Harmonizers are wonderful. The ability to be able to add a harmony to a vocal always catches peoples ears and keeps the audience wanting more.
If you think of the solos of songs like Hotel California, or anything by Thin Lizzy, then you have heard two, or even three, part guitar solo harmonies. Think of the best vocal harmonizer pedals as doing the same thing, but for the voice.
They are of course, principally designed for vocals and as such can project the voice and create harmonies that will inspire your music.
But which harmonizer pedal is the best one for you?
We are going to look at some of the best vocal harmonizer pedals and consider their application and what they may add to your vocal tracks.
Top 10 Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedals In 2019 Reviews
1 TC Helicon Play Acoustic Vocal Effects Processor
This vocal effects on this pedal are quite outstanding. It operates with separate inputs for guitar and vocal or by combining them in a stereo mix.
The harmonies it creates are warm and natural sounding, and it comes with onboard effects – delay, reverb, and chorus. There is also an EQ which will give you control over the sound created.
This pedal will provide you with the options to enhance your performance, whether on stage or in the studio. Seven basic vocal effects are the starting point, but then you can add the effects, as required. Great vocals, warm and perfect pitch harmonies are created, and your personal performance moves to another level.
It offers more than 200 presets for vocals and has a USB for audio and a low noise microphone preamp. The built-in effects and options can even give you a very authentic acoustic guitar sound.
But, what does it sound like?
The vocal effects are outstanding and allow you to use simple harmonies or more complex arrangements. These can be turned off and on to suit a chorus or a verse. As a way of enhancing your vocals, it is a great pedal.
Of course, it provides harmony lines and will react to what your guitar is doing to create the perfect sound, but it also has a ‘doubling’ effect, making your voice richer and fuller in the mix. Reverb and delay add even more to the sound.
It is, however, not very easy to use and while the controls are straightforward, there is much to understand in the learning curve. Having said that, you will enjoy hours of fun seeing just what this pedal is capable of.
2 Boss VE-2
Boss has created with the VE-2, an easy to use and not expensive harmonizer. It uses real-time functions for vocals and effects and will create those harmonies in sympathy with a guitar that is connected.
The combination of great sounds and ease of use make the Boss VE-2 a good option for those wanting a vocal harmonizer. It creates classy harmonies to your vocal whether in pitch with a guitar that is connected or by using the preset keys.
Onboard effects enhance the finished article utilizing reverb, delay and a pitch corrector that works with you in real-time.
You can choose between 24 different harmony options, some with one voice, some with two, that provide full, rich harmony tones. For those vocalists that want a simple harmony line then there is also a control that allows that.
A memory function for storing most used settings is a good option.
The Boss runs on 4 AA batteries or using an AC adaptor, so it is fully portable, The VE-2 will also work with rechargeable batteries which is an advantage. The phantom power for a condenser microphone input is operational even if running on battery power.
Is it a good option for use on stage?
If you are looking for a simple to use vocal harmonizer, that is suitable for stage work then the Boss VE-2 is a good option. It is easy to use but having the chorus and reverb using the same control knob might not be such a good idea.
Possibly another downside in functionality is the pedals layout. The writing on the top of the unit is quite small which may be a problem in a stage environment, under lights, if you need to see what you are doing. Small issues really, but worth considering.
It is though, a very good little unit and does its job very well.
3 TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G XT Vocal Effects Processor
The TC Helicon is a quality package. It has a number of harmony choices and excellent effects that will give a great sound to your vocal performance.
Depending upon the settings you apply the GXT will choose which harmony lines to fit your vocal. Options include 3rds and 5ths below and above and of course, octaves. Onboard are some great effects to further shape the sound including reverb and delay. The pitch correction facility will ensure you stay in tune.
The controls are functional and easy to use, and the settings can be changed comfortably while in a standing position. There is an XLR input for your microphone and a preamp with phantom power.
A great added facility on the GXT is the doubling control. This offers the option to apply a double track to your vocal in a number of phases to suit the style of the song, from tight with the lead vocal to a looser feel. This facility can be applied to the harmonies as well.
The GXT will also make any necessary changes to the EQ and compression in a real-time situation as well as handling the gaiting and the de-ess-ing.
