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Radial JDX Reactor -- how is it compared to a Palmer PDA-04?

guitarrhinoceros

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
Anyone using the JDX Reactor? For the cost, it is a very cheap load box. I just don't know how it will make my amp sound and was wondering if I could get a general consensus opinion on the JDX. Thanks. I'm honestly sick of the hurdles associated with microphones, mic placement, room treatment, etc.

:banana
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,219
The JDX Reactor is not a load box, you need to have a speaker connected at all times.
The Palmer PDI-04 does have a speaker load, and can be used without a speaker connected.
 

Tweeker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,223
I think a fairer comparison would be the Radial JDX to the Palmer PDI-09.
http://www.palmergear.com/pdi09.shtml

They are designed to do the same thing, but I'm sure a side by side comparison would yield small sonic differences.

The Palmer is a passive device -- the Radial is active.
The Palmer does not have the polarity switch like the Radial, but does have three position attenuation and tone controls.

I've used the Palmer unit for years for the same reasons you mention. It eliminates mics, placement concerns and produces a consistent sound. It can also be used as a cabinet simulator without an amp if used with a preamp.
I haven't heard the JDX, but Radial always has a solid design and makes good stuff.
Neither box should affect the sound of your amp.
 

guitarrhinoceros

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
The JDX Reactor is not a load box, you need to have a speaker connected at all times.
The Palmer PDI-04 does have a speaker load, and can be used without a speaker connected.
Yup, you are right, it isn't a load box. I just noticed that. Still though, how does its DI sound from a guitar amp? Good? Awful?

:banana
 

Tweeker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,223
Yup, you are right, it isn't a load box. I just noticed that. Still though, how does its DI sound from a guitar amp? Good? Awful?

:banana
I guess I'd ask about your set up. Are you looking to get rid of your stage amp along with mics? If so, you'd need a DI that isn't a load box. There are many non load boxes that get the job done. Cabinet emulators I guess you'd call 'em. Here's a box that uses that approach: http://youtu.be/fZLezYymLb8

If you're looking to keep your amp on stage and go DI instead of micing, then the load box is what you need. The Palmer PDI-09 sounds great to my ear - never awful. But there is a coloration of the sound. I think the load box design does a pretty good job of preserving your amp dynamics and doesn't squash your playing. FYI, the PGA-04 is a load box, but doesn't need to pass that load to a speaker unless you want it to. If I want to mute my speaker, I just put an attenuator in series with my PDI-09.
In the context of a band mix I can't tell that it's not a mic, and in most cases, I prefer the DI'd sound to a mic.
 
Last edited:

Tom

Member
Messages
9
I have a JDX mounted in the back of my combo (5E3-type amp) and use the device frequently in place of a mic for gigs.

To offer an opinion to your original question, to my ears, the JDX does not make my amp sound any different than the amp sounds without the JDX. However, my tone through the PA mains using the JDX will depend upon the soundperson.

The key to the JDX in my experience is to let the sound person know that JDX is plugged in and to be prepared to try EQ settings that are different from that typically used for micing with an SM57 or other common mic. For my playing style (country/rock) I tell the sound person to set the PA mixing board FLAT.

I play "gritty clean" to distorted (tube screamer on top of gritty clean) and as far as I can tell, my tone through the PA with the mixing board FLAT is typically a louder version of the tone from my amp. I have also used the JDX with several different amps and have experienced similar results. Your particular milage may vary though.
 

guitarrhinoceros

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
Thanks for the responses. How does the JDX sound when recording direct to an interface to a DAW? Is it worth it for that aspect?
 

Sniper-V

Member
Messages
3,530
I been using the JDX for a about a year and love it!
I primarily play in live Church P&W settings.

Tom is pretty spot on with his post.

For me, it has totally eliminated the inconsistencies and problems of mics and mic placements. Even cuts down set up time. It sends an incredibly strong signal to the FOH. Tonally, it's consistent with minimal eq and it just cuts through. I've actually had non-musicians mentioned my guitar seemed to cut through the mix since I started using it. It also shines really well for IEMs systems. The band seems to really like what they hear in the ears. I haven't used a mic since.

My only complaint is that certain amps shine easier with the JDX than others. I used a Pure 64 Mean Street 50 head and cab last weekend that just was stellar at flat on the boards with just level controls. Although, a couple weeks before that when I used a Carol-Ann OD-3r it took a little more tweaking at the board to get it right. For the most part though, its very consistent and sounds great.
 

Tweeker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,223

Dewdman42

Member
Messages
34
I'm trying to decide between the PDI-09 and JDX. Sonically I like the demos I am hearing of either one, leaning towards the JDX. I do think that with a bit of EQ, either one can probably be made to sound absolutely good enough for the audience.

That being said, my question is about the "feel". The JDX supposedly is using this reactive speaker circuit somehow, can anyone "feel" any difference between the two? is there any kind of a sense of depth or 3dness on the JDX that is not on the other? I do like that that PDI-09 has 3 tone setings.

In my case, use a modeler which can be run direct to PA and even though it sounds fine to the audience, it feels like crap for me to play it that way. So I run my modeler into a mesa 20/20 amp and 2x12 cab which really brings it alive and sounds a zillion times better. Both the amp and cab are influencing this. However, Trying to get around micing on stage, and so I'm thinking one of these boxes might be the ticket. That being said, my 20/20 has a studio out on it that could also be used, but the question is whether the PDI-09 or JDX would add appreciably to the sound and particularly "feel" due to the way they are connected in line to the speaker.

