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 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

When we set out developing the BIgShot i/o – first on the list was to ensure it was 100% true-bypass. In other words, there could be no active buffering or tone varying circuitry between the instrument and the amp. And to appease even the most stringent guitarist, any of the features that may impart some slight variance such as the dim control were arranged in such a way that they could be completely bypassed. The side benefit of a 100% passive design is that the i/o does not require any power whatsoever to make it work. Simple plug in and play.

Adapting to any instrument

Top of the list when developing the BigShot i/o was arranging the inputs so that two different types of instruments could be used. We decided to assign input-1 as 'reference' and then made it so that input-2 could be adjusted to suit using a dim control. A simple variable resister (potentiometer) was rear mounted and recessed in a set & forget arrangement. This way, once the artist has found the right balance, the setting would not be accidentally changed halfway through a set. A simple on-off switch also enables the user to use two identical guitars and switch the resistive pad out of the circuit when needed

Adapting to any cable

Another thought we had was compensating for longer cables when performing on larger concert stages with a passive instrument. As the cable length increases, the capacitance causes the top end to be shaved off. We created a unique high frequency compensation circuit that essentially dials out the effect of the cable. Again, 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 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.

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 overbuilding everything, 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 road use and has all the features you need to control two instruments on stage.