Radial Engineering has announced the Voco-Loco, a combination microphone preamp and effects loop insert that enables a lead vocalist, brass instrumentalist or harmonica player to incorporate guitar effects pedals into their signal path.
Just like an electric guitarist adds effects for soloing such as delay, reverb or distortion, this option is now available to anyone’s performance by engaging a simple footswitch.
The design begins with a high-performance preamp section that delivers over 60 dB of gain, more than enough to adapt to virtually any microphone via standard XLR input. And with a built-in 48-volt phantom power generator, condenser mics can also be used.
Radial’s unique Accustate level control automatically sets the gain and sensitivity via a dual wafer potentiometer for improved signal-to-noise. A simple two band shelving EQ lets the vocalist add bass or accentuate the highs to enhance.
The signal then feeds an effects loop that has been optimized for guitar pedals via standard 1/4-inch guitar jacks. Separate send and receive level controls let you adjust the levels going to the pedals to reduce distortion and optimize the signal path. A tone control on the return path can then be used to tame overly bright pedals for a smoother more natural tone while the wet/dry blend control enables the artist to mix in as much of the effect as desired. The Voco-Loco’s output is fully balanced and able to drive a typical mixing console input.
Two footswitches are top mounted. The right hand footswitch is used to turn on or off the effects loops while the left-hand footswitch can be used to either mute the Voco-Loco output to turn off the mic when not in use or be assigned as an on-off switch for the loop, bypassing the wet/dry function.
For instance, the user could create a weird telephone effect with all of the sound passing through a distortion pedal or toggle the signal so that a blend of the unprocessed voice plus some reverb can be heard together. A 180-degree polarity reverse switch ensures the pedals are in phase with the original signal when the wet/dry blend is in use.
Award-winning composer/producer/instrumentalist Vince Mai has already put the Voco-Loco to the test. “I’m really gassed about the Voco-Loco because it is changing the way I approach electronics with my horn. As a horn player..the primary thing we work on is our personal sound..we are very attached to how we sound.
“If you use effects sometimes what happens is your sound degrades if you go directly into the effects units. What the Voco-Loco does for me is allow for my true sound to be sent through the system, processed and mixed in the degree that I want it be.”
The video below offers more of Mai’s impression of the Voco-Loco.
Voco-Loco measures 5 inches x 7 inches (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm), compact enough to fit on pedalboards. It comes equipped with an external 15-volt DC supply.
The Voco-Loco is now shipping and retails for $300 U.S.