HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Review

manufacturer: DigiTech date: 08/24/2012 category: Guitar Effects
DigiTech: HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion
This little monster comes with a velcro tape for your pedalboard as well as a rubber cover for the knobs so that you don't lose your settings.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9.4
 Reliability & Durability: 9.7
 Ease of Use: 8.9
 Overall rating:
 8.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.4 
 Users rating:
 8.2 
 Votes:
 78 
reviews (9) pictures (2) 66 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: Ace Frehley, on december 19, 2008
4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 120

Purchased from: thomann.de

Ease of Use: Ok, I take it out of the box, plug it in, set the amp knobs at 12 o'clock and then I turned the bass knob at about 1 o'clock, 12 o'clock was the high knob and the middle was set close to 12. There is also a Frequency knob which I really did not touch much.I then engaged the pedal, turned the amp loud, and what came out was just massive! It also has a tight-loose Switch.I tried them both but I prefered the tight setting cause in the loose mode it can become really bass-y. The manual didn't give any info for any settings, it only explains you how the pedal works. This little monster comes with a velcro tape for your pedalboard as well as a rubber cover for the knobs so that you don't lose your settings. // 10

Sound: My guitar is a Cort X-2 but I also tried it on an LTD M-200 through a cry baby wah,an Ibanez TS-9,the DigiTech Hot Head,the Digidelay and last was the Hardwire TL-2 plugged into Marshall MG-15.I know that the MG's suck so that's why I ran to the studio to play through the all-time classic JCM-800.I was really able to get sounds like August Burns Red,Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying.But I believe you can get many sounds of other bands rather than metalcore bands.Just like the rest of hardwire pedals,this one is true by-pass.OFF MEANS OFF! // 10

Reliability & Durability: Pure metal,and a light-weight pedal.It doesn't make your pedalboard heavy when you place it inside.Surely there is no reason to be afraid with this pedal during a show.No backup pedals,no need to worry about anything.Now about the durability,I don't think that this thing can break or anything like that. // 10

Overall Impression: I play many types of music.But while playing on the TL-2 I played metal riffs.I've been playing for about 5 years now.I have stomped many other metal distortions but nothing can be compared to this one.DigiTech made a really good job and proved that their pedals are worth buying.In fact the prices are very low(compared to other brands)and reachable.I really loved the LED light.It's a very shiny blue light which you can easily recognize if you're playing through a dark stage.It has everything that a pedal could have,you can't wish for something more.If it was lost or stolen...I don't need to say what I'd do. // 10

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overall: 10
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: Incessant Wolf, on december 22, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: This pedal is comparable to the Boss MT-2 metal pedal in the sense that the adjustment knobs are the same, but for those unfamiliar, it consists of a Level, High, Low, Mid, Freq., and Gain knob. Changing the sound is as easy as you'd think it to be; you turn the knob and play around until you get what you desire. You can get a different sound from even the slightest move, so with a bit of tinkering, you'll find what you need. Along with it's flat-out easy interface, you get the bonus of the 'Tight-Loose' Switch. It literally adds a whole new realm to customization of sound as it give the option of a crunchy, screaming lead gain on the Tight Channel, and a Low, Heavy Rhythmic sound on the loose. // 10

Sound: I have yet to test it out on my new equipment, but I can tell you that it sounds godly coming from a shitty Fender Frontman and an Epi. Les Paul Custom. With good cables (monster, Planet Waves) you get tones that send chills down the spines of invertebrates; that's how scary good of a sound you can get out of it. From your typical metal distortion, to hard rock tones, Grunge sound, and Hardcore crunch, it can put it all out and barely break a sweat. It also minimized negative feedback better than most high-gain pedals. With other functioning pedals like a Wah or Phaser, it still retains it's awesome tone. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I wouldn't put my life in the hands of any other pedal for at home, or the most brutal performance in the world. The box only puts it lightly in saying "extreme performance pedal" as it goes beyond a typical quality standards of pedals. The Stomp Switch is smooth and durable, made of all metal like the rest of the pedal (excluding rubber grips), and the whole design is stunning and sexy. An innovation as far as durability goes, this new age pedal incorporates a tough rubber cover that slips over the adjustment knobs to protect them from getting changed in performance. This Is a LIFE SAVER. From gig after gig, this thing has had the piss beat out of it, yet I could put it back in the box and open it up again looking at a beautiful piece of equipment. I would only need a back up for this baby if it got stolen by someone Who heard how amazing it is (haha). Rock Solid. // 10

