NAMM 2014: Radial introduces the Space Heater 8 Channel Tube Drive and Summing Mixer -
Radial Engineering Ltd. introduces the Space Heater - a combination 8 channel tube drive and summing mixer designed to bring character to the sterile world of digital recording.
According to Radial President Peter Janis: "Ever since the success of our Workhorse 500 series power rack with built-in summing mixer, we have been thinking about building a dedicated summing mixer that would be a worthwhile addition to the industry. As there are plenty of passive analog summing mixers on the market, we wanted to bring something out that would be both unique and of value. While talking about how many producers prefer to fatten up the sound of drums using analog recorders, it occurred to us that it would be really cool if you could add tube coloration and transformers to a drum track. So we got to work! The Space Heater is an 8 channel 12 AX7 tube line amplifier with big fat Eclipse transformers. These combine to produce a huge bottom end. We then added a 3 position switch that lets the user select the applied voltage on the tube so that it can be lo-fi, mid-fi or hi-fidelity, depending on the need. It is fun, easy to use and I am sure it will be welcomed by the more adventurous minded producers and engineers."
Set up as four stereo pairs, the Space Heater design begins with a choice of 1/4" TRS or D-sub inputs for quick connection to a workstation. Each channel pair is 100% discrete enabling 4 stereo sets to be used independently or be sent to a stereo mix bus with left and right outputs. To control the effect on the tube, each channel set is equipped with a separate drive control to increase or decrease the signal being sent to the 12AX7 tube and a level control to set the output. A unique Heat switch lets the user apply 25, 50 or 100 volts on the tube depending on the fidelity needed. Lower voltages starve the tube causing more distortion. On the other hand, higher voltages produce a cleaner signal. Each stereo set is also equipped with a handy high-pass filter to help eliminate resonance and clutter. This is extremely useful for cleaning up a mix. To expand patching options, all 8 channels are equipped with separate send and receive insert jacks. The send jack works double duty as a second output with the D-Sub for parallel processing. The master section features a simple level control, headphone amp and choice of XLR or TRS outputs. Everything is housed in a 1 RU 19" rack frame and as with all Radial product, it is made from 14 gauge steel for greater rigidity and maximum shielding. An external power brick works globally by accepting anything from 100 to 240 volts.
The Space Heater is expected to start shipping in April 2014 with an estimated retail price of $2000 (£1200) USD.