Back in 2007, Vancouver's Radial Engineering launched a rack-mounted device called the JX44 Air Control which provided guitarists with a quick and easy way to control instruments, effects and amplifiers on stage. The company says that it has received a constant stream of requests for a smaller and cheaper version ever since, and has now responded with the JX-42 guitar and amp switcher.

The JX44 allowed players to choose between up to four guitars for quick changes between songs, supported output to up to six amplifiers at the same time and included two effects loops (one for local pedals housed in rack drawers and the other for stage-bound pedal boards). But as it was designed for rack mounting, it was quite a chunky beast (19 inches wide and 6.6 inches deep) and carried a suggested retail price of US$1,495 at the time of release.

The JX-42 has dimensions of 4.5 x 2 x 6 in (114 x 57 x 147 mm) and sports a 14 gauge steel chassis and outer shell, which should see it stand up to the rigors of life on the road. The casing also extends out at the top and bottom to afford some protection to the switches out front, and optional rack ears can be added if mounting is desired.

The front panel features "radio style" control switches for four input channels, with LED status indication. As a new channel is activated, the previous one is turned off. Switching is undertaken using "opto-resistive couplers" that raise or lower the signal to avoid popping sounds, and the unit employs the company's class-A buffering circuit to maintain the quality of the signal.

Each channel features a recessed potentiometer which can be set to match incoming active or passive guitar or bass signals, or to replicate the tone and feel of a direct connection to an amp for instruments with passive magnetic pickups.

Up to four guitars can be plugged into the rear panel 0.25-inch instrument jacks, with each input accompanied by a dedicated Thru output which allows a player to pair a particular guitar with a specific amp. The unit, which is powered by a 15 V DC supply that can be locked to secure the cable, has two main stage amp outputs, with the "B" output being transformer-isolated to nip hum and buzz caused by ground loops in the bud.

Players can also opt to use the company's JR5 footswitch (available separately) for instrument selection, rather than the switches on the front of the JX-42.

The Radial JX-42 carries a manufacturer's advised price of $349.99 and is available now.

Product page: JX-42

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