Overall Impression: When you open the package for this, you know you've made the right choice. It suits all high-gain music you can think of, for me mostly Hardcore, Metal, and Alternative. I have No Doubt if it got stolen, or in some incredible way broke, I'd definitely but it again. Buy it. Worth every penny. // 10

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overall: 9.8
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: ninjagayden777, on august 17, 2009
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 99.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center Oklahoma City

Ease of Use: DigiTech have impressed me with effects before, but never to the extent that the Hardware T2-Metal Distortion Pedal has. The ammount of control it gives you over your sound is very extensive and can cover anything from hard rock to Death Metal efortlessly. The tight/loose Switch helps further extend your sound to either fit the mold of lead or rhythm playing, so if using in a band with two guitarists, both can use the same pedal but have a completely unique voicing. Manual was fair although it would have been nice to come with some presets. // 9

Sound: My setup is a Fender Frontman Amp and my Schecter Omen-6. The only noise I get from it is because of my antique amp, but when channeled on other models is almost noiseless. The sound is a constant balls to the wall distortion that never falters. I've been through many distortion pedals, some costing much more than this, and this one beats them all. My sound is a mix of Devil Wears Prada leads and A Day To Remember crunch, and this effect pedal is the only one I've found that I believe actually improved this sound dramatically. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This pedal's shining moment is durability, for which it is marketed. I was surprised at the weight of it when I first picked it up, seeing that it outweighs all my other pedals. But under rigorous testing and stomping it has shown that it won't die easily. Most definately gig-worthy. The only thing I'd bring for back up would be an extra battery, which gets very good life inside the stomp box. // 10

Overall Impression: I breath metal and metalcore and this pedal is a match made in heaven for this style. I personally have two years playing experience but would highly reccommend this pedal to beginners just to save them the dissapointment of buying another crappier pedal. Everything about this pedal is a metal guitarist's dream come true, and I would definately Rush out to buy another if it were ever lost or stolen. If you play any kind of heavy music and are in the market for another pedal, don't waste your time and money buying tons of cruddy pedals, just find a DigiTech Hardware T-2. At around $100 it's also good for the wallet in these tough times. // 10

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overall: 7.8
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: Jyuuga, on october 26, 2009
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: Well I'd first start off with saying that this is an easy stompbox distortion pedal, it's much alike the infamous Boss Metal Zone, in the sense of the controls, except it also has a toggle switch to 'Tight/Loose'. If you're little bit of a guitarist, then the controls should be no problem. However, a usable sound depends on your playing style, e.a., which genre are you playing in, people, remember that this isn't a box that instantly gives you that or that sound, but is well rounded overall, in the neutral sense of the word. That means you have to tweak the knobs and know what kind of tone you want. A 'good' sound however, is only applicable for home situations and small gigs, I don't think it's usefull for larger gigs. Though I give it an eight for the well-known knobs layout. // 8

Sound: Ah, the sound, I mainly used the tight setting, so think about that for reference mostly, the loose setting didn't do it for me. I'm running this through my Richwood Les Paul (crap), to a 'Volcano 10 Watt Amp' (also crap), and as far as I can tell, on low settings the bass knob does nothing, but if I turn my amp up, it's there. Also, I have played this through a bigger Peavey tube amp, which actually was an unknown model, and also, crap, but it was certainly a change in sound when I compare it. The pedal never really is noisy except when you're infront of the amp with the gain turned up. The sounds that I was able to produce were mostly Megadeth, Live Metallica (more bass/mid than a mid scoop I would say), Guns N' Roses (although not really nice creamy, more hard-edged I would say. GNR needs high gain Overdrive instead of distortion I'd say, it was ok), Slayer, and alllmost a Wolfmother tone on the loose setting, which resembles a Big Muff for a bit. On the lowest gain setting this pedal is the baddest, since it isn't Overdrive, it's not really producing nice sounds, and the character of the distortion is always hearable as more metal, no matter what the setting, if you compare it to another distortion. The one occasion I find the low gain setting usefull, is when playing rock, think of Foo Fighters' The Pretender, I play the second guitar when we cover that, it cn do that sound. Furthermore, in the solo of Pink Floyd's 'Time', it still has some singing lead abilities, in combination with a good set EQ. All these artists can be achieved some way, though just not really, no matter what settings you use, thats an important factor. I'll give the sound a eight, concerning this is a pedal. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Hmmm, the reliablity part. Well, I can be short about this, the battery doesn't last long, the pedal is a metal box, so don't worry, but if you plan to gig, be sure to bring a full battery, or use an adapter. Also, the promoted 'true bypass' is for me questionable. I've did the battery test, which meant taking out the battery while being fully plugged in, and then look if the signal comes true, and there this pedal didn't comply, but on the otherhand, while in standby mode, I've never had problems with hiss noise or something. I give this a 7 for overall reliability. // 7

