|LievenDV sings and plays guitar in the Belgian band Point Fifty. He is a reverb nut and enjoys discovering innovating technology.|
DigiTech has proven themselves a worthy pedal brand that already has some notorious classics on its product list. You all know the various Whammy iterations and as a sort of spin-off, they bring you The Drop. This pedal is a straightforward, drop tune pedal with a remarkable polyphonic quality.
I don't read a manual before I test a pedal. I want to experience how intuitive the pedal really is by plugging it and and start playing with it. First thing I notice is the big size knob that controls the number of intervals I can drop. Please mind that the pedal only tunes down, as the name suggests. You can drop all intervals between 1 and 7 semi-tones or go to a lower octave right away. In the case of the latter, you can add dry signal when setting it on the "OCT+DRY" setting. A little control to determine the blend of dry and octave down would have been useful here but that is no show stopper.
One of the functions that points out that the people at DigiTech really had a good think about this product, is the latch/momentary function. This is something I would like to see on almost all the pedals I currently own.
If momentary is off, the on/off switch of the effect works in a classic fashion: stomp it to turn it on, stomp it again to turn it off. With the momentary mode on, you to hold your foot down to turn it on and as soon as you lift your foot again, the effect turns off. I use a similar switch on a booster, which is useful if you play guitar and sing in a band an you need to focus on playing, singing and pedal switching at the same time. By tapping the switch, you can experiment with stutter effects to add detuned accents to your solo's.
A fun quirk I only found out while reading the manual afterwards, is that you can decide whether the momentary function makes the switch an "on" or "off" function. If the effect switch is off (led=dark) while you turn on the momentary mode, the pedal will operate as described above; press down to turn on the effect and release to turn it off. If the effect is on (led=red) when you switch on momentary mode, the operation is reversed and pressing down the switch acts as a "kill switch".
You probably wonder about the quality of the signal, the tracking, the latency and the artifacts. Well in fact, I was impressed but not surprised. Not surprised because this is DigiTech and even though there is a lot of analog snobism out there, you have to admit they've got enough experience with the Whammy series to know what good detuning is. So I had certain expectations but still I was impressed by the speed and tracking. This pedal detunes -everything-. Feed it single notes or feed it some chords, it works fast and clean. You better turn up your amp to focus on the detuned sound and you will notice excellent translation. I started to notice a slightly different sound around step 6 or 7 but it's rather a tone than a tuning or tracking issue.
Please note that you don't change your relative guitar tunings; you can't go from, let's say, E standard to Open G but you can use it as a virtual capo. Instead of tuning up with a capo, you can determine how much you want to tune down. With a flick of the round button, you go from E to Eb tuning or from Drop-D to Drop C.
Just like its sister, the Luxe pedal (a doubler pedal which I reviewed earlier), DigiTech delivers a a quality detuning pedal with an interesting price/quality ratio somewhere in the middle of the market. The housing is strong yet elegant and I love the red color that refers to the Whammy series. There is no battery power possible so you must use the included 9v adapter.
What I liked:
- The quality of the polyphonic tuning
- The ease of use
- The momentary function
What I missed:
- A blend for the dry+oct setting. Perhaps even a global dry+wet.
- More info: DigiTech Drop