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The JX44 top panel has a handy block diagram and Quick Start guide printed there for easy reference

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SGI-44 long-haul effects Studio Guitar Interface

JR5 Remote Footswitch

JX44 Air Control™ Using & Applications

The Radial JX44 Air Control is a powerful guitar switcher and router that's easy to use! This short-form manual is designed to help familiarize you with the JX44 and get you up and running quickly. For more detailed information we invite you to download the complete JX44 User Guide.

Overview

The Radial JX44 is a professional 19" rack device designed primarily for guitarists to manage their live rigs when touring. It has 4 inputs for guitars and 4 outputs to drive multiple amplifiers. In between the inputs and outputs, facilities have been added to help manage pedals, rack effects and tuning. The JX44 can be used on its own or be equipped with the optional Radial JR5 remote footswitch to choose guitars, select amplifiers and control effects.

  1. INSTRUMENT INPUTS: The JX44 starts with a four input instrument selector for wired and wireless guitars. The JX44 can have all your instruments ready and waiting and the optional JR5 remote footswitch allows hands free operation with big, bright LED indicators that are easy to see on stage.
  2. AMPLIFIER OUTPUTS: These four outputs can connect up to six amplifi ers giving you an incredibly fl exible multi-amp rig. You can manually select amps or program a bank to recall a group of amps with the front panel controls or JR5 footswitch. A pristine Class-A signal path and transformer isolation offer amazing Radial quality sound with immunity from hum and buzz caused by ground loops.
  3. EFX LOOP: Patch rackmount effects and pedals into this local hi-impedance effects loop and all your instruments can use them. The local effect loop can be assigned to each amplifi er output.
  1. SGI-44 LOOP: This balanced long-haul effects loop works with the optional SGI-44 to connect a pedalboard up to 100 meters (300 feet) away from your amps without introducing noise or signal loss.
  2. TUNE & MUTE: The JX44, JR5 and SGI-44 offers tremendous tuning and mute options: You can connect a rack and pedalboard tuner plus mute the guitar from fi ve different places.
  3. DIRECT OUTPUT: The built in Radial ProDI direct box has many uses on-stage and in the studio. This one has been optimized with features for the guitarist like pre/post effects loop and assignment to one or all instrument inputs.
  4. X-AMP INPUT: The JX44 lets you tap into the huge tone shaping and post production possibilities of re-amping. The X-AMP lets you send guitar tracks from your multi-track to the JX44 and route the signal to your effects and amps for re-recording.
 

Making Connections

As with all audio equipment, we recommend that levels be turned down and system components be turned off before making connections as this will help eliminate power-on transients that could damage sensitive electronics and loudspeakers.

Although the JX44 is absolutely loaded with features, it is in fact very easy to use. Start by following this simplified flow chart to get a ‘feel’ to how it will work in your system.

 

Powering up:

The Radial JX44 comes equipped with an external power supply. As soon as you connect it to the system, it will turn on. As soon as you power up the JX-44 enters manual mode and automatically routes the first input to the first output. Centered on the front panel, the System Monitor provides the status for several functions. The two Status LEDs will flash every 8 seconds to indicate the internal microprocessor is working normally.

Instrument Inputs:

The four inputs receive signals from the guitars or basses. These can be ‘direct wired’ to the instrument or come from a wireless system. Instruments are usually connected using the rear panel inputs. This keeps the guitar cables out of the way during hectic shows. However, inputs-A and B feature front panel switching jacks that will override the rear panel connection when needed.

Instrument inputs and the System Monitor

The four inputs work in an exclusive fashion whereby only one input may be active at a time. This 'safety feature' prevents noise from inactive guitars from entering the system. An input is selected by pushing the ON switch for the desired instrument. The 'signal' present LED in the System Monitor will flash as you play to let you know that your guitar signal is present.

