Since IVL Technologies first began with its pitch-shifting product in 1989, the Whammy pedal has been released in various iterations. Other companies have made their own pitch-shifting device too, but most people describe DigiTech as the main one.
While DigiTech has released several models, users most commonly refer to the DigiTech Whammy IV, V, and the Whammy Pedal DT as the primary models. There have been some changes worth mentioning as well, especially between the Whammy V and the DT.
Generally, the differences between the DigiTech Whammy V and the Whammy DT are the DT’s drop-tuning and transposition feature, the momentary switch, and the true-bypass & DSP toggle. Although, the Whammy V is known for its Classic/Chords (monophonic/polyphonic) feature which the DT does not have.
And that’s pretty much the brunt of the differences between the two devices, although, there are probably some odd ones here and there that aren’t quite as significant. I know one example is that the DT has an external foot-switch capability whereas the V does not. Anyway, let’s dive into each feature a little more in the sub-sections below.
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Whammy DT Features That The Whammy V Doesn’t Have
As I’ve said before in my comprehensive guide to the Whammy, the DigiTech Whammy pedal has undergone various iterations, and each one has been better than the last, in my opinion.
Perhaps the biggest one I’ve personally experienced is the switch from AC power to DC power which was a welcomed addition to the Whammy Pedal.
Having to use a separate adapter for the Whammy IV is a bit annoying, and I would much rather prefer to have the Whammy V or DT because of this. Most power supplies like my Isobrick (my guide on it if you’re interested), deliver DC power.
Not only that but the V (5th generation) DT and the Whammy V are polyphonic which means they do a better job of capturing and effecting notes played simultaneously, rather than just one note at a time. The fact they’re both True Bypass is another big perk.
However, once you move to a side-by-side comparison between the DT and the Whammy V, rather than these two and the IV (4th generation like I own), the differences aren’t quite as pronounced, although, still substantial. We’ll talk about those now.
1) Drop Tune and Transposition
Obviously, the first major difference between the Whammy DT and the Whammy V is the DT’s transposition feature, also called the “Drop Tune.” While titled “Drop Tune,” it’s actually a transposition tool that allows you to both, detune (flat), and tune up (sharp).
Most users, such as myself, believe this feature to be incredibly useful and also high-quality.
There are a couple of dissenters now and then evidenced by Reddit threads, but ultimately, I believe most people think the transposition/drop tune effect is pretty accurate, effective, and quality-sounding.
The DT allows you to adjust your guitar signal up and down (7 up and 7 down) by semi-tones, so you can tune down to Eb standard if you wanted, or all the way down to C standard, just to name two examples.
The Whammy V, of course, does not have this feature although it does have the ability to drop down by one whole step which my old-school Whammy IV can also do.
2) Momentary Switch
The next thing the DT has that the Whammy V does not is the Momentary switch. Personally, I don’t care much for this tool although some people seem to like it.
It’s supposed to imitate the ability to tap harmonics an octave-up EVH-style, but I’m not into it. I’d rather just do it myself in real-time because it sounds way cooler.
That said, you could probably do some creative things with it if you’re the creative type, rather than the guitar-player type.
3) Switchable True Bypass and DSP Bypass
I would almost never use this feature because I don’t care much for the momentary switch as I just explained earlier.
Essentially, being able to switch between True Bypass and DSP enables you to transition between Momentary On and Off states as the manual points out on the 15th page.
4) Footswitch Input Jack for FS3X Footswitch
Another feature the DT has that the Whammy V does not is the ability for external control by the FS3X footswitch, the pedal DigiTech designed for controlling other pedals on your board.
Personally, I’ve never used a pedal like this but I imagine this could definitely have some practical use when you’re playing on stage or practicing with your band. Having to switch between modes and whatnot by bending over all the time would be very annoying.
Whammy V Features That the Whammy DT Doesn’t Have
1) Classic/Chords Switch (Monophonic to Polyphonic)
The switch between monophonic/polyphonic “Classic/Chords” on the Whammy V is really the only thing about the V that’s better than the DT.
I imagine DigiTech did this on purpose so that it made sense for people to buy the Whammy V instead of just going strictly for the DT all of the time. Obviously, this is just my theory, but who knows.
In simple terms, the Classic/Chords switch on the DigiTech Whammy V allows you to switch between monophonic and polyphonic respectively. Classic features an algorithm that’s better for single note effects and polyphonic is better for chords.
Which One’s Better? – The Whammy DT or the Whammy V?
There’s no question that the DigiTech Whammy DT is a superior pedal to the Whammy V because of its transposition (Drop Tune) feature, momentary switch, ability to be externally controlled by the FS3X foot pedal, and the True Bypass/DSP switch.
However, a close contender is the Whammy V because of the handy feature of switching between monophonic and polyphonic. Essentially, the Whammy V gives you the ability to switch between the old and the new.
If you’re the kind of person who only wants to go after those classic early 1990s sounds, then the Whammy V may be a better choice, although, not by a huge margin. I know that the DT is currently in my shopping cart for a couple of reasons:
- The DT has DC power
- True Bypass
- and Transposition (Drop Tune)
Yes, the Whammy V also has DC power and not AC power, as well as True Bypass, but if I’m going to drop money on a pitch-shifter, I want the ability to instantly switch between tunings, simply because of how useful it is for practicing and for creative purposes.
There’s nothing that gets in the way of your creative flow more than having to switch tunings. In many cases, an abrupt tuning change will usually affect string action and intonation as well which I like to avoid.
Explained another way, if I want to practice a new song, or maybe try out a new technique, I’d like to be able to switch tunings quickly without necessitating a new set-up (I’ve got a guide for this btw for Telecasters and PRS if you need them).
More Whammy Pedal Articles If You’re Interested
- How to Use a Whammy Pedal
- Where Should The Whammy Go In Your Signal Chain
- Whammy Pedal versus Whammy Bar – What’s the Difference
- How to Calibrate the Whammy Pedal
- Whammy Pedal versus Wah Wah
Important Things to Note About the DigiTech Whammy DT & the V
1) There Is A Price Difference
Obviously, there is a price difference between the two pedals, but they aren’t nearly as expensive as they used to be, at least according to my knowledge. This probably has to do with the perceived popularity of Whammy and pitch-shifting devices.
In my article on the differences between whammy bars and whammy devices, I talked about how the Whammy Pedal appears to have had its heyday between 1990 and 2005, approximately. I can’t think of the last popular song that used it other than “Stranded.”