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  • #16






    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Angel
    View Post

    I was referring to hiss reported by one of the members in the VL2 thread regarding his VL4.



    From everything I have read and it has been a lot there is NO WAY I am not getting this thing. It seems to be a truly remarkable piece of equipment. I am just curious if others have experienced the same hiss he had reported.




    I didn't have hiss issues with the VL2. I've only used the VL4 in a band rehearsal context, and if there was hiss, the guitar and drums did an excellent job of masking it However, I do hit the levels fairly hard, and that may be the solution - just turn up the gain. As I record audio examples of the VL4, it will go under the microscope a bit more and we'll see what we find.



    I don't know how the metering in the VL4 works, but many LED meters will "hold" transients for a short period of time. So, even a 2 ms spike that you would never perceive could end up indicating an overload condition. Although LEDs are useful, I still end up adjusting my ear, and using the LEDs to confirm.
    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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    • #17
      I ended up using the VL4 during rehearsal today, and found it both simple and difficult to figure out. Simple because it was easy to set up, and get a good major 3rd harmony happening. I turned off MusIQ as the song was pretty basic, so the harmonies were perfect whether I played guitar or not.



      The difficult part is that there are a lot more options! For example, I've never encountered a "Persona" parameter before so I really did need to crack the manual to find out what this was all about. There are a LOT of novelty/totally out there sounds along with the usual suspects, and I bet some of them are really useable once you figure out a context. I didn't find the Unison option like on the VL2 immediately, but I'm sure it's in there somewhere...I just added some chorus and short pre-delay.



      It appears to me (and someone from DigiTech is welcome to chime in if I'm wrong) is that the VL4 is designed for two major contexts:



      1. As a super version of the VL2 with presets, more options, pitch correction, more algorithms, etc. In other words, a major league voice tweaker for live use.



      2. An "all-in-one" box where a solo performer can do the above vocal tricks, but also add in guitar processing. For my purposes, I'm not going to get rid of my GNX3000 or PODxt any time soon in favor of the effects in the VL4, but I would imagine this could really simplify life for a lot of live performers.



      One thing is clear: With the VL2, I used it more or less as a set-and-forget box. I plan to exploit the VL4 much, much more for the band.
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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      • #18
        To those that already have the VL2 or VL4:



        Sorry if these seem like silly questions.



        I have fellow band members poo-pooing the idea of the VL2 or VL4 on the basis of "poor sound quality ie: electronic, artificial sounding....even though they have never heard one or even read any of the reviews.

        I'm convinced from what I've read in these threads that they're ok, especially live.

        But just for some additional reassurance before I spend the bucks for something my band won't want to use:



        For live band use, is the quality of the harmony vocals good?

        On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate them compared to "real" live

        voices?



        Also, How much of a problem do you encounter, if any, when the guitar needs to stop playing chords to play riffs and such. Say for a Power Trio type band with only one guitar. I'm trying to figure how much of a problem this would be in the context of the songs we do and how often it would even happen compared to when harmonies are needed, but that's pretty difficult to calculate especially since I play bass. I know it would depend on the particular song etc....I just mean in general.



        Lastly, how preoccupied does someone in the band need to be regarding when to hit the footswitches on and off? Who does this in your band? If you have a front person/vocalist only do you make them responsible? Wouldn't that detract from whoever is responsible's ability to "be part of the show" so to speak?

        Just wondering how others handle this. I can't help but see this as a potential nightmare that could take SO much of the fun out of playing.
        "I Want To Soak Up The SUNN !! "

        Trying to "shred" it [Comfortably Numb] is like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa - babalugats85 -

        "Fat girls are like mopeds. They're lots of fun 'til your friends see you on one"
        - TIMKEYS-

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        • #19
          Caveat on these comments: I am the lead singer/guitar player in a working classic rock cover band. I've had the VL4 for a couple days, and have experimented with it for a total of about six hours in my studio at home. I haven't used it with the band yet, and I haven't run it through our full PA (just my little Marshall AS50R practice amp).









