AC/DC guitar amp setup is straight forward with
all amps on at the same time using the Radial JD7

Nickelback guitar rigs incorporate a number of wireless
systems with Radial JX44 switchers with remote control.

JX62™ Development

Radial has been making guitar and amp selectors for over a decade. The first switcher to be launched was the JD7 with two inputs, six guitar outputs, a tuner out and full Reamping capabilities. Since its inception, the Radial JD7 Injector has gained legendary status with artists as diverse as Carlos Santana, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Steve Lukather, John Mayer, Metallica, AC/DC and Buddy Guy all using it live or on the studio. Later, the JX44 Air Control was launched and it quickly became a favorite when switching wireless systems for bands like The Killers, Slayer, Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban.

The limitation with the JD7 is that it only has two instrument inputs and is primarily designed for the studio. The JX44 took a different direction with four inputs and four outputs. This was configured with remotely controllable inputs and outputs to provide automated features that are not always required. The JX62 was developed to sit firmly in the middle - adding a degree of simplicity and functionality that is critical when managing instruments in the fast paced environment of live concert touring.

Deciding upon the input set

During our research, we discussed a new type of switcher with a number of guitar techs who – as I am sure you can imagine – all had particular needs. The common denominator was more inputs so that switching between guitars could be done with greater ease. We decided that six inputs would be sufficient. We then thought that it would be cool to enable each of the guitars to have its own amp output so that tone fanatics could mate up a particular guitar with a particular amp if so desired. This same output could feed a dedicated DI box and mixer channel if multiple acoustic instruments were in use.

Although most big stage acts employ wireless systems, there are still many purists out there that prefer the tone and feel of a direct cable connection. We borrowed the same Drag Control and class-A buffer circuit from the Radial JD7 to ensure the most demanding players would be taken care of. This, we figured, would bode well when recording in the studio. We then figured out a way to use the Drag Control knob as a trim level, thus doubling the functionality. This way, all six inputs could be adjusted so that their output levels could be matched.

Adding Direct Boxes

We noticed a trend where many bands have a multi-instrumentalist on stage. This is particularly common with country music and bluegrass bands. To address this demographic, we added full-function Radial direct boxes on channels 5 and 6. This way, the JX62 could accommodate just about any setup with ease.

The Master Bus Outputs

We then went back to basics and thought about the outputs. Most guitar switchers have one output for one amp and maybe a second output that is always on for a tuner. Stealing from the success we have enjoyed with the Switchbone and Twin City ABY pedals, we decided to add a full-function ABY switcher to the JX62 with remote controllability. This way, the artist could be given a guitar and they could select the amp they want for a particular song or solo without having to route the output to the front of stage and back using a bunch signal degrading, noise polluting cables! (Hi-Z cables are particularly susceptible to noise and tone shift as they extend beyond 8 meters or 25'.)

Like the Switchbone, the JX62 switching is done using opto-couplers for absolute quiet switching. These ramp-up and ramp-down the signal without a hard mechanical contact (no pop) - a serious concern for those using high gain amps – especially when feeding a 100,000 watt PA system! The outputs are transformer isolated to eliminate hum and buzz caused by ground loops and DC offset voltages. A polarity reverse on each output ensures the phase will be matched no matter how things are connected. We then incorporated both ¼" and XLR connectors so that the output from the JX62 could be routed to either unbalanced guitar amp inputs or the balanced mic level inputs on a PA system.

Remote switching the amps

Switching between amps for different tonal colors or for soloing is now common practice. We figured that in some situations, the guitar tech would do the switching while in others; the artist will do it themself. To accommodate both situations, the JX62 front panel is equipped with an AB switch for local control. An optional JR2 remote footswitch can also be connected. This has both ¼" TRS and locking XLR connectors. The JR2's LEDs are also powered by the JX62 to provide the artist with visible feedback on which amp is active. The second footswitch is used to mute the outputs. This enables quiet on-stage tuning via the always on tuner and headphone outputs.

Internal Tech Support

As a final touch, we decided to add a PFL (pre-fade-listen) and hefty headphone amp with a dedicated tuner output so that the guitar tech could quickly monitor the active and standby channels for trouble shooting or route the signal to a guitar tuner or stage amp for on-the-fly adjustments. Depressing the PFL switch automatically routes the signal to the headphone out and when none of the PFL switches are depressed, the headphone output monitors the bus output.

The JX62 adds tremendous flexibility and control to ensure a seamless and professional show.