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Hardwire CM-2 Tube Overdrive, DL-8 Delay/Looper and SC-2 Valve Distortion Pedal Review

Download Example 1
Crunch mode, Gain at max
Download Example 2
Saturated mode, Gain at max

SC-2 Valve Distortion
Do you long for high-gain distortion? Scooped metal tones? Brutalicious chunk? The SC-2 Valve Distortion delivers the goods, but it’s more than just a killing machine in a stompbox. It has a sensitive side. I was able to dial in pretty much everything from a smattering of amp breakup à la Jimmy Page to face-melting shred. You get four knobs: Level, Low, High, and Gain. You get two settings: Crunch and Saturated. The Crunch mode gives you… Crunch. That’s classic Marshall-esque overdrive/distortion with a mid boost and harmonic overtones a plenty. The Saturated setting scoops out the mids and gives you the kind of gain you would need if you wanted to drop in onstage with Iron Maiden.

Guitarists are persnickety when it comes to distortion pedals, and I like distortion pedals with warmth. This pedal has it. There’s nothing sterile sounding going on here. I was able to navigate my guitar’s tone to everything from clean boost to dirty blues, from AC/DC right on up to Metallica. It’s got a lot of range despite the fact that my first impulse was to max the gain, back off on the highs, and pump the bass. It sounded awesome! There’s a lot going on as you back off on the gain, yet it always retains a wonderfully natural, tubey warmth. The scooped mids are righteous! It also gets that classic, notched-wah Michael Schenker thing without sounding muddy.

When I cranked the highs, I got a nice, usable cutting tone that could slice through any band mix without becoming ice picky. It’s a versatile pedal that would work great for blues, shred, or jamming on Anthrax tunes. And the best thing about this pedal is that it will stay warm no matter what.

Buy if...
you want to experience the power and the glory.
Skip if...
you don’t understand the fury of rock.

Street $99 - HardWire -

The Final Mojo
My favorite pedals are the ones with thin instruction manuals. I just want to play guitar, and thankfully the HardWire instruction manuals are thin. Great pedals should be intuitive, have the sturdiness to endure abuse, sound glorious, and enhance your art. The HardWire pedals do all these things at a reasonable price. Don’t let pre-conceptions of these pedals fool you. You can coax sounds from across the spectrum out of all these tantalizing tone tanks. Clean players can find transparent boost, subtle slapback, and the smallest of amp breakup, while those seeking heaviosity can gorge themselves on relentless blues-rock sustain, arena-style delays, and brutally crushing distortion. Check ’em out. You won’t be sorry.
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