Multiple good singers are hard to come by.
If you’re a solo act then things can get tricky when you’ve got a duet to sing, or if you just need a bit of work really getting all of the instruments used to fit together nicely with the vocals.
We took the time to put together a list of some of the best vocal harmonizer pedals on the market so you can be confident your vocals are up to the same high standards you set for everything else (without having to spend a huge wad of your hard earned cash on singing lessons).
At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedals On The Market
Boss VE-2 (Editor's choice)
Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
Buyer's Tips: What to look for when choosing a vocal harmonizer pedal
- First thing you’ll want to make sure is that your vocal harmonizer pedals are actually capable at harmonizing! This might sound stupidly obvious, but getting a vocal processor with a harmonizing feature (rather than being the main focus) can end up being unable to fulfill the role you need it to play. What you’re listening for is a natural tone in all layers.
- Since you’re likely looking to get a chorus effect, it’s worth looking into how effective your harmonizer is at ‘gender-shifting’ your vocals. This is when the extra vocal layer created by the harmonizer is able to sound like a female or male singer is accompanying the original voice.
- Tied in with this is the ability to pitch shift your voice. Going too far with this can make you sound like a crappy Darth Vader clone, but done right it can really kick some more extra range to your singing abilities.
- Finally, have a look at how easy it is to program. Will it take the key from a guitar being played? Does it have easy to use presets? If it can’t do the basic tasks you’re looking for, move on.
5 Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedals
#1: TC-Helicon Harmony Singer
One of the easiest to use and most versatile of the list, the TC-Helicon is a very good starting point if you’ve never used a harmonizer before.
- Very intuitive interface makes using it without instructions very simple.
- Harmony layers can be adjusted to control exactly how they accompany your vocals.
- Three reverb settings and additional tone adjustment can help you to nail exactly the right power you want the vocals to have, whether it’s filling a hall or a cozy club.
- Can add a ‘robotic’ sound that shatters the illusion of having back-up singers by making it obviously digital, but this can be mitigated by choosing the right settings for your organic vocals.
- Not cheap, but if you view it as an investment then you might not be as concerned with this factor.
- Will struggle to keep up with ‘interesting’ chords, so you might have to take a hard look at the guitar chords used in any original songs if you plan on relying on this harmonizer for your performances.
#2: Digitech VLFX
A little more complex than a harmonizer stompbox, this one has a few extra features to play with so you can really start to play with the vocals in your live performances.
- It has a huge range of different effects besides harmony and reverb, which makes it a good option for experimenting.
- Has a 70-second looper for adding backing vocals when you’ve only got one singer.
- Loaded with presets for instant use.
- Not cheap running at over $200 new.
- Although it’s not the most complex piece of gear you’ll buy in your music career, the manual is frustratingly opaque for non techies or for those just beginning their journey.
- Multiple buttons spaced closely together makes it easy to accidentally press the wrong one with your foot.
#3: TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G XT
A vocal processor that’s got an emphasis on getting harmony done properly thanks to TC Helicon putting in the technological know-how. It’s a little more sophisticated than the other TC Helicon on the list, but that doesn’t mean one is inherently better than the other.
- Takes input from both the vocals and the guitar chords to generate a strong harmony.
- Allows selection of up to 2 harmony layers.
- Has a bunch of presets (that need a little tweaking to get away from the gimmicky effect) that can add flair to your performance.
- In crowded venues with no room to keep the audience, amps and other noisy things at a distance from the mic, the VoiceTone will start to apply some very weird sounding distortions as all of the input is mixed in with your singing, and not in a good ‘experimental’ way either.
- Really complex chords will throw this thing off, meaning it might not be the best vocal harmonizer pedal for you if you prefer to play jazz.
- For the same price as the Digitech, it lacks a lot of the extra features.
#4: Boss VE-2
For a singer looking to improve on natural talent, this is a great little kit. If you’re looking to recreate the sound of multiple singers, or give your tone a different ‘feel’ or even just to give it some extra depth through a little reverb, this is a superb choice. On the other hand, if you like playing with effects and want to push past what a natural voice sounds like, this isn’t the way to go.
- One of the most natural sounding harmony voices on a pedal.
- Easily adjustable reverb and delay with simple knobs for dialing to the perfect point.
- Keeps harmony without needing to constantly play a chord, as it ‘remembers’ the last chord used.
- More expensive harmonizers have a lot of extra capability, which limits the use of a Boss VE-2 to those who are really just starting out and want the best of a limited budget. Having said that, it is great for the price!
- It’s easy to overshoot with the reverb setting, as the range is much higher than the size of the knob would suggest. You’ll have to be careful when using it to make small adjustments or make sure you’ve already set it up properly in advance
- Not ideal for use with keyboards, although if you’re only wanting something that can work alongside a guitar this won’t be a problem.
#5: TC Helicon VoiceLive 3
A high end harmonizer built for professional usage, this is going to be out of reach for hobbyist musicians. If you aren’t already playing music for a living, you’ll probably want to wait until that point before considering this one.
- Multi-track looping.
- 11 vocal effects and has the ability to add effects to a guitar too, making it a good multi effects pedal.
- Dedicated outputs for vocal and guitar tracks, letting you separate what happens to each channel, and even enabling a whole band’s worth of music in a track to be created by one musician in a live setting.
- You’ll need to be serious before getting this, as it’s nowhere near as cheap as the basic models.
- Can suffer from feedback issues, so you’ll need to take the time setting up and testing in venues to smooth these out. Unfortunately, they’re not always the easiest thing to fix and require multiple solutions.
- Because it’s so sophisticated and can handle so much, you’ll need to take the time to properly learn how to use it. If you lack proper understanding of the nuances, you won’t be able to get the best out of it.
For its exceedingly natural tone, the Boss VE-2 takes the cake. It’s one of the easiest to use in the market, and does exactly what you want it to be able to. It does lack some of the crazier effects of other pedals, but if that’s what you’re looking for then perhaps the Digitech VLFX will suit your needs better.
Which is your favourite? Let us know why in a comment! For more great updates every week, subscribe and get in-depth info on the best gear out there.
zinginstruments.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.