Super Hard-On review by Zvex

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (12 votes)
Zvex: Super Hard-On
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Price paid: $ 150

Sound — 8
Let me start by saying that this pedal was designed to be used with a tube amp. Using it with a solid-state amplifier will most likely make it sound harsh and noisy. Despite the single-knob configuration, there is a broad range of sounds available. On the lowest setting, there is no volume boost or drop, but the sound of the guitar becomes more open and clear - that's because of the very high input impedance. With the knob at noon, the pedal starts pushing the power amp tubes, which results in a compressed and powerful sound. Turn the knob to the max, and the boost is so strong that the amp starts to sound weird. Not only that, it can be dangerously harmful to the tubes when used at the maximum setting. Even though there is a ton of boost in this pedal, it never becomes noisy. The only "noise factor" is the volume knob - its crackling is really frightening.

Overall Impression — 10
All in all, I love this thing. I have tried a few pedals that could be used as boost pedals, but this one beats everything. For example, I used to play through a Boss GE-7, which was not bad, but it could only achieve a small amount of boost while still being more noisy than the Super Hard-On. I also used an Ibanez TS-9, which didn't sound as powerful, either, and also cut a lot of low frequiencies from the signal. And, last but not least, this pedal's name is so bada-s! Along with my Big Muff Pi, this pedal has a lot of character, both in looks and in terms of sound.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The pedal is made really well. The casing, being so small, is rock solid; the soldering job inside is awesome for a pedal that is made in Taiwan. The footswitch is reliable, and the single knob, while looking very cool, also provides a great grip. On a gig, however, I would not dare to adjust the volume level without switching the pedal off in the first place, because the audiences' and your ears would be pierced by a loud SCHHHHHHHH sound. Otherwise, the Super Hard-On is a great and reliable pedal.

Ease of Use — 9
First of all, my pedal is the silk-screened "Vexter" version, which has the same components as the hand-painted pedal and sounds more or less the same, but has a much more wallet-friendly price tag. This pedal is really simple - there's a lot of spare room in the already tiny casing, and on the outside we have a single "crackle okay" volume knob and a footswitch. As far as inputs and outputs are concerned, there is a 9V DC power jack for a power adapter (although there is no need for it - current draw of this pedal is just 2 mA, which means that a regular 9V battery would last for years), an input, and two outputs, so this pedal can also be used as an A/B-Y box, which is a nice feature.

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