- PASSIVE DI
The Radial JDI is a warm sounding passive direct box that can transfer extreme signal levels without distortion while eliminating hum and buzz caused by ground loops.PRODI
The Radial ProDI is a high performance passive direct box that is ideally suited for bass and acoustic guitar to deliver a warm, distortion-free sound.Trim-Two
The Radial Trim-Two is a passive direct box, designed for use with laptop computers and other consumer type devices where the user has a requirement for a 'ready access' volume control for quick adjustments on stage.JDI Stereo
The Radial JDI Stereo is a passive stereo direct box designed to handle extreme signal levels without distortion of any kind.PROD2
The Radial ProD2 is a high performance stereo direct box designed to easily interface keyboards to the PA and recording system without noise.StageBug SB-2
The Radial SB-2 is a passive direct box designed for keyboards and active bass. Features stereo to mono mix function to save mixer channels.JDI Duplex
The Radial JDI Duplex is a stereo passive direct box that fully capable of handling any audio signal without distortion, artefact or noise.ProAV1 & PROAV2
The Radial ProAV is a passive direct box with stereo-to-mono merge function designed specifically for the audio-video integrator to reduce channel requirements.StageBug SB-5
The Radial StageBug SB-5 is a compact stereo direct box designed to accommodate laptop computers, tablets and other consumer audio products when amplifying the signal through a PA system.JD6
The Radial JD6 is a 6-channel rackmount direct box designed for keyboards in studio and live touring where optimal signal transfer is required without noise.ProD8
The Radial ProD8 is a high density 8-channel rackmount direct box optimized for professional keyboard rigs where optimizing signal transfer without noise is needed.StageBug SB5W
The Radial SB5-W is a passive stereo direct box designed to fit inside a standard electrical wall box and utilizing a Decora wall plate cover.
- ACTIVE DI
The Radial Firefly is a class-A direct box that combines a 12AX7 tube drive with transformer isolation to deliver spectacular warmth and character.J48
The Radial J48 is a 48 volt powered active direct box that delivers studio quality performance while eliminating hum and buzz caused by ground loops.JDX 48
The Radial JDX 48 is a guitar amp DI that captures the sound of the amplifier and speaker to deliver the tone of a 4x12 half-stack without the need of a microphone.USB-Pro
The Radial USB-Pro is a high-resolution DI box that converts sound files from a laptop and seamlessly transfers them to a pair of balanced audio outs.JDV MK5
The Radial JDV is a class-A direct box with a unique zero negative-feedback circuit that delivers unmatched signal purity for the most demanding recordings.J48 STEREO
The Radial J48 Stereo is a high performance active direct box with extra headroom and advanced grounding for professional touring and studio recording.PZ-DI
The Radial PZ-DI is a unique direct box that is specifically designed for acoustic and orchestral instruments.JPC
The Radial JPC is an active stereo DI with transformer isolated inputs to eliminate noise that is common with computers and consumer audio devices.Headload
The Headload is a combination load box and attenuator that is capable of handling up to 130 watts RMS of continuous power and peaks of 180 watts.PRO48
The Radial Pro48 is a high performance active direct box that is ideally suited for bass and acoustic guitars to deliver clarity without distortion or artifact.StageDirect
The Radial StageDirect is a state-of-the-art active direct box designed for musicians who require extra control when they are on stage.J33
The Radial J33 is a combination stereo phono preamp and direct box designed to interface turntables to professional audio systems.Headload Prodigy
The Headload Prodigy is a combination load box and DI that lets you perform or record at low volume with maximum tone.StageBug SB-1
The Radial SB-1 is an ultra-compact active direct box designed for acoustic guitar and bass that fits inside a guitar case!StageBug SB-4
The Radial StageBug SB-4 is a compact active direct box that has been optimized for use with piezo transducers.BT-Pro
BT-Pro™ is a Bluetooth® DI designed to capture the wireless transmission from a Bluetooth® device and convert the signal to a balanced line for use in a PA.JDX Direct-Drive
The Radial JDX Direct-Drive™ is a unique and powerful device that simulates the sound of a guitar amplifier.4-Play
The Radial 4-Play™ is a multi-channel direct box that has been specifically developed for multi-instrumentalists to enable them to quickly change instruments on stage.
