Best Vocal Pedal: Buying Guide

Editor’s Choice

  • 40 preset patches created by professional vocalists and audio engineers
  • 100 memory locations for storing user-created patches
  • Built-in compressor for optimizing input signal levels

Best Overall

  • Easy operation, road-tough Boss construction
  • Real-time pitch-correction tools
  • Special FX, including Distortion, Radio, and Strobe

Budget-Friendly

Vocal Pedal

  • Roomsense™ technology
  • Over 200 presets inspired by famous musicians is stored
  • Auto chromatic and hard tune pitch correction

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out the best vocal pedal, then I’d recommend the BOSS VE-20 Vocal Effects Processor as the best one.

One of the valuable tools musicians use in singing is the vocal pedal. They opt for vocal pedals if they want to recreate harmonies on stage especially if they don’t have backup singers. While subtle reverb is still the staple vocal effect, vocal pedals allow them to add harmonies or make it sound that they’re not just one, lone singer, but a team of great musicians. Here we feature the best vocal pedals to improve your sound, give you more control, and expand your sonic palette.

Here are the Best Vocal Pedals we will be reviewing:

What is the Best Vocal Pedal?

Vocal pedals or vocal effect pedals are electronic devices that take voice signals. Most can also integrate with instruments, such as the keyboard or the guitar. They enhance the voice and music quality at the same time that you are using them. So, as the performer sings, the pedal can correct the pitches. With the best vocal pedal, you’re free to create. So, explore the different effects it has according to specific needs.

What are vocal pedals?

Most of the vocal pedals offer multi-effects in one stompbox. But, some musicians look for a specific feature alone. Some might only search for the best vocal reverb pedal or delay pedal. But there are still many effects available on the market. Here they are:

Vocal harmonizer pedals

They are known as vocal harmony pedals – ideal for singers wanting to add vocal harmonies to their live performances. Music artists use this to replicate their studio recordings while performing live on stage. If you are a singer without a backup, the best vocal harmonizer pedal might do an excellent job for you.

Vocal auto-tune/vocal correction pedals

Most music artists use the best vocal pedal. These are essential to correct the pitch accuracy of a singer. Not only that, if you have heard a robotic-sounding effect just like T-Pain, that is called auto-tune. You can control how strong the product is by raising the pitch to the desired note.

Vocal reverb pedals

Reverb is the lingering presence of the sound after it occurs. This vocal effect can thicken a vocal take. After being absorbed by surfaces, it degrades. The best vocal reverb pedal allows your voice to blend in with the surrounding music – filling in the gaps between the notes.

Vocal delay pedals

Commonly known as a vocal delay, this vocal effect gives an echo to your voice. The notes you make are echoed back to you. The higher you turn the feedback dial, the longer you get them to be constantly repeated to you.

Vocal distortion pedals

This kind of vocal effect makes the voice and sounds rougher by distorting it. It is usually designed for heavy rock bands because they give the sound a “heavy” tone. Meanwhile, it also boosts the signals depending on the settings.

Vocal compressor pedals

They are usually used in studio recordings or live on-stage. This vocal effect controls the dynamics of a vocal take. It enables singers to activate vocal compression. They can put these in front of the singer.

Vocal looper pedals

This vocal pedal can repeat the inputted sound and loop it continuously while still allowing you to record a vocal, or vice versa.

Vocal multi-effects pedals

These pedals allow the singer to have multiple effects in one stompbox. They recreate studio recordings while on live performance. The singer can also easily experiment according to their vocal requirements.

What do Vocal Pedals Do?

Even the most incredible singers can sometimes miss a pitch. With the help of the best vocal pedal, enhancing a voice and adding harmony becomes easier. It corrects the pitch during live performances. Vocal pedals can add different effects, such as reverb, delays, and even changing the character of your voice.

With the correct vocal effect setting, it can function like a sound engineer and a backup singer, too.

Who Needs the Best Vocal Pedal?

Professional singers and band vocalists often search for the best vocal pedal. They use this as they perform live on stage or record in a studio. Yes, musicians can practice enhancing their pitch accuracy and vocal tone over time. But there will always be fluctuations in their vocal performances. The best vocal effects pedal job is to help musicians remain on key.

Aside from enhancing the vocal performance, it also boosts guitar performance. Whether playing an acoustic or an electric guitar, the best vocal pedal can be a great help. Voice actors, streamers, and podcasters who want to sound better also use vocal pedals.

Benefits of Using the Best Vocal Pedal

The best vocal pedal saves you the trouble of mixing, whether live or in the studio. Instead, you have a plug-and-play option for adding nice effects to your vocals on the go. Delay, reverb, and pitch correction are the most commonly used and helpful effects. If you’re a solo musician who performs a lot of live performances, a vocal effect pedal will come in handy.

Where to Use the Best Vocal Pedals?

Studio recordings

Having a great voice and an excellent microphone in your recording studio is good. But the raw vocal recordings are not satisfactory for public consumption. With the help of the best vocal pedal effect, you can harmonize and improve your voice making it exceptional to listen to.

