Fine-tuning the sound of your acoustic and electric guitars is a task that requires lots of practice and tweaking the get the sound exactly the way you want it to be. Doing this can be a long job on its own, but what about your vocals?
Many guitarists struggle to find the perfect balance of vocal harmony and tuning, something that can make or break a live music event. Singing in the correct pitch and tone can sometimes be difficult, especially for people that haven’t had the time or will to undergo vocal training.
Vocal effects pedals are devices that serve as a solution to many of the problems that guitarists have when singing songs, and the level of effect made possible by them can make even the groggiest musician sound nice.
Below are ten of the best vocal effects pedals, chosen for the quality of build and the number of effects they each have. When you’re done with the reviews, read the Buyer’s Guide to find out more about picking the one that’s best for your individual needs. The best picks from the list are named at the conclusion.
Top 10 Vocal Effects Pedals
- Up to two voices can be mixed on the device.
- It can be linked to a computer via USB for periodic updates and software enhancements.
- It can be used with keyboards (although the output comes out as mono unless hooked up to an additional mixer and AUX).
- Easy to hit the wrong switch buttons due to the short distance it has between the control box.
With the TC-Helicon EQ Effects Pedal, you can blend up to two voices if you wanted. If you’re the lead and/or backup singer, this will add a lot of depth to your overall singing performance on stage.
But even if you’re not playing to a crowd, there’s enough in the package to keep solo artists just as happy. For starters, the device can be hooked up to a computer. There’s a USB port located behind the pedal, of which additional presets will modify your existing voice.
If you wanted your vocals to come out as a bellowing bluegrass blues musician, this is the tool to do just that. All jokes aside, even the squeakiest voices you’ve ever heard (such as what’s seen on Alvin and the Chipmunks) can be mimicked.
Presets like this are great for many genres, whether they be heavy or near totally computer-generated. If you like to play electronic music, hooking it up to your microphone can create on-the-spot loops of sound effects that you sent to a mic or computer.
Additionally, you can use this pedal with a keyboard, so long as you okay with the mono output. Since most live musicians will play in mono anyway, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue for most.
Recommended or Not?
This product is recommended for musicians that like to layer their voice for dramatic effect during live performances.
- Effects can be mixed together to create unique sounding tunes.
- A good alternative to playing live music without a soundboard mixer.
- Pitch and tone can be altered to make the vocals sound completely different to the person singing.
- Difficult to identify the keys being played unless the pedal is examined closely.
- The user manual doesn’t lay out all of the capabilities of the pedal.
The Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer Multi-Effects Pedal has all of the effects that you’re likely to ever need as a singer.
Harmonies can be synched together in a lot of different ways, blending your sound to produce a tone that’s clear or completely different than your normal sounding voice.
It’s a nice way to hear yourself sing well without the necessity of a soundboard mixer. If you’re currently using one of those, this machine will make you want to leave it at home.
It’s good enough to hold up well during live performances and has no reports of turning off during the middle of a set. The tone and pitch can also be changed to auto-tune-like vocals as well. Try to familiarize yourself with the keys before you bring it out though, as they’re hard to find when standing up.
Recommended or Not?
This pedal is recommended to all musicians, including people who don’t play guitar. It’s best when used alongside stringed and electronic instruments.
- Controls are set to be used as soon as the pedal is unboxed.
- Vocals come out smooth regardless of the amount of mixing that’s done.
- Backup vocals can be tweaked to sound almost synth-like.
- The knobs on the pedal are cheaply made and could break over time.
The TC Helicon Voice Live Play Vocal Effects Processor is a sky blue-colored pedal that’s ready to use immediately when taken out of its package.
If you’re a beginner to vocal pedals or prefer not to mess around with the presets too much, then you’ll feel right at home with this machine. There’s not much at all that you’ll have to do if you don’t want, and vocals output with great tone regardless of mixing.
And for backup vocals, your sound can be modified to resemble what can only be described as something identical to music being played on a synthesizer. This is perfect for musicians that like to play 80s-style music, or anyone into the dream pop-like vocals.
Recommended or Not?
The Voice Live Play Processor is recommended for novices that don’t want to make a big effort in learning how to control effects pedals.
- Comes with 11 FX combinations.
- All switches and knobs are built to last for a long time.
- The sampler can be used to play songs in reverse.
- The instructions don’t properly show how to set up the pedal when used for the first time.
The Behringer Virtualizer 3D FX2000 is also ready to use when you take it out for the first time, but there’s more to it than only being recommended for new players.
