|Summary: With seven (7) licensed Lexicon reverb models, this is one bad-ass reverb pedal, and a great value proposition given the relatively inexpensive price of $149.99 for a true bypass pedal. With the Hardwire series, Digitech has really hit a home run!
Pros: Just about the best-sounding spring and plate reverbs I’ve ever heard in a digital reverb. Capable of subtle reverb, to thick, rich and wet surf.
Cons: None. I dig this pedal!
Price: $149.99 street
Features (from Digitech):
Tone Bone Rating: 5.0 – I did a review of this awhile back, but I finally bought one, and I am oh so pleased with how it sounds!
Yeah, yeah, say what you will about Digitech being known for “consumer” grade pedals, and I’m as much of a boutique pedal snob as the next guy, but there’s no denying the quality workmanship that has gone into the Digitech Hardwire series of pedals. And yes, I know, I reviewed this pedal before, but that review was based upon a test at my local Guitar Center, while competing against the flailing of a wanker sitting next to me, trying to look cool and and trying to play metal licks and failing horribly. Okay, enough of the ranting… Y’all know how I feel about wankers… (search GG for “wankers”).
And say what you will about a digital effect box, but the fact the RV-7 has seven licensed Lexicon reverb voices inside give this pedal LOTS of credibility in my book. As I mentioned in my previous review, I’ve used a Lexicon rackmount for vocals at my Church, and have absolutely loved the reverb effects it contains. Though digital, Lexicon has figured it out, so it’s no surprise that they’re pretty much the standard for digital reverb.
In any case, despite the conditions I had to play within during my initial test, the RV-7 blew me away. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t think Digitech was capable of making a truly great-sounding pedal. Make no mistake, I’ve had Digitech pedals in the past, and they’re all quite functional, but I would never give them a “best in class” rating. They tend to offer great value for the money you pay – which isn’t much for their standard stuff; at least until I discovered the Hardwire series – especially the RV-7!
Since I reviewed the RV-7, I’ve tried several, and even came close to buying an EH Holy Grail. It too is a great sounding reverb, but there was something about its room reverb model which just didn’t do it for me. It’s a great pedal though, but I still liked the RV-7 better.
Recently, I had the chance to go to the local music shop near my work (B Street Music in San Mateo, CA) to perform an A/B test between the Holy Grail and the RV-7. Head-to-head the pedals were pretty close in performance, but the RV-7 beat the Holy Grail with the types of reverb voices it offered, plus the room reverb model on the RV-7 was superb! While the Holy Grail just edged out the RV-7 with the spring reverb, I found I could dial in a great sounding spring reverb with the RV-7 just the same, so that, combined with the awesome room reverb was what sold me. But let’s get into some specifics…
Fit and Finish
All the Hardwire pedals are solidly built with a cool, flat metallic finish. These pedals are very well-built, and surprisingly heavy – definitely gig-worthy. The RV-7 has a purplish, flat metallic finish on the body with a flat silver switch plate that has a nice rubber pad with the Hardwire logo. The pedal featurs a cool, light-blue LED indicator light. The RV-7 has four control knobs: Level, Liveliness, Delay, and a Voice selector knob. The first three knobs are not smooth sweep knobs. They have – for lack of a better term – micro-notches that really add to the whole industrial vibe that the Hardwire pedals have going on. When you look at the pedal, what’s not to like? 🙂 Of course, how it sounds is where it’s at, isn’t it?
Level – Controls the Wet/Dry amount. Fully clockwise is 100% wet.
Liveliness – This is actually hi-cut filter to add or reduce the amount of high-end freqs that come through
Delay – Controls how long the reverb effect decays after striking a note or chord
Voice Selector – pretty self-explanatory
How It Sounds
In a word, AWESOME! I used it in my weekly acoustic gig this evening, and was thanking the heavens for such a great pedal. My guitar maintained its clarity, no matter how much I upped the level knob. It must have a slight pre-delay built in; whatever, the fact that I could clearly hear the notes and chords I was playing and not having them washed out by the effect was truly an inspiring experience. Add to the fact that it is true bypass, so when it’s off, it’s really off, is yet another reason to love this pedal; no hum, no buzz.
To be fair, I have no idea what to do with the reverse reverb other than to add some interesting effect with single notes in a song. But other than that, I’m really digging this pedal!
Here are some sound samples I quickly created… Please excuse the recording quality. I just recorded in an open room with no filtering. BTW, I used a Strat with a prototype Aracom RoxBox 18 Watt Amp with a Jensen 1 X10 speaker. In almost every case, all the dials were at 12 o’clock, except for the Hall and Spring, where I set Level and Decay to about 2pm. I prefer a more subtle reverb effect, but as you’ll hear, the RV-7 is crystal clear, and produces a very nice reverb effect.