HardWire SC-2 Valve Distortion review by DigiTech

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (28 votes)
DigiTech: HardWire SC-2 Valve Distortion
3

Price paid: $ 99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 9
I got this pedal to get nice distorted tones without having to crank my Crate V18. It does the job excellently. With crunch I can get a nice Sabbath/Zepplin tone and saturation is great for solos and getting a heavier more metal tone. With the gain cranked on saturation I can get a nice Mastodon-esque sound, very heavy and distorted but at the same time really clean and crisp. The EQ is sensitive and crutial, I can't believe some pedals don't have them, and makes the pedal very versatile. Putting that gain at 2 and maxing the level lets the pedal act like an overdrive/boost and really helps my amp break up when I do get to crank it. Overall the sound is very natural unlike the Boss pedals I tried.

Overall Impression — 9
I play a lot of classic rock and some blues and metal, the pedal is diverse enough to handle all of the styles. Before settling on the Valve Distortion I looked at the Boss mega distortion which was WAY too digital and nasty sounding for me and a Boss overdrive/distortion which was pretty good (I almost bought it) but just didn't seem right. I then tried a EHX Big Muff Pi but there was just too much fuzz (probably didn't help I had to play it through an MG, some bastard stole my seat at a Fender DeVille. I finally hesitantly tried the SC-2 and found I really liked it. Overall it is an amazing little bugger and I am very satisfied with it. If it were stolen I would try a HardWire Tube Overdrive first - heard great things about it, but would get this again if I didn't like it.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Pedal seems very reliable, solid metal construction and comes with a stomp lock to protect you settings so you won't mess them up with your foot while gigging. No problems yet other than it eating through batteries really fast. I would gig without a backup. Even if the batteries do die mid solo it switches to true-bypass so it won't disrupt you godly shredding.

Ease of Use — 9
The pedal is very simple, it has a level knob, low, high and gain. The knobs sort of click as you turn then so it's easy to dial in on the settings you want. The 2-band EQ is such a plus, depending on what I'm playing I can crank up the treble or bass to get the distortion I need. I can also use the high knob to cancel out the slight muddiness of my amp and pickups. It also has a crunch/saturation Switch to go from a crunchy classic rock tone to a more gain saturated on which is great for solos. I just wish that was foot-switchable, not a biggie though. It also comes with velcro for the back for a pedal board, a glow in the dark sticker for the Switch, and a stomp lock to protect your settings. Overall it's very simple but with enough features to be very versatile.

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