Radial’s latest iteration of their PZ-Pro is a dynamite workhorse that can make your acoustic instruments sound better and your rig more streamlined. In simple terms, it’s a 2-channel preamp with a built-in effects loop, switchable boost, and independent EQ controls that could easily function as a grab-and-go setup or the centerpiece of an expansive pedalboard. Radial’s reputation for rock-solid construction and road-worthy gear is well known, and the PZ-Pro carries that torch admirably. When you pick it up, it just feels like it can handle life on the road, and at $499 it should.
Recorded direct with a Cordoba Acero through a Focusrite Scarlet 2i4 interface into Logic.
I plugged in my Cordoba Acero and fed it to a Fishman SA330 PA system. The PZ-Pro’s preamps are top notch and gave me plenty of clarity and headroom for nearly any amplified situation. The real magic was the PZ-Pro’s versatility. Immediately, I thought of how using an external mic in channel 2 (bonus: it has phantom power!) along with a direct line could give FOH plenty of sonic material to work with. And if you’re a utility player who needs to cover mando, acoustic, banjo, dobro, or any combination thereof, setting up individual EQ levels and roping in a few external stomps is a breeze. Plus, the added blend knob ensures that your external effects won’t overpower your fundamental tone. That’s an often-requested feature for acoustic pickers. One minor quibble is I wish each channel had its own XLR output and the pre/post EQ was a switchable feature.
Kudos to Radial for not overloading a unit like this with flashy, unnecessary bells and whistles and focusing more on real-world applications. The PZ-Pro is exactly that: a pro-level tool that puts more weight and thought behind the essential elements of acoustic amplification.
Cordoba Acero & Fishman SA330
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