VE-20 Vocal Performer review by Boss

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.1 (8 votes)
Boss: VE-20 Vocal Performer

Price paid: $ 279.99

Purchased from: Sweetwater Sound

Sound — 10
I use this in two settings: live running a stereo out to a Peavey XR1212P powered mixer, and recording to a Zoom R8 multitrack recorder. There is no discernible signal noise or artifacts which should not be in the signal chain. The FX are outstanding. This works as designed. It offers several different vocal harmonic FX: simple 3rds, simple 4ths, simple 5ths, and simple 6ths, and 3rd + 5th. By using the editing, one can also achieve 3rd + 4th, 3rd + 6th, 4th + 5th, 4th + 6th, and 5th + 6th. This also offers doubling, tripling, and 6-voice [doubling x tripling]. For modulation FX, this offers reverb, delay, chorusing, and flanging. Using an effect called "strobe", one can achieve the quivery vocal effect of the psychedelia classic "Crimson and Clover".

Overall Impression — 10
My style is what I call psychedelic country gospel and this works very well in that genre/mode. I've been a Harmony buff since I was young, having grown up listening to The Everly Brothers, The Hollies, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Eagles, and CSN[&Y]. This allows me to incorporate those types of harmonies into my songs without having to teach Harmony parts to backup singer. What makes this [IMO] superior to comparable products from DigiTech and TC Helicon is that the other units require a keyboard or guitar to be plugged into them to provide the tonic reference for the melody instead of keying off the singer's voice. The Boss does not. The only input is for the Vocal mic. BTW, this also features phantom power stereo outputs so one can send the dry [melody] voice to one channel and the Harmony parts to another. If this was lost or stolen, I would definitely purchase another. This should be an indispensable item in any singer-songwriter's bag of tricks. As for favorite features, it would be hard to Pick one out. This is just one amazing package.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This is built using the same style of construction as the other Boss dual pedal units. I have a friend with an older Loop Station he has had for almost 5 years and it works great. I believe this is built to last unless one is into punk or heavy metal and weighs 300 pounds or more.

Ease of Use — 10
This is extremely easy to use. It comes with 30 factory presets, 30 user-editable epatches [which duplicate the 30 factory presets], and 20 empty user-editable patches. Editing the patches is not totally intuitive, but the instructions in the included owner's manual are very easy to understand and follow. There are no firmware revisions as this is self-contained and has no USB connection or other means for importing a firmware upgrade.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Can you chain certain effects on this pedal together? Like say you want the distortion and the strobe with some reverb?
    Is there an easier way than having to manually change the key for every song?
    @jadz01: one does not have to manually change the key for each song. This has "intelligent" pitch shifting, which bases the harmonies on the fundamental tone sung. I have used it singing one song in the key of C and the next in the key of G and never had to manually change the key. The only thing I changed was the setting to go from a 3rd + 5th (low) for a Statler Brothers-type sound on one to a 3rd only for an Everly Brothers-type sound.