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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!

Hardwire RV-7 Stereo Reverb

Hardwire RV-7 Stereo Reverb

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):

  • 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

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?

Controls

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!

Sound Samples

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.

Room

Plate

Reverse

Modulated

Gated

Hall

Spring

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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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