Radial Engineering has announced the new Headload, a guitar amplifier attenuator that allows the artist to reduce the volume levels on stage while driving the amp hard for maximum tone.
According to Radial president Peter Janis, “With the proliferation of in-ear monitors, there has come a tremendous need for reducing sound pressure levels on stage. Outside of drums, the next biggest culprit is the guitar amplifier. To get tone, guitarists like to drive their amps hard. This is particularly true for smaller amps that sound great when pushed to the max.
“Having tried all kinds of load boxes - we have never been all that impressed with the ones currently on the market. Although they all reduce the sound level coming out of the amp, they fall short when it comes to producing a usable signal for the PA system. We felt that if we could leverage the incredible success we have enjoyed with the Radial JDX direct box and combine this with the Phazer phase adjustment tool, a new type of load box could be created. After a year of trial and error, we are pleased to announce the Headload—the culmination of our quest for great amp tone.”
The 100 percent discrete fan-cooled design begins with a series of high power cement-encrusted epoxy-coated copper coil resistors that are used in conjunction with a 6-position Grayhill rotary switch to dissipate the power generated by the amplifier.
A variable range control allows incremental power reduction at low levels if needed. This is augmented with separate high and low resonance switches to compensate with extra sparkle or bottom end.
Power going to the speakers may also be turned off for quiet recording or to eliminate the speaker cabinet on stage. A front-panel 1/4-inch headphone jack with level control makes the Headload a great companion for quiet practicing.
In addition to the 8-ohm speaker cabinet outputs, the Headload comes with a built-in Radial JDX direct box, coupled with a 6-position voicing switch with that lets you choose the desired amp and cabinet emulation. This is supplemented with a 2-band EQ for fine tuning and a low-pass filter to eliminate overly harsh harmonics that are produced by some amplifiers.
Two JDX direct outputs offer the choice of pre- or post-EQ settings to allow the artist to control his wedge or in-ear monitors to suit while sending a non-equalized tone to the front of house mix position.
For engineers who prefer to combine a microphone with a direct feed, the Headload has also been outfitted with a Radial Phazer phase alignment tool. This enables the stage tech to align the direct feed with the mic and dial-in the mix on stage.
In the studio, the Phazer can also be used for creative equalization such as creating Boston-type out-of-phase rhythm tones or an ultra-thick wall-of-sound. A second set of 1/4-inch line outputs may be used to feed additional stage amps or effects if needed.
The Headload is made in Canada from 14-gauge steel, measures 5.06 x 19.15 x 7.44 (inches (h x w x d), and is supported with a 3-year transferable warranty.
The Headload will start shipping in spring 2014. Estimated retail: $600 USD.