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This article was originally published in issue #52
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The Radial JDX Direct-Drive takes an instrument level signal from a guitar or effect unit, adds a cabinet or amp simulation, and outputs a balanced signal (XLR) or an unbalanced signal (jack) that can be sent directly to a PA or other full-range amplifier, or to a recording interface.
Radial's range of products are designed for professional use where quality, durability and overall performance is critical. With the JDX Direct-Drive, they look to successfully emulate the sound of a guitar amplifier while doubling as a direct box, but does it actually sound any good? Andi Picker gives us the lowdown.
When we need a guitar rig that’s small and quiet, an amp/cab simulator can make a lot of sense. Options range from powerful digital units with built-in effects, amps and speaker cabs through to “amp-in-a-box” effects pedals designed to be run into a clean guitar amp/cab setup. Some of these pedals produce a fantastically convincing amp sound, but they often (not always) don’t include any sort of cabinet effect, which can leave them sounding a bit shrill on their own.
The Radial JDX Direct-Drive takes an instrument level signal from a guitar or effect unit, adds a cabinet or amp simulation, and outputs a balanced signal (XLR) or an unbalanced signal (jack) that can be sent directly to a PA or other full-range amplifier, or to a recording interface. A thru jack passes the unaffected signal out for connection to a guitar amp, and there’s also a buffered always-on tuner output. Other, mundane but important features – Polarity reverse (useful when running DI and an amp at the same time) and Ground Lift (to reduce ground-loop hum) can be switched in or out from the top panel, and power needs to be supplied from a standard 9v supply (not provided) as there is no battery or phantom-power option.
Another top-panel switch selects from three different guitar amp/cab emulations based on a Marshall 4x12 cabinet with a Shure SM57, a Marshall JCM amp/cab and a Fender Twin combo, plus a presence switch to brighten either of the amp models.
The OM-C Back, sides and neck are made of Indian rosewood and meet at the 14th fret, with a very elegant heel for easy access to the higher register. At the back, it has a very fine walnut strip. The bone nut and drop-in saddle are finely cut, finished and positioned in a very tidy manner.
It has a beautiful abalone rosette, which with the rosewood binding all around gives the guitar an elegant look as well as making it tougher, improving its longevity.
Its stylish headstock features gold machine heads with ebony mini tuners, which look and feel great while being unsurprisingly accurate and precise.
The shape contributes to a very precise and focused tone. The fine woods, the various types of glue as well as all the other fine ingredients used to manufacture this instrument, all contribute to creating an instrument with a wide palette of tonal colours.
Playability is excellent too, thanks to his ergonomic neck profile, which makes it ideal for electric guitarists.
This is without a doubt a high-quality instrument, which is a real joy to play. The choice of material and the craftsmanship are remarkable. As a result of this, the guitar isn’t cheap, but in my opinion, it is worth every penny!
This instrument will improve with age, and it will make its owner improve too, as fine instruments such as this Huss & Dalton OM-C can only help you play better (and certainly make you want to play more), thanks to its playability and tone.
In conclusion, I strongly recommend finding a Huss & Dalton dealer near you and trying these amazing guitars; you won’t believe your ears!
A very special thanks to Warren Clinton for supplying this Huss & Dalton OM-C for review.