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Using the VoiceLive 3 with a high-gain guitar amplifier
What we're trying to accomplish is using a high-gain guitar amplifier in conjunction with VoiceLive 3's guitar effects, and the tricky part is we also want to guide vocal harmonies with the guitar signal.
If you typically play clean guitar this won’t really apply to you, this is intended to be used with a distorted guitar.
The issue is that VL3’s harmony algorithm is expecting a clean guitar signal for guidance, so that it can actually hear the notes you're playing. This means we can't send the VL3's guitar output direct into the amp (we don't want to distort reverb or delay effects) and we can't send the amp's output into the VL3 (harmonies won't hear your distorted chords). So the finicky solution is to use a splitter and the amp's FX loop.
Yes, we realize this wouldn't be a problem in the first place if the VL3 had an effects loop, when VL4 releases in ten years it will hopefully rectify this ;)
We need to split the guitar into two clean signals, send one copy of the guitar to the amp, and another to the VL3 for harmony guiding. Here are the two guitar paths:
Path 1 – Audible Affected Guitar:
This will be what you and the audience hear. Your guitar will be distorted by your amplifier, and will have any additional effects from the VL3 you’re using. It will not be used for guiding the harmonies because the signal will be distorted by your amp.
Guitar -> Splitter -> Amp Guitar Input -> FX Loop Send -> VL3 Guitar Input -> VL3 Guitar Output -> FX Loop Return
As you can see we’re basically using the VL3 as a pedalboard insert for the amp. This way you can use your amp’s distortion to your heart’s content and still apply clean reverbs, delays, choruses, and whatever other effects overtop of it. You’ll need to go into the “Setup” menu, and on the “Guitar” tab turn off the “Speaker Simulation” – we don’t want this because you’re using the speakers in your amp.
Path 2 - Silent Harmony Guiding:
This won’t be heard by anyone but our harmony algorithm. It’s basically a clean and silent guide so the VL3 knows what chords you’re playing.
Guitar -> Splitter -> VL3 Auxiliary Input
You’ll likely need a 6.5mm to 3.5mm adapter to get from the splitter into the Aux in on the VL3. The physical setup is simple, but there are a few settings in the VL3 you’ll have to set to get this working right.
In the Harmony effect’s editing page, scroll down to “NaturalPlay Source” and set it to “Aux/Mon”. This tells the harmonies to ignore the signal from the Guitar input, and instead only listen to the Aux input which is the clean version of what you’re playing. You’ll have to set this in every preset you use with this setup.
In the Mix menu, on the “Main Mix” tab you’ll need to turn the Aux level all the way down to “Off”.
I did the same on the “Headphone” tab because I was using phones to monitor myself.
That's about it! Here is the setup on paper:
...And here it is in practice:
In my setup I'm using an A/B pedal with both outputs active to split the guitar signal. You could also use a 6.5mm Y-cable to accomplish the same thing.
Keep in mind that your playstyle will still affect how effective this is. Our harmonies need to be able to hear at least the root and third of the chords you're playing, so if you're soloing or playing monophonic melody lines, the harmonies will likely sound wrong.
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