Resources for the Recording Musician
September 19, 2006

vocal enhancer

This is not a recording ? but I hope someone will help me out, I've been jamming with the same two guys for about 16 years we jam every Friday night and it's just for fun, the problem is none of us has a great voice (sad but true) so now I'm looking for a way to at least make our voice's sound the best they can, right now we just have the mic's running through the mixing board which has it's own eq then out the PA speakers, so I was thinking about putting a voice enhancer in line between the mic's and the mixer but I'm not to up to speed on all the electronics and was wondering if anyone could give me some advice.

What kind of enhancement are you looking for?  A basic reverb and/or delay type of thing?  Or something to help correct the pitch/intonation?  Or something that can actually alter the tonal qualities of your voice a bit?

There are lots of products out there in many different categories that could be described as "enhancement".  So, it's hard to recommend anything without knowing exactly what you are hoping to achieve.

There are quite a few processors out there designed specifically for live vocals.  Just do a search on any major pro audio retailer.  Here's some search results to get you started:

These days, if you've got a powerful enough laptop, with a very low latency audio interface, you can also run your live vocals through software effects, such as VST effects, with the appropriate software.  Running VST instruments and effects from a laptop is becoming more and more common these days (as of this minor update, in 2013, at least).

Unfortunately, even with auto-tune and other vocal processing, it's still not going to turn you into a great singer if you don't have the skills, nor will any of those magically transform your voice into something that sounds better.  However, if all you were doing before is a little bit of EQ through your PA system, then you should add at least some sort of digital effects device so you can get delays, reverb, and/or chorus going, as those are fairly basic "enhancements" that people are used to hearing, and will make it sound a touch better.  Unless you are going for that overused auto-tune effect, I'd try to stay away from pitch correction for live vocals as it can be very unpredictable in a live situation, especially since your microphones will be picking up sound from all the other instruments on stage, which will just confuse the tuning detectors.

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