Nov 30

TC VOICELIVE TOUCH

INTRODUCTION
I am very familiar with the quality of products from the TC Group especially TC Helicon and their ever-growing vocal range. It is great to see a company bringing the possibilities of vocal sounds of hit songs of today to the home studio musician or live performer.

Vocal effects are more often than not designed for the studio. Most ‘Live’ units are either a foot pedal type or a foot-switch used in conjunction with an effects unit or rack. TC Helicon have been expanding their vocal product range and have now given full consideration to the immediate needs of the vocalist on stage. They have come up with something I would say is the best design possible for this need. It has the simplest way of attaching to a mic stand to position all of the essential controls exactly where the vocalist needs them. You just simply slide the unit onto the stand and its weight and angle hold it firmly in position. You can adjust the height easily with one hand if you need to – it is such a great design. The last thing a performer wants is to worry about trying to adjust something on the floor which involves looking down when they really want to concentrate on the audience out front.

LAYOUT AND CONTROLS
The layout is also quick an easy and very fast. Having a touch screen with a sliding bar means you can access effect presets and other parameters with a quick tap or a swipe of the surface. It is amazing just how touch-sensitive the surface of the Voicelive Touch is. The lightest of touch makes your selection.

My first thoughts when looking at this futuristic design was the question of how quick would it be to learn all of its advanced controls, but as I started to use it I found that I was quickly working my way through the presets, adding reverb and delay, doubling my voice and adding an assortment of interesting harmonies. You can get some tips on usage from http://www.voicelivetouch.com but there are only ten sections to familiarise yourself with and some have only one button. These are as follows:-

1. EFFECT BLOCKS – This has six buttons – µMOD (Chorus or Flanger), DELAY, REVERB, FX, DOUBLE, and HARMONY. You just touch a button once to turn it on or off. If you hold it down you can edit the effect. Holding down the Delay sensibly allows you to set the tempo of the delay (Tap Tempo).
2. HARMONY VOICING – On the right hand side going from top to bottom you will see 7 buttons to give you different harmony voicings. There are three higher harmonies – OCTAVE, HIGHER and HIGH and four lower harmonies LOW, LOWER, OCTAVE and BASS. From these 7, you can only select a maximum of 4 harmonies. To edit them just hold down any of the lit Voicing buttons.
3. LEDs – Information is also given by way of LEDs. These will show things such as MIDI INPUT, TAP TEMPO, INPUT TOO HIGH etc.
4. MIX BUTTON – This is just one button and has a few uses, one of which gives you access to the Setup Menu for global changes to set 48V Phantom Power (if you are using a condenser microphone), Tone (to give more compression, warmth, brightness, shape EQ, and provide de-ess and gate functions), MIDI channel and other parameters like USB and pedal settings.
5. DISPLAY – The central display is a red lit scrolling display and shows the current Preset you have selected (1-205) or Favorite bank and number (FAV A1-5, B1-5, C1-5 etc.) It will also show you edit parameters and values.
6. LOOP CONTROLS – To record a loop, you have just a red and a green button. The red button is used to start the recording, tapping it twice starts the loop. The Green button is used to stop and play. If you want to erase the loop, just hold down the Red Record button.
7. ARROW BUTTONS – Either side of the Slider control are two arrow buttons to increment presets one by one or go back If you cannot get used to the Slider Bar to start with, you may find the arrows easier.
8. THE SLIDER – This is without doubt today’s technology. The type you will find on other mobile devices and here you can Swipe, drag or tap the Slider to load presets or change values in edit modes. This will also display preset names or parameters and values in edit modes. If you hold it down you can enter a Wizard that assists you in browsing presets according to their category. You can always Double-tap at anytime to exit to Home.
9. FAVORITE BUTTONS – there are five of these – banks A to E . To select a bank just hold the slider while tapping a favourite and then release. To store a Preset and any edits as a Favorite just hold the favourite button. It tells you this above the buttons.
10. TALK BUTTON – The talk button is very useful especially for ‘Live’ as it will mute all effects except Tone. If you hold this button down, TC Helicon have included a guitar Tuner as well here.

CONNECTIONS AND SPECIFICATIONS
Connections around the back give consideration to the vocal / guitarist. You have a Balanced XLR Mic Input, an XLR Output, a Guitar Ground Lift to assist with hum reduction, 1/4” TRS Outputs, Guitar In and Thru, an Aux In Jack to mix in audio from an external stereo device such as an MP3 player, a MIDI Input (where you could connect the MIDI Out from a keyboard for example to control harmony and select presets), a Power Adaptor Input – ( I did not like the idea of no power switch here), a USB Connector for PC and MIDI communication, a Foot-switch Input , a Headphone Output and Level Control and a Input Level Control. There are also two volume controls on the right hand side, one for the effects and the other for headphone volume.

The size of the Voicelive Touch is 9″ x 4″ x 7″ (230 x 100 x 180) and it weighs 5 lb. (2.3 kg). It certainly feels sturdy, well made and fit for the road. There are 225 Presets and space to save 25 of your own edits by way of the Favorite Banks. The favourite banks also come pre-loaded with some ideas and these are placed in the following categories:- Bank A – Showcase/variety, Bank B – Harmony and Doubling effects, Bank C – Effects useful for making interesting loops, Bank D – Transducer effects, Bank E – Extreme sounds. There is also facility to notify you that a favourite has been changed or edited in some way and this is by way of LEDs flashing. You can then decide to store the changed favourite or not.

