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Effects Vocal effects box for saxophone?

Martin

Member
Messages
212
I recently had an idea that it would be fun to connect my microphone through a vocal effects box, so that I can occasionally add a huge echo when I’m playing certain styles, such as reggae. As I started looking into it, I found that the same effects box might also add a harmony, such as a lower fifth, which might be fun when I’m trying to sound like a whole horn section, by myself.

On the internet, I found plenty of references to saxophonists using the Digitech 300, but also a lot of people critising it too. The main issue seems to be that it produces interference on the PA system. So I’m looking at the Boss VE-20 vocal effects processor, but I haven’t been able to find any comments from saxophonist using one. Do any of you here have experience with it? Does it work well with a sax? Any info or comments will be appreciated.

Cheers,
Martin
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
I use a Digitech Vocal 300. Not had any PA problems with it.

Well that's interesting to hear, Nick. There are a number of different Utube clips of a guy demonstrating noise on the PA system as soon as he plugs in the Digitech...I think all the critisisms come from the same person though. Maybe he had something else wrong in his set up.

What effects do you find useful?
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,993
Sounds like he needs to get the rest of his gear sorted out.

I've not had it long, but I've used a few suggestions posted on Saxontheweb here. So I've got autowah (for when I can't be bothered with the Cry Baby), a couple of reverbs and echo, octave down, flange (a bit OTT but good for a laugh) and I sometimes play around with the preset ones but most are pretty silly.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,666
Martin, I'm in the same position as you. I'm interested in a vocal harmony/effect pedal. I have a friend who has the Boss VE-20. I had a brief play with it and one thing that instantly stood out to me was that with the VE-20 you can select the key when playing harmony's. With the Digitech 300 it just plays a 5th or a 3rd harmony. I do believe that the Digitech has more voices and effects, but I like the correct pitch harmony idea.
I still need to look into it more, but my decision is also governed on price and the Digitech comes it at around £90-£120 on ebay where as the VE-20 is still quite new and therefor over £160
 
Messages
509
I dont know if you have seen them, but there are about five different videos on youtube posted by cam the cat showing what the digitech 300 can do.

i want one!
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Hi Taz,
Do you mean that the Boss VE-20 will vary the interval to make a correct harmony, depending on where you are in the scale? Sounds interesting.
Price is important to me too and I'm certainly tempted by the lower cost of the Digitech.
I will have to buy from the US though, where appliances run on 110v, but I'll use it in Grenada on 220v. The Boss will work with a universal power supply, because it runs on 9vDC, but the Digitech runs on 9vAC, so needs a special power supply...means the Boss may be more convenient for me.

Zootsaxenburger,
Yes, I've seen the CamtheCat Utubes. He certainly gets some good sounds out of his and obviously doesn't have noise problems.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,421
The Digitech works OK for me - great laugh, especially when you set up mega echo on the foot pedal. It can give serious feed-back problems but you just need to wind the gain right down. Never given any other problems through the PA. It can give almost infinite settings - you just need to spend an evening playing around with it. If you want something that provides you with true harmony parts, I think you need a vocal processor that takes inputs from a keyboard or rhythm guitar and analyses the key and chord, then duplicates your sound at the appropriate interval.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,666
Hi Taz,
Do you mean that the Boss VE-20 will vary the interval to make a correct harmony, depending on where you are in the scale? Sounds interesting.

That's exactly what I meant! it's a clever little box and as you say, it runs on batteries or a mains adaptor.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,666
I've just been having a mooch around the interthingy and found that the Digitech vocal 300 has a lot more effects (you also have the opportunity to create your own) than the Boss. The Boss however, as well as the correct interval(?) pitch harmony's, it also has a loop effect thingy!
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Well, it appears that plenty of people use the Digitech and no one uses the Boss.

Can anyone tell me how many 1.5v batteries the Digitech 300 uses?
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
I've not had it long, but I've used a few suggestions posted on Saxontheweb here.QUOTE]

Hi Nick, I just followed the link...useful...I guess an advantage of going with the Digitech is that there are plenty of people already using it and willing to share their settings.

Martin
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
My Digitech 300 finally arrived the week before last and I had fun getting familiar with it, in private.

One problem I encountered…to really hear the effects properly, I turned up the volume on my amp so much and stood right in front of the speaker…my ears didn’t stop ringing for two days!

The first patches that I programmed were those listed by CamtheCat, as suggested by Nick Wyver. These were a good starting point, but I soon found the confidence to adjust them to my liking. This unit is pretty easy to program…even I can do it.

My favorite effects so far are:
1. Adding an octave down…sounds like I’m playing my tenor in unison with a baritone.
2. Adding an octave up…sounds like I’m playing in unison with a trumpet.
3. An exaggerated echo effect…should be good in reggae.

So tonight will be my first gig with the new toy…I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Martin
 

SteveK

Member
Messages
148
I owned a TC Helicon Voicelive for a while. The TC Helicon is supposed to be the leading stage device in this space.
I bought it primarily because I am the only horn in a band and I wanted to create harmonies so I could sound like a horn section - all on my own!
I sold it in the end because:
a) The sounds were a little metallic. (although vocal work well)
b) It is very difficult to set up when you already have the natural sound level of the sax itself to play over. You set it up at home but when you get on a stage it sounds totally different.
c) It is complex to get the harmonization correct - that may not be an issue for this post
d) It's another piece of kit to drag around
e) it's difficult to hit foot switches accurately when you have a horn in your mouth.

I've heard one used by vocalist and it's very impressive. Apparently the guy in the Average White band Uses one to great effect.
I have to say that the onboard delay, reverb and other effects are very good. Also it provides phantom power.

My conclusion was to sell it and buy a good rack mounted effects unit (Lexicon). I plug straight into the mixer and then loop the effect on the effect send/return loop. Disadvantage is that I cannot change settings during performance.

My solution was to spend more time working out parts with the keyboard player to fatten the horn sound.
Now I find I'm spending more time playing and less twiddling.

Steve
 

Woodyeyes

New Member
Messages
3
Have been reading this thread with interest. Have come across a digitech vx400 on ebay for about £130, and the 300 for £180. Seems the 400 can be connected to a PC. The 400 has been discontinued. Is this because it didn't sell well enough? Or didn't work!? I like the idea of a one bit of kit that will do it all. But way too many decisions for numpties like me.
 
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