DIGITECH
HARMONYMAN'249
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TheRivals
The BOSS PS-5 Super Shift
($151)cramsa lot intothe
company'sclassiccompact
pedalformat,offeringintelligent
h a r m o n i e sa n do th e rp i tch
relatedeffects,Costing
appreciablyless,Behringer's
US6OOUltra Shifter/
Harmonist (S,35)is a plastic
packaged,unashamedcopyof
the BOSSin terms of features
and functions.Alsofrom
DigiTechis the well-used
Whammy pedal (5,199),now in
its third incarnation
and still
featuringtreadlecontrolleddive
b o m b s6
, e n d sa n dva r i o u s
harmonymodes.
Key display, an elliptical LED
array presented in circle offifths
formation, with musically related
keys sited next to each other.
When the musTQfunction is
engaged,the display indicates the
automatic harmonykey
determined by the most recently
played chords, constantly
updating its response accordingly
asdhesechange.With muslQ
disabled,the last manual key is
shown and usedto produce scalebasedharmonies.
A pair of multi-position rotary
selectorsgoverns two
independent voices.Both offer
two intelligent shifting modes
(triad-centred and scalic) that
move to comDliment chord
patterns, plui fixed (chromatic)
and detune alternatives. A11
selections are shown in the
accompanying display windows
and options for each include third
and fifth harmonies above or
below, octave up or down, a two
octavedrop, unison,12semi-tone
pitch shifts either way plus four
detune variations.
Amix pot providesavariable
blend ofthe original guitar signal
and the additional harmony
voices,with the balanceranging
from no effect to effect-only.
Touchbuttons selectthe muslQ
and store facilities, the latter
committing current control
settings to a choice offour
memories,theseuser presets
beingrecalled via the relevant
Memory Select footswitch.
The latter is also used for
manually settingthe correct key
and scale,rather than the muslQ
automatic alternative. This is
achieved by strumming a chord
OigiTechHarmonyMan
''24e
DigiTech'slatestintelligentpitch shifterpedal is the bestyet for
guitarists,beingthe firstto generateaccurateharmoniesfrom
simple chord strummingbg PaulDag
merican effects specialist
DigiTech has longbeen at
the forefront of intelligent
pitch shifting, producing a
successionof harmony-generating
devices since the eighties. The
company has constantly refined
and improved the art ofcreating
artificial harmonies, making the
process appropriately easier and
user friendly. Even so,until
recently a modicum of musical
knowledge concerning keys and
scaleswas required to obtain the
best resultson voicesor
instruments, so many DigiTech
designs were accordingly aimed at
MlDl-equipped keyboard players.
This situation changed
= significantly last year with the
launch ofthe Vocalist Live 2 and
Live 4 pedals, which enabled
guitarists to generate accurate
and authentic soundingvocal
harmon iessimplybys t r um m ing
122 Guitarist January2oo9
suitable chords at the sametime
as singing.
Now DigiTech has put these
smart multi-voicing abilities to
purely instrumental usevia the
appropriately named
HarmonyMan stompbox. This
usesthe company's exclusive
muslQ note detection and chord
recognition technologyto
automatically add various options
of one or two harmony parts to the
original guitar lead line, aswell as
provide other pitch shifted effects.
The principal processinvolved is
that the pedal analysesthe chords
beingplayedprior to a soloand
thesethen determine the correct
harmonies that can accompany
the latter.
True to DigiTech tradition, the
r s U5 - m a o eHar m onv LVlan
somethingof an increasing
exceptioninthese daysofChinese
product domination. It adopts the
twin-treadle format already
employedon that other'male'
in the floor effects range, the
JamManlooper. The newcomer
is an equally solid pieceofwork,
with a castmetal casingcapableof
withstanding almost any on-stage
abuse.The unit's substantial
weight ensures minimai
movement underfoot, the non-slip
factor further helped by super
grip rubber strips on the base.
Dimensionsare akin to a closely
spacedpair ofstandard sized
stompers, although the
H armonyMansitssignificantly
higher. The sloping front half
hosts two sizeablesquare
switches,while the business
section is safely out of the way,
occupyingthe rear half.
Contrasting its impressive
capabilities, the HarmonyMan's
layout is comfortingly minimal.
The main feature is the Harmonv
DIGITECH
HARMONYMAN
9249
l' i' rt['; il
while holding down the
footswitch. Output is actually
muted duringthis process,
making it ideal for use on songs
that startwith a solo. Its oartner
pad turns the harmony function
on or off, the latter mode being
true bypass.Continued pressure
engagesthe onboard tuner, with
the Voice I display window
showing the appropriatenote,
while an independent row of
LEDs shows flat or sharp status.
