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Digitech MV-5 MIDI Vocalist Vocal Harmony Processor (part 4)


Delving Deeper

Although the Digitech MV-5 is admirably easy to use, those who like to push
their equipment to its limits will find that that there are extra functions
that can only be accessed via MIDI. You may have noticed that the MV-5 doesn't
offer factory or user preset programs. It doesn't need to since you can set
the unit from scratch almost as quickly as you could recall a preset. You might
think that this means you can't automate the MV-5 as you can with other effects
units, but you would be wrong. Each time you press a button on the MV-5, a MIDI
message is output which you can record into a sequencer. This could include
Harmony Mode, Voicing, Key/Scale, Chord Root/Type and Setup changes. When you
play back the sequence, the MV-5 will respond as though you were pressing the
buttons yourself. This includes the Bypass control which receives more use than
the bypass in any other type of effects unit, since the MV-5 creates harmonies
in response to the input signal all the time, and you almost certainly wouldn't
want those harmonies all the way through the song. You can also send a MIDI
control change message to set the vibrato depth, something which the front panel
doesn't offer. Also, extra voicings are available via MIDI messages just in
case you can't find what you are looking for from the six front panel Harmony
Voicing buttons.

The Sound

You are probably aware that Digitech have an immense amount of experience in
making pitch shifters, so you would be entitled to expect pretty good sound
quality. If you bear in mind that real time pitch shifting is the most difficult
effect to achieve, and that perfection will probably remain unattainable for
many years yet, then I think you will be very satisfied with the sound of the
MV-5. Even though the sampling rate is only 31.25kHz resulting in an audio bandwidth
of 11.5kHz, when used for backing vocals no-one is going to point at you and
accuse you of cheating with a fancy effects unit. They'll think you did all
the harmonies for real, without a doubt (unless they notice that they are too
perfect!). I couldn't say that the pitch shifted output sounds absolutely as
clean as the original signal, but I couldn't say that about any pitch shifter
– even the most expensive. In conclusion, I'll repeat myself and say that I
think you will be very satisfied with the Digitech MV-5. It does a good solid
job of work and you don't need a brain expansion to use it.


  • Simple and effective
  • No LCD display (you don't need one!)
  • No nudge buttons (you don't need them)
  • Good pitch shift quality


  • Wall wart power supply
  • No phantom power for microphone


Probably the simplest intelligent pitch shifter available, and one of the most
effective. Doesn't have every function of the more expensive Digitech Studio
Vocalist but it's a lot easier to use to the full.

David Mellor

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David Mellor