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My in-depth thoughts on the Hardwire Supernatural...

dave12

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,938
So, I realize I might be a little late to the game, but here goes...

I actually did not read any threads on this before buying, so I went in without any biases. I just thought there were some cool sounds to be had from the demos, so it was worth a shot. I am a huge fan of the bluesky and I use the mod reverb on the RV-5, so my initial thought was that this pedal could bridge the gap for me...I didn't set my expectations high, but again, I thought it might be worth a shot.

So, I played it for this past week thoroughly, after getting it last weekend. I was, to put it lightly, unimpressed. I thought the pedal sounded much warmer in the demos, but that's PGS magic for you.

Overall, the tone and response were pretty lifeless. I didn't like that the attack/pre-delay were very defined for each setting at different points for each. I can see how it was designed by a specific player, because it definitely plays to certain types of playing. I didn't find it overly versatile.

To break it down by reverb:

-Plate

This reverb wasn't bad, but compared to my Flint, it had a ways to go. It sounded like something you'd hear in a lower-tier reverb. There wasn't enough pre-delay on this setting for my taste. I felt like the notes got washed out really easily. Overall, not bad, not great.

-Plate Mod

I had hoped this would sound similar to the RV-5, but it really didn't. I didn't feel like the modulation effect was very strong in the reverb. It sounded more like a background swooshy sound. Again, it wasn't great on clarity. If I was letting notes ring out, it sounded alright, but if I played anything more than that, it muddied up pretty quickly. Overall, this was one of the more disappointing ones.

-Shimmer

Why the detune? It adds this annoying dissonance in the sound. It is tailored to a very specific taste. I could get a reverb to sound detuned with a warbled tape delay or a POG. I don't need it on the octave effect. Other than that, it played this weird limbo between the bluesky's takeover of the sound and the Verbzilla's nice octave "sitting on top" (as I like to call it) sound. There was enough predelay, that it sounded similar to the bluesky, but the octave effect wasn't lush and clear like the bluesky. This was the most disappointing to me.

-Supernova

This was one of the better settings. It is definitely an ambient type of reverb that is not overly friendly to high attack playing, but I expected that with a name like 'supernova.' I wasn't disappointed, but wasn't impressed, much like the plate reverb. It sounded alright, but didn't have the warmth of better reverbs.

-Shine

I believe this is a shimmer/octave effect with modulation reverb. This was by far my favorite reverb. It just had a really cool sound. The most unique of all the reverb sounds in the pedal. Think octave meets swirly modulation. Hard to describe, honestly. If it wasn't for the fact that I was not much of a fan of the rest of the reverbs in the pedal, I might have kept it for this one. I don't know why PGS didn't demo this one.

-Pherb

Does what it says. It does it pretty well. This was one of the cooler sounding reverbs. Practically speaking, I have never used this before, and it would not be a mainstay of my sound, so I wasn't really interested in it. I can't really compare it, cause like I said, I've never used a pherb before. It was fun to play around with and added a cool color to the sound. Think of flanger meets reverb. Pretty simple.

-Spring

This wasn't a bad spring. Honestly, I spent the least amount of time on the spring preset cause it wasn't what I got the pedal for. I can say that it is probably one of the better springs I've heard out there. Without playing it much more, I can't say much else.


So, I know (before anyone says it) that it is an "ambient" reverb, and so it was "designed" for ambient sounds, but I don't buy that explanation. Reverb is reverb. It works or it doesn't. I felt like the 'liveliness' knob was a waste. Either make it a tone knob or pre-delay. I don't get this idea of adding only highs to effects and dirt. It only made the sound less complex and rich. Of everything, my biggest complaint is that I felt that most of the reverbs were fairly unresponsive to the liveliness knob.

Overall, it wasn't a bad pedal. I know it sounded like I hated it, but I really didn't. It just wasn't as good as PGS was making it out to be...as if that was a first. Still, it was fun to play, but not practical for me.
 

