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does one need to use a different effect box for live performances than what's used for recording?

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  • does one need to use a different effect box for live performances than what's used for recording?

    I have a TC Helicon Voiceworks vocal effect processor and was curious if one would rather use something else that's made for live performance (say a pedal)?
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  • #2
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    • #3
      Looks like your Voiceworks has MIDI control. If you need hands-free control over the presets, there are MIDI foot controllers you can use with it rather than buying a voice fx pedal.


      • #4
        Can any foot controller work as a midi foot controller say a boss fs-5u?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by samal50 View Post
          Can any foot controller work as a midi foot controller say a boss fs-5u?
          No. You might be able to use that with your TC, but just to turn something on or off - and only if the TC has an external footswitch jack, which I don't know if it actually does or not.

          That's just a momentary switch. You'd need a dedicated MIDI footswitch.

          Okay, I had a look at the back of your TC (or more like, a picture of one just like it) and read a couple of reviews about it, and it does have a footswitch jack. It can be used to sustain the current harmony indefinitely, and for other things, including stepping through presets... even better, it will work with a three-button footswitch, which will allow you to go up through the presets, as well as down (backwards) too, which would be far more useful.

          This review has a lot of good suggestions about what you can do with the right footswitch... and IMO, the right footswitch would be essential if you wanted to use that unit live.

          Your TC is certainly suitable for live use, and it could be used in the studio too, although I'd typically opt for other alternatives in that environment... including stacking "real" vocal parts instead of using machine-generated harmony parts. Where you may find it helpful in the studio is in generating harmony ideas - some people have a difficult time hearing harmonies, but by using the machine to generate them, then duplicating them with actual "sung" vocals, you get something to guide you as you're doing the harmony overdubs, which makes it easier for many people. Then just erase or mute the machine-generated harmonies in the final mix, or mix some of them in along with the sung vocals to thicken things up a bit or add another texture to the stack.

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          • #6
            I'm not a huge fan of vocal pedals live or recording. The lead singer of my old band bought one of the top end units and while it may entertain the singer its more of a distraction for players and sound men. The last thing you want as a sound man is a singer taking control of the vocals and effects. From the stage the singer is clueless on what sounds right for the audience and adjusting in the proper amounts of the effects isn't something a singer does when during a performance.

            Band members typically rely on a singer being heard and having a steady reliability in a mix. When the singer starts indulging themselves with effects it often winds up having more then the normal 40% or less wet mix and swamps the vocals where people can no longer hear the lyrics. Timed events like Echo and chorus can wind up screwing with the music's tempo if the user fails to set up properly timed echo speeds which complement the music.

            Recording you can generally do whatever you want. You have the time to tweak things to perfection so you're only handicapped by the quality of the pedal which is the biggest concern. I've used the units and the preamp isn't exactly what I'd consider to be recording quality. Its pretty noisy and even tweaked with minimal effects a mic sounds much cleaner and has much less hiss without it.

            Typically you're want to track vocals with no effects so you capture 100% of what the mic produces with nothing added, nothing lost then you tweak the vocals as needed when mixing. Vocals need to compete with other instruments in the mix and you typically want the highest fidelity you can get. Adding effects when tracking means you're stuck with those effects and you can no longer tweak the mic tones independently of the effects.

            Effects sound much better when placed "after" the mic preamp, not before. This way you can EQ the mic to feed the effect after EQ has been tweaked. The dry sound remains top quality this way and effects can be pushed with that top quality. When you add effects before the preamp, any EQing will color both wet and dry.

            You can of course use the effect low fi saturated tones or for feeding the headphone mix if you choose. I simply don't like the units live or recording because it throws the effects in before the preamp. In most PA rigs the effects are placed between the preamp and power amp so Clean tone remains clean and the effected tone has less distortion.