          Quote Originally Posted by pickinatit
          View Post

          For live band use, is the quality of the harmony vocals good?




          Compared to what? It really comes down to the band. If you have three or four good singers that can consistently hit their harmonies, I wouldn't bother with the VL4.



          But my experience is that that's pretty rare. Most bands are lucky to have one decent singer singing leads. In those cases, the VL4 seems like a great option. Its not going to be the equal of having a cadre of pro's singing backup, but for the average working band, its going to be a huge improvement over where they are currently.



          One other consideration is that the VL4 will allow you to get new material performance-ready much more quickly.








          Also, How much of a problem do you encounter, if any, when the guitar needs to stop playing chords to play riffs and such. Say for a Power Trio type band with only one guitar.



          Good question. I don't know the answer. But I will say this: I had heard that the VL4 struggled with fingerstyle, preferring chords to glean the key. I tested that, and found that it actually did a pretty good job. Plus, depending on the harmony voices you are using, it may or may not be a disaster if it misses a key change (or is late).








          Lastly, how preoccupied does someone in the band need to be regarding when to hit the footswitches on and off?



          In our band, I'll be operating the VL4. As I said, I'm the lead singer.



          Playing around with it, I think I prefer the "hold the switch down to engage harmonies" mode, rather than toggle mode. But I'll wait until we have a few gigs with it to finalize that decision.

          Comment


          • #20
            Regarding pitch correction, I am curious how it works with harmonies.



            The section of the manual dealing with PC is simple enough. From what I can tell, in the real world, you will set it to "CHROM"atic scale, set the window parameter to 99, set to rate to 30, and set the amount to 99. From what I could see, those were the settings that Digitech used for all the presets that had PC turned on.



            But how does that effect harmony voices?



            For example, p19 of the manual lists a bunch of harmony options, among them:



            U - Unison. Creates a copy of the lead vocal.

            UC - Unicon corrected. Creates a copy of the lead vocal with pitch correction.



            That's where I get confused. Suppose you have PC turned off on a given preset, but select the "UC" harmony. Is only the harmony voice corrected (leaving the original vocal unaltered)? If so, what parameters are used for the harmony pitch correction?



            It also says : "Turning on ...pitch correction requires the use of a harmony voice".



            Suppose I turn PC on, but have all harmonies off. What happens? Is pitch correction occurring? Is it a blend of the natural signal and the processed signal?



            I am also sending this question to DigiTech directly. I'll post any response I get.

            Comment


            • #21
              I've been corresponding with DigiTech on these questions. Here's what I've learned:



              The harmonies are generated after the pitch correction occurs. Therefore if you have pitch correction turned on, the harmonies will be corrected automatically:



              "Raw Vocal" --> "Pitch Corrector" --> "Harmony Generator"



              But I was never able to get an answer to how the UC harmony works. If I have PC turned off, and am using the UC harmony, what happens?

              Comment


              • #22






                Quote Originally Posted by Michael Angel
                View Post

                Hi SoloArtist,



                My VL4 is on back order too. I was referring to hiss reported by one of the members in the VL2 thread regarding his VL4.



                From everything I have read and it has been a lot there is NO WAY I am not getting this thing. It seems to be a truly remarkable piece of equipment. I am just curious if others have experienced the same hiss he had reported.



                My initial response to him was to mention the ground lift switch and he said it helped with hum but did nothing with the hiss. He did say that how he set the Gate did seem to have an affect on it but I am most interested in learning if increasing the mic input level has any affect on reducing the hiss.



                By the way, it was not reported as being a major problem, especially live. More of a concern in the studio.



                Also, he did mention he was using power line conditioning and his system was clean in terms of doing an A/B comparision using mic into his board (no hiss) versus mic into VL4 (hiss).



                Anyone else experiencing a similar problem? Have you found any work around solutions? Any constructive feedback on the matter would be appreciated.



                Thanks.




                Gottcha! Hum or Hiss, if its audible it needs to be corrected. I've switched to condenser microphones which of course take phantom power right from the VL2. I had to adjust the gain and nearly everything else because that thing howled like a banshee when I started singing!



