Digitech Hardwire CM-2 Tube Overdrive – review

Digitech Hardwire CM-2 Tube Distortion

Another winner from the Hardwire series

Digitech have really hit a home run with their new Hardwire pedal series. I have previously reviewed (and own) a DL-8 Delay/Looper pedal, and found it to be amazing.  To read up on the build quailty of the Hardwire series read the DL-8 review.

I thought I would try out another pedal in the Hardwire range, and borrowed a CM-2 Tube Overdrive pedal to see if Digitech’s winning formula had continued.

The CM-2 is a green colour, probably paying homage to a particular classic green overdrive that most guitar players are probably familiar with.

It has 4 main controls, the Level, Low and High tone controls, and Gain. Digitech also put in a “Classic” and “Modern” tone shaping toggle switch, which is great for different tones.

Digitech write about how “Overdrive is meant to be transparent and responsive to your touch”, and they have definitely succeeded with the CM-2. Setting the toggle switch to Classic, and set the Low and High tone controls to 12 o’clock and the CM-2 will not colour your basic tone in any way. Use the Level and Gain controls to set your desired overdrive level, and the dirty channel on your amp will receive a beautiful boost in it’s gain, whilst still sounding like your amp.

Playing with my Ibanez RG550 with modified PAF Pro pickup through my Blackstar HT-5 head, the CM-2 delivered a glorious extra gain stage, perfect for my needs. My other two main electrics have EMGs, and they really roar through the HT-5. The CM-2 enabled my RG550 to get to the same levels of dirt without altering the tone of the amp like my Boss DS-1 did.

Push the Level and Gain knobs a bit more gave me amazing, heavy tones, perfect for all sub-genres of metal. The great thing with the CM-2 is that it doesn’t even seem to get muddy as the gain goes up. It still stays razor sharp all the way through. Perfect for real musical noise and feedback.

Switching over to the Modern setting the CM-2 changes into a different beast. It provides more gain, and bigger low end.  I found that in the Modern setting the CM-2  works nicely as a distortion pedal on the clean channel of my HT-5. Set the Low and High tone controls to taste, and you received a lovely rock tone in return. It certainly wont provide you with huge metal tone, but it’s definitely great for hard rock and punk, etc.

Overdrive and distortion pedals can quite often add a whole lot of unwanted noise when engaged. The Hardwire CM-2 however barely mutters a sound when engaged though.  As with all of the Hardwire series, the CM-2 is a true bypass pedal, which means no extra noise or colouring of tone whemn it’s turned off too. The pedal acts as if it’s not even there.

If you are looking for a rugged, hard wearing, amazing sounding transparent overdrive pedal to push your amp’s dirty channel, or a great rock sound from a clean amp then look no further than the Digitech Hardwire CM-2 Tube Overdrive. It produces amazing tones, with no fuss, plus it is really reasonably priced. Any guitar player would benefit from the goodness that is this pedal.

A big thanks goes out to Better Music in Canberra for allowing me the privilege of borrowing gear from their store. There are a great bunch of knowledgeable guys there.

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