HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive review by DigiTech

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.7 (40 votes)
DigiTech: HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive

Sound — 8
The CM-2 is very reminiscent of the class Ibanez Tubescreamer TS-808 with its natural and familiar Overdrive growl. The CM-2 adds more tone shaping abilities and beautifully achieves tube amp crunch with extra low-end beef and top-end sparkle. This pedal seems to do a great job driving just about any amp I put it in front of. It works especially well driving a barely-gained tube amp. In Classic mode the pedal really feels like a natural push into full on Overdrive territory. Being a Tubescreamer-esque OD it comes with a fair amount of compression (which is naturally occurring with driven pre-amp tubes). When you stomp on this box you can hear your guitar's tone evenly Drive your amp with responsive attack, smooth midrange, and natural sustain. The CM-2 in Modified mode is a great modernization of the classic Tubescreamer vibe. When switching over to Modified mode the pedal's gain shifts into hod-rod mode with a nice upper midrange/presence peak. The Hardwire rocks with the best of them in this setting and can achieve crystal clear harmonics and glorious sustain.

Overall Impression — 8
I give the Hardwire a solid B 8/10 for being a very good stomp box Overdrive capable of achieving a variety of tones. It could easily be a guitarists solo Overdrive sound and fits gloriously into a mix when recording or mixing live. The price is unbeatable (100 USD street) which makes this pedal very attractive to working musicians and hobbyist alike. It may not be quite as colorful and transparent as some high-end boutiques but it comes extremely close.

Reliability & Durability — 7
All Hardwire pedals are equipped with high voltage input stages which allows for more push to input without achieving the wrong kind of distortion or clipping. Hot pickups or gain boosters have no problems interfacing with this pedal. The instrument's tone is preserved beautifully in this box comparable to a high-end boutique Overdrive. The one small problem with my CM-2 was that the silver coverings on the knobs started to slip off over time. This is very fixable with a little glue or tape, but was very annoying during gig time. Mechanically the pedal is rocking and seems to be as solid as they come, but I wouldn't be surprised if the next version has a different knob design.

Ease of Use — 8
The CM-2 Tube Overdrive is an Overdrive pedal from DigiTech's professional pedal line HardWire. With it's ultra-rugged construction, upgraded components, true-bypass circuitry, and classic tone, the CM-2 is a contender with expensive boutique pedals with a consumer level price tag. Whether used as a solo boost or main Overdrive the CM-2 delivers a natural and highly versatile Overdrive suited for the working guitarist. The HardWire CM-2 is a simple Overdrive stomp box with the following: True Hardwire bypass, constant high-voltage rails, 2-position Classic/Modified voicing Switch, level, gain, low, and high tone controls, and standard 9 volt DC power. The HardWire boxes also come with a precut Velcro strip for pedal board mounting as well as a nice rubber fitting (The Stomplock) which locks your knobs and settings into place.

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I use one of these with my VOX AC15, and the sound is GREAT. Definitely recommended for the price.
    I have a TL-2 Metal Distortion, and I love it. The HardWire line is solid! My only complaint: eats battery crazy fast! I always use mine with an adapter.
    I have both this and the Valve Distortion and I cannot praise Digitech enough for the Hardwire series. I've played the comparably priced Ibanez tube screamers and I own a Bad Monkey as well and this things blows them away! I'm getting rid of the bad monkey and picking up the Stereo Chorus in this line tomorrow and will most likely get the Metal Distortion later on.
    I have all the Hardwire series, except for the Stereo Chorus, all of the Line 6 ToneCore series, except the Verbzilla, and some of the Rocktron Botique series pedals. Playing with a American Delux Tele and Strat into a Fender FM65DSP. I've got to say, that the Tube Overdrive is one of my absolute favorites (along with the RV-7 Stereo Reverb and DL-8 Delay/Looper which give great depth to the sound). It provides a great natural tube sounding breakup/distortion without overly compressing the tone. In the classic position, it provides that smoother tube sounding distortion to my solid state amp at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent tube amp. Flip it over to modified, and it gives more grit, especially in the low end. It's got a nice gain range to go from mellow to a pretty agressive almost metal type distortion. The low & high controls let you cut or boost freqs to get a great variety of tones. I also like the way you can get back to a cleaner mellow tone just by rolling down the guitar volume a bit. Another thing I've noticed is that the Hardwire pedals seem to have better headroom than some others so you don't get as much clipping. I especially like using it in conjunction with the TL-2 Metal Distortion and RV-7 Reverb, but having multiple distortion effects in a row can create some aweful hum and feedback in the amp. That can be cleaned up very nicely using a noise filter on your power source and puttng the dynamic/distortion type pedals in the loop of noise filter/suppression pedal (I use the Rocktron Guitar Silencer, which is amazing, but you have to take some care in adjusting it to avoid cutting off tails of notes). For some really cool funk retro type tones, combine it with the Line 6 Dr. Otto. Check out http://www.hardwirepedals.com/cm2-tube-o... if you want to see/hear it in action.
    i tryed this in a music store today. I was running a # Road Worn 50's Stratocaster into the pedal into a fender deluxe. sound was amazing, with a bit of playing around I got a great stevie ray vaughan sound out of it. i want one of these bad...
    great review. i like the switch options on these hardwire pedals, it's kinda like having two pedals in one. On this particular pedal the modern setting gives just enough saturation to the signal but not too much which makes this pedal very versatile.
    Anyone know how good it is boosting a medium-high gain amp (ENGL Screamer) into high-gain territory?
    I tested this pedal side by side with both the Tubescreamer TS9 and 808, and I liked it a lot better than both of them. Definitely a great little box!
    Got one coming through the post soon Will post up my review for it too.
    Don't have this one, but my other experienced with other Hardwires lead me to believe that this pedal is just as good.
    DeadlyKombat wrote: so running this through a solid state amp would probably sound better than the stock distortion on said solid state amp?
    most likely. most solid state amps aren't known for their distortion (depending on what it is. some companies make high quality solid state stuff, but it's not really mainstream) and great review by the way
    so running this through a solid state amp would probably sound better than the stock distortion on said solid state amp?
    My Cousin has one of these things, from what I've heard they're really great, and i don't mean by just hearing him talk, i mean by hearing play of course!
    This one looks pretty awesome, also great review, i learned alot I use Ibanez tubescreamer TS-10 which rocks!
    i got one myself its my first pedal ever and i have one question does it work on amps like line6 spider 2? because other wise i will have some trouble i bought the pedal first and next week im getting my spider 2. but then i was wondering if a tube overdrive works on an amp that isnt a tube amp can anyone help me out.