DigiTech has a long history of coming up
with nifty treats for guitar players, and its
HardWire pedals—which are now marketed
under their own name—continue the tradition.
These stompboxes are designed for
guitarists who want quality, heavy-duty construction
and guitar-centric features. Each of
these pedals is built like a Cylon Centurion
and features precision-machined, high-grade
components and true-bypass circuitry to
keep your tones intact.
The CM-2 Tube Overdrive, DL-8 Delay/Looper,
and SC-2 Valve Distortion are built for sturdiness
and have gig-friendly features and add-ons,
including Velcro bottom pads, glow-in-the-dark labels (for night vision!), and a trademarked
StompLock cap, that prevents you
from accidentally changing settings with your
foot. In addition, the footswitch cover on top
of each unit can easily be opened for quick
access to the battery—no screwdriver needed.
Another cool feature is constant-voltage
operation: each pedal has circuitry that boosts
the voltage supplied by its 9-volt battery to a
higher operating voltage (15 volts). This adds
more volume, gives you mucho headroom,
prevents unwanted distortion, and results in
tones that sound cleaner in your effects loop.
Constant high voltage keeps your sound from
degrading when your battery runs dry and
avoids that boxy sound you sometimes hear in
other pedals. All the pedals are set up for use
with an AC optional adapter as well.
For this test, I got down to business with my
trusty Performance Custom Strat, a Yamaha
’78 SG2000, a ’65 Fender Deluxe Reverb,
a Blackheart Little Giant half stack, and a
Peavey JSX 2x12 combo.
CM-2 Tube Overdrive
The CM-2 Tube Overdrive is designed to give
you that much-sought-after natural breakup
you hear in overdriven amps. It’s perfect for
blues, blues rock, classic rock, or guys who
just want to add a little girth to their tone. It
has four intuitive knobs: Level, Low, High, and
Gain. The knobs are metal and very solid, and
they stay put without wiggling around. You
also get two voicing modes to choose from.
Classic gives you a smooth-but-dirty overdrive
sound, and Modified adds more gain and
beef. The Modified mode was my favorite,
and with the help of the EQ I was able to dial
in some hefty blues-rock tonal extrapolations
somewhere between Stevie Ray Vaughan and
What’s cool is that I didn’t hear a lot of compression
in the Classic mode. It reminded me
of a cranked Bassman about to explode, but
without the volume. It’s very organic yet lacks
the midrange bump you sometimes hear in
other overdrives. I ran the EQs at around 12
o’clock most of the time, and it sounded very
rich and robust. Single notes sounded twice
as thick, and chords got exponentially chunkier.
It also cleaned up very well when I rolled
back the guitar’s volume. The Modified mode
takes you to heavy blues-rock soloing land.
I couldn’t help but play Hendrix’s “Voodoo
Chile” (Not Slight Return). That added smidgen
of compression, gain, and low end really
makes this pedal an enabler for long-term
pentatonic wanking. It’s smooth, articulate,
very thick—and best of all, quiet. I like this
pedal a lot. When you back off your guitar’s
volume, you can get your sound to return to
the Classic mode without bending down to
flick the switch. Nice.
you like warm, versatile
you like lots of midrange.