Radial Engineering has announced the Relay Xo, a microphone signal switcher that enables an artist to convert a vocal mic into a talk-back or communication mic in order to converse with system techs, monitor engineers or other band members.
Radial president Peter Janis explains: “Over the past few years, live touring has shifted dramatically with the universal use of in-ear monitors. Artists no longer use wedge monitors and side fills, and every instrument is piped directly into the ears. The benefit of course is greater control over the mix, consistency from venue to venue, no more feedback to contend with and sound bleeding from monitors into mics is virtually eliminated.
“Although the benefits cannot be understated, this has also introduced a new problem: band members have no way to communicate with each other. Radial produced a solution in the form of a simple momentary footswitch called the DM1 that is equipped with an XLR input and two outputs. When the footswitch is held down, the mic output toggles from the main PA system to the intercom system, enabling the artist to converse with band members or speak with the techs to adjust their in-ear mix.
“The DM1 is designed for dynamic mics but falls short when used with condensers or wireless systems. The Relay Xo is basically a glorified version of the DM1 that is designed to sit at the wireless receiver bay and be remotely controlled using a standard momentary footswitch. The Relay 48Xo, now in the planning stages, will also enable condenser microphones to be employed without introducing a huge pop when phantom power is moved around. ”
The design begins with a simple XLR-F mic input and two XLR-M outputs. The user can togglesthe outputs using the side access A/B switch or connects a remote control such as the Radial JR1 or a momentary switch (like a sustain pedal) to the Relay Xo using either the XLR or 1/4-inch remote input jacks.
Although either a latching or momentary footswitch may be used, the latter is recommended as it prevents accidentally saying things to the audience if left on by mistake. With a momentary footswitch, the user needs to have a foot on the switch for it to work. A second 1/4-inch output provides a link to enable a second Relay Xo to be connected for stereo use.
Because there are no buffers in the circuit path, the Relay Xo does not produce any form of distortion. There are only a few carefully selected blocking capacitors in line to prevent DC offset problems that could cause clicking in the audio system.
The Relay Xo follows Radial’s tradition of using 14-gauge steel throughout along with an internal I-Beam frame to ensure the sensitive PC board will not torque even when subjected to extreme rigors. A book-end design creates a protective zone around the connectors and switches to further prevent accidental damage.
As with all Radial products, the Relay Xo is made in Canada and covered by a 3-year transferable warranty. It will ship in December, 2013, with an estimated retail price of $220 (USD).