The Radial X-Amp is a dual output class-A active Reamper that lets you take a pre-recorded track and send it through amps and pedals without noise.Reamp JCR
The Radial Reamp JCR is a high-performance passive Reamper that lets you take a pre-recorded track and send it through a guitar amp or pedal chain without noise.ProRMP
The Radial ProRMP is a passive Reamper that lets you take a pre-recorded track and send it through a guitar amp or pedal chain without noise.X-Amp 500 Series
The Radial X-Amp is a 500 series class-A active Reamper with isolated outputs that lets you send a pre-recorded track to two amps and re-record the new sound.Reamp KIT
The Reamp Kit combines a Radial J48 direct box for recording with a Radial X-Amp for Reamping amps & pedals to enhance the tone of your recorded tracks.SGI
The Radial SGI Studio Guitar Interface class-A line driver with load correction lets you send a guitar signal beyond 100 meters via balanced cable without noise.JD7
The Radial JD7 Injector is a class-A guitar distro/splitter with built-in Radial DI and Reamp that can drive up to seven amps or pedal chains simultaneously.JX44
The Radial JX44 Air Control is a wireless signal manager for concert stage that lets you remotely control 4 guitar inputs and 6 amp outputs at once.SGI-44
The Radial SGI-44 guitar interface is a balanced signal extender designed to send the signal from a wireless receiver to the pedalboard and back to the stage amp.
JS2 / JS3
The Radial JS2 and JS3 are high performance passive microphone splitters that lets you feed mixing consoles without signal degradation or noise caused by ground loops.PRO-MS2
The Radial ProMS2 is a high performance mic splitter that accepts a balanced microphone signal and sends it to three outputs simultaneously. As a passive device, there is no need for power.OX8
The Radial OX8 is an 8-channel rack mounted microphone splitter that lets you feed two mixing consoles without signal degradation or noise caused by ground loops.LX8
The Radial LX8 is an 8-channel rack mounted line level splitter that lets you feed two audio systems without signal degradation or noise caused by ground loops.JD7
The Radial JD7 Injector is a class-A guitar distro/splitter with built-in Radial DI and Reamp that can drive up to seven amps or pedal chains simultaneously.JX44
The Radial JX44 Air Control is a wireless signal manager for concert stage that lets you remotely control 4 guitar inputs and 6 amp outputs at once.mPress
The Radial mPress is a modular press box that can be expanded as needed to feed a community-sized press gallery or distribute audio for an international event.Exo-Pod
The Radial Exo-Pod is a passive broadcast splitter that can take the balanced line output from a mixing console and distribute the signal to 14 hand-held recorders, video cameras or wireless receivers.Catapult
The Radial Catapult is a 4-channel audio snake that lets you send analog or AES digital audio signals over standard Cat 5 or Cat 6 shielded twisted pair cable.LX-2
The Radial LX-2™ is a passive balanced line level audio splitter that allows you to easily send an audio signal to two different destinations at once without noise.LX-3
The Radial LX-3™ is a high-performance balanced line-level splitter designed to send one audio signal to as many as three destinations at once.
