DigiTech’s Harmony Man Intelligent Pitch Shifter gives me that tingly feeling that I hadn’t felt since my dad brought home that He-Man with a life-like thunder-punch and Kung-Fu grip. From what I’d heard, I would soon have the ability to create harmonies in the style of The Allman Brothers, Brian May, Racer X and Thin Lizzy. It’s rock-out time!
The DigiTech HarmonyMan Intelligent Pitch Shifter is the perfect solution for free-sprinted harmony-loving guitarists who don’t like to be limited by a set list or who have to change key during a song. Its ingenious “musicIQ” feature analyzes chord progressions and automatically determines the perfect scale and key for harmonization. Yet, while the unit does all the hard work for you, its dual pedal stomp-box is simple to use.
The HarmonyMan has four types of pitch-shifting effects: triad-centered interval, scalic interval, fixed and detune interval. The “Voice 1” and “Voice 2” knobs of the two pitch-shifted voices lets you select the type of harmony-interval that you’d like, with the settings displayed on a simple but effective alphanumeric LED display. A “Harmonic Key” display indicates which key is selected and doubles as a note indicator for the built-in chromatic tuner. The “Music IQ” select switch engages the automatic-scale/key-sensing function, and the store key allows you to program and save up to four harmony presets. You can enable 42 distinct voices that you select; the HarmonyMan can also combine two separate voices in any combination. In addition, you can dial in a 3rd or 5th above or below, an octave up, two octaves down, 24 semitones and a mixture of detune options.
The sidechain input and thru jacks let your rhythm guitarist control the “MusicIQ” feature, allowing you to play harmonized leads that mirror the rhythm guitarist’s chord changes without changing the rhythm guitar’s pitch. Other features include a programmable mix knob that lets you adjust the balance between the original guitar parts and the harmonized parts, mono/stereo outputs and true analog bypass.
DigiTech HarmonyMan Intelligent Pitch Shifter
While the HarmonyMan is easy to use, don’t expect it to instantly turn you into Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden or Brian May unless you’ve already programmed the proper pitch-shifting intervals. You’ll still want to have a general idea of what types of harmonies that you’ll want to use before taking the HarmonyMan onstage, however, once you do, it’s smooth jamming’ brother!
About the only features this pedal is missing are separate outputs for each harmony part and the original guitar signal. When using the stereo outputs, the harmonized signals are panned hard right and left with the original signal panned to the middle, but it would have been great to have separate outputs for each so each part could be processed with separate effects or sent to different amps.
The Final Mojo
DigiTech has been coming out with some innovated cool stuff and the HarmonyMan Intelligent Pitch Shifter has now become one of my favorites. This pedal certainly talks the talk and walks the… well, you know. With a little patience, trial and error it’s possible to replicate all the classic harmonies from your favorite albums with splendid transparency and tracking. Best of all, you won’t have to put up with a theory challenged guitarist to botch up your harmonies again. It’s a rugged pedal. Not too big, not too small. “It makes a great addition to your pedal board even if you just want to create occasional chaos.” – says the free-spirited guitarists’. Musician’s Friend Stupid Deal of the Day