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Archive for the ‘RV-7’ Category

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article entitled, “Where DOES TONE Really Reside?” where I discussed the equipment vs. fingers religious debate that seems to rage on the forums now and again. I meant to follow up on that article much earlier, but well, life happens and it’s easy to get sidetracked, so here’s my follow-up:

Tone is NOTHING without music.

Music gives tone a context. Here’s a good test of this statement:

  1. Set your rig up to your sweet spot; that is, where you think it just sings to you, no matter what you play.
  2. Start plucking out random notes, not trying to be musical at all. Could be some dissonant scale of some sort, or just randomly plucked notes. Do some bends and such. Ugly, right?
  3. Now, without changing your settings, make music with that tone. You could comp some chords, or do some melodic lead.

For example, here’s a clip I quickly recorded that demonstrates the steps. In the clip, I’m playing my Strat through a Hardwire reverb, into a Reason Bambino on the Normal channel, at just the edge of breakup. The tone that this produces is silky smooth, but responds to attack and volume increases with just bit of grind. I’ve been using this setting quite a bit lately. It creates a very three-dimensional sound.

The first part – thankfully – is very short, and is just random plucking of notes. Without touching anything on my guitar or amp, in the second part, I do a little chord comping and create some music.

The point to that little exercise is that in both parts, the tone I’m producing – at least to my ears – is gorgeous. But flat-out tone with no context well… it just plain sucks!

So put everything together, where does tone reside? As I stated in the first article, it’s in both your gear and your fingers, but ultimately, you have to give it context, and that’s applying that tone to music. But keep in mind that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What is considered “great tone” is a purely subjective thing.

Cheers!

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Hardwire RV-7 Stereo Reverb

Hardwire RV-7 Stereo Reverb

Back in September of this year, DigiTech released a line of high-end pedals under the “Hardwire” brand. These are high-quality, true-bypass pedals, and I have to say that I’m very impressed. Traditionally, DigiTech hasn’t been known for really high-end pedals. They’re typically priced at the mid- to low-end, and have always had reasonable quality. Nothing to complain about, but definitely nothing to write home about either.

But with the new Hardwire line, they’ve completely stepped beyond the norm, and have created pedals that have the potential to compete with other high-end pedals. In addition to being true-bypass, the pedals operate with a higher operating voltage which gives them a lot of headroom, making them a lot less susceptible to clipping. The power conditioning within each unit also ensures a constant voltage; a boon when a battery is being used, so you don’t get performance loss as battery power runs down (though I wonder how that affects battery life…).

I’ve been so focused on off-name brands of pedals for awhile that I’ve essentially ignored what the big production houses have been creating. So I apologize for being a bit behind the curve with the timing of this review. But be that as it may, I’m glad I stumbled upon this particular pedal while I was testing the EH #1 Echo at my local Guitar Center.

After I was done testing the #1 Echo, which I really liked, by the way, I asked the helpful, and amazingly knowledgeable sales guy if he had any good reverbs in stock. GC doesn’t really carry much in the way of boutique pedals, so I wasn’t expecting much. But very much to my surprise, he pointed me to the new line of Hardwire pedals, with special emphasis on the RV-7 Stereo Reverb, explaining that Hardwire was a new brand from DigiTech. I raised my eyebrows at that…

Sensing that I wasn’t some schmuck, he didn’t try to do a selling job on me, and just simply said, “Dude, I think you’ll really like this pedal. I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS good. You gotta try it out.” So I did, and the first words that came out of my mouth were “Damn! That’s sweet!” The sales guys just grinned and said, “I told you. Surprising to come from DigiTech, huh?” That was putting it mildly, to say the least.

So what makes this pedal special? DigiTech licensed 7 reverb effects from Lexicon. I’ve worked with Lexicon reverbs for years, and they are top-notch. At my Church gig, we use a Lexicon rack for vocals, and I just DIG that unit. To have them in a pedal for my guitar is even better! Granted, it’s digital modeling, but this pedal really KICKS ASS! In all the voicings, the sound is consistent, and you can dial in as much attack and decay as you need. Attack is controlled via the Liveliness knob which is similar to a pre-delay. For those of you who aren’t familiar with pre-delay, it’s essentially a certain amount of time (usu. in milliseconds) that a reverb unit waits before it kicks in the reverb. It’s very useful to have this kind of control, because those units without it often suffer from being really wet and soupy. Pre-delay allows a certain amount of dry signal to go out first, then tail out with reverb. The net result is that you get much better note articulation.

My favorite setting was the Spring Reverb, though they all sounded dynamite! And with the fine-tuning you can dial in with the Liveliness and Decay knobs, you can get just the right reverb effect for your purposes. I had so much fun playing with this little box! I spent more time with it than the #1 Echo.

Let’s look at the RV-7 features (from the DigiTech web site):

  • Reverb Types
    • Room – Fast decaying reverb; great for a touch of ambience
    • Plate – Renowned studio reverb heard on classic recordings
    • Reverse – Reverb in reverse; gradually crescendos to full volume
    • Modulated – Lush, modulating, reverb ideal for chords
    • Gated – Unique reverb with abrupt decay; good for percussive playing
    • Hall – Large, encompassing reverb with warm decay
    • Spring – Classic “surf” reverb; great for Rockabilly too!
  • Tails On/Off Switch – When on, reverb tails are not cut off in bypass
  • True Bypass circuitry preserves your tone in bypass
  • Constant high-voltage operation for tonal quality and noise reduction
  • HardWire Pedals include the following stage accessories
    • Stomplock™ knob guards lock your tone in place and prevent tampering or accidental knob adjustments onstage
    • Green gaffer tape helps you locate the pedal in adverse stage lighting
    • Custom-cut Velcro® pads attach and lock your pedals to your pedalboard
The features in this pedal, plus the standard features included in all the Hardwire pedals are definitely worth a look. And you’ll actually be blown away by the price: $149.00. While higher than their $100 pedals, that’s not a lot more to ask for that much more quality and features!  And just for shits and giggles, here’s a video review by ProGuitarShops.com:
Finally, I realize that this review isn’t in the format of my regular reviews, and for that, I’m sorry. I just wanted to get this out. In any case, the DigiTech Hardwire RV-7 Stereo Reverb gets:
5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!

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