Do you sing and play guitar at the same time? If so, TC-Helicon thinks it has exactly what you need in the new VoiceLive Play GTX: a floor pedal that provides effects for both guitar and voice.
Building on the strengths of the VoiceLive Play unit, which has been available to singers for some time, the new GTX version adds guitar effects and amp simulation to the mix.
The unit is preset-based, featuring over 200 editable presets for vocals and guitar that are inspired by particular songs and artists, the vocal effects ranging from basic reverb, compression and EQ to more complex double-tracking, backing harmonies and those ubiquitous Auto-Tune-style effects, robot voices and the like. There are rear-panel inputs for a microphone and guitar, with stereo XLR outputs to go direct to a PA.
The vocal effects that rely on pitch shifting to create harmonies can take their pitch detection from your guitar playing. If you want your guitar to work in that role while using your own amp and effects, the unit has a Thru jack to send the guitar signal to an amp at the same time as disabling the onboard guitar processing.
Among several other features are some useful practice aids, namely a headphone output and aux input that let you play and sing along to songs from, say, an mp3 player, with a voice-cancel feature to sit your own vocals in the mix. There's also the VLoop performance looper, which allows you to loop your vocals, guitar, or both at the same time.
A pair of footswitches scroll up and down through the presets, while the third Hit switch adds additional effects to each preset for more intensity. A typical use would be adding harmonies to a song's chorus, for example. When held, the Hit footswitch also functions as a vocal effects bypass, to be used specifically for making announcements between songs, as it also mutes the guitar and brings a tuner up on the display.
TC-Helicon specialises in vocal effects, and there's an excellent selection here that all work really well - with easily edited programs built from up to eight effects blocks. The twin harmonies, set at a sensible level to accompany the main vocal, are a very nice touch, intelligently tracking your guitar playing.
The guitar effects cover a fair range of sounds, the presets dialling in very usable complete tones for songs that will be familiar to all guitarists. Up to three effects - a modulation effect, delay and reverb - can be combined with a range of AmpTones amp simulations, which each feature adjustable parameters including drive, compression and three-band EQ. A variety of amps are featured, including models of Fender, Marshall, Hiwatt and Mesa/Boogie, plus a handy acoustic guitar setting.
When it comes to editing the guitar sound, you start with 41 factory guitar styles, each having a different combination of AmpTone and effects, but you can get in and tweak a range of parameters for each. However, there's no facility for changing the guitar sound during a song, unless you save different guitar sounds to adjacent presets that also have the vocal sound you need.
Despite the GTX suffix, the VoiceLive Play GTX is still all about vocal effects, with the guitar playing second fiddle. If you want vocal effects, it's a nice compact unit that's solidly built for any stage and also does effects extremely well, as well as keeping them in the right key thanks to the way it tracks your guitar playing.
As for the guitar processing part, although the VoiceLive Play GTX has a nice range of sounds, it's probably fair to describe it as rudimentary, in so far as you can only change sounds within a song by changing presets. That said, the extra £80 over the basic vocal-only version is not a bad price to pay for access to these guitar sounds.
The unit is tailor made for the guitar and vocal performer who doesn't want to take an amp to gigs and is happy to go straight into the PA. In fact, with an ample range of onboard sounds for a massive repertoire of songs, the VoiceLive Play GTX is just about perfect for anyone doing a solo covers gig.