Jump to content

Battle of the harmonizers - Digi VL-2 vs. TC H-1


ProToneThinline

Recommended Posts

  • Members

I thought this might be helpful for anyone considering a harmonizer. I've been using a Digitech VL-2 for a couple of years now (since they first hit the stores). I like it, but I had a couple of issues with it. When the TC Helicon H-1 came out, I thought I'd give it a try. FYI, I work in both solo/duo and band situations, so I always like to find gear that works for both.

 

The Digi VL-2 had been my "workhorse" for a couple of years now, and it works well. It tracks well, as long as the guitar signal is hot enough, and sounds good. The effects section is a bit limited, but works well, especially the enhancer. However, I had a couple of issues with it. First, it's large size makes it almost impossible to mount on a pedalboard, so it's a little inconvenient to use in a band setting. Second, the harmony footswitch is on the wrong side for me. It's on the right side of the pedal - it would work much better for me if it were on the left.

 

Next, the gain knob is mounted fairly high off the enclosure. I found that the gain pot would get moved when the VL-2 was in it's gigbag, etc., so I always had to adjust the gain before every gig. My last issue was that you'd get a fairly large volume boost when you kick the unit on. The boost would be applied to the root vocal as well as the harmonies. I learned to control that by backing off the mic when I switched in the harmonies, but it's still a PITA.

 

So, enter the H-1. It's actually a pretty impressive unit, and addressed most of the issues I had with the Digi. It's small, and fits perfectly on a pedalboard. The gain knob sits almost flat on the enclosure, and has a fair amount of resistance when you turn it. Once it's set, it really doesn't move. It only has one switch, so the left/right ting isn't an issue. The volume boost isn't as apparent. You still get some, but only because you have more "information" hitting the mixer's input.

 

So far, so good. But, the H-1 also has some "issues". First, the footswitch takes some getting used to. On the Digi, the harmonies come on as soon as you hit the switch. On the H-1, the harmonies don't come on until you release the switch. I tend to "ride" the switch a bit, so that is really annoying for me. Second, the harmony voicings are selected by a rotary switch. I found that (at least at first) I was moving that knob with my toe, changing the harmony voicings.......

 

The actual harmonies on the H-1 are very natural-sounding, but the tone is on the bright side. They sound great in a band setting, but a little sterile on a solo gig. The Digi harmonies are voiced on the warmer side.

 

The bottom line is that I'm keeping both. The H-1 fits better in a band situation, so I'll use that for my full band gigs. It's well made, does a good job, and is a tremendous bargain at $150. I'll use the Digi for my solo shows.

 

I hope this is helpful for any of you considering either unit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Nice!...thanks a lot for the reviews. I thought that the TC H1 would be useless by itself, I always thought that it would had to be paired with some of the other "singles" pedals to sound good, so its really nice to hear that it works well by itself.

 

I own both a Digitech V4 and a TC Helicon VL2, and I would love to mix them both on a single unit...get the "warm" harmonys and the on/off harmony on the push of the pedal of the DT and the flexibility and effects of the TC. All things considered, I still use the TC a lot more than the DT, but both are great units...dont know how would I would play without them by now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

how do you define 'warm'? :Darker tone? Less highs? More lows?

 

 

To me, warm is "warm" Not dark, but not too bright. Like just a bit of boost around 750 Hz. I guess a more accurate description is that the H1 just about flat, where the Digi adds just a bit of color, the the TC will sounds like it has a bit more prescence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

how do you define 'warm'? :Darker tone? Less highs? More lows?

 

 

I would also say that the DT has more natural, human-sounding harmonys than the TC. The voicelive is full of robotic and auto-tune crap that I never use. You can get them to sound really good, but it takes a lot of tweaking and messing around with the edit options (wich are a lot actually) to get there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

This is a good idea for a thread... But if you are going to compare, why not compare on equal ground? The TC H1 is a $50 step down in product with the TC H GXT being the more comparable by feature and price point at $199, which is the same price as the Digi-VL2... When you start comparing apples to apples the ground seems to level out quite a bit and from my viewpoint if you're going to spend $200 dollars on a vocal harmonizer you'd be coming in at second place with the Digi-VL2... The TC H GXT gives, to my ear, a much more natural voice reproduction with the capabilities to adjust the timings on the harmonies. The effects, especially the reverb, is hands down better than the Digi... I use the TC H GXT in a solo situation. I generally set the harmony levels well below the main voice and use it sparingly on some tunes... I do use the voice layering quite a bit though and it's capable of giving you 3 tracks of your own voice live... Auto tune? It's there if you choose to use it and you can toggle it off if you dont... again, from my perspective, if a thread like this is going to be truly useful, the comparison of any product needs to start off on equal ground...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

This is a good idea for a thread... But if you are going to compare, why not compare on equal ground?

 

 

That's easy - it's because those two units are the units I actually own. Just because there's a small price differential doesn' mean they're not comparable in features and capabilities. In fact, I really think these two are closer in features than the TC Harmony-G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I used to own the Digitech VL2, but sold it after I bought the newer VL3 -- the newer model is a vast improvement over its predecessor. There are five programmable presets, each with two different harmony settings; the quality of the generated harmony voices is much more natural; the effects are better; there are guitar signal routing capabilities (and dedicated guitar FX) that may eliminate the need for a separate mixer; the onboard compressor is usable; and there is the pitch correction feature... I leave that totally off and simply try and keep my voice in tune.