This harmonizer carries a lot of options and produces a great sound. It really is all you need and a little bit more. Its value though does not stop with the live performance, and it is a great asset in the studio to give your vocals a warm, full sound.
At a realistic price, it really does take some beating.
4 TC-Helicon Harmony Singer
Another product from TC-Helicon, the Harmony Singer provides a basic harmony line linked to your voice or guided by your guitar. You can utilize one or two harmony voices and apply one of eight combinations of voice styles.
Good effects enhance your sound, the reverb offering three basic settings for a small room, a club or a large hall. The Adaptive Tone controls monitor the EQ and Compression with further balancing of gating and de-ess-ing facilities.
The footswitch allows you to control its usage and also contains an on/off switch, for times when you need to speak to the audience.
Perhaps its most impressive feature is the ease of use. This really is a simple piece of kit to operate, but with its simplicity still produces great results.
It will provide a direct harmony to the vocal but can also simulate backing vocals with real warmth and quality to the sound.
One consideration though, is that your vocal needs to be pretty good because there is no pitch correction function included in this pedal.
Small but mighty!
This might be a small pedal with what looks initially like limited controls, but it packs a punch, has good effects especially the reverb, and creates good harmonies. It does not come particularly cheap, but then quality rarely does, and with this pedal, there is good quality.
Robust and well made it will handle its stompbox label.
5 Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer
With the VE-8, Boss has produced a studio quality harmonizer that delivers a great sound. A range of extra features mean you can achieve real-time harmonies and looping in this easy to use pedal.
As with all Boss sound processors, the sound is rich and warm, and with four options on the ambiance control, you are certain to achieve the right mood for your vocal.
It has an onboard preamp and Chromatic pitch correction. On this pedal, you get ‘doubling,’ an effect that doubles up your vocal input to create a full sound with real depth and a memory patch for storing up to 50 settings.
Initially, the controls might look daunting, but they are self-explanatory and easy to use, offering so many effects and options. It is well made and robust and will take the strain of the bumps and knocks of traveling around.
It operates on 6 AA batteries or the supplied AC adaptor.
The harmony function within the unit will pick up the chords you are playing so the right harmonies can be applied. For this reason, it might work better with the guitar being strummed rather than in finger-picking mode.
On the rear panel are connections for guitar and an XLR for a microphone. It has phantom power that can be turned off and on. The three footswitches give you ample control over the operation and allow seamless changes to be applied.
A good pedal with lots of options for vocal enhancement.
6 Electro-Harmonix Voice Box Harmony Machine And Vocoder
Electro -Harmonix has produced a sophisticated piece of kit with this pedal. It includes a Vocoder, and if you are not exactly sure what that is, it is a voice box that analyses human speech for a variety of reasons. Musically it has been around for quite a time, though it is not often spoken of in the same terms as a harmonizer might be. Famously this technology was used by Stevie Wonder on his ‘Talking Book’ and ‘Innervisions’ albums
This pedal will follow the chords from the instrument you are using and the notes you are singing, to create up to 4 part harmonies. It includes the ability to be able to slide from one note to the next while the harmony lines created are maintained.
This vocal style is sometimes referred to as ‘Glissando.’
For a pedal to be able to achieve this with precise notation is a remarkable achievement in a real-time situation.
This pedal is a very professional piece of kit and some might argue takes voice harmonizing to another level. It will produce studio quality performance once you have got to grips with exactly what this pedal offers and it offers a lot.
3rds and 5ths…
It will produce harmonics of the 3rd and the 5th either above or below your note, but can also be adjusted using Multi Harmony mode to have one harmony 3rd or 5th above and another below. Voice Mix is another great feature allowing you to increase the volume in the mix of either the 3rd or 5th to suit exactly what you want.
Octave mode will, as the name implies, give you an octave note either above or below your note.
There are too many features to fully discuss them all, suffice to say it will take some time and patience to get to grips with all the possibilities.
7 Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer Multi-Effects Pedal
The Boss sales pitch for this pedal asks the question, why the guitarists should have all the fun with pedals. And Boss’s answer is that, they shouldn’t.
