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Rich Tavaglione puts two of Radial Engineering’s recording solutions to the test and finds they pack a lot of features into small boxes.

SOMETIMES balanced audio needs to take a trip through unbalanced stompboxes, which involves impedance and level- matching as well as numerous patchpoints for ideal flexibility. The Radial Engineering EXTC does all this and encourages creativity like no other single device I’ve ever used! It starts with a mono input, either XLR or 0.25in (TRS or TS). Next, tap into the signal via two unbalanced, high-impedance, guitar-level effects loops with adjustable send/receive levels, polarity inversion, and a wet/dry blend control. This blended signal feeds the XLR and 0.25in outputs for re-amping or returning to the recorder. With this much flexibility

and control, EXTC applications are limited only by your imagination. The spacey effects my

client Grey Revell and I achieved (as this box excels with two pairs of hands to animate parameters) were mind-blowingly good and way beyond what I’ve ever achieved with plug-ins. There was a certain randomness and

organic-ness to the mangled signals that was truly inspiring, in a sound design/experimental kind of way. Drums were transformed into alien blips with phasers/ overdrive, bass guitars into roaring mechanical beasts with distortion pedals/ tremolos/flangers, and – my film-scoring favourite – line noise and the microphonic tapping of cables with too much gain, a modulation and the sweeping of a delay with ample feedback. “This is the ultimate

spontaneous sound-design tool,” Revell noted enthusiastically as he completed a jet take-off warble-swoosh that would fit into anything between dub, dubstep, and EDM. The EXTC is a clear choice if you want to simplify the often- complicated task of re- amping with effects. If the street price seems

high, do consider that the design is near perfection (level controls to balance the two loops would be perfection). All the unique creative real-time flexibilities

imaginable (and unimaginable) are brought to life with the EXTC.


As small as a paperback, the MC3 provides switching for two monitor sets (A, B, or both) complete with passive level adjustment, a total of three headphone outs on 0.25in and 0.125-link with a level control, a variable dim control, a mono-sum switch, balanced or unbalanced operation on 0.25in jacks, and a 15V external power supply. There’s also a stereo aux out via 0.25in TRS that follows the headphone level

“All the unique creative real-time flexibilities

imaginable (and unimaginable) are brought to life with the EXTC.”

Rich Tavaglione

control (ideal to feed a larger cue system), and a subwoofer output with level control and polarity reversal. Passive circuitry and quality switching relays make for some clean, near-neutral audio handling. There are no talkback mic facilities; you’ll have to achieve these within your DAW. Some considerations in using the MC3: the headphone amp is loud and


EXTC • Balanced interface for guitar effects pedals • Separate send and receive controls for an optimised signal path

• Transformer isolations to help eliminate ground loops

MC3 • Passive studio monitor switcher with headphone amp • Controls two sets of monitors and subwoofer • Mono sum for AM radio compatibility and phase check 48 March 2014

clean – maybe not quite as accurate as my Aphex Headpod – but notable. The headphone level control follows the master volume knob; I do wish that it were pre-master. Surprisingly, the master

volume knob spins on the shaft, as it’s improperly sized; I got better operation removing it. Considering the price, the MC3 is still a great choice for the personal recordist, the laptop recordist on-the-go, or the travelling producer who wants some stable continuity as their work moves from room to room.

THE REVIEWER Rob Tavaglione

is the owner of Catalyst Recording, Charlotte’s longstanding independent music production house.

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