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DigiTech Vocalist Live 4 Review

With 50 factory preset harmonies, and 50 user editable presets, the VL4 is a "must-have" piece of gear for the gigging musician, hobbyist, or singer/songwriter.

Although I am a regionally gigging musician, I was apprehensive about jumping in to the Vocalist Live 4. I knew, just by minimally researching on the Internet, that the VL4 was far beyond the standard vocal harmony pedal. I opened the box to find the VL4 neatly centered with a DC power supply on the left, and a literature packet on the right. I read through the provided manual from start to finish, while performing the instructed functions along the way. After I plugged in my microphone, and guitar, I was ready to make beautiful harmonies.

The first thing that I wanted to do was set up my guitar. The VL4 has built-in guitar effects including reverb, chorus, tremolo, and flanger. There is even a bonus tuner built in too! The VL4 just deleted five different pedals from any board. This means, of course, that I have less to carry and less to set up. Not to mention the VL4 gives me complete control over the effects. They are fully editable factory presets. As an acoustic player, I just found my one needed pedal.

After I put some chorus and reverb on my guitar, I was ready to test the harmony waters. I noticed right away that there is a function for pitch correction, which is great because every one hits an “off ” note every once in a while. With other harmony pedals, not only do you hit the “off ” note, but the other harmony parts follow the error. With the VL4, the pitch correction setting works by reading the chords played on the guitar and matching the harmonies to them. This means that if you happen to hit a G chord on the guitar, but fail to do so vocally, it will not be as apparent, because the harmonies will follow suit with the guitar. What a great feature!

Playing with the pitch correction function lead me to think outside of the harmony box. I started to think “what happens if I want to sing in the key of A, over chords that are in a key of G, and I want the harmonies to be in the key of C?” This is actually a very common practice in vocals that are harmonized correctly. The VL4 has you covered once again! With musIQ technology, the VL4 will harmonize at whatever key you want it to. And, it will adjust accordingly. For instance, take the scenario above. If you change you guitar key to A major, the VL4 will shift the harmonies to C#, because correct harmonies always follow the guitar. So, the VL4 allows the user to break away from the doldrums of the standard vocal harmony pedal, and into the future of harmonies.

With 50 factory preset harmonies, and 50 user editable presets, the VL4 is a “must-have” piece of gear for the gigging musician. But, it’s also a great touch for any hobbyist or singer/songwriter. It can be used to help plan vocal tracks for your next recording session also. The VL4 gives me a vision of Adam Sandler in the movie “The Wedding Singer.” Think about how much better his music would have sounded with four part harmonies! Even if you have three other band members that are willing to harmonize, the Vocalist Live 4 is always going to be a versatile addition to any rig!

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