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  • #16
    Per Craig’s suggestion and in the spirit of exploring “new and different uses for things you normally use for something else,” I tried a bunch of different drum sounds passed through the VoiceLive 2.



    It turns out, tom-toms are really the only thing that yield usable results. This is probably because they are the most focused in terms of a “fundamental,” at least when compared to the other instruments found in a standard kit. Snares and cymbals are just too smeary for a vocal processor to work with, and a kick doesn’t really produce anything musical. Toms, however, provided some nice surprises, especially when you remember that this was all done with a vocal processor.



    What follows is a progression from normal to increasingly weird. My approach was to just step through the presets with a looped tom fill. When I heard some aspect of the preset that I thought could be drawn out more, I altered just that parameter (e.g., tap tempo), and only slightly at that. Otherwise, I left everything intact, because the experiment here was to use vocal processing, and not to tweak the functions you’d find on any multi-effects processor (detuning, modulation, ambience, etc.).



    Below are my rough descriptions of the eight clips on the mp3 file found here:



    1. Unprocessed one-bar tom fill using four drums: three rack toms and a floor tom, played from high to low.

    2. Doubled, with increased ambience.

    3. Boomier, with a clappy, flappy sound.

    4. Boomier still, with audible rhythmic slapback and some slight flanging (I used the tap tempo function here).

    5. Fundamental of toms are perceived as pitches, with buzzy vocoder effect

    6. Explosive effect with flange and weird “afterglow”—my favorite!

    7. Ray-gun effect with descending filter-sweep fall-off, courtesy of vocoder function.

    8. The megaphone/AM-radio treatment, yielding a hand-clap/high-roto-tom/guiro sound.





    I really like #6, #7, and #8. They’re just unexpected, bizarre, and fun. But note the fullness of #3 and #4. These are closer in function to the original, though they might be just the ticket if you’re looking for that “tom-toms that ate Cleveland” sound.
    Jon Chappell
    Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
    Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

    Comment


    • #17
      After lusting after one online for a couple of weeks & viewing all the demo vids, I was able to talk a friend into letting me borrow his for a week. Here's my assessment:



      Top notch! Smooth, high quality effects and sounds with great options - reverb, delay, harmony, bypass, etc. Solid construction. There's not much to complain about, with the exception of the standard wall wart (as mentioned before here in this thread.) I didn't really get into programming much, but found that slight adjustments were easily made without having to read the manual.



      Using a Rode NT1A and taking advantage of my unusually monumental vocal skills (rebuttal, anyone?) - I demo'd all the vocal patches, and practically all are useful. As a horn player, I blew some trumpet through a 1-down patch, and was able to create some killer riffs and a perfect lower harmony under the lead. I didn't get to sample much sax, but usually if the harmonies on trumpet work well, the sax is not too hard to follow suit, either by adjustment or default. Saxes, I have found, are harder to emulate anyway because of their dynamic nature. It's a little easier - for me - to create realistic harmonies on trumpet through a harmonizer rather than saxophone. I attribute this to the cutting, clear and ringing brass tones a trumpet is capable of, whereas a saxophone seems to have more "looseness" in tonality and general make-up.



      I got to use the Voice Live 2 on three gigs, and the first was not that successful. I MIDI'd a keyboard and sang some bgv's at a church gig. I kept having gating issues, as I'd sing into the mic, and suddenly everything - lead vocals and harmonies, would just jump out loudly. In the unit's defense, I didn't get to do a sound check and set up the parameters properly. I had been using the M-Harmony by TC Helicon, and I was used to "plug & play" operation. The other two gigs were primarily horn gigs, and I didn't even use the harmony settings, rather just relying on the reverb and delay to sweeten my sound, and boy, did it! The unit is almost worth its price just for the effects without the harmony function.