The Radial Twin-Iso is a two channel balanced line-level isolator that eliminates the hum and buzz caused by ground loops that is often encountered in audio systems.J-ISO
The Radial J-ISO & Pro-Iso are full bandwidth stereo interfaces that converts +4dB balanced line level signals to an unbalanced consumer level output.Pro-ISO
The Radial J-ISO & Pro-Iso are full bandwidth stereo interfaces that converts +4dB balanced line level signals to an unbalanced consumer level output.J+4
The Radial J+4 is a -10dB to +4dB stereo preamp that lets you boost a low output unbalanced signal and interface it with a balanced professional audio system.JPC
The Radial JPC is an active stereo direct box with transformer isolated inputs to eliminate noise that is common with computers and consumer audio devices.McBoost
The Radial McBoost™ is a high performance microphone signal booster designed to elevate the output of a typical dynamic microphone for greater transient response.SGI
The Radial SGI Studio Guitar Interface class-A line driver with load correction lets you send a guitar signal beyond 100 meters via balanced cable without noise.SGI-44
The Radial SGI-44 guitar interface is a balanced signal extender designed to send the signal from a wireless receiver to the pedalboard and back to the stage amp.STAGEBUG SB-6
The Radial StageBug SB-6 is a high performance 2-channel passive audio isolator designed to accommodate both balanced and unbalanced signals.STAGEBUG SB-7
The Radial StageBug SB-7 Earmuff Headphone Silencer lets you turn off one side of your headphones to stop the bleed.STAGEBUG SB-15
The Radial Stage Bug SB-15 High Performance Signal Buffer lets you drive guitar pedals without added noise and also powers 15V Tonebone pedals.ICECUBE IC-1
The Radial IceCube IC-1 is a balanced line level isolator designed to quickly eliminate hum and buzz problems in an audio system by simply inserting it into the signal path.DECODER
Decoder is a microphone preamp and Mid/Side stereo matrix that allows the user to easily create M/S recordings without having to re-configure a recording consoleSpace Heater
The Radial Space Heater is a single space 8-channel tube overdrive that can be used as a stereo summing mixer or as multi-channel studio distortion.Twinline
The Radial Twinline is a unique device that enables a guitarist to share effects pedals between two amps when using the amplifiers' built-in (rear-panel) effects loops.MR5
The Radial MR5 is a MIDI signal translator that allows you to use a MIDI controller to drive the JX44, JX42 and other Radial products that use the JR5 footswitch.
Radial studio products simplify the work-flow without affecting the signal quality to ensure creativity is not hampered during production.MC3
The Radial MC3 monitor controller is a 'straight wire' passive switcher that lets you control two sets of monitors, sub woofer and feed two sets of headphones.Gold Digger
The Gold Digger is a 4-channel mic selector that enables the engineer to quickly compare the sound of four different microphones while sharing the same preamp.Cherry Picker
The Radial Cherry Picker is a unique tool that simplifies the process of selecting the best preamp for use with a given microphone.
Guitar / Amplifier
Whether switching guitars on stage or amps in the studio, Radial offers a complete range of switchers from simple ABYs all the way up!JD7
The Radial JD7 Injector is a class-A guitar distro/splitter with built-in Radial DI and Reamp that can drive up to seven amps or pedal chains simultaneously.JX-42
The JX-42 is a compact guitar selector that lets you instantly switch between four guitars and two amps on stage.JX62
The Radial JX62 is a guitar and amp switcher designed for both wired and wireless guitars in a live concert touring environment.jx44
The Radial JX44 Air Control is a wireless signal manager for concert stage that lets you remotely control 4 guitar inputs and 6 amp outputs at once.JR5
The JR5 is a remote footswitch that lets you select guitars, amps or effects when used with the JX44 and JX42.JR2
The JR2 is a dual function remote footswitch that lets you switch or mute outputs, depending on the Radial device that is connected.BIGSHOT ABY
The Radial BigShot ABY is a true-bypass ABY switcher that toggles or combines two guitar amplifiers in phase and without hum & buzz caused by ground loops.BigShot I/O
The Radial Bigshot I/O is a true-bypass instrument selector that lets you switch between two sources and balance the signal level between them.BigShot EFX
The Radial BigShot EFX is a true-bypass effects loop switcher that lets you turn on or off two pedal-chains and take them out of the signal path when not in use.BigShot SW2
The Radial BigShot SW2 is a dual output remote control with choice of latching or impulse settings to control two amplifiers or effects.Twinline
The Radial Twinline is a unique device that enables a guitarist to share effects pedals between two amps when using the amplifiers' built-in (rear-panel) effects loops.
Radial addresses the fast paced world of live touring with a range of switchers for backing tracks, wireless systems and mixers.Relay Xo
Radial Relay Xo is a 1-in, 2-out switcher for balanced audio used with mic or line level sources as talkback and communication router.SW4
The Radial SW4 is a four channel balanced audio switcher designed for wireless systems, mixing consoles and digital guitar processors.SW8
The Radial SW8 is a backing track switcher that automatically switches between two playback systems to prevent disaster during a live performance.HotShot DM-1
The Radial HotShot DM-1 is a combination mic mute and switch that enables the artist to communicate to band members and techs via momentary footswitch.HotShot ABi
The Radial HotShot AB1 is an XLR balanced input selector that can instantly toggle between two input sources to one output via a latching footswitch.HotShot ABo
The Radial HotShot ABo is an XLR balanced output selector that can instantly toggle one input between two output destinations via a latching footswitch.JR2
The JR2 is a dual function remote footswitch that lets you switch or mute outputs, depending on the Radial device that is connected.JR2-DT
The JR2-DT is a desk-top version of the JR2. It features two top-mounted activator switches to control AB and Mute functions.BigShot SW2
The Radial BigShot SW2 is a dual output remote control with choice of latching or impulse settings to control two amplifiers or effects.