There are over ten FX combinations that you can try on the pedal. A few of them are dynamics, modulation, delay, and reverb. As for how well it’s built, this tool will likely be in your pedal collection for years to come.
All buttons and dials feel solid and come assembled tightly. Singing with it is fun and your voice will resonate well when pushed through most amplifiers.
This pedal also contains a sampler, a tool that will help your voice come out in reverse for added effect. Because of this and more advanced control options, the Virtualizer 3D FX2000 is great for people that singers that are confident with their natural singing voice but want to alter it a bit during segments of their music.
Recommended or Not?
The FX2000 is recommended for its numerous effects pedals that can change your music exponentially.
- Firmware updates quickly, with no long wait times.
- It can be used for adding effects for karaoke performances.
- It doesn’t overly complicate things the way other more expensive FX pedals can do.
- Hard to get in touch with a customer representative in case the need arises for troubleshooting.
The TC Helicon Play Acoustic Vocal Effects Processor has a great sounding tone that seems to get better once the device is broken in after a while. Hook it up to a computer via USB if you prefer. Doing so will update the firmware of the pedal and allow your vocals to sound a bit better than they might when played directly without it.
It’s great for musicians or even people who don’t play music at all but want something to add to the limited vocal effects of a standard microphone. People who sing karaoke or even effects for announcers come to mind.
Its controls are somewhat basic, which can be either a good thing or something that isn’t wanted. Advanced musicians might not see a need for it, but shouldn’t be disappointed in the pedal either.
Recommended or Not?
If you like to play for fun, you’ll get a lot of fun singing and playing acoustic with this effects pedal.
- Good range of pitch options to choose from.
- It can be attached to multiple electronic devices, including gaming consoles or microphones.
- Music can be run along with the effects to play as normal or alter the tune of the audio being fed.
- Scratches and dents easily.
The Roland Voice Transformer is a square-shaped vocal pedal that’s quite small but very well built. There are several pitch controls included with it, along with different presets for the type of event that you’re playing it at.
When you turn it on, the green highlights make it easy to see in darkened rooms or outdoor settings during the evening. You can also hook it up with many other instruments if you wish, making it a recommended product for musicians or even people who don’t play anything at all. For example, the outputs will attach to most video game consoles and is a great way to alter the voice when live streaming video online.
The only major drawback to this is the front of the board, which can become scratched very easily if one is not careful when handling it. Use it during a live set and you’re likely to end up with a few marks on the board that are easy to see and hard to get out.
Other than that, try out the Roland Voice Transformer if you’re a casual musician or just want something to make your voice sound cool to other people.
Recommended or Not?
While it might not be the most durable effects pedal listed, it’s still recommended for people who need an effects pedal specifically for voice alterations only.
- Good for acoustic players; comes with a knob that raises the natural “frequency” of the sound.
- Controls are easy to see and manipulate without reaching over to see what’s being pressed.
- Outstanding build quality; controls feel tight and well-manufactured.
- Using the pedal to its full potential could be difficult to do with beginners.
The Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer has a lot of tools for such a small voice effects pedal. This is the right tools for acoustic players, so if you own such an instrument, put it high on your list of potential purchases.
There’s a knob on the pedal that will increase the gain on your voice without it coming out distorted, no matter if you’ve maxed out your volume. The sound is also well-suited for people that sing and play at a low volume, making your voice distinguishable from the music when a live audience is in front.
Other controls are easy to get the hang of too. Best of all is the fact that there’s no need to reach over towards the pedal to see what you’re operating.
Everything is laid out before you, and nothing gets in the way when you need to change a preset quickly during the middle of playing a track. The construction of the pedal is also stellar and built to last much longer than the warranty offers.
Recommended or Not?
The VE-8 is recommended for guitarists that care about build quality as much as what the pedal can do.
- Numerous echo effects to place on top of vocals or guitar melodies.
- The pedal can be operated with an external TC-Helicon MP-75 if desired.
- Microphones can go directly into the XLR; there’s no need to change the TS mono cable.
- Has a Dry/Wet knob that moves too easily.
- No volume controls.
The TC Electronic Singles VoiceTone E1 Vocal Effects Processor is a pedal that’s outstanding for echo effects of all kinds. You can layer these effect alongside your ordinary vocals, giving your music a nice quality sound that could even be used in a studio recording.
It’s compatible with the TC-Helicon MP-75, and won’t give you any feedback or other anomalies when you’re using it with the mic. Another cool feature is the XLR, to which you can hook up your microphone directly into the slot.