                Regarding our backordered VL4's, I'm willing to take a chance even if I read something negative here. We may actually not experience what someone else has. If we do, well, back it goes! So while I read everything here, I don't assume I will have the same problems as there are variables according to equipment and acoustics.



                Thanks,



                SoloArtist
                SoloArtist

                The New Eclectic Sound Experience-Join Up!: Martin Owner's Club Day 2009
                www.mariejmiczak.blogspot.com

                Comment


                • #23






                  Quote Originally Posted by Omaha
                  View Post

                  If I have PC turned off, and am using the UC harmony, what happens?




                  Answering my own question based on DigiTech's e-mail, the answer is that you get a straight unison without any pitch correction.



                  Which still makes me wonder why there is a "U" setting and a "UC" setting...It makes no sense.

                  Comment


                  • #24






                    Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
                    View Post

                    I didn't have hiss issues with the VL2. I've only used the VL4 in a band rehearsal context, and if there was hiss, the guitar and drums did an excellent job of masking it However, I do hit the levels fairly hard, and that may be the solution - just turn up the gain. As I record audio examples of the VL4, it will go under the microscope a bit more and we'll see what we find.



                    I don't know how the metering in the VL4 works, but many LED meters will "hold" transients for a short period of time. So, even a 2 ms spike that you would never perceive could end up indicating an overload condition. Although LEDs are useful, I still end up adjusting my ear, and using the LEDs to confirm.




                    I'm the dude with the hiss comments. I've tried the gain and loop adjusts but find you will get distortion as you raise it up to the green/amber levels - this when harmony is kicked in. I posted more about this on the old thread and believe that DigiTech has programmed in a boost of sorts (akin to some effect pedals when you stomp on you get a boost on level). That makes level adjustments very critical.



                    I went back and listened to the on-line demo of the unit and I can hear some of this in that demo actually. It's just a clipping of sorts when the harmony is on. It's especially noticeable with the VL 2 and an issue beyond hiss. Try the test yourself. Set up your level with no harmony and it will sound fine. Sing your favorite tune. Then engage the harmony and sing it again - you'll hear the boost and subsequent distortion. Playing with compression et al can help to some degree but you will find you have to lower your levels at the unit to avoid this altogether. What I've found is this: guitar signal needs to be green green green ... vocal level needs to be just nudging green as in mild green flicker not constant or amber.



                    RECORDING AND HISS

                    When I refer to hiss I am talking recording here. I expect as quiet a signal as possible and when you can hear the unit over and above room noise it is not a good thing. So, I think I'd conclude that the TC Helicon is better when it comes to recording from the hiss standpoint. I said about a 3 or 4 as opposed to 5 or 6 for the DIgiTech (where 10 is horrible and 1 is quiet).



                    I guess everyone has their own threshold where it becomes an issue but I have done demos using the Helicon and now with the VL 2 and VL 4. Both the DigiTech products are giving off more hiss without even starting anything. You can hear it on the quiet parts of songs or really when you just bring up the pots.



                    I especially find the gate opening and closing on the VL 2 very annoying - you don't have the same control of the gate as on the VL 4. I'm finding I can't use the compressor/gate at all when recording with the VL 2. With the VL 4, I've been trying the gate control at different settings but I mentioned in a previous post how the sweet spot isn't quite there. It rasters in 10s (I posted 20s in the old post by memory error). So the mid ground between 40 and 50 would seem better than 40 or 50 dead on but you can't get there in between. A lot of my material goes form loud to quiet and it's at the quiet points that you get the bad stuff coming in such as the gate opening and closing off from your guitar playing. This from "off-the-floor" demos.



                    LIVE NO ISSUES

                    However I want to reiterate that live ambiance covers virtually all of this. No one is going to notice any of the problems using the unit(s) live.



                    I'm being very picky on the recording aspect since I feel most listeners will not expect to hear hiss at all in your demo (like you used to get on cassette demos). The digital age has spoiled a lot of people myself included. I'm curious whether everyone else will agree/disagree when they get into recording with these units. Maybe I'm being overly critical.