Drag™:

Drag is a load correction circuit that allows you to reintroduce the natural loading between your guitar and amp. We chose to add Drag control on inputs A and B for the ‘real cable’ purist to achieve the tone of a direct connection before buffers were added to the signal chain. When a guitar is connected to an amplifier, a circuit is created. The electro-magnetic impulse generated by the pickup goes to the amp, is loaded by the amplifier’s input buffering circuit and the cable capacitance before it returns to the guitar. Just like a light bulb the circuit must be completed to work properly. When a buffer like the ones inside the JX44 or built into a wireless system are introduced, the direct connection between the guitar and amp is lost and the tone changes. Drag control can correct the loading and produce the natural tone of your instrument and amplifier.

Trim Level:

Inputs-C and D are equipped with a TRIM control that lets you back down the input levels so that you can better balance active instruments with passive. For instance you may have a Fender Stratocaster with passive single coil pickups connected to inputs A and B and then a louder active instrument with EMG pickups connected to input C. For the ‘unplugged set’, you may have an acoustic guitar with an on-board active preamp going to input-D. In such a setup the Trim controls are used to reduce the level of the louder active instruments until they match the passive instruments allowing for smooth instrument change over.

Connecting the Tuner:

After connecting guitars you can move to connecting a tuner. This is done via the TUNER output jack on the rear panel. The TUNER out is always on and buffered to isolate the electronic tuner from the signal chain. For silent tuning and instrument change over the system can be muted using the front panel MUTE switch. Below the TUNER OUT is a footswitch jack that can remotely mute the outputs by connecting a normally-open momentary footswitch with a standard mono ¼” jack. You can also mute the system by using the JR5 footswitch.

Amplifier Outputs:

The JX44 has four amplifier outputs. Outputs 1 and 2 are mono while outputs 3 and 4 have been augmented with dual output jacks labeled (3a/3b & 4a/4b). The dual jacks allow easy connection of two amp stacks or stereo effects devices to outputs-3 and 4.

Amplifier outputs are selected by pushing the ON switch for the desired amp. You will notice that the JX44’s outputs are ‘inclusive’ which means that you can have ‘any or all’ amps on at the same time. Connect amps as needed and set each one at a low volume level for testing. Start with OUTPUT-1 and listen for hum or buzz.

Amplifier output controls for the effects loop, polarity and ground lift.
Amplifier and tuner output jacks, effects loops and direct box output

All of the JX44 outputs are transformer isolated to help eliminate noise caused by ground loops. Start by testing each amp individually and listen for hum or buzz. If you hear noise depress the recessed LIFT switch on the front panel. Use a tweaker or small screw driver to access the recessed controls. In most cases this will reduce hum caused by ground loops. Continue the process for the other amplifier outputs until all your amps are setup for the least noise. If you still encounter noise, check your cables. Second quality cables can often have poor shielding which can allow noise to enter the system. This is particularly acute on busy stages where power transformers abound in amplifiers, light dimmers and in other electromagnetic producing devices.

Amplifier jacks 3 & 4 feature dual jacks to connect two amps.

For best results limit high impedance cables to a maximum of 20 feet. If the noise persists have an amp tech check the amplifiers power cable to ensure the 3rd-prong safety ground is connected to the amps metal chassis. Loose or missing chassis grounds can cause noise and be dangerous.

Connecting electronic devices ahead of and after the JX44 can also form ground loops causing hum and buzz. To minimize noise in a complex setup it’s a good idea to power all your amps and effects from one 120VAC mains outlet. Power bars are an easy way to connect all your gear to one grounded outlet.

The JX44’s amplifier outputs operate in two different modes: Manual mode and Bank mode. On power-up the JX44 enters manual mode allowing you to turn on as many amps as you like by simply depressing the front panel switches. This is ideal for guitarists that enjoy the freedom of selecting their amps at will depending on the creative moment. Bank mode lets you program various ‘scenes’ so that you could toggle between one amp and two others with a single switch.

In program mode, the JX44 lets you program each of the four amplifier outputs into banks whereby hitting a single ON switch can activate any or all amps at once. This is ideally suited for players that use two or three amps on stage and toggle between them all night long to switch from clean, rhythm or lead settings.

