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SOUNDCHECK the gear in review

Electro-Harmonix Voice Box harmony
machine/vocoder pedal
BY CHRIS GILL tle and Vocoder) each with its own
programmable preset memory. XLR

HROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY, input and output jacks are provided
Electro-Harmonix has offered for a microphone along with a +45-volt
guitarists numerous ways to phantom power switch for powering a
make their guitars “talk.” The Golden condenser mic.
Throat talk box provided the most con- In addition to blend and voice mix
vincing effects, but even the Talking controls that let you adjust the bal-
Pedal, Frequency Analyzer and Soul ance of dry/processed signals and har-
Kiss (sold by E-H founder Mike Mat- mony voices respectively, the Voice
thews’ New Sensor company in 1990) Box offers separate reverb level con-
produced expressive vocal-like sounds. trols for dry and harmony vocals and
Electro-Harmonix’s new Voice Box a Gender Bender control that morphs the Octave and Unison + Whistle
pedal is really more vocal processor your voice from high and feminine to VOICE BOX modes will work without accompani-
than guitar effect, but it offers guitar- low and macho. ment from an instrument. Only signals
ists cool vocoder functions as well LIST PRICE: $286.00 routed through the XLR mic input are
as two- to four-part vocal harmonies PERFORMANCE MANUFACTURER: processed, not those that pass through
that follow the key of an instrument THE VOCODER EFFECT produces every- the instrument input.
plugged into it. Add in reverb, octave thing from robot voices to angel choirs CONTROLS: Blend,
shifting and a Unison mode with gen- that are triggered by your voice but reverb dry, reverb THE BOTTOM LINE
der bending and Theremin-like whistle pitched the same as your instrument, harmony, Gender THE VOICE BOX MAY be more suitable
effects, and the Voice Box provides which, when used effectively, could bender, voice mix, for singers than guitar slingers, but it’s
mode select
plenty of thrills for only a few bills. make William Hung sing like Susan FOOTSWITCHES: Mic a versatile processor that can make
Boyle (or Robo-Boyle). The other ef- bypass, preset your guitar talk (in Vocoder mode) and
FEATURES fects, however, require that you al- INPUTS: 1/4-inch provides rich vocal harmonies that ef-
DESPITE BEING HOUSED in a six-by- ready have some vocal talent to sound instrument, XLR mic fortlessly follow your guitar’s key. ✺
OUTPUTS: 1/4-inch
five-inch box, the Voice Box is packed halfway decent. While the harmony instrument, XLR mic PRO CON
with more features than the average and vocoder effects both require you OTHER: Mic gain hi/lo
stomp box. The pedal provides nine se- to play an instrument along with the switch, phantom power KEY OF INSTRUMENT; COMPLICATED
lectable effect modes (six Harmonies, vocal (to determine key or provide a on/off switch, 9-volt PHANTOM POWER
adapter included
Octave Up and Down, Unison + Whis- sound source for vocoding),

FULL SPEED AHEAD nonwarping, rigid body that tapers into

a sculpted tip.
Dunlop Ultex Sharp Picks But what really makes it different
from other picks is its smooth,
BY PAUL RIARIO composite feel, which is never plasticky.
I find its tone acts much like a spruce

F ALL THE COMPONENTS that top on an acoustic, allowing notes
contribute to guitar tone and to project clarity and brightness to
playability, the pick is the one balance a darker back and sides wood.
that gets the least consideration. For Whether using an electric or acoustic,
most guitarists, their choice of pick is it intensified my picking dynamics and
a lame afterthought, and perhaps with delivered volume when digging in.
good reason: compared to all the sexy With the Ultex Sharp, you won’t have to
stomp boxes and myriad gear out there, pick to achieve the raspy string sounds work as hard to develop accuracy and
selecting a pick is about as exciting as that are a signature of U2’s music. Most speed because the perfectly contoured
choosing cufflinks. guitarists I know use Dunlop’s tried- tip strikes the strings evenly and
Dunlop’s brand-new Ultex Sharp and-true Tortex style of pick, while allows you to bounce between them
picks are the exception. Ultex Sharps I’ve always used celluloid picks, and effortlessly while transferring a quicker
are performance tools that will help although they wear away rather quickly, decay between notes. The picks are
you shape your tone, increase your their even tone has made other choices available in .73, .90, 1.0, 1.14, 1.40 and
speed and improve your accuracy, far in guitar picks unnecessary. Until now. 2.0mm gauges.
better than any old pick. The Ultex Sharp is based on a rare The Ultex Sharp has improved my
If you pay close attention to the picks SHARP PICKS tortoise-shell pick (known for its playing more than any other piece
that popular guitarists employ, you superior tone) and is a standard size. of gear I’ve come across. And with
will find their choice has as much to LIST PRICE: Player’s That’s certainly a plus for guitarists that all the picks to choose from, I’m no
Pack (six picks), $4.17
do with their tone as it does their style: CONTACT: Dunlop
drop picks faster than state senators longer picky. ✺
Virtuoso guitarists such as Eric Johnson Manufacturing, drop twenties on strippers. The Ultex
and John Petrucci swear by Dunlop’s Sharp is precision molded and nearly PRO CON
miniscule Jazz III pick, with its pointed indestructible; it took a night of BRIGHT AND ARTICULATE, TALENT NOT INCLUDED
end that facilitates their precise flurry of aggressive playing before my example ASPIRE TO BE
notes. The Edge favors a dimpled Herco developed chiseled edges. It also has a