                    In side by side test with DigiTech vs. Helicon, the Helicon is quieter. Same set up for the tests using SM 58 mic. In fact, when you read the specs on the two units (much more info is supplied for the VL 4 to compare with), it does read as better for the TC Helicon. I think the TC Helicon people have a stronger background with making "recording rack mount units" in this field and that may account for a tougher (higher) standard.
                    Keith (The Whiners)
                    Sample using the VL 4 in a LIVE scenario ... Hear The Whiners using the VL and TC Helicon Harmony G units combined for harmony in recordings at The Whiners Web

                    Comment


                    • #25






                      Quote Originally Posted by SoloArtist
                      View Post

                      Gottcha! Hum or Hiss, if its audible it needs to be corrected. I've switched to condenser microphones which of course take phantom power right from the VL2. I had to adjust the gain and nearly everything else because that thing howled like a banshee when I started singing!



                      Regarding our backordered VL4's, I'm willing to take a chance even if I read something negative here. We may actually not experience what someone else has. If we do, well, back it goes! So while I read everything here, I don't assume I will have the same problems as there are variables according to equipment and acoustics.



                      Thanks,



                      SoloArtist




                      An excellent point. When you read lots of reviews you do get some wild differences don't you? Some people will hate it while others will praise it. I guess that's why it is good to describe what you do with the items and what you like or expect. It becomes easier to gauge whether or not you are reading someone of like mind or not. A recent comment to one of my posts talking about chipmunk settings confirms this where the person uses the setting in his gigs for kids. I had said "what a waste" but there is a good example of where having it available is a value for someone else!



                      I have to say though that I have found the gang here to be generally tolerant of everyone's "thing" and in no way making one feel like they are stupid for doing something or not knowing something. Very nice!



                      The discussions back and forth are also great as it helps a process that we all go through on new pieces of gear.



                      Cheers to 'ya'll!
                      Keith (The Whiners)
                      Sample using the VL 4 in a LIVE scenario ... Hear The Whiners using the VL and TC Helicon Harmony G units combined for harmony in recordings at The Whiners Web

                      Comment


                      • #26






                        Quote Originally Posted by pickinatit
                        View Post

                        I have fellow band members poo-pooing the idea of the VL2 or VL4 on the basis of "poor sound quality ie: electronic, artificial sounding....even though they have never heard one or even read any of the reviews. For live band use, is the quality of the harmony vocals good?




                        I'll give you analogy: The harmony voices are to real voices as electronic reverb is to real reverb. In other words, yes, you can tell the difference and most of the time, no, it doesn't matter.



                        I use the VL4 not to replace band members, but to fill out and enlarge my own voice. As a result the harmonies are mixed fairly low and because my "real" voice is the dominant part of the mix, they sound fine.








                        Also, How much of a problem do you encounter, if any, when the guitar needs to stop playing chords to play riffs and such. Say for a Power Trio type band with only one guitar. I'm trying to figure how much of a problem this would be in the context of the songs we do and how often it would even happen compared to when harmonies are needed, but that's pretty difficult to calculate especially since I play bass. I know it would depend on the particular song etc....I just mean in general.



                        I've been very surprised about how when I drop back from chords to single notes, the harmony follows along. I asked one of the designers about this, and he said that the unit has some degree of "memory" that is constantly looking at the signal from the mic, the guitar, and the history of the chord progression. In my own situation, when I'm playing off-the-wall leads, I'm usually not signing so it's not a problem. But I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the VL units handle harmonies when the "song data" drops out for a bit.








                        Lastly, how preoccupied does someone in the band need to be regarding when to hit the footswitches on and off? Who does this in your band? If you have a front person/vocalist only do you make them responsible? Wouldn't that detract from whoever is responsible's ability to "be part of the show" so to speak?