Live performance

Performers use vocal pedals during their live performances. It is between the microphone and the Public Address (PA) system. So, the vocal pedal has already processed your voice before it reaches the PA system.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Vocal Pedal

When choosing the best vocal effects pedal, you need to consider a few things. The first step is to decide what do you need to improve.

Vocal effects

Most people are using vocal effects to enhance the quality of their voice. Such are compression, delay, or even through the best vocal reverb pedal available. If sounding great is the primary concern, you must understand the basics of vocal effects.

The experimental style of music will incorporate synthesizers, vocoders, and robot voicings.

Looping

Singers also enjoy creating complex arrangements with looping pedals. It allows you to record music, play it, and record another set of your music as you play it. This feature might help practice your voice and train your ears.

Harmonies

Singers are the ones who commonly search for the best vocal harmonization pedal. This feature is great because it can duplicate the vocal melody and then pitch it up or down. The number of simultaneous harmonies varies between pedals and can produce results as if two or three of you are on stage.

Auto-tune/Pitch Correction

The best vocal pedal can help you reach the pitch of complex songs. It can also allow you to change your voice. Auto-tune can make artificial sounds like the electronic dance music (EDM)/ Hip-hop genre.

Guitar effects and reverbs

Some vocal pedals include guitar effects. Singer/guitarists can use the pedal as an ‘all in one’ performance device. These include basic reverb, delay, modulation, EQ/Filters, and other features. If you’re a singer who also plays the guitar and wants to keep a basic setup, you may need this feature.

Size and Durability

Singers doing live performances go to a lot of different places. You have to consider the durability and compactness of your best vocal pedal. Who wouldn’t want to have the best vocal effects pedal that is portable?

Inputs/Outputs/USB ports

Most vocalists will only need a single External Line Return (XLR) input and output into a PA system or mixing console.

For vocalists who play the guitar simultaneously, you’ll need an allocated output for the vocals and the guitar. As a result, the guitar sounds will go directly to the guitar effects/amp, while the voice will go separately to the PA system.

For those into home recordings such as podcasters, live streamers, voice actors, and such, you might consider having a vocal pedal with USB ports.

Some pedals also have an output for headphones – a good feature if you want to practice at night without making a loud noise.

Budget

Having plenty of vocal effects available in one pedal may cost you more. But that also means that you can explore and get more creative with it! It’s an excellent balance of functionality and price.

However, if you are only looking for a specific vocal effect you know would enhance your performance, then stick to it. There will be a lot of brands and models offering the same features in the market. The best vocal pedal should provide your vocal requirements without being over the budget.

Here are the five best vocal effects pedals you might want to choose from:

BOSS VE-20 Vocal Effects Processor

This pedal is one from the Boss’ Twin series. The BOSS VE-20 Vocal Effects Processor may be the best vocal effects pedal for you if you are a vocalist. Whether you are a professional or not, this stompbox is user-friendly. Effects can be navigated using a footswitch, making performing on-stage easier. One thing that makes this unique from the other Twin pedals is that it has a light-emitting diode (LED) menu screen displaying the preset you’re currently using.

The Boss VE-20 vocal effects are majestic. The delay can retain the vocal clarity for up to four seconds with all the repeats. This pedal has excellent, genre-specific factory presets, yet you can also change the effects from subtle to experimental. It has three-part harmony layers and real-time pitch correction as well. This pedal can also be a mono looper for up to 38 seconds.

Lastly, and most interestingly for anyone trying to perform all over the country, this pedal is solidly built. It has enclosed robust steel and thick footswitches that look unbreakable. This pedal also runs on battery power so that street performers may benefit from this.

Pros:

  • Easy operation, road-tough Boss construction
  • Real-time pitch-correction tools
  • Special FX, including Distortion, Radio, and Strobe
  • Phantom power for condenser microphones
  • Specialized effects for vocalists

Cons:

  • No USB port
  • No power adapter included (must purchase Boss VE-20 power adapter separately)

Zoom V6 Vocal Processor

Zoom is most well-known for its portable pedals. Some singers focus on having the most voice-enhancing effects. More vocal effects are being provided on this pedal since it bypasses guitar inputs. If you’d like to recreate your studio recording for your live performances, this might be the best vocal pedal for you. Unlike other pedals having two or three harmonies, this one has five-part harmonies. 

The Zoom V6 Vocal Processor is also an excellent choice, even for those seeking more than just harmonization. You can save your favorite sounds as it supports up to 99 presets. The effects range from the traditional octave, delay, and reverb to the futuristic whistle, vocoder, and robot. Another strength is the looper, which can record up to 3:30 minutes, long enough for a whole song!

What makes this pedal great is that it has a full range of features and is highly customizable for a performing vocalist. To navigate the effects, it uses a footswitch or an expression pedal. 

One of the fantastic features of this pedal is the Formant Shift pedal. The vocal character can be altered in time using the foot.

