Review: DigiTech Luxe Polyphonic Detune Pedal — Video

From songs like the Police’s “Message in a Bottle” to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” Andy Summers and Kurt Cobain used the unmistakable sound of the chorus pedal to great effect, no pun intended.

For those players, a chorus pedal was an integral part of their rig, and as evidenced above, it’s the signature guitar sound on a lot of great songs.

Unfortunately, lush modulation was so blatantly overused in popular music during the Eighties and Nineties that most modern guitarists have eschewed it for more organic tones. Chorus isn’t going away anytime soon, and there are many fine chorus pedals that can add three-dimensional shimmer to your tone. But DigiTech’s Luxe pedal is something different.

While it can produce classic chorus and vibrato tones, it’s also capable of creating spacious pitch detunings that can make your guitar sound thicker and even double-tracked.

FEATURES The compact Luxe looks more like a boutique stomp box than a member of DigiTech’s popular pedal line. Its white-painted metal housing is finished with gold-floral graphics and studded with a rugged footswitch and a pair of beveled aluminum knobs.

The Luxe features a true-hardwire bypass, brightly lit red LED, and controls for level and detune. Level adjusts the mix ratio of your dry signal to the detune signal (setting it at 12 o’clock splits it in half), and detune lets you adjust the range of detune +/-50 cents. The Luxe isn’t battery powered, but it comes with a nine-volt DC power adapter.

PERFORMANCE To think of the Luxe as simply another chorus would be selling it short. It borrows its singular detune function from the polyphonic pitch-shifting algorithm used in DigiTech’s popular Whammy Pedal.

Instead of duplicating the slightly delayed modulation of chorus, the Luxe cleanly increases or decreases the detuned pitch of your original signal, producing pure oscillating microtones that sound like a doubled guitar track. The Luxe can certainly pull off excellent chorus and vibrato tones, but its thick doubling effect is the pedal’s calling card. Crank the level knob all the way up and set the detune knob at 10 o’clock to enhance solos, or set the level at 10 o’clock and push detune to two o’clock for a massively dense rhythm tone.

LIST PRICE $199.95

THE BOTTOM LINE: The DigiTech Luxe is more than a chorus pedal, adding texture and dimension to fatten and double your guitar’s tone.

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.