The TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 is a serious piece of kit which provides singers with a “next-generation” unit for enhancing their performance, both on-stage or in the studio.
This latest creation from the VoiceLive family provides harmonies and effects that can be “auto-track” when based on the chords being played. Perfect for guitarists, solo artists or singers in professional bands, the VoiceLive 3 has been produced with a whole host of new features ready to make you sound better than the competition.
Before we delve into all of the settings and sounds, let’s get the basic construction, size and weight information out of the way. The size of the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 is around 3 inches in height, 13 inches in width and about 8 inches deep. In your hand it weighs around two and a half kilograms, so not super heavy, but not super light.
A real plus point is the construction of the unit, you can tell a lot of thought has been put into it. After all, if you’re gigging most nights, the VoiceLive 3 could see some serious action on the battlefield. Under the hood VoiceLive 3 has three independent cores dedicated solely to vocals, guitar and looping. More memory and lightning fast access means double the processing power of the previous VoiceLive 2.
You will find that it has been constructed from “anodised” aluminium with a steel chassis, for ease of use, you will notice it has lovely recessed rubberised handles, which feel nice when moving the unit. There’s also rubber “knobs” which again feel great, and bright “tri-coloured” footswitch light rings, which is a great element for a dark stage or environment. Equally, the display is LCD with a white back light, and can be seen quite easily when your stood up. To the left hand side of the LCD display, you will notice “capacitive” touch controls which also have LED indicators.
Inside of the box you will find, the TC Helicon itself, a region specific power supply, for us it was the UK plug, a USB cable, a Quickstart guide and a neat Guitar/Headphone combo cable.
TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Review – Vocal Effects and Presets
Right out of the box is 250 factory presets from a large range of genres and styles. These include classic sounds such as Country and Rock, to more modern and contemporary genres such as Pop, R&B and even electronica. Just like it’s predecessors, the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 allows you to easily edit all of the presets, to create your own unique creations.
Within the unit itself, there’s actually memory for 500 presets! With 10 steps per preset, and 10 footswitches, you can also easily assign harmonies or effects at the touch of a button. Perfect for that big chorus sound, or an interesting FX for your latest track. Some of the vocal effects include Echo and Delay, Reverb, Harmony, Vocal Doubling, Transducer, Rhythmic, HardTune & Correction, Choir, Stutter, Vocoder and Adaptive Tone.
Reverb – Short for Reverberation, reverb simulates an acoustic space like a concert hall or a bathroom. Typically, slower songs use longer reverb and faster songs use shorter reverb.
Delay – Also known as Echo, delay repeats the input sound in various ways, from single “taps” to multiple panned asynchronous repeats. Often, delay is mistaken for reverb in a song. It’s typical in a recording to use a small amount of both delay and reverb to create the desired spatial effect.
Doubling – Doubling creates an effect that makes your voice sound “larger” in the mix. It’s an extremely popular effect in a wide variety of musical styles from Pop to Hip-Hop and everything in between.
Harmony – Harmony creates up to 8 voices of harmony (varies by product), based on your vocal input and surrounds you with professional sounding backup singers. Once you’ve added harmony to your performance, we think you’ll never want to sing without it.
Hardtune – Some people know it as the Cher or T-Pain effect. We call it Hard Tune. It’s a very aggressive form of pitch correction that forces the voice to “jump” from one note to the next in an almost robotic way. The effect works the best when confined to a set scale, where the intervals between notes are more noticeable.
Synth – Vocoding is the process of using a “carrier” signal to create synthesized speech and singing. You can use your guitar to guide all sorts of robot, synthesizer and tuning effects.
Other great features include the automatic “Mic Gain” feature, which takes the guesswork out of setting your input level properly. Simply sing your loudest into the mic and VoiceLive 3 will set your mic gain automatically for the best signal-to-noise ratio and freedom from nasty input distortion. For even more of an advantage, you can control your effects from a mic engineered for the sonic realities of modern vocal performance.
Add the New TC-Helicon MP-76 (sold separately) with 4 user-assignable Mic Control buttons, this means if you’re coming to a chorus and want a big choir behind you, simply “hit” the button on the microphone and the effect will be triggered. Just like all other parts of the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3, you can manually set what sound or effect you want. This can also change from preset to preset. For example, let’s say on your first song you use preset 1, and trigger an “auto-tune” effect, on your next song, you may use preset 10 and trigger a doubling effect. The options really are endless.
VoiceLive 3’s built in “RoomSense technology” listens to your music to guide your harmonies. RoomSense can also be blended in with your headphone mix to allow you to hear the room sounds – especially useful with in-ear monitors.
