Review: TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Pedal — Video


Whether you grunt like Tom Waits with strep throat or sing like the love child of Luciano Pavarotti and Freddie Mercury, every vocal performance can sound a hell of a lot better with the right processing.

This is no problem if you play with a national touring act that has its own sound system, racks of outboard gear, and team of professional live-sound engineers, but the majority of bands that slug it out at smaller gigs usually can’t afford such luxuries.

Several companies offer affordable foot-controlled multi-effect units for vocalists, and while these offer good solutions, they can add to stage clutter for singing guitarists who may already have numerous pedals at their feet.

The TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 is the ideal solution for singing guitarists as it combines TC’s acclaimed guitar effects and vocal effects in a single foot-controlled unit.

FEATURES The TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 combines a full-featured vocal processor, guitar processor and sophisticated looper, each with its own independent processor. All three can be controlled simultaneously via footswitches on the VoiceLive 3 unit, and global presets allow users to change entire vocal, guitar and looper settings at once with a single click of a footswitch. Individual inputs and outputs are provided for sending vocals and electric/acoustic-electric guitars to separate sound systems and amplifiers.

VoiceLive 3’s capabilities are incredibly deep, so we can only scratch the surface of its capabilities here. Vocal effects include reverb, delay, modulation, harmony, doubling, pitch correction, vocoder and more. Guitar effects are based on TC’s acclaimed TonePrint Series and include Flashback Delay, Hall of Fame Reverb, Corona Chorus and Vortex Flanger, plus amp modeling, distortion/overdrive, compression, wah, pitch shift, tremolo, modulation effects, and much more.

The looper allows users to record multiple tracks, and it holds up to 45 minutes of recorded loop material that can be saved to presets and even arranged in separate sections to create songs.

While VoiceLive 3 has only 10 footswitches on its control panel, its layer footswitch allows guitarists to re-map six of those footswitches to control only vocal, guitar or looper effects and functions. Presets can also be programmed to mix vocal and guitar footswitch functions together. The rings surrounding the footswitches illuminate in red (vocal), blue (guitar), or pink (looper) to make it easy to know what type of processing is being controlled. The unit includes 250 factory presets plus internal memory locations for another 500 user presets.

PERFORMANCE Although VoiceLive 3 is incredibly sophisticated and deep, it is surprisingly easy to use. The factory presets enable even technophobic musicians to get up and running within minutes. Chords played on the guitar can automatically guide vocal harmony processing and other effects. An Acoustic mode setting instantly optimizes the VoiceLive 3’s guitar processing section for an acoustic-electric guitar.

The vocal, guitar and looper edit screens are instantly accessed via dedicated switches on the front controller panel, and the control knob, four mix knobs and large display make it easy to navigate menus and adjust parameters.

Of course, the bottom line with any processor is the quality of its effects, and this is where VoiceLive 3 really delivers the goods. Individually, the vocal, guitar and looper sections are worth the price of admission on their own, and collectively they make VoiceLive 3 an incredible bargain. The vocal effects deliver professional studio-quality processing, particularly the realistic-sounding harmonies, lush reverbs and instantaneous pitch correction. The guitar effects are similarly stellar, as anyone familiar with TC’s TonePrint pedals can attest. The looper may be the Voiceprint 3’s secret weapon, as it is more powerful and sophisticated than most dedicated loopers on the market.

LIST PRICE $799.99

Vocal and guitar processing and a sophisticated looper are combined in a single unit, allowing guitarists to control vocal and guitar effects at once.

Vocal effects include reverb, delay, modulation, harmony, doubling, pitch correction, vocoder and more.

THE BOTTOM LINE Providing studio-quality vocal and guitar effects plus a sophisticated looper, the TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 lets guitarists sound like pros without an entourage of live-sound engineers.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.