The Radial Phazer is an analog phase alignment tool that lets you combine two sources and bring the fundamentals together for a more natural tone.Phazer Bank
The Radial Phazerbank is a 4-channel analogue phase adjustment tool that enables the engineer to effortlessly adjust the phase between two microphones when double mic'ing a single source.PhazeQ
The Radial PhaseQ is 500 series phase alignment tool that lets you combine two microphones and bring them into perfect phase for a more natural tone.EXTC-SA
The Radial EXTC-SA™ is a stand-alone audio interface that lets you incorporate guitar effects into the realm of pro-audio recording.EXTC
The Radial EXTC is a 500 series effects send & receive module that lets you incorporate guitar effects into the realm of pro-audio recording.Tank Driver
The Radial Tank Driver is a wonderfully unique 500 series module that allows you to drive a balanced line level signal through the reverb tank in your Fender Twin amp!Vocoloco
The Voco-Loco is a foot-controlled effects loop that enables the lead vocalist, sax or trumpet player to incorporate guitar effects pedals into the signal path, just like an electric guitarist adds effects for soloing.Trimode
The Trimode tube distortion takes you from slight overdrive to full-on distortion. Think Mesa-Boogie in a pedal and switch instantly from rhythm to lead.Vienna Chorus
The Vienna Chorus is vintage bucket-brigade chorus that delivers old-school analog tone. Dual-mode controls lets you switch from slow to fast choral effects like a Leslie.
- 500 SERIES
Choose between Radial's award-winning racks for ultimate control over your signal path. Compatible with all 500 series modules, Radial racks are equipped with extra features for greater connectivity plus resettble electronic fuses to keep your gear safe!Workhorse
The Radial Workhorse is an 8-slot 500 series power rack with a built-in analog summing mixer, headphone amp and extensive patching capabilities.WR8
The Radial WR-8 is an 8-slot power rack that lets you load up to eight 500 series modules. Can be expanded with the WM8 mixer for full Workhorse capabilities.Powerhouse
The Radial Powerhouse is a 10-slot power rack for 500 series modules designed to provide maximum density for professional studio setups.SIXPACK
The Radial SixPack is a desk-top 6-slot power rack for the popular 500 series, designed to create the ultimate channel strip with 1600 milliamps of available current.Cube
The Radial Cube is a desk-top 3-slot power rack for the popular 500 series, designed to create the ultimate channel strip with 500 milliamps of available current.PowerStrip
The Radial Powerstrip is a 3-slot power rack for the popular 500 series, designed to create the ultimate channel strip with 500 milliamps of available current.
