When you hear live computer effects, the emphasis is almost always on guitarists. What about vocalists? Line6 is building vocal-centered effects into their eminently-affordable TonePort USB line, which (via Harmony Central) is shipping as of now. Starting at under US$200, a singer with a laptop and a good mic doesn’t have to balk at going digital. The included interface promises good mic pres and, in addition to the usual guitar stuff, some effects that will be especially useful to vocalists. Check out their vocal line-up: models of vintage mic pres, EQ, and even tape, plus a compressor, noise gate, de-essers, and “lo-fi” distortion. Not to mention, a lot of those guitar effects (delays, reverbs, and even guitar distortion) can sound great on vocals. I’ve heard some great things about the low-latency performance of this new gear; I can’t wait to try it for myself.

While I wait for a TonePort for review, what would be important to you for computer-based vocals? Would you (or your local singer) croon into an onstage laptop?