      Anyway, I've been wanting a unit before I got to demo one, and I still want one now that I have had the chance to put it through the paces! For a guy like myself who does a variety of gigs - church, cover bands, solo, on-call horns, this unit is a "must have" for me. If you're a serious vocalist who plays guitar or keys, and you are versatile enough to perform different gigs, a tool like the Voice Live 2 would be very valuable. I didn't even get into the mp3 input option, but I can see myself doing "coffee shop" and solo gigs again.

      Comment


      • #18






        Quote Originally Posted by chazmuz
        View Post

        After lusting after one online for a couple of weeks & viewing all the demo vids, I was able to talk a friend into letting me borrow his for a week. Here's my assessment:



        Top notch! Smooth, high quality effects and sounds with great options - reverb, delay, harmony, bypass, etc. Solid construction. There's not much to complain about, with the exception of the standard wall wart (as mentioned before here in this thread.) I didn't really get into programming much, but found that slight adjustments were easily made without having to read the manual.



        Using a Rode NT1A and taking advantage of my unusually monumental vocal skills (rebuttal, anyone?) - I demo'd all the vocal patches, and practically all are useful. As a horn player, I blew some trumpet through a 1-down patch, and was able to create some killer riffs and a perfect lower harmony under the lead. I didn't get to sample much sax, but usually if the harmonies on trumpet work well, the sax is not too hard to follow suit, either by adjustment or default. Saxes, I have found, are harder to emulate anyway because of their dynamic nature. It's a little easier - for me - to create realistic harmonies on trumpet through a harmonizer rather than saxophone. I attribute this to the cutting, clear and ringing brass tones a trumpet is capable of, whereas a saxophone seems to have more "looseness" in tonality and general make-up.



        I got to use the Voice Live 2 on three gigs, and the first was not that successful. I MIDI'd a keyboard and sang some bgv's at a church gig. I kept having gating issues, as I'd sing into the mic, and suddenly everything - lead vocals and harmonies, would just jump out loudly. In the unit's defense, I didn't get to do a sound check and set up the parameters properly. I had been using the M-Harmony by TC Helicon, and I was used to "plug & play" operation. The other two gigs were primarily horn gigs, and I didn't even use the harmony settings, rather just relying on the reverb and delay to sweeten my sound, and boy, did it! The unit is almost worth its price just for the effects without the harmony function.



        Anyway, I've been wanting a unit before I got to demo one, and I still want one now that I have had the chance to put it through the paces! For a guy like myself who does a variety of gigs - church, cover bands, solo, on-call horns, this unit is a "must have" for me. If you're a serious vocalist who plays guitar or keys, and you are versatile enough to perform different gigs, a tool like the Voice Live 2 would be very valuable. I didn't even get into the mp3 input option, but I can see myself doing "coffee shop" and solo gigs again.




        Great assessment, chazmuz. I'm not a horn player, so I appreciate the insight on trumpets and saxophones. My experience about saxes being more slippery is consistent with yours, but I'm coming at it from the perspective of a non-wind player. I suppose that's why the sax is often said to be the most "vocal-like." It's a little slower to speak, the transient isn't a sharp, and it tends to have a little more portamento (sliding into and out of notes, pitchwise) overall.



        I agree about the "must have." If you can marshal the powers of this harmonizer, you can really bring something unique to a live performance gig. Even just "ooze and oz" on chord tones while the lead singer does his/her thing is a great way to provide additional texture. And you don't have to do it all the time; just a little "icing on the cake" once in a while.



        Also, the mfr. advises that the soundcheck is a must--that the unit is not only making your lead vocal "sound better," but is calibrating the VL2's performance, too. Maybe that's why you experienced unpredictable behavior.