Preamps & EQs
Radial gives you a choice between tube and solid state preamps to suit your most demanding recording needs. Compliment them with choice of induction coil or discrete class-A equalizers to add creative soul, sparkle or fat bottom end.POWERPRE
The Radial PowerPre is a 500 series 100% discrete mic preamp with Accustate input control for low noise and transformer coupled output for added warmth.JDV-PRE
The Radial JDV-Pre is a 500 series class-A instrument preamp with variable load for magnetic, piezo and active sources and high-pass filter to eliminate resonance.PowerTube
The Radial Powertube is 500 series 100% discrete class-A preamp with high voltage 12AX7 tube gain stage and transformer coupled input for vintage character.Premax
The Radial PreMax is a 500 series channel strip tha combines a state-of-the-art preamp with a 3-band EQ for easy signal manipulation in post production and recording.Q3
The Radial Q3 is a 500 series induction coil EQ that brings the character and excitement of old-school vintage EQ to your recordings with over 1700 EQ curves.Phaze-Q
The Radial PhaseQ is 500 series phase alignment tool that lets you combine two microphones and bring them into perfect phase for a more natural tone.Twin-Servo
The Radial Jensen Twin-Servo & 500 series preamplifier is an updated version of what may well be the most spectacular preamp ever made.PreComp
The Radial PreComp is a 500 series channel strip that combines a state-of the-art preamp with a full-function VCA compressor for dynamic control over the signal.Q4
The Radial Q4 is a 500 series state-variable, 100% discrete class-A parametric EQ that brings character and warmth to your recordings with minimal artifact
Effects & Routing
The 500 series is all about creative use of signal processing. Radial opens the door with compressors, signal routers, cross-over filters, effects interfaces, phase alignment tools and amp simulators. Finally… amazing tools that let your imagination run wild!EXTC
The Radial EXTC is a 500 series effects send & receive module that lets you incorporate guitar effects into the realm of pro-audio recording.Shuttle
The Radial Shuttle is a 500 series patch and insert panel that lets you bring balanced and unbalanced signals in and out a 500 series power rack.Komit
The Radial Komit is a 500 series one-knob compressor-limiter designed to get great results instantly and add crunch and distortion for unque effects.X-Amp
The Radial X-Amp is a 500 series class-A active Reamper with isolated outputs that lets you send a pre-recorded track to two amps and re-record the new sound.ChainDrive
The Radial ChainDrive is a 500 series signal distribution amplifier that lets you send balanced or unbalanced signals to four outputs and control them independently.Tank Driver
A unique module that lets you to drive a balanced line level signal through the reverb tank in your Fender Twin! Drive spring reverbs of all types and deliver the long trailing shimmering effect that is only possible with a true spring.JDX-500
The Radial JDX Reactor is 500 series guitar amplifier interface that lets you capture the tone of a guitar amp and cabinet without a microphone.Submix
The Radial SubMix is a 500 series mixer that lets you combine 4 instruments such as keyboards or effects into a single audio channel via front panel controls.Tossover
The Radial Tossover is a 500 series frequency divider that lets you separate and process low and high frequencies separately via fully variable controls and slopes.
- CABLES & SNAKES
Two years in the making… engineering challenges at every turn, lack of real standards, inconsistencies from one manufacturer to another, modules blowing up repeatedly and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested… the Radial Workhorse has been the most challenging project we have ever undertaken. We are finally there. The following discusses how the product came together and why we did what we did.
For over 25 years, studio engineers have been enjoying the creative possibilities afforded by the 500 series (API Lunchbox™) format. The design consists of a rack than enables several modules to be plugged into a card-cage where they share the same power supply. The rack provides XLR inputs and outputs and 48V phantom powering for the modules. The simplicity of the design allows you to plug any module into another using conventional studio wiring. Modular, flexible… brilliant!.
Why is lunch so expensive?
We figured that it was high time we got in the game and started to port over some of our direct box designs into the 500 format. We started with the JDV, Phazer and JDX. But as we delved further and further into the rabbit hole, we started to ask ourselves a host of questions: For instance: ‘why are companies like API charging upwards to $1000 for a rack, power supply and a dozen connectors?’ This seemed expensive. ‘Should these Lunchbox™ racks not provide more value?’ This got us thinking. For years, Radial has gained a reputation for delivering world-class performance at relatively affordable prices - ‘Could we not do the same by creating a new type of 500 rack?’
This led us to ponder how recording has changed and how one would interface analogue devices with today’s world of computers. With more and more folks recording ‘in the box’ (the computer), it seemed that the conventional ‘patch-bay & mixer’ approach would not necessarily prove to be the best solution. ‘Why not allow the Lunchbox™ to act as a mixing console so that you could monitor the results right then and there?’ So we got to work…
How about an easy to use mixer inside the rack!
If you have ever tried to record using a Roland all-in one recorder you know how cumbersome it is. To turn on a reverb requires going through multiple layers, holding several buttons and then twisting a controller knob. It is absolutely painful. Our idea was to create an easy-to-use device that could allow a bunch of mic preamps to be combined and then mixed together like an old school recording console. It had to be turn-a-knob simple. This would enable an engineer to maybe use a Radial JDV™ module for instruments, an API™ module for voice and or some other module to mic a guitar amp. In other words, you could build the perfect small format console of your dreams by simply plugging in the modules as needed.
This lead to figuring out how many modules would make sense. Some API Lunchbox designs could accommodate 4, others 6… some on the market as many as 10. It seemed that none of these were really designed to work within the norms of today’s computers… 8 channels seemed to make most sense. There are 8, 16 and 24 channel recorders, 8 channel converters, 16, and 24 channel mixers.
