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Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre 2-channel Acoustic Instrument Preamp Reviews

4.5 stars based on 20 customer reviews
Questions about the Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre 2-channel Acoustic Instrument Preamp?

Questions about the Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre 2-channel Acoustic Instrument Preamp?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

  • from Lewiston, CA June 7, 2016Music Background:
    Live Performer/Studio Rat

    Do Your Tone A Favor!

    I had been coveting this little box for far longer than I'd like to admit. Sure, I received the occasional compliment on the guitar tones I was getting during solo and duo shows.... but, It just seemed like I was never truly buying in to the acoustic tone I heard coming out of my PA. So, finally, I pulled the trigger and got the PZ Pre. The first time I plugged in and started finger picking, I was convinced a little man had crawled inside of my EONs with my Martin and was playing away. Really, the sound difference was THAT dramatic. I've put this thing through it's paces, utilizing the boost and loop functions, I've scoped out the frequency cuts available with the filter, dug in to the very musical "a little goes a long way" EQ. It's undoubtedly the biggest bang for the buck improvement in my live sound since adding a subwoofer. I haven't used it in a full band setting, but I could see the filter being incredibly useful in giving the bass player a nice mud free zone in which to do his or her thing. I am putting a cheapie backup guitar with an even cheaper soundhole pickup into the 2nd input as well. Initially, I was a bit concerned with the fact that the signal was so weak in comparison to the active pickups in my Martin. But, problem solved. The PZ Pre has a boost option, which is cleverly configured so that when you activate the boost, you can also activate the loop, or not. Thus, when I instantly switch to my 2nd guitar I have all of the gain that I need with one click. And, the tinny, tubby tone I was getting with the cheap guitar in open D tuning I was using suddenly became a head turning sound! Add to all of this the fact that it's made by Radial and is built so ruggedly that it may well outlast me? Do your tone a favor.....

  • from Philadelphia March 17, 2016Music Background:
    Pro Cellist, playing 20 years

    VERY noisy product

    Radial is a name we have learned to trust, and this is not an inexpensive product, so I assumed it would be simply good and straightforward. The FX loop is nice to put multiple drive pedals in, the built in boost is linear so it works nicely to drive a tube amp or as a volume-increase on very clean amps with acoustic instruments, the mute is handy and the PZ Boost works great - I'm using mine for a pickup on my cello. The notch filter successfully killed feedback problems I was having, but the unit introduces so much noise that I cannot keep it. It's a shame, really, because the form factor and features are excellent.

    I called SweetWater tech support and someone there pulled a few units to test, planning on sending me a replacement, but he said that the units he tested were quite noisy too. Not a digital or radio type noise, just a TV-snow type white noise hiss. The EQ/filters did not affect the noise, so it is introduced post EQ, but that just means the output op amps are noisy.

    This noise was happening without my cello plugged in, as well. If I powered it on and plugged the output from the ToneBone to the input of the next pedal in my chain (or straight to my amp), I get the hiss. If I plug in a stratocaster to it and turn the guitar volume to 0, I still get it. Any piezo pickup, same thing. I planned on putting my cello through one input and an ac/electric ukulele through the other.

    Either way, for this kind of money, I think I can do better. L.R. Baggs or Fishman are what I actually see gigging musicians use, I will assume that they have higher standards than Radial for preamps. The DIs are great, but I've only used passive Radial boxes before, not sure where they failed on this design!

  • from The Wildlands of Wisconsin January 18, 2016Music Background:
    A serious guitar player for many, many years

    Wish I hadn't waited so long,,

    I've got a bunch of wonderful sounding guitars, but this PZ-Pre makes great sounding guitars sound even better...a full, rich sound, It came with a simple, easy to understand owners manual and the unit itself is quite intuitive and "user friendly." If you follow their suggestions I don't think one could be disappointed. I really like its layout. It's switches and in/outs are arranged and separated in a way that makes them quick and easy to visually and manually access. It's steel housing seems tank-like in durability. I've only had it for a few weeks now, so long term reliability remains to be seen. I'm usually fairly slow in evaluating and giving either a negative or positive review on any product, however, I'm very pleased with this PZ-Pre and the functionality and sound it provides.

  • from January 31, 2015Music Background:
    Pro musician and recording emgineer

    tone bone pz pre

    i use in both acustic guitar,nylon and steel,and...incredible,super pré...thax

  • from Denver, Colorado January 30, 2015Music Background:
    Pro bassist, Live sound engineer

    Problematic from sound man perspective

    I play upright bass in a bluegrass band, and the PA gear is mine AND I try my best to run sound from the stage. Our guitar player doubles on mandolin and uses one Tonebon PZ-pre for both guitar and mandolin and sends me a single output to the board.

    Problem is these two instruments need different EQ treatments, and it is difficult at best to get an even output level from both channels. I would prefer to get two separate signals from two separate DI's.