 

I heard someone singing into the VL3's big brother (the VL5) with the pitch correction circuit engaged (and it must have been on 100%) -- even his speaking voice between songs sounded quite hideous! And the totally pitch-corrected perfect harmonies generated from his already squeaky voice sounded as if Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were in the house.

:eek:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

That's easy - it's because those two units are the units I actually own. Just because there's a small price differential doesn' mean they're not comparable in features and capabilities. In fact, I really think these two are closer in features than the TC Harmony-G.

 

25% is a bit more than a small price differential... personally a $200 unit compared to a $200 unit makes more sense to me... otherwise it can be a bit misleading to people that have neither unit and might be considering buying... :idk:

 

correct me if i'm wrong here but it seems that you are actually saying that if you are looking to get one of these, a person is better off buying the Digi @ $200 than the TC H @ $150, never mind that you could spend the same $200 on a unit that is better than both of them, more controllable, better effects, more effects, programmable, the option for user designed parameters, or just better overall straight out of the box and built like a tank... like i said to begin with, it doesnt make much sense to compare apples to turtles...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

lets do it this way... i've got a TC H gxt... you have a Digi VL 2... come on down to the redneck riviera and we'll compare the two, throw the cap away off a bottle of jamesons and tell each other lies about the old days... i even know a couple of really good places for fresh seafood...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I have the Digitech Vocalist 2 and 4, and the TC Helicon Harmony G-XT. The Digitech 2 is far better than the 4 simply because of its simplicity, plus the fact that the harmony footswitch is in the middle of the four switches and I constantly hit the wrong switch. The G-XT has better reverb and is easier to program, and I think it tracks a little better. The Digitech requires a strong guitar signal and I need a Fishman preamp for bot the 2 and the 4. The TC Helicon seems to pick up the guitar signal better. After last night's gig with the Digitech 4 it is now being tossed in the closet and I'll use the TC Helicon. I'm looking at getting a TC Helicon Voice Live Touch in the very near future and I'm hoping that the Digitech 3-button foot switch will work with that so I don't have to buy another footswitch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

lets do it this way... i've got a TC H gxt... you have a Digi VL 2... come on down to the redneck riviera and we'll compare the two, throw the cap away off a bottle of jamesons and tell each other lies about the old days... i even know a couple of really good places for fresh seafood...

 

 

Now THAT sounds like a plan!!!!!!!!!! I'll bring the Jameson's if you buy the food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Okay, I will correct you, because that's not what I'm saying at all...... What I said was that I thought the H-1 sat in a band mix better. I made no mention of which unit I thought anyone else should buy, and stated that I like them both. In fact, the H-1 is a
really
nice unit for $150.




Now THAT sounds like a plan!!!!!!!!!! I'll bring the Jameson's if you buy the food.

 

Thats a standing invitation... :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Members

Since I've had the chance to play a few more gigs with the H-1, I thought I'd post an update.

 

Initially, I had some issues with the switching function (harmonies not coming on until you release the switch). At first, I found this a little disconcerting. After a few gigs, I find that I really like this function. I can "pre-arm" the harmonies by stepping on the switch, but not letting up until I want the harmonies to actually start. Pretty cool!

 

Next, I've found that the H-1 tracks complex chords much better than the Digitech. Both units handle major/minor triads just fine, but the H-1 does better with Maj 7's, 9th's, etc.

 

Both units have some "boost" when the harmonies come in. That is, the signal get louder because of more complex data being sent to the PA. This boost is pretty troublesome on the Digi, and will overload the front end of your mixer if you're not careful. The H-1 also has some boost, but it's not quite as bad as the Digi. You still need to set the gain on your mixer to allow a little extra headroom, but not as much.

 

As I said earlier, the H-1 harmonies sound a little more natural, but you need to watch the mix control. Too much and it tends to sound overpowering. The H-1 also has more harmony gain than the Digi. 10:00 on the H-1 mix control is about the same as noon on the Digi.

 

The H-1 doesn't have the compressor and enhancer functions, but I don't miss them. The H-1 doesn't seem to color your mic signal as much as the Digi, so it really doesn't need these features. I didn't use the reverb on the Digi (reverb always came from the board), so that's not an issue for me.

 

All-in-all, I'm very happy with the H-1. I'll probably retire the Digi real soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Members

I don't own the VL2; however I did audition it against the HGXT (which I own).

 

Here were my impressions:

 

Neither is a "bad" pedal. The HGXT reverb is much better (no comparison IMHO). The HTXT tracks better (as mentioned by others even cord variants are quickly recognized). The HGXT is much more programmable. The HGXT appears more durable (someone correct me if you think I am off base here). The HGXT requires less input from the guitar to recognize cords.

 

I operate the unit in stereo into 2 Yamaha DSR112's using a ND767a mic and a Taylor with fishman pickups. It is a great sounding setup.

 

Given the choice, I believe that the HGXT is a pretty clean win for TC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...