A while back i bought a Sony PSP from a friend for the strange price of $65 and a box of Pop Tarts. I am completely serious. I used it about five times and then it sat in my closet collecting dust for several months. On a completely unrelated subject I have recently discovered the Digitech Hardwire CM-2 Tube Overdrive and have fallen in love with it. (Long story short, a dude on craigslist was selling one for $70 and I traded that PSP for it instead. Success.)
I played with it at my local music store and wasn’t super impressed (it was plugged into a Marshall MG15DFX… What could I expect?) but the reviews on the internet were so crazily positive! And the youtube demos made it sound great! What was the deal?!
I ended up trading that PSP (You thought that random intro sentence was completely pointless didn’t you?) for The Hardwire Tube Overdrive on craigslist and took it home and was blown away. It took awhile to find a good spot for it, but i ended up putting it before my other OD pedals and it just sounded beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
You got your basic Level, Low, High, and Gain controls here, as well as a standard bypass switch. There is, however, another mysterious little mini-toggle for either Classic or Modified. Classic sounds very very reminiscent of a TS9 (but with 2 band EQ of course)but the Modified setting is where this pedal really shines. A Gain/Presence boost along with a mid-range boost and a bit more compression give it that TS9DX “Hot Mode” sound but with more creamy, glorious sustain. Beautiful.
Try as I might, I could not get a bad sound out of this pedal! Contrary to popular belief, this is not just a glorified Digitech Bad Monkey. It’s a whole ‘nother animal. The CM-2 uses higher voltage operation than any pedal I’ve ever heard of, allowing for amazing headroom so you won’t overload this pedal with any pregain stages or active pickups. Like it’s namesake, it’s hardwired true bypass and won’t affect your tone when off. One of the features I’m glad for in the Hardwire series is an overall use of much better parts. The knobs are solid and well, different. (Play with one, you’ll get what I mean.) The bypass switch is an overall better quality than the standard digitech pedal (I’m comparing this to my Hot Head.) and this thing could survive a freaking nuclear holocaust. It’s even olive drab which makes it extra hardcore! It comes with a Glow In The Dark sticker for the stomp switch so it’s easy to see on a dark stage (very helpful!) and a seperate, all velcro backplate
to replace the standard rubber one. Bright blue blind-you-for-days LED and a sick, sick tone. This pedal is the definition of sexy.
It was once said on TGP somewhere: “If it ain’t hand-painted, it ain’t worth playin’.” I guarantee if you shoot this out with hand made boutique overdrives it will still blow their overinflated pricetags out their butts. Long story short, this thing sounds PHENOMENAL and is a flat hundred bucks new! Don’t take my word for it. Go play one. This has become my main overdrive pedal for lead AND rhythm! My SD-1 and BD-2 are essentially just gain boosts now!
Anyway yeah. Digitech Hardwire CM-2 Tube Overdrive, You succeed on all levels of awesome.
About the author:
I’m a christian guitarist with a bad bad case of “Pedal Acquisition Syndrome” 🙂 I’ve been playing for about 6 years. My current set up is as follows:
Ibanez AX-S 42 > Dunlop Standard Crybaby GCB-95 > Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator > Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive > Digitech Hot Head Distortion > Danelectro Tuna Melt Tremolo > Digitech RP50 Processor (Piece of crap, only used as a tuner) > Boss DD-7 Digital Delay > Fender FM212R
You can follow Andrew on Twitter (@AndrewElmore)