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Discussion Starter #1
I was trying to reply to this old thread: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?20772-Harmony-processor&highlight=harmony+effects

and it seems that post never went through. So I am going to repost as a new topic in the hope it will go...

I am in a band (what else is new) and am the sole horn (alto sax) player. We play a couple of cover songs (with more being considered) where 2 or 3 part harmonies would be good to sound more like the fuller horn section they were originally. The chord structures change though... I may go from needing an interval a 3rd up, to one that is based on a 6th. So I am wondering what pedals would allow switching between different intervals (2 or 3) and allow 2-3 part harmonies based on intervals. Being able to mute is essential. I also want this to be something I set, not something that is controlled via MIDI or detected.

I am envisioning there is some form of stomp box that may do this, but a rack mount with a foot pedal option would work.

Bonus if the pedal also offers chorus and distortion effects.

Thanks in advance!
Paul
 

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As the rules point out, new members need to have their initial few posts reviewed and approved before they go public. This is why your first one didn't appear right away. I've approved this one as you can see.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I guess I am used to forums immediately opening up (agile software domain) when people join in. I appreciate the response/explanation!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank you! I'll look at this.... OOOOHHHH and only if I could get my band to play ska... (A fave genre of mine that isn't electronic..)

So I looked at the page and listened to the audio (mp3) clips they had. Impressive...

So some specific Qs I have for you. Realize I have NO experience in using harmonizer pedals at all, so if this comes off naive, please be kind :)

I'll start with giving a reveal - the primary song driving this is I Feel Good by James Brown. In it he says "I Feel Good", followed by horns, then followed by ""Like I knew that I would" followed by horn, but at a different interval. Is there an easy way to have these intervals programmed? If not, it's OK, just want to know. I am already realizing there may be a possibility of having to buy two pedals, I just want to see if one pedal can handle it simply. BTW, the primary driver is me. I can't imagine not having harmonizing parts on this...

What does the pedal accomplish in terms of changing intervals? If none that is OK. Just want to understand my limits.

Again thanks in advance to all who respond!

Cheers,
Paul
 

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pmboos; I use a harmonizer on every gig, a 'Vocalist Live III' but I don't think they make it anymore. With this box, it gets its chord info from a direct connection to a guitar or keyboard. This way it follows the music and adjusts your harmonies automatically. You have plenty of presets that are simply 'high, higher, highest' or 'low, lower, lowest', in any combination, including unison, and you can do two notes at a time in addition to the primary note you play. On tenor or alto I will use mainly just one 'low' note which is usually a third under the note I'm playing. On tenor this gives you that fat 'two-tenor' sound. On bari, I use 'high' or 'high and higher' which is a great and unique sound. It also has tone controls, effects and lots of other stuff. A singer I work with uses one too and the harmony is very good. For example, if the band plays a C chord and you play a D on tenor, and you have 'high' only selected, it will add the third, your F#. Holding the D while the band changes to concert F, the harmony note changes to your F, the minor 7. So, in 'high', it will always play the next higher chord note to the note you play. The thing is lightning fast and will hang with you on fast passages.
One problem is you are at the mercy of the chord player you are connected to. If he plays a wrong chord, you are going to play a wrong chord. You change patches and cut the harmony and effects on and off with stomp switches, so there is usually no bending down to mess with anything. Another drawback is there is no way to practice with it by yourself - you need the other player to make the changes to the song. It is actually made for the guitar or keyboard-playing vocalist who obviously can practice or perform with it alone.
Basically I love the thing. I had to get my own monitor set-up so I could tell what was going out front and adjust accordingly.
I'll put a song on here if I find where I left it. :)
 

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With the Quintessence, you can mute it (turn the effect off) by hitting the foot switch. Changing the interval would just involve turning the HARMONY knob. Ideally, you'd have the box within reach instead of on the floor.

But it also has a MASH function that I haven't really explored yet, which apparently allows you to control the interval from the foot switch, and which is editable using their software with a USB connection. From the manual:

The MASH function allows you to vary a linked e ect parameter when you press down continuously on the footswitch with variable pressure. The more pressure you apply to the footswitch, the brighter the MASH LED will light up.
The MASH function deploys automatically any time you press and hold the footswitch. Simply take your foot off the footswitch to deactivate the MASH function.
The MASH function can be assigned to any parameter of your choice by using the TonePrint Editor. For more information, see “5.3 Editing TonePrints with TonePrint Editor”.
By default assignment, the MASH function is programmed to bend the pitch- shifted note (in the e ected signal) upward to the next scale degree available in the chosen scale (except for the TP1, TP2 and TP3 default TonePrints, see below).
 

