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TC Helicon VoiceLive Play Acoustic – Review and Demo

Buy a VoiceLive Play Acoustic Here // Visit TC Helicon’s website for more info

The VoiceLive Play Acoustic is an extremely versatile and valuable tool for the singer/songwriter (vocalist and acoustic guitar player). I believe it is a great pedal for a guitar-playing worship leader – it allows you to send a polished vocal and acoustic signal to your front of house sound guy.

In a nutshell, the VoiceLive Play Acoustic lets you process your vocal signal and your acoustic guitar signal separately. You can then output those signals either separately or mixed together.

Vocal Effects

On the vocal side of things, you can use the following effects (completely independently – all 7 can be on, off, or set to be turned on with a footswitch).

  • Harmony (you can select from many different types of harmonies, including high, higher, low, lower, high + low, high + higher, octave up, -5, +7, and many more)
  • Doubler (with multiple styles)
  • Delay (lots of parameters including level, repeats, subdivisions)
  • Reverb (lots of options)
  • HardTune (autotune) – again, lots of parameters and options
  • Transducer (megaphone, radio, etc)
  • MicroMod (chorus, roto, flanger, etc)

Of all the effects, some of the most useful and interesting to me for worship/rock music are delay, reverb, and harmony. Just delay and reverb alone are essential in producing a ‘polished’ vocal. I like turning those on all the time (whatever settings you like for your voice), and then setting a harmony and doubler on the footswitch. This allows me to have a great wet vocal sound all the time and a big harmony sound for sections like choruses or big bridges.

The autotune, transducer, and micromod effects are great when looking for specific sounds (like a megaphone for example). In the video above I demonstrate several of these effects, and in a nutshell I think they sound really good. The TC Helicon (TC Electronic) effects are very well done.

For the harmonies, you’ll need to play with the different options to find the harmony effect you need for a particular song. You can also set the key for the song, or let the pedal determine the key from your acoustic guitar input. I personally found auto works well most of the time, but I had better results when I set the key for the harmonies.

Finally, you can hold down the hit switch to turn the wet effects off so you can speak without a bunch of delay, reverb, or megaphone setting on your voice.

Acoustic Guitar Effects

The acoustic guitar effects work in much the same way as the vocal effects. You can have them on or off. In my experience you cannot map guitar effects to the footswitch, though.

Here are the guitar effects you can use:

  • Reverb – again, lots of options here
  • MicroMod – based on the TC Electronic Corona Chorus (you get the same algorithms)
  • BodyRez EQ – more on this later 🙂
  • Anti feedback/Notch filter

Personally I enjoyed using the reverb and BodyRez effects. The BodyRez is also available as a stand-alone pedal. It really does add a nice resonance and body to your guitar on both the bottom and top end of the EQ spectrum. I found it easy to dial in a sound (you get a lot of parameters) for my specific acoustic guitar, and it really did make a big difference in the sound.

Other Features

The VoiceLive Play Acoustic comes with a number of additional features that are quite useful. You can use it as a looper, and you’ve got a tuner onboard as well.

Ease of Use

With a piece of gear that does as much as the VoiceLive Play acoustic does, the usability can be an issue. I found the VoiceLive Play Acoustic to be very easy to use and intuitive. In fact, I began setting up my own patches right away without even looking at the manual or the quickstart guide. Each vocal effect has it’s own page and can be set to on/off/hitswitch. Deep editing for many of the effects are available when you need them, but not essential to get a great sound quickly.

Acoustic settings are pretty much the same, and the BodyRez setting was pretty simple to set up (and get sounding great). I was also able to save and rename presets with ease.

You also have a lot of flexibility on general setup as well. You can change the mic input gain as well as the mic input type. Input/output settings are extensive and flexible. I would recommend visiting the TC Helicon link above and taking a look at the manual to see everything this pedal is capable of.

Overall, I really like the VoiceLive Play Acoustic, and I think it can be an essential piece of gear if you want to send an extremely polished high quality vocal to your front of house mix. The harmonies are very well done and sound great, and the other effects like

19 Responses to TC Helicon VoiceLive Play Acoustic – Review and Demo

  1. Samuel Nov 7, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    Hey, can’t believe you did a review on this pedal. I’ve been wanting one for a while and been trying to convince myself to go ahead and get one or say I wanted one for my birthday or aimce Christmas is coming up wait for that, but I never did. Now I could win one. Awesome cant wait for that, maybe I will since yesterday was my birthday, who knows. I have been wanting to try leading some praise and worship music at my church to liven up our very traditional service but I’m the only one doing it with a guitar
    So it just kindof sounds boring and dull. But with all of the resources you offer for us, it should help. Can’t wait to see more from you and to learn how to improve my guitar playing abilities further.l. 5hanks very much for this and everything.

    • Brian Nov 28, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

      Hey Samuel – yeah this pedal is pretty awesome. The contest is running now so best of luck winning!

