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Preamps and Processors:
Preamplifiers (1 Channel)
Radial Engineering ToneBone PZ Deluxe 1 Channel Preamplifier
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This Radial Tonebone PZ-Deluxe really impressed us. This powerful and flexible acoustic preamplifier is a great tool for both studio or stage, and it's safely packed inside one of Radial's usual rock solid floor pedals.
Inside its small (5.75" x 3.75" x 2.00") and durable chassis (14ga steel, heavy-duty switches, metal pots) is a host of tremendously useful features:
As you've probably guessed, we're primarily offering it as a rock-solid preamp for use with upright bass, but it's equally useful for ALL acoustic instruments, like acoustic guitar, banjo, violin, cello, mandolin, bouzouki or lute (among others). It has lots of flexibility and can be used to enhance the sound of virtually any acoustic or electric instrument.
- Switchable input buffer (6.8K Ohms/10M Ohms)
- Low cut filter (multi-setting)
- Dedicated tuner output (buffered)
- Three band EQ with semi-parametric Mid control
- Boost Footswitch with level control (up to 13db)
- Mute Footswitch cuts output to main outputs (tuner out stays active)
- ¼" high-impedance output (for amps) with phase reverse
- XLR low-impedance direct out (DI) with ground lift and phase reverse
So what do all those great features do? The three-band EQ has controls for Bass and Treble, as well as a mid-range control which has an adjustable frequency control (called a "Semi-Parametric Equalizer," it adds a knob to allow you to choose the center frequency affected by the boost/cut, as to better sculpt your tone.) Mids can be particularly useful in helping you to "cut through" the dense mix of a large band, and by adjusting what frequency is affected, you can dial in just the right amount of punch.
Also tremendously useful: The low cut filter (also known as high pass filter). Piezo pickups have an incredibly wide range of frequencies - including those that are too low to even be heard! By reducing the output of the very lowest, subsonic frequencies, this can reduce the likelihood of certain types of feedback and can help reduce the workload of your amplifier. Radial actually recommends using the filter in the "bypass" setting, but in testing, we found that using the "low-mid cut" (middle setting) actually improved clarity and total sound. Your mileage may vary, as always - every bass and amp is different - but consider it a good reason to experiment and decide for yourself!
The amp and DI outputs also have a switch for phase reverse. Why? In some instances, as you move around the stage, you will notice that feedback or resonance seems to increase in certain spots between the wedge monitor and your personal amp. This is caused by nodes either amplifying each other or cancelling each other out at various frequencies. You can reverse the (absolute) phase with the 180° polarity reverse. This can often help minimize this occurrence.
(Learn more about Semi-Parametric EQ's, Low Cut Filters and phase controls in our "Learn your amp" FAQ!)
The other features are useful too - the "MUTE" switch is always ready for a quick, silent onstage tune (or just to quiet an instrument not being actively played), and the "BOOST" switch is perfect for when you need to take a solo - or change from pizz to arco (some pickups have very different output volumes depending on whether or not you're bowing). The boost has a variable level setting, so you can set just the right amount of "extra" push, whether you need just a subtle boost or need to go "to 11."
Here's a diagram of a common hookup using a Upright Bass:
Circuit type: Class A FET Hybrid Input Stage
Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 18kHz (0/-3dB)
Dynamic range: 105dB
Total harmonic dostortion: 0.03% @ -20dB output
Equivalent Input Noise -108dBu
Intermodulation Distortion: 0.07%
Input Impedance - PZB Off: 6.8K-ohms
Input Impedance - PZB On: 10M-ohms
Gain - 1/4" Input to stage amp out: +16dB (PZB-Off)
Gain - 1/4" input to XLR Out: +21dB (PZB-Off)
Gain - PZB Piezo booster circuit: +10dB
Gain - Boost On: +13dB maximum
Output Impedance - XLR Output 4k-ohms
Size: (6.1" x 3.8" x 2.1") (155 x 96.5 x 53mm)
Weight: 1.75lbs (0.8kg)
Power Requirement: 15V ('Nominal) 400mA Center Pin Positive Adapter
Like the features of this preamp but need a second channel? Check out the PZ-Pre, a two-channel preamp with many of the same features as the PZ-Deluxe - it's listed below, in our "related items."
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