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PROS: Plenty of useful, musical harmonies.
It’s tough being a singer in a band, and even tougher to have band mates that can sing harmony without any ego. Thankfully, TC-Helicon has a harmony pedal that knows its place.
The controls are simple: harmony selection, level, and reverb. The mic level control is recessed on the side, far from wayward feet. There is a tone button that engages a slight amount of EQ, gating, de-essing, and compression, and can clean up the signal without getting in the way of the sound.
Place it as the first stomp box in line after the guitar, and connect a mic to it before it goes to the PA system. It reads the signal from the guitar, to select the pitch for the vocal, meaning it’s always selecting the correct key to use — no programming needed. A USB port allows for helpful software updates.
The harmony selection is plentiful, from a 6th below to a 3rd above, 8 modes are available, with the ability to generate harmonies above and below simultaneously. Reverb-wise there are room, club and hall modes.
It works great, and sounds realistic when used sparingly. Kicking it on for a line or two of a verse or chorus really gives the feel of another singer in the room. Finding the right balance for the music isn’t that hard. The only adjustment is to make sure the chords are well defined, especially root notes.
Mic control can be achieved using a TC-Helicon MP-75 or a Sennheiser e 835 fx, both of which have a control that enables a singer to turn the unit on or off, without having to use the footswitch. Singers can put this on their guitarist’s pedal board, and can control it on their own. Phantom power is also provided for mics that require it.
Overall, it’s a nice, simple way to get harmonies that are musically usable, without having to audition new band members.