        If you could post some mp3 clips of trumpet examples through the VoiceLive 2, I'm sure people would like to hear them. That would be much more satisfying than my harmonized sampled collection!
        Jon Chappell
        Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
        Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

        Comment


        • #19
          Cool to see a Pro Review of this unit. I ordered mine from a local supplier in Melbourne here two months ago and I am still waiting on delivery. I am just about ready to purchase one from overseas. As a dedicated vocalist, I play instruments to accompany myself under protest, but I prefer just to let the cords to the work. I am going to experiment with the unit using a loop pedal to create pitching information. Theoretically I can lay down a bass line and then run this through the VoiceLive singing melodic lines. This should be enough information to create some useable harmonies. However, waiting, waiting ,waiting.
          http://www.davestergo.com

          Comment


          • #20






            Quote Originally Posted by DaveStergo
            View Post

            Theoretically I can lay down a bass line and then run this through the VoiceLive singing melodic lines. This should be enough information to create some useable harmonies.




            The VoiceLive 2 works great in this mode. If you define the key first (rather than letting the machine guess the key from the context), you'll get perfect diatonic harmonies. Now, if you do non-diatonic chords (any secondary dominant, such as a D7 in the key of C), you need to provide the unit with more info than just a root and a fifth from a bassline.



            But the VoiceLive 2 provides several ways to do this.
            Jon Chappell
            Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
            Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

            Comment


            • #21
              The VoiceLive 2 is great for inspiration. Sometimes songwriting can be a lonely and solitary task, so yesterday I turned on the VoiceLive 2 to keep me company. And to help me through a chorus of an Alison Krauss-type song I'm writing.



              First I started with just a simple 3rd harmony. For the sustained notes at the ends of phrases, I switched to 4-voice mode. This seemed to work well. But that wasn't the cool part.



              I was unintentionally using the VoiceLive 2's pitch correction feature on my voice. You actually want that in most cases, so that's the unit's default state. I just forgot, as I turned it on and started singing.



              The rationale for pitch correction is this: If you didn't have it on, harmonizing an out-of-tune lead voice makes everything pretty "sloshing." (It does not make it "real" or "human"--it just sounds bad. Trust me, I know.) So the VoiceLive 2 gently corrects you. Since harmony singing generally has more static melodic movement, and you're trying to (again, generally) square off your melodic moves, you don't really notice pitch correction. At least, I didn't. I only discovered it when I forgot to put the unit in bypass to sing a verse. Then I heard the pitch correction, and went, "Has this been on the whole time?" It had, but I didn't notice.



              If you record your singing, you can use the VoiceLive 2 the way a lot of people would use a plug-in, such as Antares' Auto-Tune. Except that you can use it live, so you're ensured a natural performance going onto disk. This means that if you hear something really bad, or at least unnatural, you can do a retake. You don't have this flexibility if you count on using a plug-in after the fact. You're stuck with what's already on disk.



              So I'm learning to be a better singer with this unit. Mostly because it's keeping me honest about what I decide are "keeper" vocal takes.
              Jon Chappell
              Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
              Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

              Comment


              • #22
                The VoiceLive 2 is great for acoustic guitar players. For one thing, the idea of having self-contained harmony singers seems to benefit the solo musician (or a duo), and many of those folks strap on acoustics when they do their thing.



                But there’s another reason: the VoiceLive 2 sports a no-frills but powerful guitar processor onboard, independent of all the groovy vocal-processing magic it performs. This has two benefits:
                1. You can use the VoiceLive 2 as your sole guitar processor for basic sound-shaping and effects.

                2. By not needing an additional component to process the guitar, you maintain a much simpler signal chain.



                The above two points would appeal to any guitarist, but particularly to acoustic guitarists. (Electric guitarists are used to carting around pedals and boards for their sound.)



                The features the VoiceLive 2 devotes to processing just the guitar—with no involvement of the vocals—are impressive. They include the five “staple” effects you need to process any guitar for live and recording use: gain, EQ, compression, reverb, and modulation. This is like having a dedicated channel strip for your guitar. It’s especially handy for acoustic guitars, which benefit from having some degree of all five effects above, but shun the aesthetics and clutter of a large pedalboard.



