Radial’s new flagship HDI goes beyond typical DI boxes

Not quite a preamp, but way more than a DI box.

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Radial HDI

Image: Radial Engineering

Reputed DI box maker Radial Engineering has unveiled the HDI – a new flagship direct input box that goes beyond the feature set of a typical DI.

Development of the HDI was led by legendary design engineer “Hutch” Hutchison – who served as chief designer behind Manley’s Vari Mu Compressor. With the HDI, the engineer sought to create “something that was more creative, fun, inspiring and musical” while maintaining the essence of a DI”.

The HDI combines one-part DI-style ultra-clean signal boost, with one-part guitar amp style saturation; which can be blended with a colour control knob to sweep between the two zones for “musical and versatile” output signals. The company has highlighted this effect’s particular efficacy with bass, acoustic guitars and keyboards.

The sonic qualities of the amp-like saturation are described as warm and rich – courtesy of the HDI’s guitar amp topology, and use of Jensen transformers.

Additional frequency shaping options come in the form of level and presence controls. The former allows the HDI to work with a wide variety of input sources; while the latter provides extra high and high-mid bite to cut through a mix effectively.

Also present on the HDI are a Hi-Z switch for controlling impedance; a single-control opto-compressor for curbing especially harsh signal peaks; a 3-way high-pass filter for managing low-end; and a ground switch.

Inputs on the HDI include ¼ inch ports on the front and rear panels, a thru input for sending signals to an amplifier, and a 3.5mm mono synth input – handy for connection with modular systems. Outputs include transformer-isolated mic and line-level XLR, and a ¼ inch processed output for passing the signal to a guitar amp, or other effects units.

The Radial HDI is available to purchase now, and lists at $850.

Read an interview with designer “Hutch” Hutchison on the HDI here, or learn more about the HDI at radialeng.com

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