Polarity reverse:

Instrument inputs and the System Monitor

The Radial JX44 is equipped with six 180º polarity reverse switches – one for each output. This allows you to set the absolute phase of your amplifiers so all your loudspeakers are moving in the same direction (in-phase). This means that when you play a note, all of the speakers will push out (in the same direction) at the same time. Amps that are out of phase will exhibit phase cancellation. Phase cancellation is most audible in the bottom end, you will find that when amps are in phase, they will sound fuller and have more low frequency content. When out of phase, they will sound thinner and more spacious.

The second amp reverses the phase of the signal passing through it.
To phase-match both amps the JX44 output #2 is flipped using the 180° function.

The best way to set the phase on your amps is to start by establishing the phase of your main amp on output-A as the reference. You should then test each amp in succession as follows: 1~2; 1~3; 1~4. If you have more than one amp connected to outputs 3 and 4, you would still follow this process and then compare 3a to 3b by only switching the 3b polarity switch. Repeat for amps 4a and 4b. When done, all amps should be in absolute phase and can be used together without cancellation.

Using the effects loops:

Now that all your guitars and amps are working, you are set to add effects to your system. The effects loop bus in the JX44 is controlled via the amplifier outputs. This allows the effects to be assigned via the front panel to each amplifier. This diagram shows a typical setup where the EFX LOOP is activated along with the amplifiers it is assigned to. The EXF LOOP LED in the System Monitor will illuminate when an amplifier assigned to the effects loop is active.

Where this really gets interesting is that you could also remotely turn the effects on and off by assigning the effects to amp-4 and then turn this on via the JR5 footswitch when needed. For example, you could set amp-1 to be connected to the effects while amp-2 could be set dry. In this setup, Amp-1 output could drive some pedals through a Fender Twin and Amp-2 out could drive a Mesa Boogie with distortion for soloing. For thunder, Amp-3 out could drive a stereo pedal and then a pair of Marshal stacks. For effects, you could have a digital processor of sorts connected via the Amp-4 out which could be turned on as needed.

 

Using the JX44 with the SGI long-haul effects loop:

Concert stages are often huge and running cables long distances can add severe noise while disrupting the tone. This is particularly acute when sending hi impedance signals from a wireless bay, under the stage to the pedals and then back to the amps. To solve the problem, the JX44 comes equipped with a long-haul effects loop called the SGI that is specifically designed to drive distant pedalboards. It works by converting the guitar signal to a low impedance balanced line at the SGI output and reconverting it to guitar level using the optional SGI-44 at the pedalboard.

The SGI employs standard XLR mic cables between the JX-44 and SGI-44 and standard ¼” guitar cables to connect the pedals. As an added convenience, the SGI-44 is also equipped with a tuner out so that these noisy devices are taken out of the guitar signal path. Start by connecting the XLR cables to the SGI-44 and then connect your cables. Turn on the SGI buss and listen.

The SGI interface is particularly advantageous in the studio when you want to play guitar while sitting in the control room and drive distant amps. All you do is connect your guitar to the SGI-44 input and make the XLR TX connection to the JX44. The JX44 will now take your guitar signal and drive amps effects or combinations at will.

Using the JX44 with an acoustic guitar:

The JX44 is equipped with a world class Radial direct box. This can be used to capture all of the guitar performances for re-amping in post production, for sending the signals to a mic-preamp and say a digital workstation for special effects or the DI can be specifically assigned to Input-D for use with an acoustic guitar or an instrument that you would like either to process separately or simply send a clean version to the PA system such as an acoustic guitar. This set up would look something like this:

Here, the Strat and the ES335 could be routed to the Twin and for effects, be sent to a Line-6 Pod. For the a natural delta blues effect, the Dobro could be routed to a Fender Champ and to output 4 which could be connected to another direct box. When the acoustic guitar is needed, the Martin could be routed to the JX44’s built-in DI and then both of the direct feeds would then be sent to the PA system and monitors.