As a result, you won’t have to change how you hook up the TS mono cable. One thing that could be improved in future models is the dry/wet knob on the device, which is extremely sensitive to movement.
Recommended or Not?
There’s more to this product than effects pedals, making it recommended for casual or live musicians.
- The pedal is of moderate weight; less than 10 pounds and is easy to transport.
- Sound is clear and free from imperfections; no cracking at a high volume.
- Good compatibility with bass guitars.
- Has no headphone out output.
- The pedal may abruptly turn off during a performance.
The TC-Helicon VoiceSolo FX150 has a built-in speaker (mono) next to the pedal. Since there’s more to the device a pedal itself, it might weigh a bit more than others you’re accustomed to.
In any case, the sound comes are very clear and won’t crackle when you dial up the gain or volume. Bass players will especially love this, and your voice will remain in ear sight when singing over sections where you must play all at once.
There is no headphone output for the device, so using it at home might not be recommended to people who cannot let others nearby hear their music in a residential setting.
But problems could also arise if you’re using during a live performance. Issues have been noted about the device turning off when playing live, so definitely practice with the pedal before you break it out at any public event. With this in mind, the VoiceSolo could still be useful for anyone that wants vocal clarity at a high or low volume.
Recommended or Not?
The FX150 is recommended for anyone that needs to clean up their vocals.
- Supports up to two vocals at the same time.
- There are three presets for reverb alone on the pedal.
- Increases vocals to a high degree without the need to raise the volume significantly.
- Static and cracking may occur periodically when using the pedal.
The TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2 can also support up to two vocals if you need it to. In total, there are three presets that you can try with it, although they consist of reverb.
It will alter your singing to a sound either wet or dry, but this effect can be increased or lowered to the desired amount. This could be a good thing, especially if you like to alter your voice from its ordinary sound.
It will elevate your singing exponentially, doing this no matter how high or low you play your volume.
Unfortunately, you might get some static from the pedal while doing so, and clipping would be the last thing you would want to hear when playing something for an audience. It’s not perfect but does try it out if you’re really into changing the reverb of your vocals.
Recommended or Not?
The Harmony Singer 2 is great for its useful presets and the drastic changes that users can make to their voice with the pedal.
Here are some additional tips to assist you in choosing the right vocal effect pedal for your music.
How to Choose the Best Vocal Effect Pedal?
Choosing the right vocal effects pedal isn’t hard at all. While there might be a lot of brands sold on the market today, they mostly function for the same purpose, which is to make your voice sound better when singing or talking through a microphone. Some of them have built-in speakers for this, while others do not.
What choice you make should ultimately be up to you, although things such as the type of instrument you’re playing could make a big difference of how well-suited you are to the purchase. Furthermore, understand the music genre you’re playing it with. Does it call for changing your pitch to a large degree, or do you need an effect pedal for cleaning up the tone of your natural-sounding voice? And most importantly, are you willing to practice with the control if you’re not familiar with eh way vocal pedals work?
What you intend to do with the Vocal Effects Pedal?
Know what you plan on using your vocal effects pedal for before checking out. If you’re a musician, it’s likely that you already have some ideas on what you want from the machine. But not everyone does. Maybe it was recommended to you because of constructive criticism of your voice. Or maybe you simply want to play around with the pedal to see if you can come up with a sound that’s a little better when heard by a live audience.
If you’re recording music, then you might not need an effects pedal, although are being built specifically to highlight the instruments that are already in a recording studio. With a vocal effects pedal, you can change the tone and pitch of your singing to make it similar to the music you hear played on the radio, or even layer your voice twofold to give it more resonance.
Most advanced musicians will recommend them to others, especially people that are playing but feel as if something is missing to their performances but don’t fully know what.
Understanding your Level of Expertise
If you’re a beginner, having a vocal effects pedal can do wonders to your music. Even if playing at home, this will make things sound much nicer than what’s it would when coming directly out of a microphone (your voice, to be exact).
Outside of pitch and tone, reverb presets can bring depth to your singing, adding a dramatic effect to key areas in tracks that may make the entire song appear different or more refined. Of course, all of these things will take practice, and having a vocal effects pedal that gives easy-to-understand instructions with the device is crucial to how well-taken it will be.
If you want one but don’t understand a thing about the way that they work, ensure the brand you’re looking at has good customer service that will help you with any questions about their product.
