Future Friday – What’s Coming? Development of Radial’s amp simulator

June 10th, 2016


The JDX Direct-Drive

It has been over ten years since the original JDX Reactor™ box—commonly referred to as the “Red DI”—started turning heads when it came to reproducing guitar amp sounds through PA systems. Having since been updated, the revised JDX 48 operates on phantom power. It’s an irreplaceable tool for guitarists of all levels, both live and in the studio.

But the JDX 48 is designed to work with an amplifier. You cannot plug a favorite overdrive into it and do the gig. This is one of the requests we hear most often. Guitarists do not necessarily want to bring an amp to every gig, and in the studio they often prefer to record quietly instead of blasting out at volume 10. This was the impetus for developing the JDX Direct-Drive.

The Direct-Drive  takes up the challenge where the JDX 48 left off, by simulating the effect of playing through a guitar amp. The advanced filter offers three options along with a bright switch for options 2 and 3:

  1. Basic JDX sound
  2. Half stack
  3. Open back

Critical to the sound is the way the Direct-Drive emulates playing through a guitar cabinet, while playing through wedge monitors, powered speakers or in-ear monitors. Is it perfect? No, but it is very, very convincing and best of all; it will get you there instantly. You just plug in your favorite pedals, select the amp and cabinet tone you like, and presto!

jdxdirectdrive-input-lrgEstablishing the feature set was straight ahead. We wanted the Direct-Drive to be super easy to use. So it has a guitar input and a balanced line output to feed the PA system. We then added a thru output that sends the input signal to a guitar amp. This allows the guitarist to use his stage amp while the FOH engineer can capture both the amp and the Direct-Drive signals. They can then mix them together as needed. This output is outfitted with a polarity reverse for phase-aligning the direct sound with a mic, and a ground lift to help eliminate hum and buzz from ground loops.

We then added a tuner out so that we can keep these nasty devices out of the signal path. Finally, we added a 1/4″ out that produces the same signal as the balanced XLR out. This, we felt, could be used to feed a recording system, clean power amp or maybe some special effect. In other words, the Direct-Drive gives you tons of connectivity options. Finally, we arranged the power so that it could employ a standard 9V supply for easy integration onto a pedalboard.

The JDX Direct-Drive may well be the first realistic sounding analog amp simulator to ever grace a pedalboard. And it’s coming soon.

Read more about the JDX Direct-Drive here.

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