Following on from recent news items about guitar software, the question is raised about how do you actually get the signal from your instrument into the amplified world?
Canadian-based Radial Engineering make a range of DI solutions that seem to crop up frequently in discussions of 'the best DI' etc. and now they've extended their already pretty comprehensive range of DI boxes with a model with switchable input impedance to cope with the demands of different instrument pickup types.
It's being tagged as an 'Orchestral Acoustic Direct Box', but don't let the orchestral bit put you off - it would seem to have uses across a wide spectrum of instruments, and could make the perfect acoustic guitar/mandolin/banjo/ect. DI.
This is what Radial themselves say in their PR:-
Radial Engineering Ltd. is pleased to announce their most advanced direct box to date, the Radial PZ-DI - a special direct box that is designed to work with all types of acoustic and orchestral instruments by enabling you to optimize the input impedance to match the pickup or transducer.
According to Radial President Peter Janis: "With bigger and better PA systems in every venue and on every tour, the need to faithfully amplify acoustic instruments has never been greater. In the past, the sound was masked. Today, you hear every nuance. This has spawned a need for a direct box that is equally capable of adapting to piezo transducers as it is to magnetic pickups. Piezos are particularly problematic due to the squawk and peaks that they produce. The PZ-DI is set to easily overcome these problems and is well equipped to help eliminate feedback and resonance caused by low frequencies along with the interaction between the room acoustics and the PA."
The design begins with a 3-position impedance selector switch that lets you match load with the pickup. This includes a 220k-ohm setting to warm up magnetic pickups, a 1 meg-ohm setting to replicate a classic DI box and a super-high 10 meg-ohm setting to eliminate the squawk and peaks that are common with piezo transducers. To eliminate resonance and modulation between instruments, a variable lo-cut filter lets you dial out unwanted low-frequencies. This also helps improve clarity for a better mix. Should the PZ-DI be called upon to interface a high output active bass or digital keyboard, one simply engages the -15dB pad. A hi-cut filter can also be engaged to gently smooth out the over aggressive top-end produced by many active instruments.
The PZ-DI is fully capable to work double duty as a standard direct box with front panel ¼" input and thru connectors to interface with an electric bass and the stage amplifier plus XLR out to feed the PA. The PZ-DI employs 48V phantom power with an innovative internal switching supply that at once elevates the rail voltage while reducing distortion of all types to deliver a smooth, natural tone with the same perfectly cascading even harmonics normally found on high-end studio preamps.
And as with all Radial products, the PZ-DI is made tough to handle the rigors of professional touring. 14 gauge steel I-beam construction eliminates torque and reduces stress on the PC board for longer, trouble-free performance while a unique book-end design creates protective zones around the controls, switches and connectors. The PZ-DI is backed with a 3-year transferable warranty.
The PZ-DI will start shipping in October 2012. Estimated retail price: $300 USD.
They definitely make good stuff. I noticed a big difference in the clarity of my bass frequencies when I got hold of one of their units. I need to get a bunch more. Top stuff!
27-Sep-12 06:13 PM
Hey Peter - which unit do you use? I've heard very good things about Radial DIs but not yet directly compared them to other units.
28-Sep-12 06:58 AM
So much power in a small package - but how does it perform?
Tom Whitwell shows us his new modules and some new prototypes