Alternative Uses for Vocal Effects Pedals
You don’t have to limit yourself to using a vocal effects pedal for music. Many people like to have them around for all sorts of purposes, from making entertainment during evening events for friends at home to singing in a karaoke bar.
Some people even live stream with them online, plugging the pedals directly into their console or computer to alter their voice. The possibilities are endless, so you can get creative with the way you use the effects pedal. Some musicians may also try effects pedals alone, which can all clarity to notes that might sound unique to playing through a standard amplifier.
Whichever way you choose to use a vocal effects pedal, you can have fun doing it by the number of options they possess to change the melodies that you create.
Common Issues with Vocal Effects Pedals
Vocal effects pedals aren’t perfect, as with any instrument. Some experienced musicians will often open up their devices to improve their soldering, although this is something that most won’t have to do.
Don’t this out if you’re inexperienced. Instead, always abide by the warranty of your device before attempting to change anything too early in the device’s lifetime. However, one of the most common issues with vocal pedals is their tendency to go off when played at random periods.
This could happen for any number of reasons, and a player’s other instruments that are used in tune with it could be the root of the problem. Always check to ensure that you have a proper hookup before playing anything, particularly if you’re going live.
Another common issue is durability and spacing on the controls, you might be difficult for some to see without leaning over and putter their face close to the pedal. If you have had problems with this while using other pedals, make sure that the one you’re interested in can be controlled easily.
Look at photos and videos of the pedal if you need to, observing the way others manipulate the controls (and how quickly they do it). The third problem could also be cracking and distortion when using the pedal.
This is more common among musicians that play vocals very loud, although this might be unavoidable in situations where lots of instrumentation are being used. In such a situation, you may not be able to hear yourself when talking through the mic, forcing you to amp up the volume to hear your vocals.
If this does happen, try to set the gain of your voice (if possible) to a level that allows you to be heard but outputs little distortion. And don’t play music in stereo if there’s a large crowd listening to you, whether it be indoors or outdoors.
Where You Play
Vocal effects pedals can be used virtually anywhere, from your home to outside with lots of people in attendance to your music. If you are playing music at home, look for pedals that have a headphone out slot on the box itself.
You could check out the effects of your headphones, this way, which might be necessary for people who cannot let others heard their music due to noise pollution. Or maybe you’re playing at a small gathering with friends or family. These situations are great for pedals that are small and easy to transport.
Remember, some of them have speakers and dimensions that require that the device be carried. On a side note, transport should always be done in protective luggage, whenever possible. If you don’t have one, consider buying a piece for your pedals (especially if you own or use several during a performance.)
If you’re playing guitar in a live studio, try to get a high-quality pedal that has many different effects. Some of them can be quite confusing initially, especially for beginner players. But more effects also means a higher ability to tweak and clean up your voice, which could work in some recording studios.
Conclusion and Our Best Picks
Do you know what vocal effects pedal is the right one for your music? If you’re still having trouble decided on what to try out first, you could make a random pick. But the better option would be to stick to what’s recommended the most.
Out of the ten that were evaluated in the reviews above, the Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer Multi-Effects Pedal and TC-Helicon EQ Effects Pedal are the best from the bunch. They’re built to last and come with enough presets and vocal options to make both novice players/singers and experienced musicians happy.
However, don’t settle for those if you’re mind is already made up on another product. Each of the vocal effects pedals shown has advantageous qualities, which will allow you to sing with better clarity. And if sounding clearer isn’t important, go for what can alter your voice the most to match your playing style and/or genre. Then when you’re ready to choose, get ready to hear your music (and yourself) in a way that’s unique to what you’ve created before.
- Top 10 Vocal Effects Pedals
- 1. TC-Helicon EQ Effects Pedal – Editor’s Choice
- 2. Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer Multi-Effects Pedal – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Singing Musicians
- 3. TC Helicon Voice Live Play Vocal Effects Processor – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Beginners
- 4. Behringer Virtualizer 3D FX2000 – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for FX Presets
- 5. TC Helicon Play Acoustic Vocal Effects Processor – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Casual Musicians/Singers
- 6. Roland Voice Transformer (VT-3) – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Pitch Control
- 7. Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Acoustic Guitar Players
- 8. TC Electronic Singles VoiceTone E1 Vocal Effects Processor – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Echo Effects
- 9. TC-Helicon VoiceSolo FX150 – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Clarity in Vocals
- 10. TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2 – Best Vocal Effects Pedal for Reverb Presets
- Buyer’s Guide
- Conclusion and Our Best Picks
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