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October 14, 2008

TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G review

TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G - AudioFanzineTC Helicon’s Harmony-G: The Test
After having delighted singers with their Voicetone pedals, TC Helicon is trying to seduce guitarist/singers with a pedal capable of simulating vocal harmonies that follow your voice and guitar playing. Extraordinary as this may sound in theory, does the Harmony G keep its promises in practice? That’s what we’ll see in this test …

You won’t feel so alone anymore

Setting up live vocal harmonies has always been relatively complicated. A bad balance between the main speakers and the monitoring speakers will often cause out of tune vocals which will quickly get on the nerves of any audience. But there are worse situations! How do you get harmony vocals when you‘re alone on stage? Even if you have all the talent and determination in the world, your voice is still monophonic. Fortunately, TC-Helicon was thinking of singer/guitarists and singer/ pianists who play solo when they created two pedals allowing them to be, as if by magic, accompanied by two virtual singers who even know the set-list by heart! But how is this possible? It’s simple: the pedal, thanks to the guitar or keyboard that is plugged into the device, follows the chord progression, analyzes it and figures out the vocal harmonies that go along with your voice. That’s, roughly, the idea behind the Harmony G (guitar) and Harmony M (for MIDI, the keyboard is connected via MIDI). Sounds tempting doesn’t it? Being a six-string enthusiast myself, I naturally chose the Harmony G model for this test.

So I eagerly opened the nice looking box with the TC Helicon logo …

C Helicon strikes another strong blow by allowing singer/guitarists to have 2 virtual singers at their command. With its effects and its integrated tuner, the little box is like an audio Swiss-army knife. It will undoubtedly attract many musicians thanks to its ease of use, sound quality, solid construction and very realistic vocal harmonies. The Harmony G also offers small features which have been intelligently thought out (changing the reference tuning or Manual mode) and its few defects are quickly overlooked in light of how enjoyable it is to use. Watch out Crosby, Stills & Nash!

Convincing vocal harmonies
Very good mic preamp
Quality effects
Solid construction
48 V phantom power
Guitar through
Automatic mix of voice and guitar
Tone mode
Integrated tuner
Manual

The balance of guitar, harmony levels and effects not stored in presets
Needs AC adapter
Pressing both switches at the same time is not so easy
Sometimes hangs when changing chords

Read the complete review of TC Helicon Voicetone Harmony-G.

Egnater Tourmaster 4112 review

Egnater Tourmaster 4112 - AudioFanzineMaking tubes more accessible seems to be the trend these days: in the wake of Fender’s big hit with their 5-Watt entry-level amp, the Champion 600, and Line 6’s collaboration with Bogner to warm up its algorithms to the good old sound of tubes, it’s Egnater’s turn to come out with a product that has a rather aggressive price for this manufacturer, since the Tourmaster 4212, an all-tube 100W combo amp, goes for under 1500€ while their 4100 Head, without its 4 x 12 cabinet which sells for 799€, costs 1390€ …

HP

 

Let it be said, for those who might not know, that wattage doesn’t mean quite the same thing for transistor amps as it does for tube amps. Without simplifying too much, let’s just say that in terms of volume, a 30 Watt tube amp can blow away a 100 Watt transistor amp. So, imagine what a 100-watt tube amp is capable of: endless fights with the neighbors, of course, or breaking all of your grandma’s crystal and plates with one C chord! Incidentally, you wouldn’t need a PA for a small concert hall (for a Stadium it would be cutting it close … just a little).

What can be said except that basically this amp lacks almost nothing. We could have wished for a lighter amp, but this seems difficult to achieve with so much to offer in terms of power choices. We might have wished for a footswitch with more than 6 buttons for more flexibility, or even MIDI capabilities. But that would be splitting hairs. The truth of the matter is that the Egnater offers, at a relatively nice price, an amp that sounds very good and that could very well be the only amp you’ll need, if you get past the transportation issue. Bravo.

Versatility, with its 4 channels.
The possibility of adapting the power to your needs.
The sound.
Very complete.
The price.

Not appropriate for metal (but with some good pedals …).
No MIDI connections.
43 kg (roadies not included)

Read the full review of Egnater Tourmaster 4112 on Audiofanzine

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