New Gear: TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch
List Price: $695.00
TC Helicon’s new VoiceLive Touch expands upon the company’s VoiceLive product line, as well as the VoiceTone single-effect pedals, but is a much more manageable and fun-to-use unit.
Touch’s predecessor, the VoiceLive 2, is a typical floor unit: easy enough to stomp on while playing guitar on stage or in the studio, though it can be difficult to keep track of lots of effects on the floor with other things happening.
Touch brings two design features that completely reinvent the original VoiceLive: a unique mic-stand mount, and a touch screen that lets you make changes by hand rather than foot. Touch also adds a looping function to the many effects that originated with the VL 2, such as HardTune, tap delay, reverb, harmony, doubling, transducer, and “µMod” (micromod, which recreates an older Helicon effect). The pedal also has a Tone control, for EQ, compression and de-essing.
In our application of VoiceLive Touch, we used the XLR microphone input to record into our computer’s digital audio workstation. The product is equally adept for stage and studio, though with it’s mic stand mount and angled face, working with Touch in the studio proved less natural.
The voice pedal specializes in up to 8-part harmony voicing, and activating the “Harmony” button and adding the seven harmony voicings (Octave Up, Higher, High, Low, Lower, Octave Down, Bass) was fun and intuitive. With a good range of effects, you can dial in a sound pretty quickly and make adjustments to effects and input levels using the Mix button. While a purist may gripe that a harmonizer effect may never achieve that high lonesome sound of the Monroe Brothers or Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, the VoiceLive Touch is a great tool for pop, dance, and electronic music – not to mention singer-songwriters who want to add a little flair to their live show.
Touch comes with a lot of presets, which you can easily scroll through and adjust using the Mix button and slider function. Double-clicking the slider will take you back to the Home screen, while spinning the slider will race through controls like scrolling through an iPod library. Once you’ve found some settings that appeal to you, Touch lets you save 25 favorites and these are easily recallable using the favorite buttons at the bottom of the interface. By using the red record button and the green play button, you can activate the VLOOP, a looping station that allows you to layer vocal parts on top of each other. Another neat feature is the Talk button, which live performers can use to address their audience without affecting the pedal’s current settings.
Another entertaining feature is the guitar and MIDI connectivity, which can be used to control the pedal’s harmonizer and effects. Touch also has an Auxiliary input to connect an iPod or mp3 player, if you’d like to run a backing track into the box.
While the VoiceLive Touch possesses many tricks, even beginners will immediately be able to improve their vocal sounds. In our test, a simple high harmony and a little bit of reverb and delay went a long way. And it only got better from there.