HardWire SC-2 Valve Distortion review by DigiTech

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (28 votes)
DigiTech: HardWire SC-2 Valve Distortion

Price paid: $ 80

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 8
My set up is a custom Valveking 112 using my Custom Metal Squier outfitted with two EMG 81's. I play a lot of metalish kind of music, but I also love my low gain tones as well, and this pedal pulls them off very well. The pedal is not very noisy, even at full gain, it only gets noisy when you run a gain boost with it, but it only gets slightly noisy. I use a lot of different setting with this pedal to achieve certain sounds and tones. But my favorite setting has to be the saturated setting at full gain, its not quite in the metal territory, but its close, a Overdrive boost pedal will easily push it into metal territory. The crunch setting is better suited for light gain rock, and its more like a gritty Overdrive than a distortion. The crunch setting doesn't have very much gain compared to the saturated setting, which I personally like, cause I can put the gain knob at about 7-8 o'clock and I can get a slightly overdriven tone, like you would get by cranking your tube amp on the clean channel to achieve that nice Jazz tone. One problem I have found with this pedal is that the level knob is very sensitive, I have to keep it very low so it doesn't over power my clean channel, I also get a pop every time I switch the pedal on and off.

Overall Impression — 10
I choose this pedal over the Hardwire TL-2 Metal Distortion, I was looking for a distortion that sounded natural and similar to my Boss Ds-1, but without the frizz, and I also wanted to hear every note ring out at full gain, which is what I get with this pedal. The ML-2 was way to synthetic sounding to me, and was way too much gain. I tested both pedals through a Valveking 212. The typical music I play is extremely low down tuned metal, like Chevelle, Cold, Stained, and such, but I also like to play lighter type of music, such as Billy Talent and Modest Mouse. It gets me close, but I'll never really get their with a tube amp designed for classic rock. What I love about it is that its such a simple pedal to use, and just the overall tone, it does exactly what its name says it does, it sounds just like tube distortion even at low volumes. If it was stole I would buy another one, I got a really good price on mine, since I see most of them going for $100, its just that good of a pedal. I kinda wished it had like a boost function for both channels, so I don't have to use a TS9 to boost it when I want more gain, or tighter gain.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I can depend on this pedal, the pedal is just a solid chunk of steel covered in rubber, very tough. The thing does eat through batteries like no other though, but has never gone out on me in a gig. I honestly think this thing is tougher than my Ibanez TS9, which has seen much abuse. I would gig without a backup, I expect this thing to be with me for the rest of my life.

Ease of Use — 10
The thing is incredibly easy to use, it took me about a day to EQ this pedal in with my amp. The tone from the pedal is very high end, both channels on the pedal are very clear, and you can hear every note ring out, even with the gain maxed out. The knobs click into place so you don't loose your settings easily, and the two band EQ (low and high) is very sensitive, just one click will drastically change your tone. It comes with a little rubber mold that you place over the knobs to one, protect them, and to keep your settings in place. The manual seemed very simple and gave a basic overview of how to work the pedal.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    fell_1000@yahoo wrote: Would this be suitable for "classic" metal sounds,eg Maiden,Priest etc?
    Yeah, it's really good for that on the "crunch" setting.