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Contributor - Level 1

VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Hi there. Is it possible to get a distorted sound by playing an harmonica trough the voicelive3 ? For me it looks like the frequencies of the harmonica don`t work with the effects of the voicelive. Maybe there is a way to fix this - would be a nice feature. Thanks, and musically regards from austria. datoni

ToniGruber Contributor - Level 1 2019-11-11

2019-11-11

VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Hi there. Is it possible to get a distorted sound by playing an harmonica trough the voicelive3 ? For me it looks like the frequencies of the harmonica don`t work with the effects of the voicelive. Maybe there is a way to fix this - would be a nice feature. Thanks, and musically regards from austria. datoni

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Triber Moderator

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Hey @ToniGruber,
I do know that our gear usually doesn't respond well to whistling input, playing a harmonica will likely also yield an undesirable result.  Additionally, all our gear is made to expect a monophonic singing voice, with the harmonica being a polyphonic instrument that can really confuse our effects as well.  If you're looking to apply effects to a harmonica, you're probably better off using guitar pedals (which are inherently built to expect a polyphonic input).  Cheers!

Testing engineer at TC Helicon, MUSIC Tribe. Our Support Team is always available for more urgent assistance.

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Triber Moderator

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Hey @ToniGruber,
I do know that our gear usually doesn't respond well to whistling input, playing a harmonica will likely also yield an undesirable result.  Additionally, all our gear is made to expect a monophonic singing voice, with the harmonica being a polyphonic instrument that can really confuse our effects as well.  If you're looking to apply effects to a harmonica, you're probably better off using guitar pedals (which are inherently built to expect a polyphonic input).  Cheers!

Testing engineer at TC Helicon, MUSIC Tribe. Our Support Team is always available for more urgent assistance.

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Contributor - Level 3

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Hi 

Try it trough the guitar layer and use the amp effects.
It works well, but you have to get a good signal, f.ex. with one of the Shure 520DX microphones (or vintage model).

If you don't use VL3 for voice, it's to expensive only for harmonica. Then you better buy a real good harmonica-amp and maybe some stomp pedals. As I play the VL3 with saxophone on stage, sometimes I use it for harmonica, but normally I play the harmonica over a good little amp to create the real distortion "the natural way".

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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

I'm not looking for a "bluesy" distorted sound with harmonica or  wooden flute using the Live Play, but rather the ability to create an assortment of effects that can give a different variety of voices or colors to these instruments...not for playing blues at all. I've been using a TC mic mechanic for a few years that performs OK with these instruments on stage in our group, but would like more sound options. I understand the Live Play is made for voice, but do you think it can add effects to these wind instruments without a bunch of additional feedback or noise?  Don't really need the pitch or adaptive features. Thanks - Tod

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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

My experience has been that guitar pedals usually pick up sounds and noise from all over the stage when they are adapted for microphone use, which these instruments are played through...

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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Hello ToniGruber,

  I fell ya.  I've been in the same boat for years.  The problem I've experienced is that guitar pickups are not as powerful as a microphone.  So using a harmonica and microphone into a guitar pedal often causes violent feedback and loud distorted sounds.  Same with using the guitar 'IN port' on a vocalizer.  I play classic rock, country, bluegrass & folk, blues, and cajun. And sometimes I even play classical.  So I need different sounds and effects for playing diatonic, chromatic, tremelo, or octave.  I also play the keyboard or guitar with my harmonica.  I can't speak for the VoiceLive 3 (the VoiceLive 3 Extreme is on my list when I decide to upgrade), but I have used a VoiceLive Touch 2 for quite awhile now.  And I have to tell you that I get some really impressive effects with a Shure 57 microphone and all my different harps.  I use separate effects pedals between the VoiceLive Touch 2 and the amp or PA if I need something The VoiceLive Touch can't give me.  But I love the reverb, chorus options, octave shifts, etc...  Some of the vocal effects cause the harmonica to sound more like a synthesizer on acid, so not all are good.  But I simply sat down and walked through all the different options one-by-one.  This took several days to do. And it was different with different types and keys of harmonicas.  And when you add all the different guitar effects on top of the harmonica,  I really get some great sounds.  And the looper really makes a difference as well.  I'm hoping one day the major guitar stores will have more demo units set up to experiment with.  I'm really surprised Music Tribe and TC-Helicon don't have demos with harmonica players.  The great Brendan Power uses his harmonicas, VoiceLive Touch, and a separate effects box, on his stage performances.  Part of his act is showing folks how to loop.  Google "Brendan Power looping", or do aYoutube lookup.  He has quite a few videos using his harps with TC Helicon equipment.  Hope this helps.  Take care and good luck with your journey. 

Marc from Texas
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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Thank you for that feedback...am getting the Voicelive play tomorrow and planning to do the same thing you did...try out all the different effects and see what works with the harmonicas...Tod

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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Hey Toddyboy...  I minimized my Shure 57 from picking up ambient noises by making it more directional.  The old guys call it a "microphone condom".  You get a bicycle innertube and cut it to your desired length, and slide it over the microphone ( a little baby power helps).  Some guys cover the whole body...easier to hold on to when your hands get sweaty, and hoping it protects it when you drop it.  Others just cover the mouthpiece end so that it's insulated on the sides and picks up more sound straight from the front.  I also use a small lavalier microphone (lapel mic) from the inside of a tobacco pipe.  Take the plastic mouth piece off and drill out the hole until you can shove the 3.5mm connector down into the bowl and out the short stem (some guys just cut the wire and reconnect it once they feed it through).  Keep feeding the cord all the way through until the microphone sits inside the pipe bowl.  Works like a miniature bullet mic.  It makes it more directional, and you can get some great effects hand cupping.

Marc from Texas
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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Thanks again Marc...I use a Shure Beta 58a and I'll try the inner tube trick. I got the TC Helicon Voicelive play the other day, and have started trying out effects. So far, I've made one new preset using a rotor, reverb, and octave down & up harmony, and it kinda turns the harp sound into something big like an organ - pretty cool. I notice that I also need to adapt my playing style to make the best effect sound - Tod

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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VoiceLive3 Harmonica playing

Toddyboy... Glad to hear it.  One of the main things that really prolonged my testing and experimenting was finding out what a different effect I got depending on the harp key and type of harp I played.  The box reacts differently with hole 1 on a Low C diatonic, as compared to a hole 10 on a High G (what I call "dog whistle territory").  Bending and overblowing while playing with the guitar confused it some.  My tremelo and echo harps will really get weird, as do chords.  I assume it's because of multiple reeds vibrating and messing with the electronics.  The sound made the dogs come running into the room a few times.  I think they thought I was torturing the cat.  Have fun with it. 

Marc from Texas