DigiTech Hardwire TL-2 Metal Distortion Pedal by Nikhil Suresh
Bought this bad boy off ebay for £50, to be honest I wasnt expecting much from it, and since I was **** with dialling in tones, and at playing guitar, I wasnt way to impressed with this pedal after the purchase. Had it lying around for about a two years till I actually realised its true potential. Now, after two years of playing + messing with tones, this to me seems like one of the best pedals out there for what i do/want to do, get sick metal tones.
On a previous review I wrote about how awesome this unit sounded with my MG10CF unit. I want to expand on that by saying that it sounded just beautiful with only the overdrive channel, on the clean channel, it was just really gritty and edgy, and I, personally, didnt like the tone. But as a booster for the gain channel, this just sounded absolutely beautiful. Also used on a recording with a tube amp slightly driven, and this, once again as a gain enhancer, and it was just balls to wall.
Speaking of Balls to the Wall, u can get a wide array of tones from this unit, all the way from that mid-80s Accept, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Metallica tone to even the modern day, scooped tone. Its got knobs to set the highs, lows, mid and mid freq along with the level and gain. These are just perfect for tweaking with any type of amp.
I recently managed to try out the Line 6 metal pedal, and yeah.. line 6 just sounds like **** compared to this pedal. (but there was some issues with the line6 pedal, i think due to the power supply, so wasnt working 100%). The line 6 unit either added too much gain or way too less with just the slightest movement of the gain knob, and the eq on it was very unconvincing, making the tone either way too honky or too scooped. It was almost impossible to place the knobs at a right level for a right tone. This badass motherf*cker on the other hand, i felt, was quite easy to tame, the level and gain knobs are stepped for a gradual increase rather than a massive outburst of gain from the dark pits of the abyss. I also own a Boss Metalcore pedal, and have tried the death metal pedal, the metalcore pedal didnt seem to have the same amount of bite and crunch to it, and no mid eq, and the death metal pedal, from what I remember was just a bit uncontrollable, with too less tonal options.
The eq on the unit i felt were quite powerful, in a nice way, and also a very gradual as well. The mid frequency knob is a beauty, it sweeps from the low mids to high mids, maybe 500hz - 5khz not sure about this... so basically u can get that old school crunch or also the thrash-ish tone, but personally, i felt with the mid freq all the way up and boosted it sounded a bit too harsh, but around mid freq around 1-3 o'clock and boosted, it just sounded amazing, not harsh, just crunchy.. but then again u also have all the other knobs to play around with. Its also got a really nice feature which allows you to switch from a "tight" to "loose" which basically seems to be for switching between riffing and soloing... but personally i prefer the "tight" mode way more than loose which just sounds a bit muddy and too... well loose.
I'd just like to add, the best results i've gotten so far with this pedal has been while using it with the OD channel of an amp, and wasn't much happy using it through the clean channel, so I wouldn't recommend it as the primary OD source for the tone, but rather as a sweetener. But then again, just try it out, it might just be what ur looking for, u never know.
I've been thinking for a while to do a video review of this and the amp, and once i get a mic stand and a decent camera, i'll actually do it, as i feel this pedal, and the amp, is definitely worth the review. Anyways, hope this helps, and if ur looking around for a nice pedal to buy to get some sick metal tones, i would definitely recommend this one.