BigShot i/o original
BigShot i/o inside view
BigShot i/o, EFX, & ABY

BigShot™ i/o Development

Today, it is just as normal to see a bass player with two basses on stage as it is to see a guitarist with two guitars. This is done not only for tuning purposes and backup, but also to provide greater tonal range. For example, a passive Fender® Jazz Bass sounds very different from a Yamaha® Active 6-string Bass, just as a Stratocaster® sounds very different from a Les Paul®. The challenge for the musician has always been to change instruments quickly and elegantly. Rock stars have full-time guitar technicians to help them change instruments. For the rest of us, changing an instrument on stage has always required muting the amp, disconnecting one guitar and reconnecting the other, re-setting instrument levels and so on.

Another major annoyance has been in dealing with tuners. Anyone who has carefully listened to the effect of a tuner on the guitar signal knows that unless the tuner is completely taken out of the signal path, it causes the tone to change due to loading. This is why the true-bypass purist has always resisted having any kind of buffer between his guitar and the amp.

100% passive true-bypass design

First on the list was to ensure BigShot i/o was 100% true-bypass. In other words, there could be no active buffering or tone altering circuitry between the instrument and the amp. And to appease even the most demanding guitarist, any feature that may add versatility, but impart some slight tonal variance such as the level control had to be arranged in such a way that they could be completely bypassed. The i/o signal path is 100% passive.

Power to light up the sky

The side benefit of a 100% passive design is that the i/o does not require any power whatsoever to make it work. In other words, you can plug in and play without power. The 9VDC powering is only there for the LED indicators. This lets you use the i/o without a power supply for smaller gigs and then light up your stage when in concert mode.

Adapting to any instrument

Essential to the design was arranging the inputs so that two different types of instruments could be used at the same time. In other words, we wanted to make it easy to match the signal levels so that the artist would not have to change levels on his amp and if mic'd or DI'd, the engineer would not have to make adjustments on the fly. We decided to assign input-1 as 'reference' and then made it so that input-2 could be adjusted to suit using a level control. A switch turns on or off the volume control to take it out of the circuit if not required.

Adapting to any cable

Another thought we had was compensating for longer cables when performing on larger concert stages. When using a passive instrument, as the cable length increases, the capacitance causes the top end to be attenuated. We created a unique 3-position, high-frequency compensation circuit that essentially dials-out the effect of the cable. We decided to add this function on input-2 so that input-1 could be left unaffected.

Quiet tuning on stage

With two instruments, routing the tuner can sometimes be a challenge. To address the problem we gave the BigShot i/o a separate tuner output and mute footswitch. All you do is hit the mute to shut off the main output and the tuner continues to receive the instrument signal allowing you to quietly tune on stage. For the purist, we arranged it in such a way that the tuner output could also be turned off, completely removing it from the circuit unless in use.

Compact and easy to use.

Finally, we wanted to pack in all of these features into the smallest possible enclosure. This way, the BigShot i/o would take up the least space possible on the pedalboard. And of course, following Radial's tradition of quality building, the i/o is made in Canada using 14-gauge steel and finished in a durable powder coat to ensure years of trouble-free use.

The BigShot i/o is a compact switcher that is extremely easy to use, is built tough enough to take the constant abuses of the road and has all the features you need to control two instruments on stage.