Affordable vocal effects on your mic stand? We warm up our ‘pipes’ in our Boss VE-5 review
The Boss VE-5 Vocal Performer adds a new model to the brand’s vocal processor range. When Boss unveiled its first vocal processor unit (the VE-20), it came as something of a surprise, from a brand so closely associated with guitar technology. It was a runaway success, which came as a further surprise to some.
Boss has built its reputation of high quality effects, however, so when it decided to apply its years of experience and expertise to a vocal effects unit, constructed with its legendary compact build quality, it really is no surprise that it delivered. The new VE-5 takes a slightly different approach, moving away from the floor-mount pedal construction with a lightweight mic-stand mountable design. Inside, however, it features effects derived from the VE-20…
Easy to use, but powerful enough for pros
The main aim of the Boss VE-5 was to provide a unit that was fun and versatile, easy to use but powerful enough for a professional vocalist. A tall order, you might say, but the VE-5 packs a mighty punch… The compact unit is designed such that it can be easily used in the home as a desktop style effects processor, but can be attached to a mic stand for straightforward live performance. The focus on easy live performances is further reinforced by the inclusion of an easy, one-touch operation user interface.
The Boss VE-5 is equipped with six vocal effects, derived from those in the VE-20: Reverb, Delay, Tone/ SFX, Harmony/ Double, Dynamics, and Pitch Correct. Rather than presenting the user with a myriad of options and functions, its intuitive interface lets the user get straight down to the business of getting a great vocal sound. When a great tone is set, it can be easily stored as a Favourite Sound.
Alongside the effects processor, the VE-5 has a built-in phrase looper, allowing vocalists to layer and create harmonies with themselves in real time. To ensure the unit is an ideal ‘hub’ at the centre of your vocal performance, it features an XLR mic input with phantom power, along with a balanced TRS jack and an aux input, for mixing in external sources, such as backing tracks.
It’s clear that when designing the VE-5, Boss wanted to make it as easy and intuitive to use as possible. The user interface is incredibly easy to navigate, and the brightly lit screen and buttons are easily visible on even the most dimly lit stage.
Though the VE-20 doesn’t have the heavy duty compact-pedal design of the VE-20, it’s still a very solidly built, high quality unit. When I first saw the unit, and its mic-stand mount design, I had a few concerns that it might lose some of the VE-20’s convenience. However, this proved not to be the case (so long as you’re not also playing a guitar, and want to change settings mid song…)
The quality of the effects themselves are predictably very impressive. Again, like the VE-20, there are some very useable presets included, along some more ‘out-there’ settings, too.
The combination of front-panel buttons with a central data knob makes tweaking effects settings a doddle. Oh, and the white finish as far more swanky pearlescent colour than it appears in the photographs…
Here’s a mini summary of the Boss VE-5 Vocal Performer‘s main features:
- Compact Vocal Processor – ideal for desktop use or attaches to a mic stand
- High quality effects – derived from the VE-20 processor
- 6 Vocal effects – Reverb, Delay, Tone/ SFX, Harmony/ Double, Dynamics, and Pitch Correct
- Built-in phrase looper – layer and overdub vocals to create harmonies and more
- Intuitive interface – easy, one-touch operation
- Add footswitches for further control – ideal for hands-free operation
- Two colours – available in red or white
The Boss VE-5 Vocal Performer looks likely to be as popular, if not more popular, than the VE-20, offering the control and key effects a performing vocalist needs at their fingertips, in a reliable and easy to use format. It’s very intuitive, sounds great, and very affordable, too. Giving your live vocals that professional studio ‘polish’ has never been easier.
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.