  2. sam mullins Nov 28, 2015 at 7:40 am #

    Brian, I have been using a vocal effect similar to this one for about 4 years but it’s difficult to use. This one is so much easier to navigate through. I also haul an acoustic amp with me every time I lead to give myself “control” of eq and guitar effects. Having the guitar effects along with the vocal effects will be so much easier on my set up and my back.
    Thanks for taking the time to inform all of us about the contest and this amazing product from TC Helicon! I know we haven’t met in person bu i feel like i have a friend in my corner and a coach to help me to have an edge. These worship tutorial products like the pads have stepped up my game to a new level. Thanks again Brian!

  3. Al Nov 30, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Is the hit button only for vocals or can the hit button be used to cut the reverb and delay on/off for the guitar but keep the harmony’s for the vocals? It would be cool if you could add or subtract voice/guitar individually with the hit button or 2 hit buttons. By the looks of it from the video, I’m guessing it’s all or nothing unless you manually adjust in settings. Am I correct on this assumption?

    • Brian Dec 6, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

      Hi Al – I believe the hit button only turns vocal effects on/off.

  4. Brian LaRue Nov 14, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    Thanks for reviewing…Quick question. While using guitar and mic could Pads be played via ipod/iPad be plugged into the aux? Thanks for your time and what you do for the Kingdom.

    • Brian Nov 21, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

      Hi Brian – I think it technically could. I never really tried plugging anything in through the Aux though

  5. Helder Nov 19, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    Please, how can i get these presets that you used in the video ? They are very nice. Thank you.

    • Brian Nov 21, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

      Hi Helder – I’m sorry these presets are not available as I don’t have the VoiceLive Play any more

      • Matt Aug 12, 2017 at 5:53 am #

        Hi Brian,
        Just read these comments and wanted to ask if you are using something similar now as you are not using the Voice Live Play anymore?

        • Brian Oct 20, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

          Hey Matt – I’m not using anything currently that replicates harmonies.

  6. michaelj Mar 8, 2017 at 2:51 am #

    Hi!
    I have buy play acoustic and its so good! I have oder pads and wonder if it is a oppertunity to go thru the play acoustic whith the pads?
    Blessings
    Micke

    • Brian Mar 15, 2017 at 2:27 am #

      Hi Micke – I’m not sure you can playback an mp3 through the pedal (it’s been a while since I had one). If so, you could conceivably play Pads through one.

  7. Curtis Keller Jun 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    Brian – I had been researching one of these for a while, but your review is what sealed the deal. I got one… and I love it! Sure, it has a couple of quirks that I wish could be changed, (it likes to use the V7 chord where I’d prefer just a V chord when you have it set to simply use a designated key, and I wish you could set guitar effects per patch) but overall it’s great! My son ran sound when I first got it, and he said that it really made my vocal pop out of the mix without having to be louder. I felt like I had the vocal power I needed (due to the adaptive EQ) for the congregation to understand me if I quoted scripture during an instrumental, or called an audible, without being overbearingly loud in the mix. Oh, and when I “buried” the harmonies a bit with the mix, I got comments later that “WOW! Everybody was just really singing this week!”, which helped them to not feel self-conscious while they were worshiping. They just assumed the really solid harmonies were coming from the BGVs and other congregants.

    Now, TC has the Mic Mechanic. Seems to me that EVERY worship leader and BGV should look into using one – adaptive EQ, De-Essing, Compression, Reverb and Delay, and PITCH CORRECTION (*user results may vary!).

    So, my question to you is, since you have somewhat of a following and are tech-savvy, have you tried to get an endorsement with TC? They really need to break into the WL market, and WLs could really use their products! I think you’d be a really good point man for that to happen, and it might score you free gear and maybe a little $! (Ha!) I’d try it, but I’d have like, 1 follower. And his allowance isn’t enough to buy any of their gear yet!

    • Brian Oct 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

      Hey Curtis – glad the VoiceLive worked well for you! I haven’t tried out the mic mechanic yet – I’ll look into that one! I don’t really have an endorsement with TC at this point.

  8. Alan Parsons Aug 8, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    Hey Brian the pedal board that is in this video is it a standard model from west coast or a custom size? thanks!

    • Brian Oct 20, 2017 at 8:33 pm #

      Hey Alan – I believe it’s a standard model – thanks!

  9. Jackie Jan 6, 2018 at 4:04 am #

    WOW nice demo, thanks Brian! Quick question – I’m about to buy my first harmonizer pedal and although the Voice Live is amazing, it seems to be too much for what I need. I’m looking for just a basic but decent harmonizer that could accompany me when I lead our church worship. I alternate between acoustic and electric guitar but I mostly use acoustic. I’m looking at the TC Helicon H1 but the only review I could find is this https://guitarunited.com/tc-helicon-voicetone-h1-honest-review/ and I’m just wondering if you think this pedal is as good as the review says? Or should I spend more and just get the Voice Live? What do you think? Thanks!

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