Saturday, 28 March 2015

Hardwire Supernatural vs TC Electronics Hall Of Fame (HOF) vs Hardwire RV7. And the Shimmer Sound

This is a very quick overview of these three pedals. I realise this is fairly subjective and will differ according to your needs and ears! I did this after I bought the Supernatural for some ambient shimmers but then returned it due to its mysterious vibe - which you may dig - I didn't ! All three pedals do mono and stereo reverb.

The Contenders

Hardwire RV7 (left) - Hall of Fame (middle) - Hardwire Supernatural (right)


I did a brief and basic test of all three pedals compared to each other. This was recorded with a Fender Blacktop going into a Fender Blues Junior and recorded on a Zoom H2 next to the amp.

The summary of the three pedals as I found them...

1. The Supernatural has a longer release (100% wet if wanted). It also has a 'darker' and more 'minor' tone on some of the ambient presets.

2. The Hall of Fame is probably the weakest sounding of the three (to my ears). I just feel it's not as natural sounding as the Hardwire pedals. The standout feature is the ability to download tone prints via USB.

3. The RV7 doesn't get anywhere near 'wet' enough for my liking (not designed to) but is the most pleasing and full sound compared to the Hall of Fame. I find the Hardwire pedals the most 'natural' sounding.

I would say that all three pedals have their own niche and will have their own advocates...

1. The Supernatural is there for those who love huge long ambient reverbs and more intriguing sounds.

2. The Hall has more tweakability and more options. The tone print I have adds hints of chorus and phase and flange. You can also make your own tone prints.

3. The RV7 is likely the one that you will have as a great all-rounder with some great sounds. The reverse reverb is a bit strange but does add some flavour!

So which sounds are the best from each pedal - for what I need and to my ear!

1. The Supernatural has a great plate sound according to many reviewers. I can't say it blew me away one way or the other. The best sound for me was the Shine sound which was a nicer and more uplifting shimmer sound than the actual Shimmer sound (and the Supernatural sound was good). The huge long release (100% wet) is amazing! Regular Plate setting has a touch of modulation

2. The HOF has an amazing Church sound which has a huge long release on it. I really like the Mod tone as well, although if you add to much of the FX it gets a bit too wobbly!

3. My favourite sound on the RV7 is without doubt the modulated sound which I love. Again the Plate setting has a touch of modulation.

So what didn't you like?

1. The Supernatural wasn't designed to be like the other 'shimmer' pedals out there (like Mr Black Eterna, Neunaber, Blue Sky etc which do 'nicer' shimmers). Instead it has a much more minor, haunting sounding shimmer which does a bit of a glissando down the scale as it decays. I wanted something more uplifting. This is the case across all of the settings to one extent or another. Didn't hugely dig the pherb sound either.

2. The HOF just sounds a bit like it doesn't have the 'depth' or character of sound of the Hardwire series with the Lexicon effects built in. Maybe I'm expecting too much! I would love to see the HOF add a shimmer / octave effect in an upgraded model. Comparing the HOF Plate to the Hardwires, there's not the same dynamics there.

3. The RV7 just doesn't have a wet enough signal for me. It just needs another 25%. This is its huge let down and means I wouldn't be able to use it as brilliantly for any ambient type sounds, even if I added in an Electro Harmonix POG with its octaves.


I think this is a pretty fair overview of the three pedals. Build quality from all the three pedals is outstanding. No tone suck except I did notice a slight reduction in volume from the Supernatural (very probably due to the immense wet level). I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of them but think carefully about your needs. If you want a beautiful shimmer sound then I wouldn't recommend any of them at all. If you want a dark mysterious shimmer then the Supernatural fits perfectly.

Lingering on the Shimmer sound briefly...

If you want a shimmer sound then your options are: Mr Black Eterna (£139 UK, gold one has 4 octaves, seeming very slight off-key release); the Strymon Blue Sky (the best in terms of flexibility in my view - £249 in the UK); the Neunaber Shimmer (mono £169 UK or stereo and £219 UK, probably the nicest shimmer sound to me); the Zoom MS70-CDR (£89 UK) or one of the Line 6 pedals with Octoverb (for example the M5 is £82). There's also the EHX Epitome (£219 cheapest UK price).

All these have their strengths and weaknesses. Blue Sky is the one with the most options and highest price. Amazing sounding and the daddy of the lot.

Neunaber Seraphim has the nicest shimmer to me. You can buy true bypass or buffered bypass (trails) and you can toggle between shimmer and normal reverb on the one pedal. You can also download to the pedal to change reverbs.

Mr Black Eterna is amazing also - the Mr Black Eterna Gold has a shorter pre-delay than the regular pedal and 4 octaves of niceness.

The EHX Epitome doesn't have the nicest shimmer sound of them all but does offer you chorus, a micro POG and a reverb (plus a shimmer button) to offer you great flexibility. As well as the shimmer sound you can create all kinds of amazing sounds or just use as a POG etc.

Line6 M5 has lots of varied options from delays to reverbs to overdrives to weird effects and the great octoverb - but only one effect at a time. Midi out.

The Zoom pedal is a bit complex but has presets of all kinds of other reverb pedals, plus choruses and delays, and USB connectivity. Cheap and some report some tone suck which means best in a looper.

Pay your money, choose your priorities and take your choice!

Update - I have actually now got the Strymon Bluesky. While I love my HOF, I'm amazed by the people who say it sounds better than the Strymon. I don't think it comes close. But then again it's half the price :)

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