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As 1saxman mentioned, you can get a harmonizer that works off either midi, from your keyboard player, or one that works off guitar. Of course the midi type is more precise. I use a TC-Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-M for my vocals and really like. This is the type that works with the keyboard's midi output. The guitar version is the TC-Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G. Both are discontinued, but are available on ebay and Reverb. I bought two, just to have one as a backup. I tried a newer, current version by TC-Helicon, but for my it wasn't as reliable. The older models are even housed in metal cases. Anyway, this is the easiest way to go, as long as you are able to plug into your keyboard players midi output. The only controls you will have to mess with it deciding on how many harmonies you want. You have a choice of two below, one below/one above, or two above. You can even have only two part harmony, or just octaves. I don't use it for sax, but if I still used a midi setup with a laptop on gigs, I'd definitely use it for sax. Right now my backing tracks have been downsized to a dedicated cell phone for MP3 files!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all these tips... I think for my needs, I'll start with one pedal and see how that goes. I don't want to rely on another instrument playing in, so the Quintessence looks like a perfect choice for me. I'm also the keyboard player (which then be the one that could do MIDI), so I can't do that and play the sax simultaneously.

My thought for changing the interval will be to first have it where I can easily switch it, (I can put it next to one of my keyboards). If that becomes difficult to work, then I'll probably buy a second one and set it on the interval, then I can swap bypasses and move the pedals to the floor. I suspect that if it is a simple dial-in the new interval, one will do and the Quintessence looks to be a perfect one to work with for it as it is a dial change. If it starts moving to two dials though, then it may get more difficult to work with...

Anyway, this was really helpful in my learning what may work for me... Cheers!
 

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The main limitation I've found to the Quintessence for live performance is the lack of presets, which means you have to remember the difference between Lydian and Mixolydian modes. :) But you can program three of the HARMONY knob settings (TP1, 2 & 3) as you like with a computer running TC's free software, which will give you three custom settings with just a quick turn of the one dial.

Also, its reproduction is so clean that some harmonies can sound like a harmonica if you're not careful. Maybe the Boss pedal sounds a bit warmer?

I used my Quintessence at my last gig for an impromptu and unrehearsed cover of The Beatles's "Good Morning," and it sounded great. I'll be using it on my upcoming gig to emulate the Memphis Horns section on Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," possibly in tandem with an octaver setting on my TC Voicetone Create to really flesh out the horns.
 

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I use the line6 M13. Because you can program 48 scenes, you can easily switch effects per song with one press off a pedal.
You could also take a look a the M13.

 

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After reading the OP, it's just sad you have to go this route because venues won't/can't often pay for horn bands, but it sounds like you've got it covered!
 

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I'm gonna add a recommendation for the Eventide Pitchfactor. 50 banks x 2 presets per bank, and it has a "learn" function so you can play the tonic into the pedal and it will switch to the appropriate key.
 

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So I was all set to use my Quintessence harmonizer at last night's gig. It sounded great in rehearsal, and my keyboardist really liked the way it fleshed out the horn "section". That was when plugged into my own Roland KC-150 amp.

At the venue, I plugged into the board for sound check, and everything worked great--except the Quintessence, which added a weird swooshy flanging feedback as soon as it was turned on. I'm 99% sure it was an impedance issue, but don't know how to fix it, short of investing in something like a Radial VocoLoco.

A bit disappointing, though the show went on--with a record take at the door, in fact. I think the band was secretly relieved, as they seem a bit wary of effects on sax.
 

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ZootTheSim - sorry to hear that. Maybe worth contacting TC Helicon. Let us know if you find a fix. Thanks.
Thanks Nobby. I probably need to rethink my entire signal chain. I've decided that in-ear monitoring isn't for me, so will remove the large Shure wireless monitor box, and pick up a small stand-mounted powered monitor instead--something like the Behringer B205D.

That'll free up room on my board for a Radial Voco Loco, which should solve the impedance issues. The Voco Loco has XLR in with phantom power, so I can give my TC Voicetone Create to my vocalist, and add in a dedicated reverb & echo box instead (which is all I really use the Voicetone for). A bit of an investment, but ultimately much simpler and cleaner.
 

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pmboos; I use a harmonizer on every gig, a 'Vocalist Live III' but I don't think they make it anymore. With this box, it gets its chord info from a direct connection to a guitar or keyboard. This way it follows the music and adjusts your harmonies automatically. )
I have the Helicon VoiceLive 2 that I used in an R&B band in the same way you want to do. I don't know about the Vocalist Live 3, but the VL 2 has both the option to drive the harmony from the chords played by a midi keyboard, or you can customize the harmony yourself - which is what I did for all the tunes I used it on. You can also dial in tons of effects. Once you dial in the proper eq, it doesn't sound too bad. You can also chain different harmony set-ups into one tune and you cycle through them with a stomp button on the unit. That worked for tunes that modulate or for tunes where the harmonic style changes in different parts of the tune. You can also selectively mute out or override several effects on the fly, again with stomp buttons.
 
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