                        Most of the time, for me it's a "set and forget" issue...turn it on, leave it on for most (if not all) of the song.
                        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                        Comment


                        • #27






                          Quote Originally Posted by Omaha
                          View Post

                          Regarding pitch correction, I am curious how it works with harmonies.



                          The section of the manual dealing with PC is simple enough. From what I can tell, in the real world, you will set it to "CHROM"atic scale, set the window parameter to 99, set to rate to 30, and set the amount to 99. From what I could see, those were the settings that Digitech used for all the presets that had PC turned on.



                          But how does that effect harmony voices?



                          For example, p19 of the manual lists a bunch of harmony options, among them:



                          U - Unison. Creates a copy of the lead vocal.

                          UC - Unicon corrected. Creates a copy of the lead vocal with pitch correction.



                          That's where I get confused. Suppose you have PC turned off on a given preset, but select the "UC" harmony. Is only the harmony voice corrected (leaving the original vocal unaltered)? If so, what parameters are used for the harmony pitch correction?



                          It also says : "Turning on ...pitch correction requires the use of a harmony voice".



                          Suppose I turn PC on, but have all harmonies off. What happens? Is pitch correction occurring? Is it a blend of the natural signal and the processed signal?



                          I am also sending this question to DigiTech directly. I'll post any response I get.




                          The unison (U) voicing has no pitch correction – so if you hold a note that’s 10 cents flat, the unison voice will be flat as well. Note that this unison voice will still be decoupled from your lead vocal, and the type and amount of decoupling can be adjusted with the Voice Styles and Style Amount controls in the harmony row. So you have quite a bit of control over the type of voice doubling if you like to play with that sort of thing.



                          The corrected unison voice (UC) is not only decoupled according to the Voice Style, but is also lightly pitch corrected as well. Basically you’ll find that if you hold a note that’s a little flat or sharp, the UC voice will move to the correct pitch in a natural way. The actual pitch correction parameters used for this voice (and all the harmony voices) were chosen to keep the harmonies sounding natural.



                          The lead vocal is never processed with pitch correction when Pitch Correction is off. *So if you have UC voicing, and pitch correction off, you’ll hear your own pitch as the lead voice and the lightly pitch corrected unison voice when you turn on the harmonies.



                          No matter what the setting is on your harmonies, or whether they are on or off, turning on Pitch Correction will cause your lead voice to be fully pitch corrected – there will never be a blend of your natural and pitch corrected signals. If you want this kind of doubling, you’d probably use the UC harmony voicing. * *
                          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                          Comment


                          • #28






                            Quote Originally Posted by Omaha
                            View Post

                            Caveat on these comments: I am the lead singer/guitar player in a working classic rock cover band. I've had the VL4 for a couple days, and have experimented with it for a total of about six hours in my studio at home. I haven't used it with the band yet, and I haven't run it through our full PA (just my little Marshall AS50R practice amp).







                            Compared to what? It really comes down to the band. If you have three or four good singers that can consistently hit their harmonies, I wouldn't bother with the VL4.



                            But my experience is that that's pretty rare. Most bands are lucky to have one decent singer singing leads. In those cases, the VL4 seems like a great option. Its not going to be the equal of having a cadre of pro's singing backup, but for the average working band, its going to be a huge improvement over where they are currently.



                            One other consideration is that the VL4 will allow you to get new material performance-ready much more quickly.







                            Good question. I don't know the answer. But I will say this: I had heard that the VL4 struggled with fingerstyle, preferring chords to glean the key. I tested that, and found that it actually did a pretty good job. Plus, depending on the harmony voices you are using, it may or may not be a disaster if it misses a key change (or is late).







                            In our band, I'll be operating the VL4. As I said, I'm the lead singer.



                            Playing around with it, I think I prefer the "hold the switch down to engage harmonies" mode, rather than toggle mode. But I'll wait until we have a few gigs with it to finalize that decision.