To create the mixer, we looked at traditional large format recording consoles like those made by Neve or SSL and what made them tick. We followed their lead using a traditional virtual ground mix buss and added Jensen Transformers on the main outputs to make sure the sound was as warm and smooth as possible. Since the Workhorse would likely end up in a live venue, transformer isolation would also help eliminate buzz and hum caused by ground loops. An extra set of outputs was then added for monitoring.
Creating a smart listening environment
We figured that if you are intending to record a live band, a headphone mix is an absolute must. We then considered what happens in these situations and soon realized that sharing a single set of headphones is a pain. So we added a second headphone out so that the producer can listen in. The headphone amp also had to be stupid loud just in case AC-DC is on stage.
A major pain with so many workstations is in the inability to quickly sum a stereo mix to mono. This important feature lets you know if your stereo mix will translate properly on AM radio. So we outfitted the headphones with a mono sum as an extra benefit.
Adding as much connectivity as possible
By the time we worked out the space requirements to pack eight slots inside a standard 19” frame, we then had to figure out how to lay out the mixer. For it to be functional, it had to have eight volume controls with a left-right pan on each for stereo recording plus individual mutes. With eight channels, this opened the door to incorporating the Tascam D-Sub standard that has since been adopted by ProTools and so many others.
It also seemed clear from the outset that we had to retain the legacy of the original Lunchbox™ format so that older modules could be used. This meant having XLR inputs and outputs for each card slot. But this got us thinking… with so many products now using ¼” jacks, would it not make sense to also have some of these in the rack? So we added ¼” connectors to facilitate.
To add more even spice to the soup, we then added a LINK switch that would allow pre-configured left and right modules to be linked in stereo. Simple… now all we had to do was figure out how to route 174 traces on the back panel to the master section and make it all work without cross-talk or having the engineers leap out the window in frustration..
Feeding the beast without patch cables!
We then considered how the Workhorse would be used in various applications. What if someone wanted to create a stereo channel strip? You would select four different modules from a choice of preamps, limiters, EQs and compressors then simply plug them in. But how would they connect together? In the past, folks had to wire each one using a bunch of XLR cables. Expensive and messy. Why not simply incorporate a switch?.
To this end, we added a ‘FEED’ function that allows one module to feed into the adjacent module (left to right) which in turn is routed to the summing mixer in the master section. This means you can feed one module into the next while retaining all of the connectivity options. Think about it: You can create the ultimate recording strip and are still able to mix-in the direct sound from each module if so desired. Stupid cool..
Retaining the API legacy with a built in summing mixer
We then asked ourselves: ‘How can someone take advantage of the built-in summing mixer when using old API™ modules?’ This led us to incorporating a dedicated 8-channel D-Sub connector that would enable folks to connect the output from an individual module directly to the summing mixer using a standard D-sub cable. This not only opens the door for individual modules to be ‘hot wired’ into the mixer, but allows the Workhorse to be used as a line-level analogue summing mixer for those that prefer to mix outside of the box. (And those great sounding Jensen transformers will surely add plenty of analogue warmth to those digital tracks.)
Expanding the Workhorse for more channels
We then thought: ‘With all of this routing and mixing power, folks may want to expand the system to 16 or more channels’. To address this eventuality, we added a stereo expansion buss. This way, you could sub one Workhorse into another using simple guitar cables and expand the system as needed. This not only allows someone to create a 16x2 or even 24x2 mixer, but each Workhorse could be treated like a sub-group while still enabling the engineer to tap the direct feed from each module for larger more demanding live recording sessions...
By using a similar approach to that employed by Rupert Neve Designs™, we once again brought another level or compatibility and standardization to the market. This is detailed in the Workhorse Open Source Document.
The Omniport – an open invitation to creativity
This got us really excited… and we figured with all of these features, other module manufacturers would quickly adopt the Workhorse as their rack of choice. In return, we wanted to give them the option to have their module do something unique. Omniport was born. Omniport is basically a TRS jack that can be used for anything. The module designer can use it as a key input, guitar output, footswitch, insert… who knows. The point here is opening up the design options to creative new ideas and greater flexibility.