A cool feature of the VoiceLive 3 is the fantastic “Hit” Button, after all a great performance is all about dynamics, and VoiceLive 3 lets you master your onstage dynamics. The HIT button puts you one touch away from adding effects layers to your vocals, your guitar, or both.
Guitar FX – Amp Modelling
Even though the VoiceLive 3 is aimed at aiding top quality vocal performances, TC Helicon have also implemented a seriously cool guitar effects processor too. Borrowing from sister company TC Electronic, TC-Helicon decided to place guitar effects from the TonePrint series into the VoiceLive 3. It has serious capabilities with detailed Amp Modeling, Drive, Delay, Reverb, Compression, Resonant Filter, Wah, µMod (Flange, Chorus, De-tune),, Shifter. Rhythmic/Tremolo and the Talkbox, which is part of the Vocoder. Just like with the vocal setup, you can easily edit and customise the guitar presets to your hearts content.
A big shout-out is also needed, to the effort and dedication of the TC Helicon team to the fantastic acoustic guitar styles. Perfect for solo gigs at a local coffee shop, these authentic acoustic presets, would certainly not be out of place on singles or albums from top-selling artists. Another really cool plus point was the fast and accurate guitar tuner, perfect for use in-between songs, so you always sound brilliant. However that’s not all, if you really want to get technical, the VoiceLive 3 can even match Guitar chords automatically using the guide Harmony and more.
Another brilliant feature we loved was the “Layers function” which brings everything together into a powerful performance tool. This lets you remap buttons, either within a layer (Vocal or Guitar, the looper is static) or between the Vocal and Guitar layer. From a user standpoint, this lets you reside in the Guitar layer while still having access to Vocal functions such as Harmony by simply remapping the Harmony button.
VoiceLive 3 – In-Built Loop Function
Create intricate songs and on-the-spot re-arrangements with VoiceLive 3’s Powerful multi-track looper including intuitive control layout and infinite overdubs. We’re talking about Powerful 3-phrase looping. This is complete with “selectable layering” and serial techniques.
The TC Helicon team have packed the VoiceLive3 with loads of memory and storage. In fact there’s around 45 minutes of looping time and infinite overdubs. This will let you create entire sets of songs and store them for instant recall. Loops can be stored on board and recalled together with presets.
A really neat feature is the clever “LoopAssist function”. This has been designed to help you make tighter loops effortlessly. It does this through intelligently correcting your loop’s start and end points, or stretching loops of varying lengths to mesh everything together. From our experience this is certainly a feature that goes way beyond many looping pedals currently on the market.
TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 – Connections
The TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 has a great selection of inputs and connections, so you always have a handy option available. Firstly there’s the standard combined mic/line input XLR/jack combo which will accept both Condenser and Dynamic microphones. If you want to play along while you’re singing, you will also find a cool “Guitar-in” and “guitar-thru” input, which is a 6.3mm jack.
For further connectivity there’s also an AUX Input 3.5mm mini-jack stereo, a Monitor in/thru XLR and a Stereo headphone output, which accepts a 3.5mm mini jack. We think this is a real plus point, especially for practising at home without the use of a PA system. For connection to live systems, or a recording interface, you will find “Voice out” XLR L/R, which is available in mono/dry.
However that’s not all, if you want to record you’re guitar at the same time, TC Helicon have also included two Guitar outputs, which are a 6.3mm jack, both Left and Right. For that extra bit of control, there’s even a Pedal input for a foot switch and expression pedal. To top it all of, you will also find a MIDI I/O and a USB connector for updates.
Available to Buy Now at Amazon UK
Check out the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme on Amazon today! Live Vocal Harmony/Effect Processor. Record and Playback the activation of effects and steps for both vocals and guitar.
Features include μMod, echo and delay, reverb, harmony generation, doubling, transducer, rhythmic, hardtune and pitch correction, choir, stutter, vocoder, adaptive guitar effects: amp modelling, drive, delay, reverb, compressor, resonance filter, foot code.
VoiceLive Play makes studio magic available to every singer – everywhere. Automatic backing harmonies, vocal double tracking, pristine EQ and compression, reverbs, hard-tuned robo-voice – all the goose-bump effects that make today’s Billboard hit vocals truly stand out are yours.
The HIT feature gives you total control to punch in a stunning harmony or other effects precisely when it’s right for your song. When you’re not on stage, plug in your MP3, choose ‘Vocal Cancel’ and practice with your favourite tracks – complete with statistics on your voice.