TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme Review (2020) | Sustain Punch

TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme Review (2021) | Sustain Punch

In this product review, we’re going to be discussing the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme processor, which is a multi-functional vocal effects pedal.

TC Helicon is a company that needs no introduction when it comes to discussing vocal effects, as they’re the modern pioneers of the industry and have helped develop several vocal units that have transformed the way in which singers look at live vocal processing.

The company itself was founded in the year 2000, which makes it a reasonably new business, when comparing them to established music equipment brands such as Boss.

They were recently acquired by Music Tribe (parent company of Behringer, Bugera, Midas, Turbosound & Klark Teknik). None-the-less, in the 19 years, they’ve developed several well-known units, such as the VoiceTone series, and what we’re talking about today, the Voicelive 3 Extreme, or as it’s abbreviated, the VL3X.

With that being said, we’ve arranged this article review of the VoiceLive 3 Extreme in a way where you’ll not only read about all of the unit’s features, but we’ve also included high-quality images and video demonstrations of the processor in action, so you’ll have a well-rounded insight on the processor by the time that you’ve read all of this review.

Ok, so let’s get into talking about the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme!

TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme

TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme

Main Features/Benefits

  • High-quality audio processing
  • Automated & reactive gain control, means no clipping
  • Roomsense™ technology – Listens to music to guide harmonies and other effects in real-time
  • Integration with guitar and other instruments
    • Includes guitar-specific effects – (Tuner, Reverb, Delay, Umod, Distortion, Octaver, Rhythmic, Wah Wah, Compressor, EQ, Amp Modelling, Control per preset)
  • Onboard effects settings adapt to backing track & BPM
    • 100 audio backing track capacity
  • Hundreds of downloadable vocal presets, comes with 250 factory presets
    • Including Loops, Delays, Reverbs, Doubling, Hardtune, Harmonies, Filtering, Gating, Synth/Vocoder emulation, Transducer, Chorus, Flanger and more
    • 4x expanded memory than the former VoiceLive 3 unit – 5 Hours in total (8 Mins per track limit)
  • Adaptive Tone for automatic EQ, compression, gating & de-essing
  • Allows for Audio recording, looping, automation & backing tracks
  • Easily record guitar & vocals directly to USB, straight to your DAW
  • Independent headphone mix for in-ear monitoring
  • Dedicated outputs for stereo PA, stereo guitar & monitoring
  • Designed & engineered in Canada
  • 3-year warranty program*


  • Rather expensive, but an investment for professional musicians/singers
  • Has had some programming issues in the past on specific units, but we think the company has fixed these issues, as TC Helicon have now been acquired by Music Tribe (parent company of Behringer, Bugera, Midas, Turbosound & Klark Teknik) – However, it comes with a 3-year warranty for reassurance, so we advise buying it and testing it during practices for a few weeks before taking it on-stage.


The TC Helicon Voice Live 3 Extreme has been designed to provide the most amount of functionality, in a processor which is both versatile and easy to use.

Even despite the unit’s size, being a little larger than most vocal processors, we think that the company has done well to fit so many functions into this unit.

Let’s delve deeper into the specific interface controls!

VoiceLive 3 Extreme Front of Interface

The first impression that we had about the interface’s layout is the sheer amount of footswitches that are available to the user, which just makes the process of enabling/disabling certain aspects so much easier… as let’s face it, singers need to be in the moment when giving a good performance, not thinking about how to operate their vocal effects unit.

As far as working the unit, it has three primary layers, which are for Vocal Processing, Guitar Processing & Looper/Backing Track Processing. These can be switched between by using the Looper Footswitch, located next to the Preset Footswitch.

Once you have selected either the Vocal, Guitar or Looper/Track layer, the effects such as uMod, Delay, Reverb, Double/Com, Harmony/Drive and more, can then be used to further modify your mix.

The Genre button enables the user to choose presets that fit within their preferred genre/style of music… It simply allows for users to filter the presets, making it easier to find more suitable sounds that they can use.

However, the VoiceLive3 also allows users to search through presets without filtering via genre, which is great when you’re still discovering all of the unit’s features and presets.

The Setup button allows you to access of the VL3X’s system settings, including input, output, guitar, MIDI and tone settings. VL3X system calibration can be done by holding the Setup button down and following the on-screen instructions.

The Vocal button can be used to make changes to the vocal effects for your current preset. Similarly, the Guitar button can be used to make changes,  to the guitar effects for your current presets, and finally the Looper button allows for loop and backing track options to be controlled

The Mix knobs, located under the main screen, are used to make specific parameter changes for effects/presets.

The unit’s Home button enables the user to visit the main menu at any point, useful if you’ve got lost in a sub-menu.

Take a listen to this video which explains all of this in a visual format:

Now let’s talk more about the back of this unit, and more specifically about the connectivity options that you have

VoiceLive 3 Extreme Back of Interface

As you can see, the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme has quite a range of inputs/outputs located on the back of the unit, all of which make it extremely useful and versatile whether or not you’re playing at a rehearsal, a live performance or simply recording in your home studio.

As for the specific inputs, from left to right, they include:

  • Mic/Line combination input
  • Guitar Thru & Input
  • Aux (1/8″ inch jack) stereo input
  • Monitor Input & Thru

Outputs include:

  • L (Mono) XLR output
  • R (Dry) XLR output
  • Guitar L + R output
  • Footswitch TRS output
  • Expression TRS output

Also, it includes:

  • MIDI input/output
  • USB
  • Micro USB
  • 12V DC power adapter input
  • Power switch


We’ve included a demonstration of the VL3X in action, and as far as we’re concerned, it sounds awesome with the combination of high-quality vocals, effects, and the ambient backing track.


Overall, we think that the VoiceLive 3 Extreme unit is truly fantastic for singers who are looking for one single unit that they can use for rehearsal, playing live and recording.

The combination of high-quality vocal and guitar processing, real-time effects and automation, and backing tracks make it very attractive for most singer/songwriters.

However, it is one pricey unit! But we like to think about it as a long-term investment, helping not only provide you with more confidence in your performance, but helping improve your overall sound.

It comes with a 3-year warranty, so you can rest assured that any potential technical issues can be resolved quickly and without any expense.

Therefore, if you have the budget to spend, you have nothing to lose, and one fantastic piece of kit which can transform your performance.

Overall, we have to give this unit a thumbs up! Well done TC Helicon!

  1. I have owned the VoiceLive 3 Extreme since it was first introduced, when I upgraded from the VL3. It is indeed one fantastic unit, and well worth the price. My main reason for upgrading was that it contains more looping time than the any dedicated looper on the market, plus every guitar/vocal effect that TC ever produced in individual pedals. (at least $5,000 purchased separately). The only caveat to this is, that since TC sold out to Musik Gruppen (now Music Tribe), and moved out of Canada, development and support has all but ceased. I long for the days when there was a continuous exchange of new presets, and ideas, on their Canadian website.

    1. Hi Myke,

      Thanks for taking time to read this article and to comment. The VoiceLive products have had a great history, and TC Helicon in general makes great products. I’m not sure if it’s been the pandemic or if it’s because of the sale of TC to Music Tribe, but several of their great products have had issues staying in stock. I will say, some of the stock issues have gotten better lately, but it is a shame that such iconic products are sometimes hard to find. Hopefully, this will continue to get better and they will both get their existing products back in stock AND continue to put out great new products as well. Cheers and I hope to see you come back to the site to read more articles! 🙂

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