Super Hard-On Review

manufacturer: Zvex date: 01/31/2013 category: Guitar Effects
Zvex: Super Hard-On
This is the perfect preamp pedal. The "Crackle Okay" volume knob is a negative-feedback control styled after classic 60's recording console inputs.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Ease of Use: 9.5
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reviews (2) pictures (9) 3 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Super Hard-On Reviewed by: rockstrongo, on july 27, 2004
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: There is only one knob, the volume control. This pedal has to be the simplest pedal to get a great sound out of that's ever been built. The pedal is an interesting take on a clean boost, where its namesake came from "giving a super hard on to your amplifier". It's a very interesting way of putting it, but Zachary Vex is a very interesting guy. Anyway, most clean boosts just take your signal, amplify it and slam your amp harder with a stronger signal, in essence. This will provide a clean boost for a while, but higher settings will result in distortion or Overdrive sounds. The signal at that point is hitting a clipping roof of sorts, so when the signal gets to that level it clips, or distorts. The Super Hard On raises the volume, but also raises the clipping roof at the same time, thus reducing the chances of distortion considerably. Pretty amazing idea, and it works really, really well. The Super Hard On comes with: a really easy way to strengthen your amplified sound. The ability to add a whole new dimension of sparkle, especially to your clean sound. True Bypass switching. Extremely low battery draw (will last for months upon months). Two outputs to run to two amps at the same time, or one to a tuner pedal. Lifetime warranty, even if it is used. // 10

Sound: I'll say this before I say anything else: this pedal was designed for tube amps. I'm not to wild on how it sounds with solid state amps, but then again, I don't like most solid state amps to begin with. Try it with a tube amp. I'm using this pedal with a Diezel VH4S halfstack and two Gibson Les Paul Customs, but I'll pull out some other guitars from time to time. Basically, this pedal will make your amp sound ten times bigger, no joke. If you primarily play clean or want your clean channel to have some added sparkle, try this thing out. I swear, every single clean player that I've recommended this pedal to has thanked me over and over. It is a godsend for Strats into Twin Reverbs, and the holy grail for hollowbodies into fat, clean sounding amps. It will had dimension and sparkle that surrounds you, and you'll never want to turn it off. I never turn mine off. If your guitar sounds weak or your pickup output is too low, give this a shot. It'll make them sound like the day they came off of the winder. But how does it sound distorted? Awesome. In the effects loop of the highgain rhythm channel on my Diezel (Channel 3) it adds a huge volume boost. Going through the front of the amp it sweetens the distortion sound, and makes it even fatter and stronger sounding. Running it in front of the amp distorted doesn't make it louder like it would clean, but it still gives a sparkle to the drive that is totally unique to this pedal. I've never found anything quite like it. My Les Pauls with humbuckers through this pedal hit the amp with a really strong signal. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Zachary Vex has lifetime warranties on all of his products, even if they're used. If something goes wrong, he's there to fix it and have it back to you ASAP. He has great customer support and really will go the extra mile for you. // 10

Overall Impression: I think that every guitar player should have one of these pedals. It makes everything so much fuller, stronger and crisper. If it were stolen or lost I'd have to buy another. If you aren't getting enough punch out of your tube amp, try this pedal out. // 10

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overall: 9
Super Hard-On Reviewed by: terribleguitar, on january 31, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 150

Ease of Use: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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