    Overall, this is a great product ... but conceptually it does not make sense to have two inputs share a common EQ section.

  • from New England October 7, 2014Music Background:
    Guitarist, home recordist

    Great multi-function DI pedal for acoustic use

    Has most of the features you would ever want for live acoustic guitar use. The built-in boost is great for leads if you don't have a separate boost pedal. Mute button is quiet, and all the switches feel solid.
    I only took 1/2 a star of the rating because the switch that you push in to activate both inputs at once is recessed and has to be engaged with a pointy pen or other device, and my first pedal this came loose, leaving both inputs on all the time.

  • from CT June 9, 2014Music Background:
    semi-pro

    Power Supply Issue

    I plan to use the Tonebone on a pedal board powered by a Pedaltrain 1250, a power supply with plenty of 9 volt outputs for my Fishman units and one selectable output that can run 9, 12, 15 or 18 volts. The Tonebone needs 15 volts, so the Pedaltrain 1250 looked perfect. I got the gear and then discovered that the Tonebone takes a special connector, the one on the cord from the wall wart that comes with the unit. I'll have to make my own cord to go from the PT1250 to the TB. That means splicing an ordinary connector from a 9V cord to the special Tonebone connector cut from the wall wart. It's either that or run an additional cord to the pedal board from the wall wart plugged into a power strip. Also, the wall wart from the Tonebone box was NG. Fortunately I had ordered one separately not realizing that there was one in the box. Otherwise, the unit is solid and useful for EQ's and boosting for solos.

  • from February 11, 2014Music Background:
    Music hobbyist, Violin my whole life, guitar, bass, and I have a recording studio.

    Didn't realize how much I needed it

    This pedal does things I didn't even know I needed. I was originally just looking for a DI for my banjo and stumbled across it it because of the piezo DI feature. However, the fact that I can have two input with a single output makes my life much easier on stage. As with other reviewers, the only thing that is needed to bump this up to a 5.0 rating would be a separate EQ for each channel. I'm sure there must be some technical reason for the way it is made, but it's not perfect because the EQ setting I need for my acoustic with an on-board pre-amp is not optimized when I set it up for the banjo.

  • from Cincinnati June 13, 2013Music Background:
    performer

    Great Pre-amp for acoustic pickups

    I have nothing to add to the descriptions of the product that other reviewers haven't mentioned. I will say, however, that, for me, the stand out feature of this DI is the shelving EQ. That in addition to the notch "Q" and control knob do something for the tone of my guitars that no other amp or pre-amp I've tried seems capable of. Most people who use piezo pickups understand how the highs can come across, but a number of my guitars over enhance the low mid to the point of feedback. Many products on the market designed to eliminate feedback do so at the overall expense of your tone. This is the piece of gear that gets it all done. You can zero in on the sound you want. As a bonus, you get a great DI, blender, etc.

  • from Orlando, FL April 10, 2013Music Background:
    Pro musician

    LOVE IT.

    I only have 2 regrets about it: That I waited so long to get it, and that I only have 1! It's every thing that it promises to be, and more. I've had it 2 weeks, and have already used it in several different applications. It greatly improves the tone of acoustic-simulating piezo pickups in electric guitars. Used in on gigs to combine both my electric's piezo channel and either my steel or nylon string acoustic. Currently using it in a pit-orchestra, with an archtop on one channel and a banjo on the other. It's great for killing noise. An audio tech pointed out to me the other day that while some might consider it expensive, well, everybody knows how good Radial products are, and this is like 4 of them combined into one! (Two DI's, a switcher and a preamp) so it's actually a real bargain. But I must say this: EVERY other box I've ever put in front of my Taylor 714 has made it sound worse. This actually made it sound better.

  • from Ctrl FL March 22, 2013Music Background:
    Pro musician

    LOVE this pedal

    Can't believe I waited so long to get this. Made my piezo-bridge electric guitar sound more "acoustic-y" than ever, was easy to tweak the right freq's in and out. Usually acoustic processors (even good ones) weaken the original tone, but this actually improved, if not preserved it.
    Most impressed by the boost...I found that noon was perfect, but you can crank it to 5' oclock, and it is still CLEAN clean.

  • from Powell River, BC February 19, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Great preamp foracoustic guitar

    This is a fine unit - rugged, flexible and super easy to use. The combined boost and external loop feature is a great bonus - allows me to kick in external effects on my acoustic with no perceive loss of punch or tone. Love the low pass and notch filters. Would be nice to have two independent eqs to make use of the A-B switching capability with having to add a separate eq for a second guitar, but great to have both pre and post eq low impedance line outs. Excellent piece of gear.

