The Mic Mechanic is a TC Helicon Vocal Effects pedal that we both personally own, and it may be the best vocal pedal out there for the price, simplicity, ruggedness, and just badass power and magic that it can actually do to your vocals.
We don’t know a whole lot about vocal pedals in general, but we DO know they can cause a lot of annoying problems tech-wise, and this one has never EVER given us any kind of issue. It was actually a gift for me FROM Ivan one Christmas. And only a few months later, he realized how damn cool it was, so he got one for himself too. And now we both sound like Cher ALL the time.
TC Helicon vocal effects pedals seem to be pretty popular, as they have released different products with different variatons of whey can do, but the reason we’re saying Mic Mechanic is the best vocal pedal is because we went to see this band perform one night at Cole’s bar in Logan Square here in Chicago. And, that’s a pretty small room to see a band. It’s also one of our favorite places to see live music, because it’s a really raw environment – there’s just a really good energy for live music, as most people there are actually there to see bands, and not just chat with their friends and get trashed.
I wish I could remember the name of this and, but it was a group of girls, and they were pretty good – like nothing especially amazing about them. But then, out of nowhere, I’d hear the lead singer’s perfectly normal sounding vocal suddenly explode into an ocean of droning musical notes – as if they were some kind of magicians of vocals. I was looking at Ivan like, “dude, what on Earth is she using to make her voice suddenly morph into some angelic creature of the heavens like that!”
So of course, after the show, I had to ask her, “what on Earth did you do to make your voice sound so incredibly friggin awesome!” and she just says “‘The Mic Mechanic‘, only the best vocal pedal that exists on this cute little planet we call Earth”.
So, I raved about the pedal forever. It wasn’t too expensive but also not cheap, yet I knew I was gonna get it. I had tried experimenting with different guitar pedals in the past – connecting them to my microphone to see if could get some kind of cool vocal delays/reverbs, etc…but the problem is, guitar pedals aren’t wired or built to be routed through a microphone. So what ends up happening is a ton of weird and piercingly annoying frequencies right when you sing certain notes, or any word with a “P” or “B” or “S” in it.
Okay, just realized we haven’t even gotten into the capabilites of it, but one of the biggest reasons the Mic Mechanic is the best vocal pedal for this band (and possibly the galaxy) is its SIMPLIITY! This is HUGE…as musicians, the last thing we want to be dealing with is tweaking a whole bunch of knobs to get the perfect sound, ESPECIALLY when you’re on stage transitioning from one song to the next.
Seriously, this is probably the most basic vocal pedal that exists, while at the same time, does exactly what you want it to. If you want some crazy droning delay on your vocals, but just on one tiny part of a song, it’s doable. If you want some thick cathedral type reverb on your vocals, it’s simple and fast to do. Not only that, but the Mic Mechanic has a tap delay so you can literally make it match the rhythm of any song you’re playing.
And I know I mentioned the whole frequency horror that happens when you’re trying to connect a mic to guitar pedals, but this Mic Mechanic has some kind of crazy setting that doesn’t allow any funky frequencies to even get in the way of what you’re doing…so it somehow just allows your vocals to continue to sound awesome, without any crazy shit happening, regardless of whether you tap it on, or tap it off.
Okay, and here’s ANOTHER thing that makes it so cool – remember I said we sound like Cher ALL the time now…well, that’s partially true – we just don’t have her hair, but the reason I mention that, is cause you can literally set pitch correction on the pedal too, so if you DO happen to go slightly off key while singing, it’ll actually keep it from going too far off tune. Honestly, I don’t know HOW well that function works, because for the most part, we have decent control of our vocals, even when doing a naked acoustic set. I think Ivan doesn’t even use that setting. I keep it on, just cause I love that it’s an option.
All in all, our entire sound has changed quite a bit because of this pedal. Just having the ability now to write songs with much more experimental vocals, and not have to worry about how we’ll pull them off live is a huge plus. For instance, songs we wrote like Teenage Love, and Gunshot, from our Transit-Eons EP – those vocals have some pretty damn heavy effects on them in the recordings, but we can actually pull them off live now pretty easily. This pedal gives us the ability to be more creative and not hold back when writing. We’ve experimented with everything from long delayed vocals, to backwards delay, and delay/reverb combos, and everything in between.
This may not be the best vocal pedal in the universe, as I’ve seen others that cost more than $600 that have tons of knobs that can apparently do a bunch of crazy shit, but honestly, I don’t know what those pedals could offer that the Mic Mechanic can’t – plus, I guarantee they are not NEARLY as simple to use as this thing is. I’m also biased cause I own this thing and love it – and so does Ivan…and we sound like Cher. That’s what every musician strives for…Cher-ness.
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