TC-Helicon VoiceLive Rack
stage or studio
|TC-Helicon’s VoiceLive Rack package includes the MP-75 mic, which features a useful hands-on control button.
Voicelive Rack (VLR) adds a more studio/live
sound overlay to the performance-oriented
VoiceLive Touch. VLR is more complex, more
capable, and more expensive, but folds in multiple
pro options in addition to TC-Helicon
“trademark” features like an obvious interface,
excellent sound quality, and keying harmonies
to guitar, MIDI, or MP3 input.
The package includes the MP-75 mic; yes, I
know you have a favorite mic, but don’t underestimate
the MP-75. It flatters my voice, might
do the same for yours, and the hands-on control
it offers is limited, but welcome.
Effects The six main effects blocks are
μMod (various modulation effects), Delay,
Reverb, Hardtune, Double, Harmony with
up to four intervals, Transducer (distortion,
megaphone, etc.), and Rhythm (chopper,
stutter, panner, etc.). Each is loaded with
parameters—for example, the reverb has 30
different “styles” (algorithms), with editable
reflections, mix from other modules,
decay, diffusion, ducking, etc. The VLR also
includes a Pitch block and Tone block with
compression, EQ, and gating that can adapt
automatically to your voice (or be tweaked
manually) so even without effects, you can
get full, rich vocals.
All editing is front-panel-based, but the
LCD is big and readable, with three lines per page and up to four parameters per line that
you tweak with four physical knobs below the
display. Each effect block has its own tab, and
navigation involves the usual up/down/right/
left buttons coupled with a data wheel. I had
no problem getting around without opening
I/O Analog ins include XLR with switchable
phantom power, line in from a mixer or other
mic pre, aux in (either for backing tracks or
a harmony reference), and a guitar input for
harmony reference that can feed dedicated effects
and mix with the voice, or be taken out of
the mix and sent to a thru jack. XLR and 1/4"
outs are configurable as stereo, mono, or dual
mono (e.g., for voice and guitar on separate
channels). Digital I/O includes MIDI in/out/
thru for control, S/PDIF I/O—don’t overlook
using VoiceLive Rack with audio other than
voice!—and USB for interfacing voice and/or
guitar with computers. (Mac fans will need to
create an aggregate device if you’re using other
Surprisingly, the headphone jack is 1/8". I
feel a pro unit like this virtually demands a 1/4"
jack, particularly because a singer would likely
want to use circumaural headphones, not earbuds.
Well, use an adapter.
A jack accommodates TC’s three-switch
footswitch for preset control, effects bypass,
harmony hold, and the like. While these
switches offer latching control, but not momentary
(e.g., press and hold to bring in a harmony,
release to turn it off ), mic control does
offer momentary control—and it’s more convenient
than using a footswitch.
Is it for You? TC-Helicon’s rep for effects
is outstanding, with good reason—it seemed
like any preset I called up made my voice
sound better. So, the question becomes
whether you need VLR’s extra functionality.
VoiceLive Touch is 5/8 the price, but
nonetheless includes a looper and the effects
you’d need for most performance situations.
However, VoiceLive Rack is definitely a more
capable choice for live sound, and is wonderful
in the studio as a ready-to-go vocal
processing strip. (And it stores ten different
profiles for different vocalists.) If you can
afford the ne plus ultra of live sound/studio
vocal processors, this is it.
varied effects. Easy navigation
despite deep set of parameters.
Includes MP-75 mic with handson
control over a selected preset
parameter. Follows musical input to
create harmonies. Good I/O. Solid
LIMITATIONS: Optional triplefootswitch
does latching control, but
not momentary. 1/8" headphone jack.