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Why does the WH-1 and II sound so much better than IV?

tmd187

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
246
I've owned the Digitech Whammy IV for years now, but just don't understand how the first 2 in the series sound soooo much better. Are there any mods that can fix this problem. I get serious volume drop in the FX area, it sounds like crap compared to the other 2, so just wondering if there is any solution besides cashing out half a grand for a pedal I use a few times a night.

Trav
Main concern here is the Digitech Whammy Pedal.
 
Last edited:

analogmike

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,977
from analogman faq:

Whammy pedals

Why does everybody seem to prefer the old wh-1 Whammy over the new one?


The Whammy II had redesigned "improvements" made when over the original whammy when it was released. The biggest mistake was putting the input gain control in there - if you don't get the adjustment "just right" then it will not track the input pitch properly and, even if you do get it right, as the input decays the pitch tracking will eventually lose its "lock" on the signal.
The original WH-1 Whammy had a special circuit that the Whammy II does not (thus no "input level" control), allowing almost any input signal level to be dynamically scaled so that the pitch tracking can "lock on" faultlessly. This also meant that as the signal level decayed, the pitch would remain locked due to the scaling action. The Whammy II loses lock on the signal as it decays, resulting in a highly unpleasant "warbling" sound which you may have noticed if you've used one.

Why was the whammy modified?

The old red Whammy was probably changed because it was quite expensive and not selling as well as it could be. On most newer mass-marketed pedals, the price/cost is the main feature. In reality, the Whammy-II ended up costing almost as much (and even more in some areas) and people didn't like it nearly as much. It had some cool features (you didn't have to bend down to change modes, and it had the "toggle" feature to switch between your two favorites) but it did not SOUND the same, and it was a little less robust than the original version.

How about the reissue whammy? It seems that they did not use the exact same algorithms as the original so they still don't sound quite as good. The original manual has a note Copyright 1990 IVL Technologies Ltd, looks like they were the ones who designed this pedal for DOD. You can find the manual on www.digitech.com.
 

EricPeterson

Senior Member
Messages
49,016
from analogman faq:

How about the reissue whammy? It seems that they did not use the exact same algorithms as the original so they still don't sound quite as good. The original manual has a note Copyright 1990 IVL Technologies Ltd, looks like they were the ones who designed this pedal for DOD. You can find the manual on www.digitech.com.
This is the part I don't understand, why are they sitting on the patent for the WH-1? wouldin't it be better for someone to release this original algorithm, tahn sit on it and get no royalties? The demand is clearly there, I would love a Whammy but the way the V.4 is described I really wish I could get a WH-1.
 

eclipseall

Member
Messages
1,484
They are different but no that much, nothing to loose sleep over or get all nostalgic about. I think the Whammy IV sounds great and could care less that I dont have an original whammy that sounds not so differnet to me.
Its all hype anyways. It seems that any classic old piece of gear is so much better than wahtever is available today. Its just the way we humans tend to dwell in the past. It happens with guitars, pedals, cars etc....
 
Messages
4,299
IVL? I did not know that.. They built stuff for everyone.The Kramer Pitch Rider,Crossovers for Fender..They would put your name on anything they built if you bought enough.. Thanks for the info Mike..

PS TOP Might want to remove the spam .;)

from analogman faq:

Whammy pedals

Why does everybody seem to prefer the old wh-1 Whammy over the new one?


The Whammy II had redesigned "improvements" made when over the original whammy when it was released. The biggest mistake was putting the input gain control in there - if you don't get the adjustment "just right" then it will not track the input pitch properly and, even if you do get it right, as the input decays the pitch tracking will eventually lose its "lock" on the signal.
The original WH-1 Whammy had a special circuit that the Whammy II does not (thus no "input level" control), allowing almost any input signal level to be dynamically scaled so that the pitch tracking can "lock on" faultlessly. This also meant that as the signal level decayed, the pitch would remain locked due to the scaling action. The Whammy II loses lock on the signal as it decays, resulting in a highly unpleasant "warbling" sound which you may have noticed if you've used one.

Why was the whammy modified?

The old red Whammy was probably changed because it was quite expensive and not selling as well as it could be. On most newer mass-marketed pedals, the price/cost is the main feature. In reality, the Whammy-II ended up costing almost as much (and even more in some areas) and people didn't like it nearly as much. It had some cool features (you didn't have to bend down to change modes, and it had the "toggle" feature to switch between your two favorites) but it did not SOUND the same, and it was a little less robust than the original version.

How about the reissue whammy? It seems that they did not use the exact same algorithms as the original so they still don't sound quite as good. The original manual has a note Copyright 1990 IVL Technologies Ltd, looks like they were the ones who designed this pedal for DOD. You can find the manual on www.digitech.com.
 

mistergyro

Member
Messages
181
Great info Mike thanks!

I just got a whammy II and what Mike is saying makes complete sense. I have owned a WH-1 and I can tell the difference. But for how much I use this and how I use it I kinda like that off sounding tinny sound when it starts to lose its tracking..

And I remember the WH-1 doing the same thing but just not as much
 

analogmike

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,977
I hear there is a rack unit with the IVL whammy software in it. Digitech would rather use their own knowhow and not pay IVL a license on every pedal, I guess. And IVL may have a DO NOT COMPETE clause so they can't use it in another pedal. All guesses but should help you understand.
 

tmd187

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
246
Mike and everyone, thanks for the info! I just lose my 'strength' of signal on the WH-4 and just wondered why, now I Know! I appreciate the info guys!
 

polishcomedy

Member
Messages
260
Not sure if it means anything, but the signal to noise ratio on Whammy IV is -98db, and on the WH-1 the signal to noise ratio is -85db for wet and -98 for dry. I wonder if the number listed for Whammy IV is for wet or dry.
 

puddinstone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
657
just a thought...but could you get better tracking by seriously compressing your signal pre- Whammy IV. This gives you the "evening" effect before entering the whammy and hopefully, better tracking?

Don't have one...just thought about that while reading.
 

Moe45673

Member
Messages
5,944
I've said it a million times but it still feels like I shout into the wind....... the Boss PS-5 beats the Whammy IV in every way possible. I can get swinging whammy effects without an exp. pedal (though you can add one if you so desire), in a tiny boss pedal, with way better bypass, and 9VDC. The tracking on the T. Arm and Int. Harm settings are amongst the best out there for under 5 bills and a huge improvement over the Whammy IV..... sound way more natural and real. The detune setting is fantastic. If you like glitchy, you can use the Pitch Shift setting.

Hell, I even showed it to a guy once who owned a Whammy I plus a whole bunch of old analog moog synths from the 60s and a ton of other weird effects......... his exact words were "I think I may have to get one of those". Anyone that likes the whammy effect but is not too enamored with the huge tonesucking dedicated PSU glitchy Whammy IV should test out a PS-5.
 




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