HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion review by DigiTech

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (78 votes)
DigiTech: HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion

Sound — 9
Currently I'm playing an Ibanez ICT700 Iceman through this pedal into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp. To my ears, this pedal sounds phenomenal. Some of you might know that the Hot Rod's built in distortion isn't too good, and you'd be right. This pedal makes up for that in spades. I can get from a nice crunchy early Metallica kinda sound right through to a modern metal, Children Of Bodom thrash sound. This pedal is able to produce some seriously good heavy distortion sounds. The only problem that I can find is that if the gain is set too low it starts getting a bit digital in tone, so keep the gain over about 10 o' clock to rectify this problem. Of course, if you like that Line 6 Spider "Insane" sort of tone, feel free to turn the gain right down and get really brutal.

Overall Impression — 9
I play any kind of music really, and for the metal that I play (Megadeth, Iron Maiden etc) this pedal satisfies all my criteria. It's definitely the best heavy distortion pedal I've ever played through in my three years of playing. If it were stolen/lost I would get it again straight away, after I'd hunted down the thief and taught him a lesson he'd never forget. I love the Tight/Loose setting, as essentially you can get two totally different metal sounds at the flick of a switch. My guitar teacher has a Line 6 Uber Metal, which I was considering until I heard this pedal. In my opinion, the Uber Metal has a really tinny thin tone, whereas the DigiTech is thick and rich in its distortion. Also the DigiTech is much better made than the Line 6. Also, shop around for this pedal: the retail price is around 75, and I got mine for 38 off eBay. If you're looking for a fantastic metal distortion pedal, look no further than the DigiTech.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Unless I chuck it from the top floor of a skyscraper, I don't think this pedal is ever going to break. It's a really high quality pedal. The knobs are metal, and the body is either strong plastic or metal, I think. It feels nice and weighty in my hands. Top marks in this category.

Ease of Use — 9
I'm not going to lie, this is fairly straightforward to set up and get a great sound out of. Actually, it's very easy to get a great sound out of it. You've got the Level, High/Low, Mid/Freq and Gain controls, along with a Tight/Loose switch (the Loose setting adds more gain, I think). The only downside is that I had to check the manual for what Mid/Freq actually meant, and yes, I'm that stupid. Really can't think of anything else to say about this...just plug it in and off you go, simple as that!

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    does it give close tones to that of Boss ML-2?! I have ML-2 and considering to vary my distortion sounds a lil bit and this one seems a quite good one however if this is very similar to ML-2 then I would try another one for sure (playing modern/nu/alternative metal)