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.
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.
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