The VE20 is more than a vocal harmonizer; in fact, it could be described as a multi-effects pedal when considering what it includes in its array of functions.
Its vocal based effects include harmony creation, reverb, chorus, and delay but adds a double tracking facility to really create powerful sounds. It will create for you 3 part harmonies and add layers for that full, rich sound some vocals require. It also goes a one step further, offering distortion and strobe effects.
There is a pitch corrector function and a looping facility with 38 seconds of memory for each loop.
When using a condenser microphone phantom power is included, and the pedal operates on 6 AA batteries or an AC adaptor.
Use it on other instruments as well…
Another plus to consider with this pedal is while it is primarily designed for vocal enhancement it also works great with some solo instruments. Sax and some woodwind solos are given another dimension with the onboard effects.
Two individual foot pedals control the whole operation though it must be said that in live performance the LED screen might be a little difficult to see. Nevertheless, it is an excellent provider of an array of sounds and possibilities for your vocals.
Well built and robust as all Boss pedals are, it is basically very easy to use, but if you want to get clever with it, you have the options it gives.
8 TC Helicon 996012005 VoiceTone H1 Vocal Effects Processor
Yet another pedal from TC Helicon but this one has fewer options than the others we’ve reviewed so far.
It is primarily designed for those vocalists who wish to add one or two harmony lines. And has been designed and built with two aims – to make a pedal that is easy to use and one that is affordable – and it achieves both of those.
It will achieve some nice harmonies either a 3rd or a 5th above and below and takes its key from the guitar that is played through the pedal. Much the same as far more expensive models.
Where it is different is the number of effects available. Reverb sits nicely and is controllable, but there is no onboard pitch correction.
What you see is what you get…
This is one of those very good ‘what you see is what you get’ pedals. It does the job it’s designed to do and does that job in a way that is easy to operate.
Yes, you can say it doesn’t have all the effects and options that some other pedals offer, but it is not designed for that. For those vocalists wishing to have some basic harmony lines delivered with the minimum of effort and fuss then this pedal works very well.
Basic sounds are good and the harmonies simple but very effective.
It is well built and sturdy and has an onboard preamp with phantom power for condenser microphones. It also comes with its own power supply.
9 TC Helicon Perform-VK
The Perform-VK from TC Helicon is a harmonizer and vocal processor that gives quality reproduction of the voice. It is stand mounted and is easy to use. And, is designed to work with a keyboard and has in and out ports.
It has literally hundreds of presets to suit your music and has a range of effects – reverb, and delay – that allows you to create exactly the vocal sound you require. The unit comes with a pitch controller facility.
It takes the notation from your keyboard to produce up to two real-time harmonies. If you want to create vocals with a more complex sound, this is possible using MIDI note driven harmony which can create eight real-time harmony lines.
It carries EQ, compression controls, de-ess-ing, and gating to polish your vocal sound. It is possible to use this in a studio environment, though it’s likely the effects will already be available. Nevertheless, they are on hand and will certainly bring a new life and sound to your stage performance.
There is a downloadable app for your smartphone or tablet that keeps you informed of the latest updates and will also provide extra functions if they are required such as doubling.
The Perform is an innovative vocal processor that provides options others do not. There are some areas it might cause problems in that the harmony vocals cannot be isolated from the main vocal, but some will not see that as a problem. As a cost-effective processor, it is good value and does its job easily and well.
10 TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2
And our final option in this rundown of the best vocal harmonizer pedals is again from TC Helicon – the Harmony Singer 2.
This pedal is easy to operate and will produce up to two harmony voices to act as a back up to your vocal. The notation is taken from your guitar which is input into the device.
It carries the usual impressive array of Helicon sound effects to help you create exactly the sound you require including a three-option reverb. The TC Helicon AdaptiveTone is also included to provide quality EQ processing and compression and also carries de-ess-ing and gating.
It is battery powered, taking 4 AA batteries, though there is a 9v mains adaptor for those that prefer them and an off/on switch for your harmonies to allow you to bring them in when required for maximum impact.
It will interface with a Mac/Windows computer to receive the latest updates and allows you to save your favorite settings.
