TC Helicon is arguably the leader in vocal processing equipment and technologies. Their vocal pedals are used by the weird-serial-out-of-key cover band that berates your ears at the pub every Wednesday, and by marquee listed rap acts such as Shabazz Palaces. There is good reason why the range of user spans from the dirtiest dumps to the most stellate of stages: TC Helicon vocal pedals cannot be beaten.

The VoiceTone Create XT is marketed with the awkwardly phrased, “Hit Producer-in-a-pedal.” This does not mean that Timbaland adlibs will be at your beck and call, or Diddy will apparate from the rafters to be your hype man, unfortunately. What this does entail is a bevy of features to be summoned with a tap of your foot to add the veneer of studio production to your live performances. Remember when you saw that one DIY show at that one warehouse and the reverb from the lead vocalist was s/he echoing lyrics and oscillating their head back and forth? Those days are over.

Design is a success, a rugged metal case—not plastic leaves one feeling satisfied after a few good stomps on the metal push knobs. A set of XLR outs, an XLR in and ¼” input jack are found in the rear along with the power jack and a USB port. Updating the firmware on your pedal will find you downloading presets, and joining TC Helicon’s online community. Cool.

The Create XT is a vocal effects foot pedal, that being said; we found that having a waist high table to put the pedal on was more feasible than putting it on the ground. For one, without a pedal board it seems sort of awkward and with rapid shifts in effects it is more reassuring to use your fingers than play footsies with the pedal.

The great aspects of the Create XT are, in the words of Nigel Thornberry, “simply smashing!” This pedal is really for audiophile live performers, obsessed with the minutia of sound in live settings, where even the most refined of studio musicians let quality take a back seat. This is evidenced by the dedicated “Tone” button, which adds a polish to live vocals providing a wicked advantage in any setting. Note: anyone performing sans Create XT pedal near someone with a Create XT pedal will certainly feel instantly inferior.

The same features that made the original VoiceTone Create pedal a prosumer’s favorite are back again; 100 factory styles, 10 presets, reverb effects, tempo controlled delays, mod effects such as detune, flange, doubling, rotor, transducer effects, and a decent mic preamp with phantom power to keep noise low and clean.

What makes the TC Helicon VoiceTone Create XT a star foot pedal is where it operates on the continuum of live performance gear. This is not some esoteric pedal which you will only see being used by periphery trip-hop artists (not to chide our weirder brethren). The pedal is capable of adding subtle, yet lush effects to bolster your vocal performance on a higher echelon, as well as flex some vocal tweaks and HardTune features. It’s all here for a reasonable price of $249 and well worth every red penny.

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