                            Just wanted to comment on the singer engaging the harmony. I'm assuming here you are also not playing while singing. You might find it a little weird and I'd be interested in finding out. I'm finding that the harmony behaves (or misbehaves) and I do have to be careful how I strike chords while singing. Often, a complex chord is an issue in the harmony as is singing over (memory seems more like 10 secs than "30 secs). So, I think you might find, that being the singer and not in control of how the chord is played, may cause some issues until you can coordinate with the player who is tied into the unit. This is an interesting scenario to deal with and one where using keys may be better for you. Anyone else dealing with that?



                            I have also found that the locking toggle switch is giving me grief since I can't view the light on/off at the floor while singing. I've had harmony on when I didn't want it and vice versa. So, the VL 4, having the option of toggle or no toggle is a good option. The non-toggle keeps it clear. If your foot is on the switch you know you've got harmony on.



                            I'm going to investigate if I can defeat the toggle on the VL 2 (no doubt voiding warranty while I do it) but it will be worth it to have the non-toggle thing going on.
                            Keith (The Whiners)
                            Sample using the VL 4 in a LIVE scenario ... Hear The Whiners using the VL and TC Helicon Harmony G units combined for harmony in recordings at The Whiners Web

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Whinersmusic,



                              I'm the one who liked the chipmunk persona! But it was my kids that liked it. I haven't yet used it in a gig ... But regardless, I agree that we all use these units in different ways and appreciate different aspects of them, and these forums have been very tolerant of that, which is a good thing.



                              I have been reading these posts on hiss with some confusion because I have not had any problems with hiss. I used to own a Helicon VoiceLive, and I don't find the hiss any worse on either of my Vocalist Live units compared to the VoiceLive, although I have not done A/B tests. The following comment you made has shed some light on this for me ...









                              Quote Originally Posted by whinersmusic
                              View Post

                              Try the test yourself. Set up your level with no harmony and it will sound fine. Sing your favorite tune. Then engage the harmony and sing it again - you'll hear the boost and subsequent distortion. Playing with compression et al can help to some degree but you will find you have to lower your levels at the unit to avoid this altogether. What I've found is this: guitar signal needs to be green green green ... vocal level needs to be just nudging green as in mild green flicker not constant or amber.




                              I always set my mic level so that I am tickling the red on the loudest sections, and I have not heard the distortion that you are speaking of when I kick my harmonies on. I tried turning my mic level down so that it was just tickling the green as you do and turned up my PA to compensate - sure enough, the hiss got a lot louder as I expected. If it was like this all the time, I would be complaining too! But like you say, even with the hiss at this level, no one would notice in a live situation.



                              I think the problem you are having is not the hiss, but the distortion you are hearing when you turn your mic gain up to the proper level. Where is this distortion coming from? What are you connecting the output of the VL 4 to? Is it possible you are over driving your mixer or something (if so, did you try turning down the sensitivity)? Do you hear this distortion on the headphone out as well?



                              I have to admit, the output of the Vocalist Live units is quite hot. I have read some posts where people are hooking the output of their VLs to pre-amps (i.e. where they used to send their old mic signal), but the output of the VL is already pre-amped so this is unnecessary.



                              Geckoland

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Geckoland, I think you're on to something with the hiss aspects...I don't have a problem with it either, but hopefully, I'll get to take some measurements and get something quantitative.



                                The other comment of yours I found interesting is: "I agree that we all use these units in different ways and appreciate different aspects of them, and these forums have been very tolerant of that, which is a good thing."



                                ABSOLUTELY!! I always felt one advantage of a pro review is how it's easy to get turned on to different applications. One quick example: I've been working on a song called "Try" with the band, and there's a place where there's a vocal more or less in isolation. It seemed that whatever guitar part I put behind it just didn't work. If it was powerful, like the rest of the song, it overshadowed the vocal. If I pulled back on the guitar, it sounded weak compared to the subsequent parts.



                                Then I read the comment where someone asked if anyone had figured out how to do Beach Boy harmonies yet, and the light bulb went on: Do the voice a capella, and throw everything the VL4 has at it! I have a rough patch that sounds pretty good...I think it's going in the right direction.



                                The VL4 is so similar to the VL2 yet so different...so many more possibilities.
                                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                                Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                                Comment













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