Overall Impression: I play mostly hard rock and metal (Guns N' Roses to Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold etc.) and it's a good pedal, and along side an EQ pedal to boost through solos, it's a nice match for the band I play in. Don't expect this to be a pedal that can easily do anything around the 70's areas, since this pedal is not made for that, only if you try really hard you can get the setting I guess, along with fixing the guitar volume at the right position. I have been playing for two and half years, and I think for the next year atleast, this pedal is going to be well enough, I had used a Boss SD-1 previously, and compared to that, this pedal is a very good upgrade, however, if it were stolen or lost, I'd probably save up my money and buy: or a good guitar/amp, or a better pedal. I love the pedal's metal construction, the features it has, the ease of use. What I hate about it, is that actually this pedal comes close to sounds, but it's not totally it, and also, this pedal is not meant for classic rock sounds which I sometimes is having. I have also compared it to the EHX Metal Muff, and the Big Muff, but I found this is a reasonable allrounder. I wish the pedal was an amp in a box, but it's not. This pedal gets an eight for me, but keep in mind, it doesn't mean there's no room for improvement after buying this! // 8

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overall: 9.3
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: Section 5, on january 07, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: I'm not going to lie, this is fairly straightforward to set up and get a great sound out of. Actually, it's very easy to get a great sound out of it. You've got the Level, High/Low, Mid/Freq and Gain controls, along with a Tight/Loose switch (the Loose setting adds more gain, I think). The only downside is that I had to check the manual for what Mid/Freq actually meant, and yes, I'm that stupid. Really can't think of anything else to say about this...just plug it in and off you go, simple as that! // 9

Sound: Currently I'm playing an Ibanez ICT700 Iceman through this pedal into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp. To my ears, this pedal sounds phenomenal. Some of you might know that the Hot Rod's built in distortion isn't too good, and you'd be right. This pedal makes up for that in spades. I can get from a nice crunchy early Metallica kinda sound right through to a modern metal, Children Of Bodom thrash sound. This pedal is able to produce some seriously good heavy distortion sounds. The only problem that I can find is that if the gain is set too low it starts getting a bit digital in tone, so keep the gain over about 10 o' clock to rectify this problem. Of course, if you like that Line 6 Spider "Insane" sort of tone, feel free to turn the gain right down and get really brutal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Unless I chuck it from the top floor of a skyscraper, I don't think this pedal is ever going to break. It's a really high quality pedal. The knobs are metal, and the body is either strong plastic or metal, I think. It feels nice and weighty in my hands. Top marks in this category. // 10

Overall Impression: I play any kind of music really, and for the metal that I play (Megadeth, Iron Maiden etc) this pedal satisfies all my criteria. It's definitely the best heavy distortion pedal I've ever played through in my three years of playing. If it were stolen/lost I would get it again straight away, after I'd hunted down the thief and taught him a lesson he'd never forget. I love the Tight/Loose setting, as essentially you can get two totally different metal sounds at the flick of a switch. My guitar teacher has a Line 6 Uber Metal, which I was considering until I heard this pedal. In my opinion, the Uber Metal has a really tinny thin tone, whereas the DigiTech is thick and rich in its distortion. Also the DigiTech is much better made than the Line 6. Also, shop around for this pedal: the retail price is around 75, and I got mine for 38 off eBay. If you're looking for a fantastic metal distortion pedal, look no further than the DigiTech. // 9

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overall: 10
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: MugiSnacks, on may 17, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: Since it has a lot knobs and function, it's pretty hard to get the sound you like. But if you know how to tweak your guitar, pedal and amp, you should do fine. I mostly play Metallica, and a decent Metallica fan knows that their guitar tone changes within each album. The sound the TL-2 recreates best is the tone from Metallica's earlier albums. // 10

