We here at ProAudioLand are always excited to bring our guests the latest and greatest products the professional audio industry has to offer. Whether it’s Fender’s 2013 electrics or Dunlop’s latest pickups, you can rest assured that PAL has you covered! Today, we’re going to take a look at TC-Helicon’s Mic Mechanic vocal effects pedal. If you aren’t too aware of TC-Helicon, they are essentially a sub-division of the better known Canadian based TC-Electronic, but rather than focusing on processors and pedals for electric instruments, TCH focusses on bringing studio grade vocal processing for use live on-stage. Out of all of the unique little vocal pedals in TC-Helicon’s VoiceTone line, the Mic Mechanic is definitely one that stood out among the pack, although each is intriguing in its own right.
A Sound Tech in a Box
One of the more robust pedals of the VoiceTone single line, the Mic Mechanic is essentially a vocal toolbox inside a compact, easy-to-use pedal that offers effects that every singer can use. Notable features include top quality TC-Helicon reverbs, delays and pitch correction, adaptive tone for the best possible mix, simple controls, easy to use instant effects and a rugged, all-metal construction. From short slapback echoes to long repeating phrases, the included delay effects certainly add that special something to your vocal sound that has long been a staple of the studio. Use the Tap Tempo feature and time the delays to match your music perfectly. Auto Chromatic Pitch Correction gently guides you towards the true note you’re singing. When you’re just a bit flat or sharp, Mic Mechanic steps in and gives you a little or a large nudge in the right direction. It can be transparent or used as an effect, whichever you like Mic Mechanic also automatically adjusts EQ, Compression, De-Essing and Gating to provide singers with great tone all the time. Essentially, the main purpose of the Mic Mechanic is getting a great vocal sound regardless of your sound system or sound tech.
The Mic Mechanic also boasts always-on phantom power for condenser microphones, an input gain control with clip indicator, an XLR input – naturally – along with a mic level output to connect with a mixer. There is also a wet/dry control allowing you to fine tune the amount of effects relative to your voice. The Mic Mechanic features a footswitch that can be used to turn the effects on and off, although the adaptive tone remains on to ensure your voice will still ring clear through the PA in case you want to chat up the audience in between songs.
A Bit off the Mark
You can pretty much think of the Mic Mechanic as a sound tech in a pedal – albeit one with some limitations. While I certainly loved the simplicity of the pedal, there were a few times when I was desperately in need of more overall control, especially when it came to the EQ and reverb decay length. Furthermore, if your sound system is partially bright sounding, you will probably need to make additional EQ adjustments in order to get the Mic Mechanic working at its best. All in all, not bad though considering the magnitude of features inside this little box – not to mention the very affordable price tag. Even with those slight limitations, they are easily brushed off as the Mic Mechanic pretty much sounds great right out of the box. While the multitude of effects are certainly welcomed, the Mic Mechanic’s single best features are the adaptive tone, pitch correction and EQing – all of which the pedal does automatically. I myself found it working best as a set and forget type of pedal that I could simply turn on and not have to worry about messing with the settings.
TC-Helicon’s Mic Mechanic is certainly an ambitious little pedal. Although some users might be turned off by the slight lack of user-definable features, singers simply looking for a bit of that studio sweetness in their live repertoire will certainly find a lot to like with this one. Considering that other pedals with all of these features will cost you about three times as much as the Mic Mechanic, any singer looking to sound their best on stage should definitely add this pedal to their tool bad – I can’t recommend it enough!
- 8 high quality Reverb and Echo presets
- Separate Reverb (Room, Studio, Hall) and Delay (Tap and Slap), with combinations of both
- Footswitch tapping can match echoes to song tempo
- Tone button for Adaptive EQ, Compression, De-essing and Gating
- Auto Chromatic Pitch Correction
- Easy connection between standard mic and mixer
- Phantom power always available
- Low noise microphone pre-amp
- Mic Control for remote on/off switching with optional TC-Helicon MP-75 mic
- Compact, easy to use
- Rugged all-metal construction
- USB connection to VoiceSupport application offering updates, product-specific news and more