HardWire SC-2 Valve Distortion review by DigiTech

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (28 votes)
DigiTech: HardWire SC-2 Valve Distortion

Price paid: $ 99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
My main set-up is a heavily modified Fender Toronado GT with tele and strat pickups (neck and bridge respectively), into my board, then into my HOT Rod Deluxe III. Yeah, the HRD has reverb, but I do a lot of ambient stuff, and spring reverb just doesn't cut it for me. That being said, this thing sounds amazing. I have in the effects loop of the amp with another reverb (Biyang Tri Reverb - I know!), two EHX Deluxe Memory Boys, and a Supa Trem. The pedal features Lexicon reverbs, which is obviously a big part of it's draw. One thing I hated about the first Holy Grail I had was how ice-pick-ish the highs could be with single coils into a Fender amp. This pedal lets you dial back the highs. Each mode sounds great, I've ever re-amped a vocal track through the plate setting and I got excellent results. The reverse reverb is great, and we used that type of reverb heavily on our last album, so I needed a pedal that could deliver that sound and this is it. I run it in "trails" mode, which turns off true bypass, but I don't notice any tone-suck. It's about on par with the Visual Sound pedals in that regard. It can get 100% wet and still sound great. I've heard that this is because it runs an internal voltage of 15v DC, So there's no overloading the front-end, something that happens when other reverb pedals are set to full wet. As far as sound goes, this pedal doesn't do the wacky reverbs that the Cathedral does, but what it does, it does well, and better than anything else with a similar feature set. Again, Lexicon!

Overall Impression — 10
I bought this for a specific purpose, and because it completes that purpose beautifully, I like it. If you don't need seven reverbs, get one of the Boss RVB-1's or whatever that straight spring reverb is called. The point is, there are pedals that do each specific kind of reverb better than this one, but this is by far the best in its price range or feature range. There are great spring reverb pedals, great hall pedals, great ambient pedals. But they're one-trick ponies. This is a ton of bang for buck, and when you put it up against its direct competitors like the Boss RV-5, the Line 6 Verbzilla, the Holy Grail, Grail Plus, and Cathedral, it comes out on top. I'd say 9.5, but I'm gonna give it a ten because it really is a great pedal.

Reliability & Durability — 9
These hardwire pedals are ripped straight from the Boss playbook, design wise. The switch is sturdy, and it isn't loud when clicked on (something I hated in the Cathedral). The stomp lock is a cool idea - it's a little piece of sturdy rubber that covers your knobs while you play so you don't have to worry about kicking them. Unfortunately, I adjust the pedal a lot between songs, so it is useless to me. The metal casing is heavy, heavier than my other Boss or Ibanez pedals. Seems like it would last a long time.

Ease of Use — 9
I bought this pedal to replace an EHX Cathedral that was having volume drop problems. They feature most of the same modes, in particular the reverse reverb. That's why I bought this over any other units on the market. It has four knobs, seven modes, an internal switch, and that's it. It's a lot simpler than other reverbs that do the same thing, like the Verbzilla or the Cathedral. The manual is nice, but I rarely read them. I run it off a voodoo labs pedal power.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That's a very good pedal at all. today i use it over the clean channel of my blackstar ht-5 amplifier. i was getting those nice marshall jcm 800 tone of it. no matter, i can't get those jcm 800 tone from ht-5 set on clean or drive. but that pedal is just awesome and it get me closer to jcm 800 tones. at low gain very good, fat marshall clean, and at drive those brightness you can set and it ringing through your head. i am probably not gonna sell it, becase this little thing simply rocks !