The rear panel is fully occupied
by standardjack connectors.The
first is labelled clean input, asthe
HarmonyManrequires an
unadulterated audio signal for
chord recognition. Next come the
sendand return socketsforthe
distortion loop that enablesan
appropriatepedal to be
connected,so harmonies can be
dirtied up as required. The
sidechain input typically
aecommodatesa secondguitar
providing the relevant rhythm
work and this then createsthe
harmonies for the solo performer,
rather than the latter. Adjacent to
this jack is thru, which deliversa
clean feed to the rhythm player's
amplifier.while an accompanying
ground lift switch is included to
eliminate potential hum
problems.Last in line are the main
left and right outputs, the former
beingused for mono operation.
Unlike DigiTech's single
stompers, the HarmonyMan
employs mains-only operation
and the necessarynine-volt wall
wartpower supplyis included in
the packageas standard.
Sounds
Connectingup is simple and
setting the optimum operating
level is equally easy.Next comes
atuningcheck, ascorrectpitch is
important to ensure the best
results.With thesetasks
accomplished it's time to select
voicingsviatheVoice I and 2
controls and start strumming.
Oncethe key and scaleare
automatically established,the
harmony footswitch can be
operated to add either one or both
voicesto the lead line. Their
volume canbe varied against the
latterviathe mix control. Turnins
this all the way up leavesjust the
harmonies audible, creating
somewhatodd results,but
revealing their excellent aural
quality and tracking abilities.
With the balance set to a more
realistic ratio, the additional
voicesblend well with the
The HarmonyManemploysmains-only
operationandthe necessary
nine-volt
wallwartpowersupplyis included
original, creating abig and
impressive sound.
The wide-ranging menu ensures
plentyoffun finding rheright
choice for the job, not to mention
a degreeofconfusion. Even so,the
HarmonyMan proves to be
pleasingly intuitive in operation
and it's nice not to have to think
about music theory and instead
simply enjoy the very appealing
end results.Usingthe memory
selectit's possibleto progressively
add the secondharmony, creating
a iayeringeffect that's great for
building a solo.
Verdict
DigiTech's Vocalist Live pedals
have proved a resounding success
and the HarmonyMan should also
prove popular. However, guitar
harmonies aren't asessentialas
the vocal variety and need to be
appliedsparingly and tastefully
to ensuremaximum imoact. This
difference makes the
HarmonyMan more of an effects
pedal than its vocal equivalents,
so the value for money factor is
accordinglylessened.
That said,this super sturdy
pedai offers a lot ofperformance
for comparatively little and has to
be the most user-friendly guitar
harmoniser around, not to
mention the best sounding. This
combination must make it a
winner for anyplayerwho fancies
an aurai threesome!lE
TheBottomLine
We like: Highquality
c o n s t r u c t i o nv:i s u a d
l isplay:
e x c e l l e nst o u n d sa n d p r i c e
We dislike:Widevoicingchoice
can causesomeconfusion
concerning
w h i c hi s b e s tf o r
the job - otherwisevery little
Guitarist says:Thishasto be
the simplestand most
accurateguitarharmoniserto
date.delivering
excellentand
effectiveresultsfrom a rugged,
pricedpackage
competitively
DigiTech
HarmonyMan
PRICE:
5249
ORIGIN:
USA
pitchshifterpedal
TYPE:Intelligent
FEATURES:
Chord-determined
two-par
guitarharmony,
twoindependent
voices
- eachwithtourOitch
shiILing
types.
four
custommemory
locations,
distortion
loop,
tuner
CONTROLS:
Voice
1and2 rotar,
selector
switches,
mixroiarycontrol,
muslQandmemory
storetouchswitche
ground
liftswitch
FOOTSWITCHES:
Harmony
onloff,
mem0ry
setect
PATCHES:
Fouruser-preset
memo'ies
MlDl:No
jacksfor
CONNECTIONS:
Standard
oleaninput,distortion
sendandreturn,
sidechain
inputandthru,outputleft
(mono)andrighi
POWER:
9VDCpower
supply(included
EXTCONTROLLERS:
No
SoundTechnology
01462480000
wwwdigitech,com
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Buildquality
Features
Sound
Valuefor money
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January2OO9Guitarist 1il3
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