Sound — 9
This is second in my pedalboard chain, after only a wha as it reacts best to a clean signal and tends to freak out if you put a boosted or distortion signal into it. There is no extra noise. Unlike the old Whammy pedals this is true bypass so when it's off you don't even get the slight tone drain you got with the Whammy 4. The conversion to digital is much improved and the tone remains thick even when on, so this was a big improvement over the 4. I'm sure there's some digital coloration - but when you're playing loud live and doing screaming Harmony bends, it probably doesn't matter. You are unlikely to be trying to capture a pristine Vintage guitar tone when doing Whammy solos so who cares if there's a slight tone change? The good thing is you can throw on the Harmony settings into a distorted guitar channel and sound like two full guitars in unison. It now handles chords very well with no warble or tracking weirdness. I've tried some odd chords and fast sweeps and it is more or less perfect. There is a tiny, tiny bit of latency with the downtuning - it's just enough to be noticeable, but it's certainly less than say a Roland GR-55 of other synth tracking. Overall you will probably love or hate Whammy sounds - it's just that octave shifting yelp - if you buy this pedal you will obviously be trying to get that effect so there's unlikely to be disappointment. The Harmony setting is improved and latency is less, the overall sound is just doubled whereas the Whammy 4 seemed to carve off the low end and be ice-pick digital treble there is none of this unless you are 2 octaves up on the higher strings when it gets a bit electronic screaming. The 'tuning' section is very handy. TBH I don't use this as much as I thought I might live as I tend to either have guitars in other tunings or use a Line 6 JTV-59 now which has perfect retuning through the piezo bridge. But this effect is really handy for checking out a different tuning when song-writing, or for short sections, or for throwing in a bass-line on guitar etc. Overall a big step up from the Whammy 4. Whether it's enough to beat that Whammy 5 will depend on if you want to mess around with drop tunings a lot I guess.
Overall Impression — 9
If you want that Whammy sound or pitch perfect Harmony shifting, you will basically want this pedal. There are others that claim to do the Whammy sound but why bother - just get one of these. If you have a Whammy 4 and are fed up of the digital sound, buffered bypass, occasional random warbles and latency - just upgrade now, you'll be much happier. The only question really is do you go for the DT or the new Whammy V. There's not a vast deal of difference having tried both. The Whammy V does handle some polyphonic chord stuff slightly better from my brief testing, but the DT is good enough to play most things without any issues. The DT has the re-tuning shifter which may be very useful for you. In the end I haven't used that feature as much as I thought I might - but it is still handy to have that for song writing or trying odd stuff out or bits of songs that might be in a different tuning. The only other concern is that the Whammy DT is pretty big. If you have a smaller pedalboard or just don't like carrying round lots of stuff, this is one of the biggest pedals on the market that isn't a multi-pedal board. The size makes it easy to modify settings on stage, but it's also a big investment in board real-estate. If I were working on an upgrade I'd ask DigiTech to work on the latency for the chords through the tuning section. It's been vastly improved but there is still some latency and it can be a bit annoying with faster chord changes etc. It's not enough to say don't buy the thing - but I'm sure the next gen Whammy's will have better convertors and will be faster like everything else. Oh and I haven't used it but this pedal handles MIDI well (I've seen a friend demoing it with a MIDI board) - if that helps you. I'd quite like a double Harmony mode on future pedals. So you could set it to have a voice above and below, or maybe one octave down and two octaves down. That'd just save me using a harmonist pedal as well - so it's just greed I guess. Heh.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's pretty solid. All sheet metal folded and with chunky true bypass switches. These are a big step up from the older Whammy's with their hard to feel spongy switches. The rotary knobs are metal and have enough of a click to feel the movement. The expression pedal is a lot smoother and doesn't need calibrating any more which means it's always set correctly. It looks neater too and there is a smoother travel across the whole range. It's 9v now unlike the dedicated power supply of the older models. You can still use the supplied power transformer but if you have a multi-pedal supply with enough output you can run the Whammy DT from that instead. It's true bypass so if it does go dead your signal still goes through untouched which makes a nice change from when Whammy's used to die and kill your whole board until you could replug everything. I'm sure it's pretty delicate so if you threw this around it's not going to withstand the same punishment as say a compact Boss pedal which will outlive us and the cockroaches but it's not a cheap bit of plastic. I've never had an issue with it.
Ease of Use — 9
I owned the Whammy IV for a few years and then was going to upgrade to the new Whammy V, but having looked into it, went with the DT instead as it has more options. It's easy to use. Like the older Whammy you have the main pedal (this time in the middle of the larger frame, rather than to one side on the other Whammy models) and then black rotary knobs change the options indicated with LED's. The DT is a tiny bit more complex since you have three footswitches but it's not rocket science. The Harmony and Whammy bend settings are now on the left of the expression pedal as opposed to the right side for the other models (coincidentally a lot of people seem to complain about this, but since I have the pedal near the start of my chain, this is actually in the right place for me to not have to reach over the pedal to turn it on whilst stood in front of my pedal board). The single rotary knob switches between all the Harmony and Whammy settings same as a Whammy 4 and the footswitch turns this effect side on or off. On the right hand side you have the pitch-shifted tunings for chords - so you can tune up or down in semi-tones across the whole guitar. There are also gentle detune chorus type settings. This section has it's own on/off switch and LED set up. Then there's a small momentary system switch which allows you to flick the effect on or off briefly. I didn't realize until I bought it that you can have all the sections on or off simultaneously, so you can down tune by a semi-tone and then harmonize in fifths or whatever and momentary switch these in and out. Not sure how much of this you'd want to use - but then the Whammy is mainly about weird sounds so go wild.