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  • DigiTech Vocalist Live 4 (VL4)

    Don't you just LOVE BBS software? I started the review and copied over some of the excellent posts on the VL4 that were in the VL2 thread, and something happened during one of the copy operations that nuked the VL4 thread. So I'm starting over...major apologies to those who had submitted such great tips, I'm really sorry the BBS killed them. I'll try to see if there's some way to recover them later tonight.



    Anyway, back the VL4, which thankfully was not programmed by the same people who did the BBS software! The image shows an overview of the piece. You'll note there's a MusIQ switch to turn off the function that ties harmonies to your guitar playing, which means you can specify particular scales and keys. You'll also notice four footswitches instead of the two on the VL2: Effects, Harmony, and preset up/down.



    The other obvious difference is that there are a lot more editable parameters -- you'll see the familiar DigiTech "matrix of parameters" printed on the front panel. You have five knobs to tweak these (AFAIC a big improvement over the one knob/increment-decrement button approach), and three mix knobs.
    The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

  • #2
    Given how much people liked the VL2, and how much of the basic functionality of the Vocalist Live series we covered in the VL2 Pro Review, I think these are the main questions we need to address regarding the VL4:



    1. Despite the added sophistication, is the VL4 easy to use?

    2. Does it hit the "sweet spot" of price, features, and flexibility?

    3. Is the extra functionality compared to the VL2 worth the higher price?

    4. Despite it being intended for live use, can it work in the studio?



    Let's investigate further. My band EV2 is going to have a rehearsal in a few minutes, so I plan to set this up and see what happens...I'll keep posting photos until then.
    The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's a close-up of the MusIQ switch section. If you turn it off, the harmony no longer tracks the audio input from your guitar, but you can enter a key and scale, like A Major. Of course, we'll be getting more into this later.



      I've also attached an image showing the four footswitches, and also, the three mix controls for vocal level, harmony level, and guitar level.
      The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        Okay, I'm going to go set it up now. I've decided to do this without looking at the manual just to see how far I get I'll report back when the rehearsal's over.
        The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, one thing I found out right off the bat: The ability to specify a scale is really handy. There are a couple tunes we do that pretty much stick to a key, so programming that in removes any variables. Also, you can save the key as part of the preset.
          The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            Question for anyone who can answer it:



            Can the effects from the guitar effects section be applied to the 'guitar thru' signal?
            Musicians are their own worst enemies when it comes to the music business.

            Comment


            • #7






              Quote Originally Posted by ihateyouguys
              View Post

              Question for anyone who can answer it:



              Can the effects from the guitar effects section be applied to the 'guitar thru' signal?




              As far as I can tell, no...guitar thru is just to pick off the guitar signal then send it along to your subsequent amplification system.
              The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                Craig,



                Thanks for all your hard work. It really makes a difference to a lot of people. Bummer about the BBS problem. Now I am really glad I printed out the VL2 Thread (about 100 pages) a few nights ago.



                I have a question regarding "hiss" reported by a few people using the VL4. Have you encountered the same problem?



                I have read the manual a few times and found it interesting that when it comes to setting the guitar level we are encouraged to get green LEDs flashing but when setting the vocal input level on page 7 it says, "Sing into the mic while gradually turning up the Vocalist Live 4 Mic/Line Input Level knob until the Vocal Signal LED lights amber most of the time." On page 13 it goes on to reaffirm this and adds, "and only briefly turns red on the very loudest vocal sections. The Vocalist Live 4 will normally prevent the vocal harmonies from clipping, even when the LED is red, but for optimum voice quality the LED should turn red only briefly or not at all."



                I have a Fishman Aura Imaging Blender and in the Aura troubleshooting section it mentions that "Hiss" can be caused by the input level being set too low and can be corrected by increasing it slightly. Could the same gain structure issue be the source of the hiss reported by some people using the V L4? In other words, could the hiss be coming from the vocal input level actually being set too low?



                Your thoughts would be appreciated.



                Thank you.



                Michael

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't know which posts were deleted, but you may be able to find them for awhile on google's cache. Just search for DIGITECH VOCALIST LIVE 2 - NOW WITH CONCLUSIONS AND VIDEO CLIPS! Page XX and you'll find it there. But be sure to do it ASAP because the cache could be overwritten soon with the new spider results.
                  Musicians are their own worst enemies when it comes to the music business.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Since we lost some posts, I'll re-post some questions/comments:



                    1) What is the desired way to share a VL4 across two guitars, each with different downstream amp paths? Right now, I am thinking install an A/B switch downstream (on the guitar thru output) and just unplug and replug the two guitars. Anyone got a better idea?



                    2) Any way to route un-processed vocals to your board's monitor channel, short of splitting the signal before it gets to the VL4?



                    3) What exactly is stereo about the stereo outputs? Near as I can tell, its a straight splitter.



                    I wish the VL4 had separate "guitar thru" and "vocal thru" outputs. That would be nice. They assumed that people would be using the VL4 as a mixer. I'd rather not. It would be nice if the sound guy could bring up the harmonies (eg) without my having to bend down and adjust the mix.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Anderton for starting this review... and even though is early in the review, can anybody upload some demos of the vl4 and how it sounds?



                      Hope this could happen! soon....



                      Thanks



                      Omar
                      Originally Posted by VÃ****ctor


                      ..Si te separas, espero que no, avÃ****same podÃ****amos vivir juntos, eso si, sin mariconeo...









                      Originally Posted by artiem


                      The truest indicator of one's character is how he acts when there are no consequences.




                      SPAM: FT/FS

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                      • #12
                        Michael,



                        Regarding the "hiss", in the VL4, I assume you've already tried engaging the ground lift switch? My Guitar Thru cable gets sent to my Super Chorus stompbox and then to my PA system.



                        I'm hooked into a Roland SA-300 which is a 350 watt stage amp with its own mixer. I do get some background noise but it appears to be from the Super Chorus' modulations. Nothing I haven't heard before. Anyway thanks for posting this. My VL4 is still on backorder but I already have the VL2 and think it's great. So far I am not inclined to cancel my order based on what I've read. That could change though!



                        SoloArtist
                        SoloArtist

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

                        Comment


                        • #13






                          Quote Originally Posted by ihateyouguys
                          View Post

                          I don't know which posts were deleted, but you may be able to find them for awhile on google's cache. Just search for DIGITECH VOCALIST LIVE 2 - NOW WITH CONCLUSIONS AND VIDEO CLIPS! Page XX and you'll find it there. But be sure to do it ASAP because the cache could be overwritten soon with the new spider results.




                          Wow, thanks...but unfortunately, the cached version only goes up to page 18. Oh well. The one thing I can say is that everyone on these threads has been so helpful, I'm sure that any information people need will re-appear.
                          The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by Omaha
                              View Post

                              Since we lost some posts, I'll re-post some questions/comments:



                              1) What is the desired way to share a VL4 across two guitars, each with different downstream amp paths? Right now, I am thinking install an A/B switch downstream (on the guitar thru output) and just unplug and replug the two guitars. Anyone got a better idea?




                              I think what you want is a variation on "effects loop" technology. I would advise a DPDT switch, mounted in a box, with six jacks. Hopefully the attached schematic will do the job for you! It switches the source guitar to the VL4 Guitar In, and the destination amp from the VL4 Guitar Thru.








                              2) Any way to route un-processed vocals to your board's monitor channel, short of splitting the signal before it gets to the VL4?



                              If there is, I haven't found it.








                              3) What exactly is stereo about the stereo outputs? Near as I can tell, its a straight splitter.



                              The harmonies are output in stereo.
                              The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

                              Comment

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