HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion 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: 8.2 (78 votes)
DigiTech: HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion

Sound — 8
Ah, the sound, I mainly used the tight setting, so think about that for reference mostly, the loose setting didn't do it for me. I'm running this through my Richwood Les Paul (crap), to a 'Volcano 10 Watt Amp' (also crap), and as far as I can tell, on low settings the bass knob does nothing, but if I turn my amp up, it's there. Also, I have played this through a bigger Peavey tube amp, which actually was an unknown model, and also, crap, but it was certainly a change in sound when I compare it. The pedal never really is noisy except when you're infront of the amp with the gain turned up. The sounds that I was able to produce were mostly Megadeth, Live Metallica (more bass/mid than a mid scoop I would say), Guns N' Roses (although not really nice creamy, more hard-edged I would say. GNR needs high gain Overdrive instead of distortion I'd say, it was ok), Slayer, and alllmost a Wolfmother tone on the loose setting, which resembles a Big Muff for a bit. On the lowest gain setting this pedal is the baddest, since it isn't Overdrive, it's not really producing nice sounds, and the character of the distortion is always hearable as more metal, no matter what the setting, if you compare it to another distortion. The one occasion I find the low gain setting usefull, is when playing rock, think of Foo Fighters' The Pretender, I play the second guitar when we cover that, it cn do that sound. Furthermore, in the solo of Pink Floyd's 'Time', it still has some singing lead abilities, in combination with a good set EQ. All these artists can be achieved some way, though just not really, no matter what settings you use, thats an important factor. I'll give the sound a eight, concerning this is a pedal.

Overall Impression — 8
I play mostly hard rock and metal (Guns N' Roses to Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold etc.) and it's a good pedal, and along side an EQ pedal to boost through solos, it's a nice match for the band I play in. Don't expect this to be a pedal that can easily do anything around the 70's areas, since this pedal is not made for that, only if you try really hard you can get the setting I guess, along with fixing the guitar volume at the right position. I have been playing for two and half years, and I think for the next year atleast, this pedal is going to be well enough, I had used a Boss SD-1 previously, and compared to that, this pedal is a very good upgrade, however, if it were stolen or lost, I'd probably save up my money and buy: or a good guitar/amp, or a better pedal. I love the pedal's metal construction, the features it has, the ease of use. What I hate about it, is that actually this pedal comes close to sounds, but it's not totally it, and also, this pedal is not meant for classic rock sounds which I sometimes is having. I have also compared it to the EHX Metal Muff, and the Big Muff, but I found this is a reasonable allrounder. I wish the pedal was an amp in a box, but it's not. This pedal gets an eight for me, but keep in mind, it doesn't mean there's no room for improvement after buying this!

Reliability & Durability — 7
Hmmm, the reliablity part. Well, I can be short about this, the battery doesn't last long, the pedal is a metal box, so don't worry, but if you plan to gig, be sure to bring a full battery, or use an adapter. Also, the promoted 'true bypass' is for me questionable. I've did the battery test, which meant taking out the battery while being fully plugged in, and then look if the signal comes true, and there this pedal didn't comply, but on the otherhand, while in standby mode, I've never had problems with hiss noise or something. I give this a 7 for overall reliability.

Ease of Use — 8
Well I'd first start off with saying that this is an easy stompbox distortion pedal, it's much alike the infamous Boss Metal Zone, in the sense of the controls, except it also has a toggle switch to 'Tight/Loose'. If you're little bit of a guitarist, then the controls should be no problem. However, a usable sound depends on your playing style, e.a., which genre are you playing in, people, remember that this isn't a box that instantly gives you that or that sound, but is well rounded overall, in the neutral sense of the word. That means you have to tweak the knobs and know what kind of tone you want. A 'good' sound however, is only applicable for home situations and small gigs, I don't think it's usefull for larger gigs. Though I give it an eight for the well-known knobs layout.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Does anybody know if this works well with metalcore? I currently have a Metal master and a Kustom Arrow 16DFX. I'm thinking of getting Boss GE7 soon
    the griffalo
    Could anyone say whether it was worth buying this as a replacement for the built in distortion in my Roland Cube 15?