HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive Review

manufacturer: DigiTech date: 08/24/2012 category: Guitar Effects
DigiTech: HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive
The CM-2 has ultra-rugged construction, upgraded components, true-bypass circuitry and classic tone.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Ease of Use: 9.3
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (2) 23 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.5
HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive Reviewed by: ToxicTrace100, on april 13, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: I picked this pedal up used from my local music shop. I think I really got a good deal, as most Tube Screamer style pedals cost more than $100 and you usually can't get them used, so this was a great find for me. Controls are simple, with level, low, high, gain knobs, and a switch between 'modern' and classic. The modern has a bit more gain and bass, but the classic is all Ibanez tunde screamer. It's very easy to set this pedal to add a pleasing tone to your amp. The stock setting, with everything at 12 sounds nice, adding a bit of treble and bleeding a bit of bass, but the surprise is the amount of gain that can come out of this. For an overdrive, it's quite versatile, and can get you about 80% of the way to full on metal with a Fender clean sound behind it. The way this pedal is meant to be used is to 'sweeten' your sound, it won't drastically change how it sounds. It's not going to make a bad amp sound awesome, but it will bring that medium-priced or expensive amp to the next level. The controls are very simple, and are designed to help you find your 'sweet spot', which is when you find the best setting on your amp, but are still looking for a bit more. This pedal adds a couple extra controls that, in my opinion, are well worth the price. This pedal is also very versatile, it can be used to create a rhythm tone with the amp, step on it for a lead tone, then step on it again and roll back the volume on the neck for a clean sound. I think the only trick with this pedal is to know how to actually eq an amp, as wanting 'tight' bass, turning the bass up on this will not make that happen, you have to have at least a good knowledge of the sound your going for to use this pedal. // 9

Sound: I'm running this in front of either a Peavey 5150 II or a Marshall AVT50. Both these amps sound good on their own (The Peavey sound VERY good), but this pedal adds that extra crunch I've always been looking for. Putting this in front of your dirty channel will boost the signal, adding a bit of gain even at 0, and compressing the signal a bit, which in this case is desirable. Even when you set the tone knobs and level at noon, with the gain on 0, the difference when you step on this pedal is instant. It adds headroom, definition, and tightens up the low end. Boosting the treble knobs adds more edginess and crunch, and boosting the low end adds a pleasing thump, round but not muddy. Cutting the treble rounds and darkens the high end a bit, but it never gets that 'quieter' feel to it. Cutting the bass tightens things up, but even all the way down it is still present and a part of the tone still. The level knob is great for clean boosting, and the gain knob has a VERY wide range of distortion for an overdrive. I usually set it at 0 or 1 to put in front of a dirty amp, but at the store, I experiment with various amps, modern metal, traditional, and even tweed style, and there is enough gain in this pedal to get almost any amp up to Judas Priest/iron Maiden levels. Switching between classic and modern voicing noticeably but not drastically changes the tone, with classic sounding 'pre-1990' al la british punk, glam rock, and 80s metal, with modern would be better for 'post-1990' music, such as grunge, deathcore, or sludgyer sounding stuff. I personally prefer the classic moe, as it's designed after the legendary tube screamer. Overall, I'd say that all the effects on this pedal are excellent. The only reason I don't give this part a ten is because this pedal won't give you the sound your looking for unless you set your amp correctly, this pedal isn't meant to start you off, it's meant to get you the rest of the way to great tone. If you have no idea what your doing, you probably wouldn't notice much of a difference with this pedal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This people is very durable. I step on it multiple times a day, and it does show it. These pedals are built to last, and come with stomp-locks and velcro for a pedalboard, and even a glow in the dark sticker for dark stages. They were designed with touring in mind, and while a good bit bigger and heavier than a boss, they are still compact and reliable. I'd gig this without a backup, but I'd bring my power supply with me. The nice thing about hardwire pedals is that even if they run out of batteries, they don't shut down your signal path, they just witch to true bypass mode and you can keep playing without rearranging your entire pedalboard. // 10