                Since you have to plug in your guitar to the VoiceLive 2 anyway (to drive the harmony effects), you might as well benefit from the additional control.



                Having a virtual channel strip inside the VoiceLive 2 makes for a very tidy stage setup!



                Below is the layout of the five effects. You dial these up by simply pressing the Guitar FX button. What could be simpler?



                Jon Chappell
                Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
                Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

                Comment


                • #23
                  I received a P.M. asking me to lay naked the VoiceLive 2's harmony processor--without fancy effects or a busy mix, or anything to obscure the quality of the harmonies.



                  I thought it was a pretty reasonable request, so here's what I did: I took a slow a cappella ballad (the Irish song Danny Boy, sung by a male tenor) and just ran the solo vocal through the unit, switching presets. The only prep work I did was to set the levels. But there are no effects, other than the onboard reverb. Nothing was added in post (i.e., between recording and converting to an mp3).



                  The results were stellar, as you can hear for yourself. In the mp3 file below, you can hear the first phrase ("Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling") in front, as it sounds as I recorded it (with the VoiceLive 2 in bypass mode). This is followed by the entire song (with the first line repeated) with different presets activated on the different phrases.



                  Here's how it broke down.




                  Code:

                  (Bypass):            Oh Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes are calling

                  Doubling: Oh Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes are calling
                  Unison Choir: From glen to glen and down the mountainside
                  Harmony Above: The summer's gone and all the roses falling
                  'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide
                  Harmony Above/Below: But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
                  Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
                  Full Choir Harmony: 'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
                  Oh Danny Boy, Oh Danny Boy, I love you so.

                  Danny Boy.mp3



                  For the second verse, I started with a high harmony and went to full choir.



                  To supply the harmonies, I simply brushed chords on the downbeats--something any moderately competent guitarist could do.
                  Jon Chappell
                  Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
                  Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    In a live setting, is there any real-world audible net benefit to this unit over the VL4?

                    Comment


                    • #25






                      Quote Originally Posted by Chumly
                      View Post

                      In a live setting, is there any real-world audible net benefit to this unit over the VL4?




                      Well, if by "live" and "real world," you mean readily discernible to the ear, the answer is yes. I've worked with the VL4 and it's a good unit.



                      The TC-H VoiceLive 2 is much smoother, less glitchy, more accurate, and more powerful. It's more expensive too, so it's not really fair to compare the two, but as a processor, the VoiceLive 2 is in a different class.
                      Jon Chappell
                      Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
                      Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

                      Comment


                      • #26






                        Quote Originally Posted by Chumly
                        View Post

                        In a live setting, is there any real-world audible net benefit to this unit over the VL4?




                        I'd encourage you to check it out for yourself but in the meantime, I'll tell you a few things about what I like about it. Yup, I'm biased but I gig lots and VoiceLive 2 makes my vocals stand out and makes the band sound better as a result.



                        Individual effect access - I can turn what I want on and off within presets when I want. I'm always trying new things.

                        HardTune - I use it one or two songs a night but it grabs attention

                        Harmonies - They're great and they're predictable. The VL4 will react to the same chord differently at different times and that's offputting for me. Also I can switch to, and set key and scale mode in any preset from a standing position when I want that sound.

                        Megaphone - it's a modern effect and used wisely is great

                        Global Tone button - I'm set at the defaults and the overall sheen and slight compression sounds pro with only the effort of pushing the button and letting it do its work.

                        Tap tempo for delay.



                        I could go on but I hope this helps you make your decision.
                        Tom Lang : TC-Helicon

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Welcome, Tom!



                          Tom is both a gigging musician and the guy from TC Helicon, so you can ask him any questions pertaining to the VoiceLive 2's features or design right here in this forum.



                          And if you missed it, check out post #8 for a link to Tom's demo videos.
                          Jon Chappell
                          Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
                          Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I think it may be cool to let users know how I use VoiceLive 2 in performance. I'll periodically post with interesting observations and tips in the upcoming weeks.



