The Boss VE-20 Vocal Processor puts the (effects) World at the Vocalist’s feet
The Boss VE-20 Vocal Processor was slightly left-field product release that has been perhaps, a runaway hit. With decades of experience gained from producing the World’s most popular guitar effects, it is no surprise that it should be capable of producing a high quality Vocal Effects unit. What it did, however, was create a unit that matched every requirement for the gigging vocalist but with trademark build quality, and at a great price.
So, why should a Vocalist want one? We find out in our Boss VE-20 review.
Change vocal effects from your position at the microphone
If you’ve never had the fortune to use a Boss effects pedal, the principle is simple. A heavy-duty pedal unit allows effects to be switched on or off with the users foot. Clearly, this is ideal for guitarists whose hands are rather busy playing. Vocalists face similar problems, however, and turning away from a microphone is not an option.
The Boss VE-20 is a twin-pedal unit, with a microphone input, that is designed to be placed on the stage floor so that the vocalist can change effects as required with a deft foot-press. This can be between songs, or even mid song. So, if you need that epic effect for the just for the chorus, you can switch it on or off when you need it.
All of the essential effects, plus harmony and whole lot more…
The VE-20 is equipped with a wide range of high quality effects. All of the ‘essentials’ are present, with a range of reverbs from lush ‘hall’ types, to closer, subtle ‘room’ reverbs. Delays, Chorus and other modulation effects, plus Dynamics processors, such as Compression provide a range of tools to give your vocal performance a professional ‘sheen’.
As you might expect from a brand that build its reputation on effects design, those on offer here are very impressive. The bigger reverbs are nice and lush, smaller types are natural sounding, delays expansive, and, well, everything else oozes with the kind of quality we’re used to from Boss.
Unlike most guitarists, vocalists tend to be less familiar with tweaking effects settings. Boss has taken note of this and included a selection of preset vocal settings aimed at particular vocal styles. these are, on the whole, very well chosen. The majority of vocalists should be able to find the sound that they are looking for right out of the box.
A key effect at the heart of the Boss VE-20 is the Harmony Factory. Rather than being a group of music industry svengalis, intent on exploiting the talents of youngsters, as it may sound, this provides two part harmonies to your performance, with settings that can be adjusted as required, and saved.
A pitch corrector can be employed to keep everything perfectly in tune, or used as an effect in the style of Cher or T-Pain. The results are very natural 9apart from when used at Cher/ T-Pain levels, of course…), it must be said- particularly for a unit at this price.
Aside from this, a phrase looper allows up to 38 seconds of audio to be recorded and looped, adding greatly to the creative possibilities of this pedal. And all is housed in one of Boss’s bombproof, heavy-duty twin compact pedals, ready for a life of gigging.
The Boss VE-20 ‘s key features:
- Floor mount design – A dual pedal unit, designed to be foot operated on-stage by the vocalist
- Premium vocal effects – reverbs, chorus, delay, compression and much more can be tweaked to create your own vocal sounds
- Easy operation – like all Boss compacts, the VE-20 is designed for the ultimate in easy use
- Harmony factory – two part harmonies can be added to vocal performances, with interval and other settings adjustable as required
- Phrase looper – record up to 38 seconds of audio and loop it, whilst performing over the top of it
- Pitch correction – fix pitch issues subtly or add extreme ‘Cher’ style pitching effects
- Heavy-duty, road-worthy design – Boss pedals are internationally renowned for their reliability and build-quality, and the VE-20 is no exception
The Boss VE-20 is a godsend for Vocalists looking for an easy way of giving their live shows a professionally recorded sheen. Effects are of a very high standard, the mic pre-amp is clean and transparent, and the user interface is about as foolproof as it gets.
Add to this a selection of highly usable presets, and Boss’s compact pedal construction (which makes Sherman tanks look like eggshells…), and you have a product that will revolutionise your live vocal performances at an affordable price, which is built to withstand a life of gigging.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.