Unlike other single space power racks that are limited to two modules, the innovative triple-module design allows you to put together a traditional channel strip, combining a mic preamp with an equalizer and dynamic control using a compressor-limiter all within the confines of a single RU 19" rack. With so many choices of modules available today, this opens the door to creating unique signal paths to allow your music to stand out.
Following the criteria established by the Radial Workhorse, the PowerStrip is 100% backwards compatible with older API modules while being optimized for Radial's expanding range of preamps, processors and routing devices. Construction begins with 14 gauge steel and features dual gold contact EDAC 15-pin connectors for optimal signal transfer. To maximize headroom, the external supply delivers 500mA of current for voltage hungry modules plus a separate 48V phantom tap delivers 10mA of current for microphone preamps. Rear panel connectivity includes standard XLRs for each slot along with 1/4" TRS connectors for multing modules, cross patching and parallel processing. Instead of the traditional 'hardwire patch' system employed by others, The PowerStrip employs an innovative feed function that patches modules together in series without the need of cables. And stereo modules no longer need to be soldered to be paired, they can now be sync'd together using a simple switch. The PowerStrip is also equipped with Omniport on each sot. This TRS jack enables the module manufacturer to implement a unique function for a given module such as a key input on a gate.
The PowerStrip makes it easy to assemble a variety of modules to create the ultimate channel strip and the compact single RU design opens the door for use in both studio and concert touring.
PowerStrip Development The migration towards digital recording has been nothing short of monumental. But few could have predicted that old school analogue would still be around, let alone see old standards be revived so many years later. The 500 series revolution has come around because today, it simply makes sense. Engineers love the creative aspects and fun that old-school analogue brings to the recording process. And while the producer use to record guitars in the Neve room and move to the SSL room to mix tracks, today the personality of the recording is introduced into the recording by simply selecting the module of choice.
After Radial launched the award winning Workhorse, it became abundantly clear that studios of all sizes wanted to get involved with the 500 series format. The Workhorse is great, but not everyone wants a built-in mixer or 8 channels of processing. This led them to develop two products that follow a similar development path: The PowerStrip and The Cube.
When they looked at 19" single space power racks that were currently on the market, it seemed that the designs could only contain two modules. Although this may be fine for stereo, it seemed to be missing a major factor whereby most of the time - one creates a channel strip by combining a mic preamp with an equalizer and then a compressor-limiter. In other words, you really need space for three modules, not two.
By taking the power supply out of the rack, this enabled them to fit in the three modules and also benefited by reducing potential noise problems caused by electromagnetic induction. The external supply also enables the PowerStrip and Cube to carry safety approvals for countries around the world. We chose to use a locking XLR connector to ensure positive retention. This is particularly important for live touring where things get banged around when transported.
We then set about looking at today's ultra-lean recording studios. These places seem to be equipped with a computer, screen and a pair of studio monitors. With most of the action happening inside the box, 19" racks are simply not in use. This led Radial to develop a 3 module desktop solution called The Cube.
The Cube employs the same high output power supply as the PowerStrip to deliver 800 milliamps of current that can be shared between the three modules. The original API specification called for 130 milliamps or a total of 390 milliamps but many found this to be insufficient for powering certain modules. Both the Cube and the PowerStrip deliver twice the amount of current! This makes them 'at the ready' for just about any module imaginable including power hungry tube mic preamps.
We then thought about how The Cube would be used in various types of studios... for a small production suite, desktop mounting would work great. For those with dedicated mixing surfaces, they thought it would be cool to offer some mounting flanges that would enable The Cube to be recessed into the woodwork. We then figured it would be really cool to allow the user to angle the Cube to optimize viewing and improve the ergonomics. Two optional sets of mounting hardware were created.
For larger studios, the sheer attraction of being able to mix and match any combination of modules had tremendous appeal. But being able to bring the mic preamp right next to the source to improve signal-to-noise rang loud and clear. Thus Radial added a top mounted carry handle to make moving The Cube around the studio easy with one hand, leaving the other free to carry the microphone.
Workhorse Features Transposed
As described above, the intention with The Cube and the PowerStrip was to open the door for the 500 series to spread to a wider audience. This of course meant bringing the price down from the Workhorse to a more affordable level. We did away with the mixer, D-Sub routing and of course lowered the channel count. But they kept some of the really cool features that have gained the Workhorse international recognition and awards from various media including a recent Tech Award nomination.
On older API racks, in order to feed one channel into another, you had to 'hard patch' modules using an XLR cable. This not only muddled up the back of the rack with excessive cables, it also eliminated the possibility of parallel processing as the only available output jack was taken up. The Workhorse introduced a simple function called FEED that enables a module to feed into the adjacent module by simply moving a selector switch. This frees up the XLR for direct patching while cleaning up the inside of the rack.
Extra TRS jacks
Today, music production is all about creating unique sounds that will capture the imagination of the listener. This comes from a combination of great song writing, wonderful production and innovative use of technology. One of the most exciting developments has been the use of parallel processing whereby a preamp may be used to feed a compressor while it is also feeding a distortion pedal. The Workhorse, PowerStrip and Cube are all equipped with extra 1/4" TRS jacks that essentially work like a patch bay to allow you to route signals at will.
Another innovative jump was adding a stereo link switch to the Workhorse. In the past, if you had an API rack you would have to solder a tab together to get two channels to link up in stereo. Now all you do is move the slider switch and you are in full stereo.
One of the coolest features Radial built into the Workhorse was the Omniport jack. This simple TRS connector enables each 500 series manufacturer to assign the Omniport to perform a unique function that would best augment their module. For instance this could be an instrument input on a mic preamp, a direct box output on an instrument preamp, a key input on a gate, a footswitch on a distortion...control voltage on a synthesizer...who knows? Omniport is loaded into each channel of The Cube and the PowerStrip.
A common complaint from earlier API Lunchbox designs was the lack of available current which caused certain types of modules to 'starve' and of course limit their performance. As mentioned above, both The Cube and the PowerStrip employ an 800 milliamp power supply to deliver tons of current to power hungry modules. Because the power is shared like a pool, using a tube preamp like the PowerTube is not a problem.
Radial is committed to expanding the 500 series and taking a leading role to ensure this exciting standard is fully supported from modules right up to power rack housings.
Radial Powerstrip 3 Slot Rackmount Power Rack Features
- Single RU power rack houses three 500 series modules
- Designed to create the ultimate input strip
- Compatible with Radial and older API systems
- Provides up to 500 mA of shared current
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