                            First, my setup. The VoiceLive 2 is on the left side of my micstand and my 24" guitar pedalboard is on my right. I run VoiceLive 2 with my left foot. Sometimes I have to dance and I'm fine with that!



                            I have about 7 favorite presets I've edited and moved to presets 1-7. The first 3 are exactly the same except they have 1up, 1down, and 1up+1dn. These cover 90% of my harmony needs. I've intensified the µMod effect in my presets to make a giant flange which I use sparingly. The echo is slap-ish and on at all times and the reverb I use only for ballads. Changing to reverb for ballads is a nice sonic treat for the dancers/audience. And the reverb in VoiceLive 2 is very nice of course ...



                            Tone is on at the default settings. Sometimes, if the pa is lacking in low end, I'll add warmth. If it's a good pa/monitors, I'll turn warmth off.



                            My presets have the harmonies turned off and the delay turned on so I can switch around to find what I want while singing/playing. My vocal sounds the same even as I switch presets. When I need the harmony, I'll switch it on and off.



                            My other presets are the attention-grabbers. One has Hardtune assigned to the FX pedal for modern takes on classic songs but only for a single verse or chorus section. We're not trying to be Kanye/Black Eyed Peas! I also use a Tone Drone preset as a cool vocoder effect during a rap by our drummer. For reggae songs the tap tempo with lots of delay level and feedback makes for a more authentic sound. Megaphone I use a lot for individual phrases ("all that glitters is gold") but you have to be careful and reduce the Transducer level a bit if your monitors are loud and the mains are near.



                            More later. Any comments from VoiceLive 2 users out there?
                            Tom Lang : TC-Helicon

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Thank you gentleman!

                              Comment


                              • #30






                                Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lang
                                View Post

                                I think it may be cool to let users know how I use VoiceLive 2 in performance. I'll periodically post with interesting observations and tips in the upcoming weeks.



                                First, my setup. The VoiceLive 2 is on the left side of my micstand and my 24" guitar pedalboard is on my right. I run VoiceLive 2 with my left foot. Sometimes I have to dance and I'm fine with that!



                                I have about 7 favorite presets I've edited and moved to presets 1-7. The first 3 are exactly the same except they have 1up, 1down, and 1up+1dn. These cover 90% of my harmony needs. I've intensified the µMod effect in my presets to make a giant flange which I use sparingly. The echo is slap-ish and on at all times and the reverb I use only for ballads. Changing to reverb for ballads is a nice sonic treat for the dancers/audience. And the reverb in VoiceLive 2 is very nice of course ...



                                Tone is on at the default settings. Sometimes, if the pa is lacking in low end, I'll add warmth. If it's a good pa/monitors, I'll turn warmth off.



                                My presets have the harmonies turned off and the delay turned on so I can switch around to find what I want while singing/playing. My vocal sounds the same even as I switch presets. When I need the harmony, I'll switch it on and off.



                                My other presets are the attention-grabbers. One has Hardtune assigned to the FX pedal for modern takes on classic songs but only for a single verse or chorus section. We're not trying to be Kanye/Black Eyed Peas! I also use a Tone Drone preset as a cool vocoder effect during a rap by our drummer. For reggae songs the tap tempo with lots of delay level and feedback makes for a more authentic sound. Megaphone I use a lot for individual phrases ("all that glitters is gold") but you have to be careful and reduce the Transducer level a bit if your monitors are loud and the mains are near.



                                More later. Any comments from VoiceLive 2 users out there?




                                thanks Tom.



                                What is "hard tune"? Is is exactly like auto-tune with the same sound/effect but just with a different name?



                                Also, I need to use the "telephone" sound (the Beatles Come Together, Dave Edmunds I Hear You Knocking etc.). Can I get that by editing the "megaphone" effect you mention?
                                Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. -Charlie Parker

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