience. Bear in mind, though, that this type of pedal demands to be used with caution, vocal pitchshifting technology isn’t without odd-sounding artefacts and a shift of just a few semitones can appear unnatural if mixed too high in relation to the main vocal.
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