Sound: As I said, it has an awesome Metallica sound. It actually can recreate any sound you wish, depends on the quality of your guitar, and the amp settings. The TL-2 also has a pretty handy Tight-Loose switch. Tight mode for more heavy tones and the Loose mode sounds best at detuned guitars. The distortion sounds awesome. No noise at all with humbuckers. The quality of the crunch stays the same, not as the cheaper pedals. The TL-2 also has 'True-Bypass'. This means when it is turned off, the whole pedal is deactivated. Off = off. So it isn't necessary to remove the cable from the input in the pedal. But I recommend doing that, since I'm not sure. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It is made out of lightweight steel/metal. So is the footswitch. The knobs are also made out of steel. So it won't break. The TL-2 also comes with a so-called 'StompLock'. This is a piece of rubber/plastic which you can place over the knobs, this prevents that the knobs turn around while carrying it, or if it falls to the ground. No backup needed if you play gigs. Recommend putting on the piece of Velcro tape if you're using a pedalboard. // 10

Overall Impression: As I said I mostly play Metallica. I've been playing the guitar and bass for over 1 and a half year, and I've had three distortion pedals. My favorite feature is the amount of knobs it has; Level - High, Low - Mid, Freq - Gain - Thight Loose switch. Inside the box are: TL-2 pedal, Stomplock - Glow in the dark sticker for the footswitch - Velcro tape - Owners manual - Registration card. Overall Impression: Best (Metal) Distortion on the market. // 10

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overall: 7.8
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: Mullen2105, on july 07, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Sam-Ash Springdale

Ease of Use: The way to get a good sound depends on the amp. I originally tried this on a amp with a tube preamp and a SS power amp. The sound was SOOO tiny. It sounds about as good as a Fender 15r distortion. PLAY THIS THROUGH A FULL TUBE AMP OR ELSE! Seriously I just put everything at 12 o'clock because it just sounds bad when you max any setting past 3 o'clock (75%). Considering the latter half of the reviewers seem to be newbs, I'll tell anyone now the sound is very dry and sterile. If you want to replace your amp distortion. // 6

Sound: I play Ibanez S7320 Jackson RRJS30, (LOTS OF PEDALS), Carvin Nomad, Peavey JSX HALF-STACK. I gig a lot so having multiple distortion qualities is important. This pedal gives you a Hard-Rock (Three Days Grace) sound to a old-school grind (Carcass) and in between (Metallica, Death, Morbid Angel, Lamb Of God, Tool, Cynic (old&new)). Even Core stuff. CAUTION RHYTHMS SOUND WAY BETTER THAN LEADS. When I run this on the clean channel it sounds pretty good. I run it with an TS9 before it (the same way you run an Overdrive over a crunch channel to clean it up). Also I started running a Boss GE-7 after it the possibilities are great. (NOTE* Behringer and Danelectro EQs are just the same buy a cheaper one so you can save) I rate the sound quality letter grade: C, without Overdrive or EQ. B+/A-, With eq and overdrive. The sound is just a lot tighter and cleaner with the two. // 7

Reliability & Durability: It is very reliable. No worries. I would worry about it if I ran over a car with it. Maybe if you are buying it used open it up first and make sure it's fine. No worries about gigging without a back up. It's pricey enough where you shouldn't need a back up. // 10

Overall Impression: It's an okay match because I play mainly in a tech/prog/fusion metal band. Though I wish it sounded better for melodies. But other than that it handles Low-End VERY well. Drop-A Seven string sounds very clear. Lay back on the gain though setting it past 50% is just stupid. If I lost this I would upgrade maybe to something tube driven but it's a good pedal to get for entry level for the price and durability. // 8

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overall: 9.8
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: Blktiger0, on january 05, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: This is a very straightforward pedal. The only knob that you might not be familiar with is the Frequency knob. Other than that, it has a 3 band EQ (Bass, Middle, Treble), Level, and Gain knobs, plus a tight/loose switch. With the Knobs at 12 o'clock it sounded pretty good. While playing with it, I easily dialed in anything from a heavy-hitting, thumping metal sound to a crunchy, hard metal sound, to a searing, screaming metal sound. If you know how to work your guitar's volume/tone knobs, it's also possible to get some classic rock sounds out of this pedal. They still have a modern voicing to them, but if this is all you've got, it's still possible. // 9

