Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

When it doesn't fit anywhere else
 #132404  by flyingheelhook
 Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:34 am
What are your thoughts on vocal harmonizers? I normally think of them as 'cheating' but I recently saw a guy doing a solo acoustic act and it sounded pretty good. Thought it might be a way to strengthen my own solo gig. Generaly, the pedals seem the cheaper alternative but still a little pricey. Any one have any experience?
 #132408  by Bobbyg
 Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:10 am
I use a Digitech Vocalist 3. Don't really do solo gigs, but I have seen people use them for solo gigs, and is does seem to feel a little odd, maybe overdone. However, I have been using one in a band setting since we are not really good at singing some of those high harmonies. In a band setting, you really can't tell that one is in use. You can set mix of the harmony, so it is very subtle. Another plus, is you can have a slight pitch correct, if you voice is not tune-perfect.
 #132411  by flyingheelhook
 Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:47 am
Cool. So here is a question I have. For your pedal and others, you plug your guitar in so it can determine the key you are playing in for proper harmony. Do you have to run your signal through the pedal or can you split off and just input to the pedal? (i.e. a Y chord or my passive volume pedal has two outputs - I could send one that would 'dead-end' at the harmonizer). Does that make sense?

Also, you aren't far from me - drop me a line when you guys are gigging and I'll see if I can come out.
 #132415  by jeffm725
 Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:51 am
My take on it is the following:

If you follow sports, are you OK with Athletes taking performance enhancing drugs?
If yes, the Auto tune/Pitch correction is for you.

Just my opinion.
 #132416  by flyingheelhook
 Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:58 am
I'm not as interested in the pitch correction as I am in the harmonizing - adding back up vocals. (although I am sure I could use some pitch correction) Any other special effects (reverb, delay, modulation) would just be icing on the cake.
 #132451  by Bobbyg
 Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:23 am
I run mine in my pedal chain, first in line, guitar goes straight into it, then out to the other pedals. I'm not really tech savy enough to figure out another way. Yes, since it seems you're a Maryland guy, we should get together and can try out the Vocalist!
 #132469  by FretfulDave
 Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:43 am
If you guys get together to try the Digitech Vocalist Live 3, I'd be interested to know how it turns out, especially the idea of splitting the guitar signal. Passing that guitar signal through the box concerns me as to possible alterations in tone. It is for certain that the guitar signal goes through some of the circuitry in the box. I really doubt there is true out of band sampling going on, but I could be wrong.

Any thoughts as to splitting the guitar signal? I would expect it to reduce the signal level going to the amp and the other effects and that will have some effect on the resultant tone. So not just a question of will it work without the guitar passing through the box but how well the guitar performs in that configuration.

I have been looking at two boxes, the Digitech Vocalist Live 3 as well as the TC-Helicon G-XT. Listening to the demos on the web, it appeared to me that females voices seem to sound a bit better. When male voices are put through the box, I feel like the resultant sound is a bit "digital" or "robotic" sounding. I would be using it to bolster the vocals in my little band... with a single vocalist, me! Not planning to use the pitch correction feature, just the harmonies. If you have recordings of you playing in the group setting and using the box, it would be cool to hear them.

I will ask Bobbyg if he is using it with an electric guitar? If so, does the guitar have active electronics or passive pickups? If acoustic, then I have a feel for how the thing works with the different tone characteristics as well as pre-amps for acoustics so equipped. I am a bit nervous about the signal levels when using passive style pickups.

Thanks and good luck with the investigations...

 #132471  by Bobbyg
 Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:01 pm

I am using the Vocalist with a Carvin DC400A, 3 pick-ups, split Super 2 in the middle, Waldo buffer. Ihave OBEL in this guitar as well, but not using it currently. I'll try to find a clip where it's in use and post it..........
 #132500  by bcresci
 Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:16 am
Our singer uses one. I find that there are certain songs on which it sounds pretty good, and on others it's pure Velveeta. Really just depends on the song.

I originally felt that it was complete cheating and against it. But he bought it anyway. Then I started feeling like it was not really any different than any other pedal on my board. Why is an envelope filter OK but a harmonizer not?

But on the whole, I'd probably prefer to see it gone.
 #132528  by AlabamaDidn'tGetAway
 Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:45 pm
My partner uses one in our acoustic duo.
On some things it sounds good but only used very subtley.
Its real easy to overdo it.
Also hes constantly fiddling with the damn thing.
Cant help you with your technical questions.
In summary, I don't much care for it.
Its nice when its right but so wrong when its not.
And it seem finicky.
 #132536  by jackr
 Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:05 am
I went to a TC Electronics demo of some of their harmonizers at NAMM. It was amazing. Using it properly is an art form of its own.

I dont think it is cheating. Isnt it about making good music and entertaining the audience? Is a looper cheating?

It can add great depth to your performance and if you use it right, you will have more fun and so will the crowd.
 #133085  by easytoslip
 Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:31 am
I think harmonizers are good in that it can enhance a solo performance in making fuller sound. Certainly not in the hopes of deterring your experimentation, as it's a cool concept and maybe even necessary, but one of the things I love about live harmonies is the subtle ways you can get on exactly harmonizing planes. Maybe a technology can do this better than people? but you know how cool it is when two DIFFERENT voices hit those two planes, such a wickedly cool effect. Again, not to deter your experimentation...just one of my very favorite things about music right now, vocal harmonies
 #133301  by flyingheelhook
 Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:11 pm
I picked up the TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony G-XT off a re-seller on Ebay for a decent price ($185). I only test drove it but so far I am pretty happy with the sound. It seems to exacerbate some issues I have with my acoustic guitar sometimes feeding back from the monitor and I'll have to figure out how to work it into my signal chain, but honestly, I was having so much fun with the test drive I wonder if I might wind up using it too much - I'll have to be careful.

Give me a little time and I'll post a better review and maybe some sound clips.
 #133303  by ccw3432
 Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:23 pm
The lead singer in my band just got some sort of vocal processing device. I haven't seen it or heard it yet. I'm really hoping for some cool robot voice and synth type stuff that we can use on the vocals when things get spacy. :-)