Review: Three Radical Radial Boxes

Radial pedals are renowned for their road-worthiness and these three Tone-bone-branded units are no exception.
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Radial pedals are renowned for their road-worthiness and these three Tone-bone-branded units are no exception. Constructed of heavy steel and fitted with sturdy switches, jacks, and pots, these Canadian-made boxes are all business. Their buffered outputs allow for cable runs of up to 50 feet without signal degradation and they all operate on standard 9VDC power.

TWIN-CITY ACTIVE ABY SWITCHER

Priced at $159 street, this pedal lets you switch between or combine two amplifiers. Its class-A buffer keeps level inconsistencies at bay and its variable Drag control matches the load on your pickups to that of a tube amp’s input. An isolation transformer on output B and a Lift switch eliminate hum from ground loops, while a 180- degree Phase Switch keeps all your speakers moving in the same direction. The ABY Switcher performed its functions admirably even when switching between very different types of amps, without the popping, humming, level leaps, and other gremlins that frequently plague the dual-amp user.

Kudos Facilitates switching between two amplifiers. Quiet operation. Rugged build.
Concerns None.

SHOTGUN GUITAR SPLITTER AND BUFFER

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Want to use more than two amps? The Shotgun($169 street) will do the trick, as it can be configured for 1x4 mono or 2x2 stereo operation. Three of the outputs are transformer-isolated, and include Ground Lift and Phase switches. A proprietary “Constant Load Compensation” circuit maintains input impedance stability. Besides feeding multiple amps, signals may be routed to a P.A. or recording mixer, a DI, or pretty much anything else, making the Shotgun as handy in the studio as it is on stage. For example, while it worked beautifully with a couple of amps, it also successfully fed multiple effects devices routed to discrete tracks while recording.

Kudos A versatile signal splitter for feeding a guitar signal into multiple amps or mixer inputs. Quiet and roadworthy.
Concerns None.

MIX-BLENDER

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An ingenious device that combines a 2x1 mixer with an effects loop, the Mix-Blender ($169 street) can be used to, say, plug two electric guitars with different output levels into the same amp without having to adjust the amp volume, or mix the outputs of an acoustic fitted with two types of pickups. And the footswitchable effects loop’s Blend control enables it to function like an effects send/return on a mixer, so you can blend the optimal amount of whatever effect is in the loop with your unadulterated main signal (and flip that effect’s phase with the Polarity switch if necessary). You can even use the effects return and Blend control as a third mixer input, or the send to feed a tuner. I tried using the Mix-Blender in every way I could think of, and in all cases it worked well and never compromised my original tone.

Kudos Very handy for mixing two instruments into the same amp. Effects loop adds flexibility.
Concerns None.
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