IRG

Member
Messages
5,102
Interesting review, well thought out. I felt the opposite on some of the settings. I loved the Plate, and liked the plate mod a lot. Not sure I'm a big fan of Shimmer either, not bad at all, fairly unique you could say. SuperNova and Shine I really need to spend more time with, they just haven't interested me that much, yet. Phlerb is fun, sounds really good. The spring setting is good, sometimes wish the delay time was a bit longer, but otherwise it's a great sounding spring. I think the Liveliness control is a tone control, pretty effective to me. I sometimes think a 4th control needs to be added, maybe the lack of a pre delay is what is needed. But overall, I give it a pretty high rating, plus small size, and fair price.
 

12guitdown

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,480
Yeah it's still on my board due the fact that it does 100% wet reverb. I use the plate setting 95% of the time. The pherb is pretty cool too. My other ambients are; wet stereo with shimmer and timeline delay. The supernatural does the 100%, that's why it stays.
 

enuenu

Member
Messages
97
I have just received this pedal. It is my first reverb pedal so please forgive the following totally non tech review.

I think it sounds pretty good but I am considering returning it. Why the hesitation? To me the "trails" in the various modes all sound a bit the same. A bit like a particular organ type synth sound is tacked onto the note you play and this then trails off. If you could alter this trail sound a bit it would be a lot better. As for the straight reverb settings, I think my friend's Hall of Fame sounded a bit better, more "real".

The problem is if I sent it back, what to get? Everyone raves about the Strymon Blue Sky but they are expensive. Strymon have the Flint now too. I do like that "ambient" trail effect that the Supernatural has and I guess the "straight" reverb pedals don't do this. I just wish these "ambient" trails in the Supernatural weren't so "all the same". I think it will get boring pretty soon.

Any ideas on what I might swap it for? EHX Cathedral maybe? What's a pedal that you can really change your tones with to reduce boredom with the pedal?
 

Jim Moulton

Member
Messages
2,129
I think the Trex Tone bug reverb for the money was awesome, but it made me discover, that I do not need a reverb pedal, my amp reverb is fine. The tone bug does a surprisingly good spring reverb, and the modern setting is good too, in comparison, think it much better than Boss RV-5.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,048
HoF or Wet wins the popularity polls conducted here at TGP.
The Wet is a great sounding verb, the HoF sounds great and is more versitle.
Plus the shimmer download for the Wet kills the Stryman shimmer imo.
 

Ryan84

Member
Messages
3,630
I love my Supernatural. I think the Plate and Spring can hold their own with any other reverb pedal out there. And yes I mean the Strymon pedals too. And on the other settings if you tone them down a bit, are also very usable. I own the HOF and Stereo Wet too, and I really don't pick favorites. Each pedal is good for it's own purposes. Supernatural can do things the Hall Of Fame can't. Hall Of Fame can do things the Supernatural can't. The Stereo Wet is in it's own league for what it does too. It's really unfair to put them against each other, as they are utilized for their own specialized reverb tones. I actually found the Strymon pedals reverb (Blue Sky, Flint) to be a bit sterile/synthetic and sit on the top of the guitar too much. Out of the three I own (HOF, Wet, Supernatural) I feel mine blend better with my guitar tone then Strymons I've used. So to each his own as far as what sound you are looking for with reverb.
 
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voorhiessa

Senior Member
Messages
6,527
If you like modulated verb, go for the Boss RV5. It's the standard and seems more prominent than others, like the hardwire for example
 

enuenu

Member
Messages
97
I'll probably keep it. It is pretty good I guess. Just being picky. I'd love to have many reverbs and play, but this one will do me.
 

ncyankee

Member
Messages
610
HoF or Wet wins the popularity polls conducted here at TGP..
while it may not be the most popular pedal here, my Eventide Space ended my search for reverb. It is expensive but it is a lot cheaper to buy once than buy several times on lower priced stuff to end up at the same destination.
 




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