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Alan Parsons embraces VoiceLive on tour
As the engineer behind some of rock’s classic albums such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and his work with The Beatles and Paul McCartney as well as his own Alan Parsons Projects, Alan Parsons certainly knows how to pick the right equipment for the job.
Alan’s newest choice is VoiceLive by TC-Helicon. He and his band are currently on tour supporting his newest CD A Valid Path (Artemis Records) in which Alan finds that VoiceLive gives him the combination of convenience, control and unique vocal sounds he requires on stage. TC-Helicon caught up with Alan on the eve of his South American tour.
“The VoiceLive is great,” Alan says, “I love how it’s a floor unit – keeping hands free.” He has the unit set on his riser and connected to his microphone with a feed sent to the splitter for mains and monitors. Using VoiceLive’s footswitches at appropriate points during the show, he advances through presets he customized himself.
One vocal effect from the new CD needed VoiceLive’s particular features. A middle eastern sounding section of one song that took time to create in the studio had to be recreated live in an instant. “For the song Return to Tonguska, I set it to a melodic minor scale with no direct signal – with the output pitch at ‘normal’ and also up 1 and 2 octaves with vibrato. I just warble fairly randomly into it – sounds like an Egyptian Princess on acid!” Of course, Alan’s dry voice is not required in this effect, only the pitch shifted voices, so he uses VoiceLive’s dry mute on this preset only to complete the effect.
In addition to his creative usage of VoiceLive’s Scale mode in creating the Egyptian Princess effect, Alan is exploring the other VoiceLive harmony modes: “I use it also for an Octave down backing vocal on Psychobabble and playing Midi keyboard chords with words on Days Are Numbers.” To add the octave down part to his voice in Psychobabble, Alan merely has to press the bypass footswitch and sing normally because the octave down, which is mixed with his dry voice, follows every nuance of his singing exactly. In Days Are Numbers, Alan has chosen VoiceLive’s “Notes” mode because it allows him to perform the exact harmony melodies on his MIDI keyboard.
Alan also notes that VoiceLive’s pitch tracking is very robust in loud performance environments. Earlier technologies have been subject to mistracking warbles when “hearing” competing instruments and vocals from the singer’s monitor and general stage wash. VoiceLive deals with this problem with voice trained pitch detection algorithm making it highly resistant to errors as well as improving overall harmony voice quality.
Reproducing complex vocal arrangements in live performance can be challenging if not impossible but with TC-Helicon’s VoiceLive, soaring vocals can be a footswitch click away, just ask Alan Parsons.