HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion review by DigiTech

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (78 votes)
DigiTech: HardWire TL-2 Metal Distortion

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
The guitar I used for this was my Epiphone Les Paul Standard, which is Mahogany with a Maple top and Rosewood fingerboard. I have a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates in the Bridge and a Seymour Duncan AlNiCo II Pro in the Neck. I've tried this with a Peavey Rage 158, a Marshall MG30DFX, and run direct into my computer. It actually sounded great through all 3. I was shocked at the sound i got with it through my Marshall, as I haven't ever been able to get a good sound out of it that wasn't clean. The most surprising thing by far was that when I flipped the Marshall over to it's Overdrive channel (with the gain at about 20%), it actually sounded like a Marshall should! (or at least pretty damn close). The voicing on the OD channel flavored the TL-2 to sound pretty Marshall. Through the Peavey, it sounded pretty much the same as direct. In all situations, it had a lot of life and responded very well to Pick dynamics and changes in the Volume knob on my Les Paul. It has some slight buzz going on (which increased a bit when on the Marshall OD channel, but that is to be expected...) but only when engaged, as it is True Bypass. I could get any Metal sound anyone could possibly dream of out of this pedal. Withing the first 30 minutes of toying with it, I managed to get: Pantera, Killswitch Engage, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Guns N Roses, Ozzy, Black Label Society, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Bullet For My Valentine, Priestess, Slipknot, System of a Down, Seether, Rob Zombie, Rammstein, Motorhead, Motley Crue, Lamb Of God, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Green Day, Dethklok, Velvet Revolver, Dream Theater, and with enough Control Tweaking, it's possible to get a similar sound to: Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Jet, Kiss, and Van Halen.

Overall Impression — 10
I play pretty much everything. I play: a little bit of country when jamming with family, southern rock, blues, blues rock, classic rock, classic metal, hard rock, heavy metal, metalcore, nu metal, alternative, alt metal, punk, death metal, progressive metal, thrash metal, hair metal, and grunge. I've been playing for about 13 years now and I've owned a Line 6 POD, a Zoom 505 MulitFX, and a Danelectro DD-1 Fab Tone, but none of them can size up to the TL-2. If this were stolen, there would be a dead man in the news the next day, and it would not be me. However, if he got away, I would head directly to Guitar Center and grab a new one. I love the Frequency control. It really adds versatility to the pedal that a lot of other Metal pedals lack. It's basically lets you choose your own voicing for it. The only thing that I hate is that the booklet that came with it didn't include some example settings in it to help you understand the frequency knob a bit better. The only feature that I'm not really sure about yet is the tight/loose switch. I haven't really got a sound that inspires me on the loose setting yet, but I haven't really played with it much yet. I compared this with quite a few other pedals, including: EHX Metal Muff, MI Audio Crunchbox, Keeley Modded SD-1, Blackstar HT-DistX, Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9DX, Wampler Super Plextortion, and Rocktron Third Angel, but ultimately decided on the TL-2 because it seemed to be the most versatile and the best sound and features for the money. I was not disappointed. If I could add anything to the pedal it would be a foot-switchable boost, and if I could add anything to what came with the pedal, it would be a Power Adapter and some Example Settings.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing is pretty damn durable. The only part that I could ever foresee breaking would be the actual part you step on since it is the only plastic part, but it's damn thick plastic. I'm a pretty big guy (6'3" and 220lbs) and I'm not worried about giving this thing a good stop to get it on or off. The cover that comes with it to cover the knobs so your settings don't get messed up while traveling or in use is made of really thick rubber that isn't gonna be failing anyone anytime soon. I will definitely gig with this without a backup, but will probably be using a Power Adapter, as I don't trust batteries in a live situation. I don't see where reliability should ever be an issue with this beast.

Ease of Use — 9
This is a very straightforward pedal. The only knob that you might not be familiar with is the Frequency knob. Other than that, it has a 3 band EQ (Bass, Middle, Treble), Level, and Gain knobs, plus a tight/loose switch. With the Knobs at 12 o'clock it sounded pretty good. While playing with it, I easily dialed in anything from a heavy-hitting, thumping metal sound to a crunchy, hard metal sound, to a searing, screaming metal sound. If you know how to work your guitar's volume/tone knobs, it's also possible to get some classic rock sounds out of this pedal. They still have a modern voicing to them, but if this is all you've got, it's still possible.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    is this better then the boss mz-2 , bc i played my freinds mz-2 and was extremley disapointed with it?
    Atreyumetallica: I haven't used this pedal (but will be buying one soon) and have a Boss MT-2 Metalzone. The MT-2 can thin out the higher tones, and has similar controls to this. The only thing missing from the MT-2 that the TL-2 has is the Tight/Loose switch. I wouldn't say one is better than the other, you need to experiment to find the right sound for you. That's why I'm getting one of these, one way or another one of the pedals will stay and the other will gather dust in a pile of discarded equipment somewhere in electric limbo.
    MUSICFIEND21 wrote: i played this thing yesterday, really cool. its like a boss metalcore screwing a peavey 6505 head and this is what came out. lol
    i doubt its anywhere near that good...
    I got this for my birthday 3 days ago and I must say its impressive. I'm playing it through a Squier(Yeah I know) and a Roland Cube 30x. Even through my Squier I can get epic pinch harmonics and palm muting sounds way better. The Cube actually has a pretty epic distortion but not as heavy as this pedal and I was kinda getting board with the the amp since you can only really get one cool sound out of it.
    Grave Digger92
    this pedal is better than MT-2..i own a MT-2 for 3 year but it doesn't sound awesome like TL-2..true story bro..