Radial Engineering has announced the new Radial SW4 Festival Switcher, a 19-inch (by 1U deep) rack-mount device is designed to allow several mixing consoles, a CD player, a stereo recorder, an i-Pod and a microphone to share the same PA system. The new SW4 will be on display at the Radial booth (#6959, Hall A) at the Winter NAMM ‘09 Show in Anaheim.
According to Radial President Peter Janis: “We have noticed a growing demand from the touring market for a product that would allow multiple consoles and sources to connect to the same PA system. This demand is driven from several perspectives.
“First, when multiple bands share the same stage, each artist prefers to have their own mixing console. Even with programmable digital desks, there are tie lines to outboard effects and specific plug-ins that the main act may have that they do not want to share with the other acts.
“This is further heightened in festival situations where several A-level acts share the same stage. In clubs, one may wish to share the PA between the DJ and the visiting band. The Radial SW4 features four discreet stereo inputs to address these needs.”
“Further, major touring companies that fully embrace digital consoles are well aware of the down-side whereby when a system crashes, it takes several minutes to reboot. Today, many bands carry a small backup mixer that enables the sound engineer to quickly reroute the system so that primary microphones such as vocals, bass drums and guitars can be switched on-line instantly while the techs sort out the problem.
“It is also customary to record the show from the main mixing console output and the SW4 is equipped with a monitor out that can be used for this task.
“Finally, a key element is cost savings. This is most appreciated during tear down. Normally, after the band has finished the third encore, there is a 30-60 minute delay before the a system’s front-of-house components can begin to be dismantled as it must supply walk-out music and be ‘on the ready’ with a paging microphone.
“With an SW4, the engineer can simply connect a CD player or iPod to the SW4 for playback and have a dynamic mic connected should it be needed. This allows the FOH zone to be dismantled which can often save anywhere from 30 minutes or more of overtime labor costs which can amount to thousands of dollars depending on how many stage hands and security staff are being retained.”
The Radial SW4 includes three ‘hardwired’ stereo input sets that are selected via front panel selector switches. These control a series of air-sealed gold contact relays.
A safety button requires two-hand operation to eliminate switching errors and each relay is duplicated for redundant backup thus ensuring the show will go on.
Should power be disconnected, the SW4 will revert to ‘default mode’ with input-1 connected to output-A.
To insure a pristine audio path, the only electronics in between the input and output are two of Jensen’s very best nickel core JT-11BMCF transformers. These are capable of handling +28dB from 20Hz to 20kHz which is more headroom than any console is capable of generating.
To address ‘unknown variables such as signal levels from CD players, ipods, and computer sound cards, input-4 is buffered like a mixing console to allow these devices to be ‘controlled’. It features A or B stereo input select, a DIM control for level adjustments, and redundant front & rear panel RCAs plus a handy stereo 3.5mm (1/8-inch) inputs for i-pods and other mini recorders.
All input channels feature high pass filtering to reduce excessive bass and a monitor bus to allow pre-switch listening via the built-in headphone amplifier.
In situations where a DJ may be driving the PA too hard, an insert bus allows the house tech to introduce a limiter into the signal path and discretely control the dynamics.
The SW4 may also be remotely switched using a contact closure and multiple units may be ganged together for larger system requirements following a master-slave configuration.
U.S. retail price for the new SW4 is $1,500.
For more information:
Radial Engineering Website