SOUND
I connected my headphones and worked my way through the generous amount of presets. It just seemed so easy to change my average voice into a full pitch-corrected choir or sound like the guy who announces the next awesome blockbuster at the movies in his deep inflected voice. TC state that ” There is a slight amount of pitch correction on the harmony voices but it’s mostly up to you”. Maybe I sang better than I thought I could but I know the results were stunning. This maybe ideal for ‘Live’ but it is just so good from a Studio point of view as you have such a variety of vocal presets to provide you with ideas for your songs or for you to use as a starting point for your own creativity. I really like adding the “double” vocal sound and TC’s reverbs to which there are 30 types and for Delay you have up to 2500 ms.

You will find such an assortment amongst the presets and these are some of the names to give you an idea:- KANYE LOCKDOWN, ANOTHER BRICK, ELVIS RADIO, HARD TUNE DELAY, TUNE TRANS ECHO, BON J-U GIVE LV, MAMBAZO! and MASSIVE STACK. As you can see they range from older ideas like The Beatles – I am the Walrus right through to today’s improvements of Cher’s HardTune effects and there are 12 HardTune styles. These blend gender, octave shifting and HardTune amount. Before I even made my first vocal sound I new there was going to be an awesome quality here just based on the fact that it includes effects taken from the well loved VoiceLive 2. Sometimes you just want that evil harshness and grit in your voice because the song you have just recorded demands it. The Voicelive touch can do this with ease and the results are just what you are looking for without it destroying or distorting the sound too much. You end up with the distorted grit but it has a professional glossy recorded quality to it.

The other aspects I love here are related to Harmony and HardTune effects. These need more information if they are going to fit nicely with what I am playing on Guitar or keyboard for example. To give it that greater information VoiceLive Touch detects whether a guitar, MIDI or MP3 player is connected and temporarily assigns it as a control device. All you need to do is simply sing while you play guitar or MIDI keyboard and this information is cleverly used to produce moving harmony intervals that relate to your chord changes. I can visualise some of those guitarist out on the streets in towns with their small amps and connecting their mic and guitar to a VoiceLive touch and sounding so much better than the rest. If you do not have an instrument you can manually enter a key providing that you know the key and someone else in the band can confirm pitch with you. TC suggest choosing a preset such as (3: Tuned Up+Down) to assist you here and hear the effects.

I carried a series of recordings using as many of the presets as I could and tweaking the effects and found again a real quality in what I had recorded. The effects were very flattering to my voice and there was a smoothness that I liked, suffice to say I would definitely use a Voicelive touch in the Studio, it is a great asset.

LOOPING
The Voicelive touch has a fantastic mono/stereo loop facility called VLOOP which allows the layering of sounds. This can really add dimension to your vocal performances and has such features as overdub, undo, and multiply. The possibilities for you are almost endless and it is such fun. You can make vocal drum sounds and then some vocal bass, loop them around and sing a melody over the top – brilliant. VLOOP gives you the ability to create up to 25 separate loops with up to 30 seconds of stereo looping and you can loop your keyboard or guitar input.

It also has something called Loops mode which allows you to create a set of loops of the same length. These can then be played back in any order and as one loop plays, you can cue up the next to start at the exact end point of the previous keeping the rhythm moving. You can get into the Loops mode by simply double tapping the Slider to go to the Home position and then while you hold your finger on the Slider, just tap the red Record button. You will see just for a second the display show “Loops”

USING LOCKOUT MODES
Another addition is the inclusion of three lockout modes to limit the VoiceLive Touch for specific situations. You have Sleep Mode which is like turning off the power. Break Mode which mutes audio at the outputs except for USB and Aux so that you could keep your background music going for example. This also locks the interface, so if you playing in a small pub, no one can change your settings while you are having your break. Lastly there is the Lock Mode which is useful in situations where there is more than one singer, each using VoiceLive Touch. This locks out everything except for Favorites and Talk and is useful for a leader to maintain overall control.

CONCLUSION
I cannot fault this product in any respect and love it to bits. For such a small item it has such a huge spec and brilliant ingenious design in both its layout and the way it attaches to the Mic stand. As TC are promoting ” It is the first vocal processor and looper at your fingertips” and I cannot argue with that. It is packed with tweakable effect presets for the vocal needs of today and whilst it is perfect for ‘Live’ use, it is also extremely useful in the studio. For people like me working in the studio alone, trying to find the right vocal sound for the job, you have everything in front of you at your fingertips as you are setup at the Mic for your vocal take. I want one – you should get one now.

6 Responses

  1. Jeffrey Says:

    Very helpful – I wany one of these. Now!!!!

  2. Bobby Says:

    Dopes it have phantom power ? I want to record with this using a studio mic

  3. tonylongmusic Says:

    Yes it does – Thanks
    Tony

  4. John Stacey Says:

    I have just got a ‘Voicelive touch’ and totaly adore it, I would like to learn if it has a gender change facilty, and if so how to find it!

    Regards

    John

  5. Seaside Jimmy Says:

    I love everything about this unit except that there is no option for my Taylor Acoustic guitar XLR input coming out of the guitar. The other huge issue in my mind that I’m trying to resolve is that is seems that it would keep my hands WAY too busy in a live setting whilst trying to sing AND play guitar at the same time. It seems very tedious. There have been references to a footswitch. The footswitch is no where to be found for sale…Does the footswitch give you full and easy manipulation of the effects including the delay, Harmonies and Looping for VOCALS AND GUITAR?…and where do I find this footswitch?
    Thanks

  6. tonylongmusic Says:

    Jimmy,
    There is a TC Electronic Switch-3 Controller Pedal for VoiceLive Touch which is only about £39.00. The three buttons can be assigned to control the VoiceLive’s built-in looper, trigger effects or change backings. This footswitch connects by a standard jack cable, and is compatible with the TC Harmony-M, VoiceWorksPlus, VoiceLive 2, VoiceLive Touch, VoiceDoubler and VoiceWorks. It will also work with many other footswtich controllable devices with a jack input.
    Thanks
    Tony

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