Radial Module Omniport Function PowerPre Instrument input JDV Direct box output (low Z out for live touring) X-Amp Instrument input Phazer Balanced direct out (original dry signal out) JDX Direct box output (low Z out for live touring) EXTC TRS insert for patch bay Komit Key input
Mechanically sound engineering
Finally, we looked at the mechanical aspects of the older racks. If you have ever tried to ‘negotiate’ plugging in a 500 series module into one of the typical API™ card-slot, you will know that trying to line up the card edge to the slot can be both frustrating and unnerving. We felt that sliding in a module should be easy. So we added a slide-in tray with alignment guides. Easy enough. But with such poorly administrated standards, we discovered that most module manufacturers do not follow precise guidelines. Therefore while some companies follow API’s lead, most are close variations.
To address the problem, we made the guides extra wide and arranged the tray with 4 singles and two doubles. We also configured the tray so that it could be rotated to allow double-wides to be installed at the far left so that they could feed into the adjacent module (if designed to the new radial spec). We went one step further and decided make the tray removable so that all non-conforming modules could still fit.
A word about setting standards
We have all heard the old joke about standards: ‘Audio designers love them so much that they invent a new one every day!’ This in fact is not too far from the truth. In our view, using a clearly defined standard creates a better environment for the end user as it allows you to buy a product from one manufacturer and have it work with another.
One of the single most frustrating aspects in developing the Workhorse was trying to decipher the so called standards. We chose to support the original API Lunchbox format even though the information provided by API was somewhat cryptic. During our field tests, we found that some module manufacturers employed slightly longer card-edge connectors which would cause the module to stick out the front. We also found some that were shorter which could end up with a poor connection. Not good. This of course forced us to redesign the Workhorse a few times until we could find a relative balance.
To help solve the problem and help establish a common standard, we chose to produce the Workhorse Open Source Document that details all of the pertinent electrical and mechanical specifications. Our hope is that all 500 series manufacturers will eventually use this guide to follow suit. This free document is available by simply sending an email request to: email@example.com
So there you have it… two years later… we took a proven concept and turbo-charged it with features and functions that are optimized for today’s recording environment and bulletproofed the functionality so that it should work properly in any environment. We think you will be blown away.
The API Lunchbox™, the VPR Alliance and the Workhorse Open Source Document
Lunchbox™ is a Trademark of Automated Processes Inc. The API Lunchbox first made its way into the market back in the 1980s. The concept allowed various console modules to be pulled out of their frame and used independently in a smaller rack known as a Lunchbox. The Lunchbox allowed the user to connect to-and-from modules using XLR or ¼” connectors that were mounted on the rear panel while sharing the same power supply. These could then be connected to a studio patch bay or ‘hard patched’ together using standard XLR cables. The format proved to be very convenient but only recently has it gained wider appeal. This we believe is due to the accessibility of high performance digital recording systems and the recent shift to smaller, more agile recording studios.
API created the VPR Alliance as a means to ensure modules from other manufacturers will fit properly and not harm API Lunchbox racks or modules when they are connected together inside a Lunchbox. To be ‘API Approved’ the manufacturer needs merely to send their module to API where they will check the mechanical spec and plug it in. Although Radial is not a member of the VPR Alliance, we believe that the intention is good and valuable, particularly for smaller manufacturers that may not have sophisticated 3D modeling design systems that can ensure the product meets a precise specification.
The Workhorse and all Radial 500 series modules have been carefully designed to meet the original API specification and we have tested our products for compatibility with other racks such as those made by Purple Audio and modules of all types from various manufacturers.
To further support the API standard, we have published what we call the Workhorse Open Source Document. This details all of the mechanical and electrical specifications for the Workhorse and clearly defines the backward compatibility to older API rack systems. Our hope is that this comprehensive document will eventually guide manufacturers as they bring new and exciting products to market.
API, Lunchbox, Rupert Neve Designs, Tascam, ProTools, Purple Audio and other brands or trademarks mentioned on these web pages are in no way associated implied to be associated with Radial Engineering Ltd. These brands and trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are only presented on this web site as a means to provide users with a point of reference. Any opinion or suggested application that involves these fine brands or trademarks are stated as our opinion only and should not be considered to be factual beyond the scope and intention as described herein.