Sound: The guitar I used for this was my Epiphone Les Paul Standard, which is Mahogany with a Maple top and Rosewood fingerboard. I have a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates in the Bridge and a Seymour Duncan AlNiCo II Pro in the Neck. I've tried this with a Peavey Rage 158, a Marshall MG30DFX, and run direct into my computer. It actually sounded great through all 3. I was shocked at the sound i got with it through my Marshall, as I haven't ever been able to get a good sound out of it that wasn't clean. The most surprising thing by far was that when I flipped the Marshall over to it's Overdrive channel (with the gain at about 20%), it actually sounded like a Marshall should! (or at least pretty damn close). The voicing on the OD channel flavored the TL-2 to sound pretty Marshall. Through the Peavey, it sounded pretty much the same as direct. In all situations, it had a lot of life and responded very well to Pick dynamics and changes in the Volume knob on my Les Paul. It has some slight buzz going on (which increased a bit when on the Marshall OD channel, but that is to be expected...) but only when engaged, as it is True Bypass. I could get any Metal sound anyone could possibly dream of out of this pedal. Withing the first 30 minutes of toying with it, I managed to get: Pantera, Killswitch Engage, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Guns N Roses, Ozzy, Black Label Society, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Bullet For My Valentine, Priestess, Slipknot, System of a Down, Seether, Rob Zombie, Rammstein, Motorhead, Motley Crue, Lamb Of God, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Green Day, Dethklok, Velvet Revolver, Dream Theater, and with enough Control Tweaking, it's possible to get a similar sound to: Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Jet, Kiss, and Van Halen. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This thing is pretty damn durable. The only part that I could ever foresee breaking would be the actual part you step on since it is the only plastic part, but it's damn thick plastic. I'm a pretty big guy (6'3" and 220lbs) and I'm not worried about giving this thing a good stop to get it on or off. The cover that comes with it to cover the knobs so your settings don't get messed up while traveling or in use is made of really thick rubber that isn't gonna be failing anyone anytime soon. I will definitely gig with this without a backup, but will probably be using a Power Adapter, as I don't trust batteries in a live situation. I don't see where reliability should ever be an issue with this beast. // 10

Overall Impression: I play pretty much everything. I play: a little bit of country when jamming with family, southern rock, blues, blues rock, classic rock, classic metal, hard rock, heavy metal, metalcore, nu metal, alternative, alt metal, punk, death metal, progressive metal, thrash metal, hair metal, and grunge. I've been playing for about 13 years now and I've owned a Line 6 POD, a Zoom 505 MulitFX, and a Danelectro DD-1 Fab Tone, but none of them can size up to the TL-2. If this were stolen, there would be a dead man in the news the next day, and it would not be me. However, if he got away, I would head directly to Guitar Center and grab a new one. I love the Frequency control. It really adds versatility to the pedal that a lot of other Metal pedals lack. It's basically lets you choose your own voicing for it. The only thing that I hate is that the booklet that came with it didn't include some example settings in it to help you understand the frequency knob a bit better. The only feature that I'm not really sure about yet is the tight/loose switch. I haven't really got a sound that inspires me on the loose setting yet, but I haven't really played with it much yet. I compared this with quite a few other pedals, including: EHX Metal Muff, MI Audio Crunchbox, Keeley Modded SD-1, Blackstar HT-DistX, Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9DX, Wampler Super Plextortion, and Rocktron Third Angel, but ultimately decided on the TL-2 because it seemed to be the most versatile and the best sound and features for the money. I was not disappointed. If I could add anything to the pedal it would be a foot-switchable boost, and if I could add anything to what came with the pedal, it would be a Power Adapter and some Example Settings. // 10

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overall: 9.8
HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion Reviewed by: Maidenheadsteve, on august 24, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Union Music

Ease of Use: My guitar is a Kramer Strike (Plywood) with a Dimebucker, which is a hard combination to get a good sound of. That being said, the Tl-2 did the trick. The three band EQ worked wonders. With a normal setup (i.e. guitars with good wood balanced pickups), I assume getting good sounds is very easy. // 9

Sound: I use it with a Peavey Vypr 15. The amp's distortion is crap, but the TL-2 actually makes the amp sound respectable. I can get Iron Maiden, Rage Against The Machine, Megadeth, and other Thrash sounds. It gets noisy (duh), but only the standard buzz one gets when they're not playing. // 10

Reliability & Durability: As far as I can tell, it isn't breaking down any time soon. I don't need a backup. I ran out of ideas here, so mow I'm filling out character requirements. I mean, how much more can I say? It isn't going to break down. That's 256 characters right on the dot. // 10

Overall Impression: I play Brit Metal (Maiden, Priest) and Thrash (Megadeth) and the TL-2 does the trick. The only problems I have is that I have to put the mid frequency knob up a lot, or else it sounds fizzy and undefined, and that my Dunlop Crybaby From Hell didn't really cut through for a while (until I fiddled with the Variable-Q knob). I like the 3-band EQ and how articulate it is; a slight turn of a knob is noticeable, allowing me to get exact artist tones. It's true bypass, so no tone loss, either. I wouldn't use it for classic rock, though, unless you drop of trebel a lot, or else it sounds too harsh. // 10

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