Overall Impression: I play a lot of metal, and this pedal, while not exactly good for it on it's own, gives my base tone that extra kick into the stratosphere I've always been looking for. I've been playing guitar for three years, and other instruments for ten, so I've been around the block a time or two. I've owned a lot of distortion pedals before, but this is my first overdrive, and I have to say that these are far better. If this pedal were lost or stolen, I would definitely buy another, without question. I really can't think of anything I dislike about this pedal, my favorite feature would just have to be the way it changes you tone even with all the knobs set to neutral, it does what it aims to do perfectly. I compared this to some other Overdrive and distortion pedals, and I can say that this is definitely my favorite pedal now, not only because it makes everything sound good, but because it's so versatile as well. // 10

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overall: 7.8
HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive Reviewed by: UG Team, on december 04, 2009
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 7

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

- Josh Johnson (c) 2009

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overall: 9.8
HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive Reviewed by: willguitar97, on february 08, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 59

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: I got this pedal new off eBay at a good price. In the comes a Velcro pad for sticking the pedal to a pedal board, a glow in the dark sticker for easy use on a dark stage a 'Stomplock' to keep your settings still. As soon as I plugged it in, with all knobs at 12 O clock a great crunch tone on the classic mode, so getting good sounds of this pedal is very easy. It came with a manual telling you were to put it in your signal path, how to use the extra features etc... I have a couple of Hardwire pedals now and their all great. // 10

Sound: I use a Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. However when I first got this pedal I had a Marshall MG100DFX and it sounded good but when I tried it through the HOT Rod the sound of the pedal improved hugely. On the classic mode with the gain at 0 you get a nice cleanish tone, like if you had pushed an amps clean channel into overdrive. This is the setting I use most of the time. It's great for Indie Rock, Blues, Funk and Pop. I also use this for rhythm playing, like Pigeon Detectives and to push my amps Overdrive channel into distortion. Staying on the classic mode if you put the gain around 3 O clock you can get a Hendrix style tone. On modified mode with the gain at half you can get a good Strokes tone and a harder blues tone. With the gain at 9 0 Clock on the classic mode you can get a great Led Zeppelin tone, "Black Dog" style. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The pedal is built like a tank. It has never broke and sounds great gig after gig, along with my other Hardwires. It has a metal chassis and a rugged foot switch. The added Stomplock really helps you to stop your settings moving. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall a great pedal. Blues players will love it, Rockers will love it for pushing their amps into distortion, Indie guys will love it. It's a really versatile Overdrive pedal. If you want a sound demo check out my YouTube video here. // 10

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overall: 10
HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive Reviewed by: edisonsexybeast, on august 24, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 50

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: I got the pedal used so I don't have any manuals for it, but its very straightforward, Level, Gain, Bass, and Treble Controls. Also a classic and a modified side which produces more gain, I normally just stay on the Classic side. // 10

Sound: I use it in conjunction with a Jet City JCA 2112 combo and a 1978 Fender Mustang and the pedal does wonders for my sound. It is dead quiet and sounds Aweeeesoome. I mainly use it with the Jet city slightly overdriving or at the point of breakup and with this pedal it just thickens everything up and adds a whole lot of awesome to my sound. It's not very great as a clean boost because even with the gain knob all the way down, there is still a bit of gain. But overall a great pedal. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It has a very durable case. I've dropped it numerous times but barely and scratches on it. Nothing has ever come loose from it knobs are sturdy overall, well built pedal. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been playing for about 2 years now and this has been one of the best purchases for me so far. I've compared it to a classic Ibanez TS-9 Tubescreamer, and I like the CM-2 more. Sounds much fuller and also there is a 2 band eq on it which is much more useful than the tone knob you can only get on a TS-9. Highly recommend it. // 10

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