Radial Engineering has revealed that the 4-Play, a ‘unique’ new direct box designed for artists who employ multiple instruments on stage, is now shipping.
The 4-Play (US MAP $279.99) begins with a standard 0.25in input for acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass and various other instruments. A mute footswitch lets the user silence the switcher when connecting or disconnecting the instrument, and the signal is then routed to a selector footswitch that sequentially activates up to four outputs, allowing each instrument to have its own dedicated channel on the PA. High visibility LED indicators provide clear visual feedback to show which output is active.
The 4-Play comes with four balanced XLR outputs, each with a ground lift switch to help eliminate hum and buzz caused by ground loops. All of the connectors are made from glass-filled nylon for high durability and isolation, featuring nickel-silver contacts that will not tarnish over time. Two 'set and forget' switches enable the user to increase the range of the selector footswitch to two, three or four outputs. There is also a dedicated tuner out that can be assigned to be always on, or function in tandem with the mute switch for quick on-the-fly adjustments.
It is made from heavy 14-gauge steel for added rigidity and greater rejection of stray magnetic fields. The 4-Play also employs a standard Boss-style 9V power supply (not included) and is equipped with a cable lock to prevent accidental disconnection.
"When you are on a busy stage, switching instruments can pose several challenges. When sharing the same direct box, switching between an acoustic guitar and mandolin requires both the FOH engineer and monitor engineer to mute the active mixer channel in order to avoid damaging plug-in transients and painful pops for the audience. You then need to alter the EQ and adjust the level to adapt it for each instrument. Alternatively, when using separate DI boxes, you end up with a bunch of wires connected to each instrument which often get tangled. Ask any stage tech and they will tell you that the preferred approach is to use a single cable and manually switch between instruments. Then, because the artist can mute the instrument on stage, you avoid having to flag down the FOH and monitor engineers between each changeover," said Radial tech team associate Mike Bauer.
"Since each instrument is now connected to a dedicated channel, the signal level, EQ and effects can be predetermined and optimised without having to make radical changes every time an instrument is changed. With so many auxiliary musicians onstage these days, there has never been a more appropriate time for this type of solution."