Radial Engineering has announced the new StageBug SB-4 Piezo, a direct box specifically developed to solve the problems associated with amplifying acoustic instruments when using piezo-electric transducers.
The StageBug SB-4 begins with a 1/4-inch input to connect the instrument’s piezo transducer output. This 10 meg-ohm input is 10 times higher than a traditional DI. The higher impedance smoothes out the peaks and squawk that is common to most piezo systems while broadening the frequency response for a more natural and pleasing sound.
A thru-put connector may be used to feed a personal stage amp or a tuner. A traditional XLR out is used to feed the PA and it is equipped with a 180-degree polarity reverse switch. This helps tame hot spots on stage by electronically moving acoustic peaks and valleys that naturally occur when the PA system combines with the room acoustics.
Reversing the phase eliminates feedback without resorting to excessive equalization or notch filtering which only serves to degrade the natural tone of the instrument.
To further reduce feedback, a low-pass filter eliminates excessive bass that can cause the instrument to resonate. This also helps clean up the mix when combining multiple instruments.
According to Radial Engineering chief engineer Dan Fraser, “Over the past 10 years, our engineering team has been re-evaluating how the direct box is used, what works and where problems continue to cause havoc. The Radial J48 changed the way we loaded the magnetic pickup for a more natural sound and it has become ‘standard equipment’ on many of the world’s most prominent stages - Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones - just to name a few examples.
“Then, in late 2012, we released the Radial PZ-DI - a direct box that is able to adapt to a wide range of pickups including piezos. The PZ-DI was recently adopted by Rush for a string section and Zac Brown for traditional bluegrass instruments, creating an awareness that if treated properly, piezo pickups can actually sound really good.
“We felt that it would be great if we could produce a pared down version of the PZ-DI that the traveling artist could carry in his or her gig-bag. This became the StageBug SB-4.”
The SB-4 begins shipping in March 2013.