  • from Mamaroneck,N.Y. January 15, 2013Music Background:
    Guitar Player, Live Band and Studio

    A Great Product Live and Studio

    I play a Taylor 514ce that I've had for over 12yrs .I used to plug into a Trace 30 acoustic amp .With some tweaking I could make it sound very good . I sold that amp and was temporarily using my JBL PA w the 15 inch speakers. It sounded passable but mostly brittle and not naturally pleasant. Once I connected the PZ-pre the" Magic " began to happen . I've been playing for 50 yrs and have never heard an amplified acoustic sound so beautiful and natural . On top of that you get so many options for live and studio applications that I just love to play through this pedal for any acoustic performance. Thanks Matt this was a great buy , a true joy to have such a musical tool .

  • from Spokane, WA USA June 25, 2012Music Background:
    Recording/Live Sound engineer, Semi-pro musician (25 yrs)

    Tough, smooth, and effective

    I used this on stage for a madolin and a banjo (complete with a delay pedal - don't ask). Aside from having to tweahthe notch filter (which works REALLY well, btw), it was a seamless switch. I also love the fact that you can set the two channels to blend for instruments that have a bridge and body pickup. Only half-star off is this: Why give me two channels and only one EQ?

  • from Miami, FL May 1, 2012Music Background:
    pro jazz guitarist

    Incredible Preamp / DI

    Got the pz-pre after trying several DIs and preamps throughout many years. The pz-pre is definitely the best out there, in my opinion. It really excels with both nylon and steel string guitars. Worth every penny!

  • from MIranda, CA USA April 27, 2012Music Background:
    Multi-instrumentalist/writer

    Just what I expected from Radial -- another excellent product!

    Extremely versatile and easy to use.

    However - advertising isn't consistent in visual presentation (photographs in print ads, website and even on the box). All visual ads show a different unit (color scheme and placement of controls and control and toggle descriptions). The screws are now Phillips instead of the preferable Allen screws shown in ads.

  • from United States April 2, 2012Music Background:
    Live Professional Performer

    PZ Fever

    I replaced my Baggs Para DI with the Tonebone PZ-Pre because I switch between 2 axes (Dobro and guitar) and sometimes forget to nod at the soundman when I un-plug which creates understandable grimaces all around-especially, Mr. Soundman.

    The Tonebone PZ-Pre (yeah--catchy name, eh?), other than having a terrible moniker, is a fine accessory. First, it has an A/B switch so I can seamlessly swap instruments. Second, it has a MUTE switch. Third, it has a Boost button. Those are all sweet features. It has 3 outputs-both 1/4" and 2@ XLR (pre-and post-EQ) with notch filter, Peizo booster, and decent EQ.

    If you perform on stage AND you switch instruments, this (Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre) is a worthy companion. The price is a bit tall for a working musician...hopefully, Radial will do something about that issue.

  • from Washington, D.C. January 27, 2012Music Background:
    Working Musician/live engineer

    Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre

    I bought this item to use on my live gigs. I am a solo acoustic blues player and I usually gig with at least two guitars. The Tonebone PZ-Pre is perfect for what I do, allowing me to only cary one device that has two inputs and one output. I works great and the sound is outstanding. As a musician and live sound engineer I can honestly say that Radial equipment is the best for acoustic instruments!!

  • from Scotts Valley, CA September 19, 2011Music Background:
    Musician

    Top shelf box

    If you use two different acoustic guitars that have different output volumes, this little DI is perfect. The best thing about it is the sound. I was using a competitive DI product (the one with all the digitized microphones) and was not happy with this tone. The PZ-PRE gets 5.0 in the tone department for sure. I love the boost for solos. The only reason I did not give this box a total 5/5 is because I wish there was a switch to just keep the loop on all the time. In other words, the boost button gets assigned to the loop or the boost or both. I want to operate them independently or keep the loop on at all times. A simple switch with that a s feature would fix that. Anyway, if TONE is your #1 objective, look no further.

  • from Cincinnati, OH January 31, 2011Music Background:
    FOH Engineer

    Flexible, Accurate and well worth the investment

    Of friend of mine suggested I try this piece, as he uses it as his main acoustic guitar preamp and his live sound is beautiful. So, I bought one on his recommendation.

    I ended up using this pedal for the next three gigs I had - 1st night, as an upright acoustic bass (piezo pickup) pre, 2nd night for an acoustic guitarist with two guitars (love the switching and fb notch) and the 3rd night on an electric/acoustic bass. What a joy! Wonderful sound from all sources and many compliments.

    Finally, used it again this past weekend on acoustic guitar for a national touring artist who has a rather complex rig (but was unhappy with her sound/tone). Well, the PZ Pre is now on her list of 'Must Buy' as it gave her a solid, full tone and cured several problems in the touring rig.

    Try one, buy one - you won't regret the addition to your rig or backline 'toy box'.

Questions about the Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre 2-channel Acoustic Instrument Preamp?

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