Pros:

  • 40 preset patches created by professional vocalists and audio engineers
  • 100 memory locations for storing user-created patches
  • Built-in compressor for optimizing input signal levels
  • Built-in Enhancer for optimizing input signal frequencies 
  • Runs for 3.5 hours on four AA batteries

Cons:

  • Not entirely devoted to vocal harmonization
  • Bigger than other harmonizer pedals
  • The lowest possible setting is still too intense

TC Helicon 000-DEG02-00010 EQ Effects Pedal

Vocal Pedal

When people talk about vocal effects, TC Helicon is one of the well-known companies. TC Helicon DEG02-00010 EQ Effect Pedal is the advanced version of the VoiceLive 3. Being that extreme, it now offers a maximum loop time of 5 hours or 8 minutes per track. Yes, this model has four times the memory of its predecessor. It can also play the backtracks.

It enhances vocal sound using next-generation effects, tonal quality, and harmonization. Some of the vocal effects available are hard tunes, delays, reverbs, loops, doubling, harmonies, filtering, chorus, synth/vocoder emulation, flanger, transducer, gating, and more. The guitar effects offer uMod (modulation), compressor, distortion, tuner, delay, reverb, rhythmic, octave, amp modeling, wah-wah, equalization, and control per preset. You can quickly access these effects by footswitch. 

The TC Helicon DEG02-00010 EQ Effects Pedal is unquestionably an excellent choice for vocalists who also play guitar, whether for live performance or studio recordings.

 Pros:

  • Roomsense™ technology (guide harmonies to the music all over the place)
  • It has three primary layers vocal effects, guitar effects, and looper/backing track
  • Stores up to 500 presets
  • 3 Harmony selection options
  • It covers a wide range of inputs and outputs
  • It comes with a 3-year warranty

Cons:

  • It is quite expensive
  • Larger than most vocal pedals
  • Used to have programming issues 

BOSS VE-2 Vocal Harmonist Multi-Effects Pedal

If you are a performer, it would be essential to have the best vocal effects pedal that is compact, easy to use, and gives excellent outcomes without spending too much. If that is your goal, the Boss VE-2 Vocal Harmonist Multi-Effects Pedal might be the best vocal pedal for you. 

This device is excellent in adding vocal harmonies, allowing the performer to choose from 12 different types (each has 1 or 2 voices below or above it). Besides that, it also provides a switchable variation option with more voices for even richer harmonies. It has effects like delay, reverb, and compression with or without pitch correction. With these features, live performances can sound just like studio recordings. 

Another advantage of using Boss VE-2 Vocal Harmonist Multi-Effects Pedal is manually setting the key when choosing harmonies. But in case a guitar is plugged in, the Auto Harmonist mode can be utilized. It identifies the chords being played, automatically giving the correct harmony as the performer sings. In parts where the guitar isn’t playing, the Hybrid mode comes in. It follows guitar input and the manual key setting to keep things smooth. Since this could be operated through batteries, you can make it work anywhere.

There are other pedals around that have many features, but the versatility of the Boss VE-2 Vocal Harmonist Multi-Effects Pedal is promising. It works as if it’s the best vocal harmonizer pedal. Straightforwardly add extra vocal harmonies to your voice in real-time. It offers quality results, but it complements with guitar, too.

Pros:

  • It has a user-friendly design even for beginners
  • Highly convenient and portable
  • It offers 24 harmonious types
  • Built-in USB connection
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • In low-light scenarios, it’s a little hard to read because the controls are small
  • Unable to change the harmony setting without a Boss footswitch
  • Heavier than other vocal pedals

TC-Helicon GOXLR Vocal Effects Processor

Vocal Pedal

The TC Helicon Voice LivePlay Vocal Effects Processor is a pedal made especially for performers who want to manage their effects hands-free. This pedal includes various effects, such as loop, modulation, and pitch correction. It features a Smart Harmony that detects chords via the aux input or by listening to other instruments through the plugged mic. Aside from 200 factory presets saved, the performer can still make their own and have it saved.

The TC Helicon Voice LivePlay Vocal Effects Processor includes a practice function that evaluates your singing based on pitch accuracy with its intelligent pitch display. It’s a great advantage that many singers appreciate. The users claim that its wide range of settings can highly improve performances.

Pros:

  • Roomsense™ technology
  • Over 200 presets inspired by famous musicians are stored
  • Auto chromatic and hard tune pitch correction
  • Huge LCD
  • Provides plugin for MP3-player
  • Built-in USB connection

Cons:

  • DC Power only
  • Poor customer service
  • No available types of harmonies to choose from except for changing presets

Conclusion

Being an experienced musician with excellent voice control does not imply reaching the limits. The best vocal effects pedal can significantly improve regular performances. Explore different effects and settings that would complement your vocal requirements.

The best vocal effects pedal I’d recommend is the BOSS VE-20 Vocal Effects Processor. It can correct pitches subtly or overtly. Other than that, it can also produce harmonies, loops, and reverbs. The musician’s creativity to explore is possible by the wide variety of vocal and guitar effects available. It has an LED menu screen to display the preset you’re currently using. Its overall appeal, versatility, and high-quality result make for an excellent choice for the best vocal effects pedal. Not to mention the sturdy enclosure that would keep it in good shape for a long time.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.