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NAMM 2009: Radial introduces the F15 Roundback instrument preamplifier

Published: Tue January 20, 2009  News Feed

Radial Engineering is pleased to announce the new Forest Audio F15 Roundback, a powerful instrument preamplifier designed to gracefully handle any instrument signal while introducing a series of innovative new features to address the next generation of acoustic instruments.

The Forest Audio F15 Roundback

2-channel instrument preamp, direct box and re-amper!

According to Radial President Peter Janis: “Our new Forest Audio range targets the professional, whether they are in the studio or on a live concert stage… This means that we start each product with a no-compromise approach to audio quality and couple this with an extensive array of features. The first Forest product we will release is the F15 Roundback. Soon to follow will the Q6 Counter-coil EQ, F15 Tube instrument pre and the F1 ultra-high end mic preamp. These should bring plenty of excitement to the creative minds of the most demanding engineers.”

The F15 Roundback is a combination 2-channel instrument preamp, direct box and re-amper. It features ultra-high performance class-A feed-forward topology for the ultimate in signal purity. Not only are there no op-amps in the primary signal path, there are no signal degrading negative feedback loops.

This is further enhanced with Drag Control™ load correction that reintroduces the natural relationship between the instrument and the amplifier for a more natural tone. Inputs A or B can be selected from the front panel or remotely via a standard latching footswitch. Input connections are duplicated on the front and rear panels for greater hookup flexibility. For acoustic instruments, the F15 has a built-in piezo signal booster to increase gain plus switch-able 8V & 12V phantom powering for the new breed of miniature instrument-mounted microphones that are now being produced by companies such as DPA and Shure. Each channel is equipped with low-pass and high-pass filtering to eliminate noise and low-end rumble plus a level control. Signal monitoring is achieved via a 7 segment LED ladder plus a high visibility VU meter.

According to the designers, the distinctive ’roundback’ design is not only for great looks, but also to provide access to various controls and functions. This becomes evident when one considers the rear panel connector options: There are two inputs for instruments. Input-1 can be switched from 1/4″ mono to TRS for dual source instruments such as an acoustic guitar. Two ’standard’ throughputs can be used in a standard passive mode or may be supplemented by activating a buffer which can then drive pedals or multiple amplifiers. For effects, each input also sports it’s own TRS insert bus thus allowing a compressor, EQ or effect device to be introduced and applied as needed.

There are two XLR outputs and two 1/4″ auxiliary outputs. Both XLR outs may be assigned ‘pre’ direct when used as a standard direct box or be bussed together with choice of -60dB mic level out for live touring or +4dB line level out for direct to power amp connection on stage or direct to recorder connection in the studio. The Auxiliary outputs are independently buffered and feature variable level control, ground lift and 180° polarity reverse. Full re-amping is available by turning on the Radial X-Amp. This allows pre-recorded tracks to be sent to guitar amplifiers, mic preamplifiers and or various effect devices. A separate tuner out with mute switch is also included.

Janis continues: “Yes, I admit the F15 does it look amazing, but it truly embraces form & function. Inside the Roundback we plan to position various set & forget functions, heat-syncs and tubes when appropriate. This not only provides excellent cooling, but allows the user to quickly check system status if need be. The formed roll-cage also creates an effective carry handle while the front panel canopy creates a protective barrier around switches, knobs and jacks. We think it is pretty darn sexy too!”

$999 US Retail

Other Releases: PZ-DI™ dual source instrument DI

PZ-DI: Dual Source Instrument DI

Radial Engineering also announced the PZ-DI, a combination pickup source selector and direct box designed to address the demands from guitarists that use the new generation of dual source instruments that combine a piezo element to create acoustic tones with a traditional magnetic pickup.

The Radial PZ-DI features two 1/4″ inputs for the piezo and magnetic sources for dual 1/4″ cables. The PZ-DI will also split the signal should a TRS cable be employed. Each of the signal paths are buffered to eliminate loading and reduce noise. The piezo channel features a high 4 meg-ohm input impedance for proper interface which results in a more natural tone.

A high-pass filter (low-cut) is used to eliminate low frequency resonance which will be of particular benefit for acoustic, semi-acoustic and contra-bass instruments. A low-pass filter (high-cut) has also been added to tame the often brittle tone from less than ideal on-board instrument preamplifiers. The piezo signal path can be set to drive an on-stage acoustic amplifier and is routed to the built in DI box XLR output. This allows the acoustic signal to route directly to the PA system.

The magnetic pickup stream begins with Drag Control™ load correction. This unique Radial features allows the user to adjust the load on the pickup to counter any effect from the buffer and reintroduce the natural relationship between the guitar and the amplifier. A separate 1/4″ output is used to drive the on stage guitar amplifier.

Once in place, the PZ-DI allows the guitarist to quickly select or combine instrument pickups using the two footswitches and turn either on or off depending on the need. As an added bonus, the PZ-DI is equipped with a separate tuner output that is always on for quick adjustments.

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