??
 

Tweeker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,223
I'm trying to decide between the PDI-09 and JDX...my question is about the "feel"...my 20/20 has a studio out on it that could also be used, but the question is whether the PDI-09 or JDX would add appreciably to the sound and particularly "feel" due to the way they are connected in line to the speaker..??
I feel your pain when it comes to feel.
Have you tried the studio out on the 20/20? I suspect that either the JDX or PDI-09 is going to provide a more natural feel than the studio out because of the specialized design. As a Palmer user, I vote PDI-09, but based on the sound files, the JDX is easily it's equal. And even though the sound files are close, the active circuitry in the Radial probably means it's gonna feel a bit different. I think you'd need to A/B these two to really know.
 

Dewdman42

Member
Messages
34
I know you're right. I wish I had access to them both. I'm gonna buy a JDX from someone that has 30 day return policy and do an A/B test between that and the 20/20 studio outs. They work in similar fashion, the amp still needs to be speaker loaded. However, the JDX has the special electronics that react to the speaker magnet backwash, which may or may not be significant, that is what I'm wondering about. I guess maybe my 20/20 outs, with a bit of EQ would not be much different then the PDI-09, but I can't say for sure without having one in hand. It would have to be significantly better to justify the cost.

I've tried using the modeler direct to a PA and while the tones are basically there, the feel is just not quite there and the whole sound just doesn't quite spank and growl like it does through the cab. That has been a "significant enough" difference for me to justify getting a 20/20 and a cab.
 

FlyingVBlues

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,146
I have both the Palmer PDI-09 and the JDX. Both sound about the same, but the PDI-09 is more tweakable. If you want to do silent recording with either device this is the setup I use, which was recommended by Ed Degenaro:
Speaker Out of the Amp -> Palmer PDI-09 ->THD Hotplate setup as a load box
The XLR balanced output of the PDI-09 will go to your balanced input on your recording interface or device. You don’t want to connect the PDI-09 to either the line-out or the speaker-out of the Hot Plate. It will sound terrible. This setup works exactly the same for the JDX. Also, you can use any attenuator that can work as a load box. This is what the setup looks like with the PDI-09:



I like using clean or edge of breakup Fender amps with the PDI-09 because of the tone setting switch on the device. You can easily use the EQ on your DAW instead of the PDI-09 tone switch and get very good results with the JDX.

If you’re considering a Palmer PDI-04, which has a built-in speaker load, get the PDI-03 instead. I’ve owned both, and after A/Bing them I sold the PDI-04. The PDI-03 sounds much better.

FVB
 

rancid.keone

Member
Messages
246
can you plug something like a Boss FBM-1 preamp pedal (but without cabinet simulation) into the JDX and just XLR out into the PA?
 

Dewdman42

Member
Messages
34
No the JDX is designed to take the speaker signal...from a power amp...and inserts itself in the middle of the line, tapping the signal that is normally going to a guitar cab, and sending the mic XLR signal off of that.
 

rancid.keone

Member
Messages
246
so you must have a speaker cabinet hooked up or can you just put only a head into the JDX and XLR into PA? (less stuff for me to carry, the better hehe)
 

Dewdman42

Member
Messages
34
yes you need speaker cab and the JDX is designed to interact with the speaker inductance to help the signal too.

if you want something that does not require a speaker at all, coming from a power amp, then you need a power soaker...or palmer makes a rack mount device that can do it, not cheap though.

You don't need a big speaker cab and it does not need to be loud.

if you are not using an amp just a preamp, then you don't need anything like this, in fact you can just use an EQ to more or less give you a poor man's speaker cab emulation from the preamp. Its not going to sound near as good though.

My JDX sounds like gold, absolutely love it, but part of my guitar sound is coming from my power amp section and I want to capture that. I don't mind having my guitar cab on stage which sounds really sweet too, but sometimes i wish I didn't have to bring it to practice, I hear you.
 

rancid.keone

Member
Messages
246
Thanks, was kinda looking at this earlier...wouldn't mind trying this between my Tweaker 15w head and Blackheart 1x12 Cab. People who own it seem to dig it a lot
 

Dewdman42

Member
Messages
34
the best part is when I tell the sound man he doesn't need a mic for my guitar and he gives me an incredulous look... But I'm telling you, it sounds just as good as the mic'd sound without the hassles or inconsistencies. its maybe a tad on the bright side compared to an SM57, but easily EQ'd out. In recording tests we did, the tracks we played back sounded exactly like what we heard coming out of my guitar cab. My buddy bought one immediately after that.

I use IEM's so for me, this gives me a very consistent guitar sound in my ears without any microphone issues or questions. Every time I show up, my guitar sounds exactly the same in my ears. Another benefit, the mic isn't picking up any other bass or drum bleed.
 

rancid.keone

Member
Messages
246
Where I'm from, there are lot of lazy musicians that don't know their gear. Sound-guys here love working with me kus I bring my own DI, my own cords and usually run a simple rig with preamp pedals instead of real amps...
 




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