The creative process with vocals is enhanced with the option of 8 harmony styles that will allow you to choose the most suitable for your song. 3rds and 5ths either above or below form the basis of the harmony creation but other options also exist.
It is well built and capable of handling the rigors of stage life assuming it is treated well. It is a capable pedal at a realistic price that will bring a quality to your vocals in a live performance. As an added plus with just three basic controls it easy to operate.
So You Want To Raise The Roof With Your Vocals…
Every singer wants that, but how to achieve it.
We have given reviews to some of the best pedals on the market made by the best manufacturers, and they all have their plus points. It will depend primarily on what you want the unit to do, how easy you want it to be to operate, especially in live situations, how good are the effects and does it represent value for money.
- So What Do You Require The Unit To Do?
If all you need the pedal to do is provide a simple harmony line to your own vocal, then all the pedals here reviewed are more than capable. Possibly though, you want a bit more. Maybe two harmonies of backing vocals to make the vocals prominent. To a certain extent, it may depend on the genre of music.
The harder rock songs often only require bigger vocals on the chorus lines, whereas a more melodic style can benefit from the option of interspersing harmony lines throughout the song at important moments.
- Do You Envisage Ever Composing Or Playing A Predominately Vocal Based Track? Maybe Just A Few Instruments But Half A Dozen Voices?
Whatever the style you employ, plan for the future and allow for being able to attempt more adventurous vocal projects. Some of the pedals here will offer you these options.
- What Effects Do You Want To Apply To The Sound?
You will need the option of having a decent EQ and some compression built-in especially for live performances, and most of the units will give you that, but there are further effects considerations.
Reverb is a critical effect and needs to be expansive and creative. Used correctly it can transform your vocals and create for you the big room or intimate club ambiance. Some overdo the use of this effect out of pure excitement in having it, but it is there to assist the sound not dominate it, and some of the pedals reviewed have great reverb sounds with superb options included.
Likewise having a decent delay included can add to the sound when used sparingly.
Gating can add accuracy to your the vocal, beyond the use of a compressor, and the de-ess-er will eradicate sibilance which can often ruin what is otherwise a good recording.
All issues to consider when deciding upon the level of performance you are attempting to achieve, which will determine which unit you buy.
- Must It Be Easy To Use?
Not a silly question. If the usage is going to be on stage, then you will need a pedal that is easy to understand, easy to control and to be able to see clearly even under stage lighting in semi-darkness.
It might be that your live environment is a bit more relaxed and you have the time and the visual range to adjust settings.
Some pedals come with the option of saving your preferred settings to a series of presets — not a bad idea. In a live environment maybe the fewer controls to adjust the better and in that scenario foot pedal control will also be important.
How the unit is used might be an issue. Most are floor units but the TC Helicon Perform-VK needs to be fixed to a microphone stand, and others will be better used possibly on small tables close to you where you will have easy control.
Generally speaking the easier the units are to control the fewer sound options they have. That is not to say that the easy use options don’t have excellent effects and possibilities, but if you really want to create some seriously complex stuff, then there are pedals reviewed that will do that.
- Battery Or Adaptor?
Personal preference with this. Battery driven units rarely come up to the spec suggested in terms of battery life, and the last thing you want is to run out of power with half an hour to go. But then do you want yet another lead plugged in and populating the floor of the stage that already resembles a plate of spaghetti that someone has dropped?
Some of the units allow rechargeable batteries which may be something to consider as you can spend a small fortune replacing batteries for every gig and maybe twice in a long performance.
At the end of the day, the decision is what do you need it for now and in the future and which pedal will accomplish that. We are certain that from the reviewed list of the best vocal harmonizer pedals around, you will find one that suits you perfectly.
So, Which One Is The Best Vocal Harmonizer Pedal…
We decided that we wanted a pedal that would give us a good harmony line addition to the lead vocal but also give quality backing vocals. We wanted ‘double tracking’ on the main voice and some quality effects. It was also felt that we needed the opportunity to be a little bit more adventurous in the future.
So many excellent products to choose from but we decided on the…
A great pedal from a classy manufacturer gives us everything we need and at a very cost-effective price.