Using the JX44 in post production:

Another handy feature on the JX44 is the built-in X-Amp. The X-Amp is a re-amping device that allows you to take a prerecorded track and send it out to guitars and effects during the recording or post production phase. The cool thing about re-amping is that the artist can concentrate on the performance and then worry about the sound after. Best of all, as the song is built up, new or alternate tonal structures can be created to better suit the track.

The process is simple: While the guitarist is playing, you would take a direct feed from the JX44 using the Direct Box output. This would be sent to a preamp or mixer which would feed a spare track in the recording system. After the tour, the clean track would then be sent back into the JX44 via the XLR input by turning on the X-Amp function. A level control lets you adjust the level going into the JX44 which then will feed all of the Amp outputs simultaneously.

Radial JR5 Remote Footswitch:

The Radial JR5 footswitch is a heavy duty foot controller is equipped with five footswitches, two XLR connector ports and a series of LED indicators. Inside the JR5 is a very sophisticated micro-processor that does all of the real work and is equipped with non-volatile BANK memory to save your amp scenes. As soon as you make the XLR connection to the JX44 the JR5 will automatically configure itself for either guitars or the amps depending on which port you connected to. Power is derived from the JX44 through the XLR cable so local power is not required for the JR5.

Using the JR5 to select guitars:

When you connect the JR5 to the guitar port, it will automatically configure itself to let you remotely turn on and off the guitar inputs. Like the front panel input controls, the four JR footswitch also behave exclusively turning one input off when a different instrument is selected. So if input-A is active and you depress footswitch 3, input-A will turn off and immediately turn on input-C. If you depress input-C, the JR5 will mute the input temporarily to allow you to tune. The JR5’s Mute switch is ignored when the JR5 is connected to the guitar port as it is redundant.

Using the JR5 on amplifiers:

When you connect to the amplifier remote port the JR5 will automatically reconfigure itself to select amps in a matter of seconds. In amp mode, the JR5 footswitches become inclusive whereby you can have any or all amps on at the same time. When connected to the amps port the center MUTE footswitch duplicates the front panel control and will silence all outputs except the TUNER out.

Manual, Bank and Programming Modes:

The JX44 and the JR5 both feature the ability to operate in manual or bank modes and both can be programmed to recall their own set of BANKS. In manual mode, you can turn on or off as many amps as you like by simply depressing the footswitches. This is ideal for guitarists that enjoy the freedom of selecting their amps at will depending on the creative moment.

In program mode, the JR5 lets you program each of the four footswitches into four banks whereby hitting a single footswitch can activate any or all amps at once. This is ideally suited for players that use two or three amps on stage and toggle between them all night long to switch from clean, rhythm or lead settings. In bank mode, you can set up amp scenes like this:

Scene Amp-1 Amp-2 Amp-3 Amp-4
1 ON - clean amp    
2   ON - solo amp  
3     ON - crunch rth ON - crunch rth
4 ON - clean amp ON - solo amp    

Because of the JX44 architecture, you can also assign one of the amplifier on-off switches to act as a remote on-off for the effects loop. For example, to make this work using the amp-4 buss, you would connect your amps to outputs 1, 2 and 3 and depress the ‘loop on’ function on the JX44 output-4. (Make sure it is not assigned to the other outputs!). Now, whenever you turn on the amp-4 output, the effects loop buss will turn on and you will have your effects. This can work in manual mode or be programmed as part of a scene. In this case, you could set up your system like this:

Scene Amp-1 Amp-2 Amp-3 Amp-4
1 ON - clean amp    
2   ON - solo amp  
3     ON - crunch rth Effexts-ON
4 ON - crunch rth Effexts-ON

To program the JR5, it is a matter of holding down the mute switch to enter ‘program mode’. Lights will flash to prompt you to turn amps on and move you through the process for each of the 4 scenes. For details, you can download the full PDF owner’s manual.

WARNING - Possibility of electrical shock hazard exists. Please read the warnings in the user manual before attempting to connect amplifiers to this device.