DRAGSTER DEVELOPMENT

Drag Control was invented when we were developing the Radial JD7 Injector. It was a revelation. And it made sceptics like Steve Vai, Neil Schon, John Petrucci and Carlos Santana believers! Today Drag Control can be found on dozens of Radial products and the feature is also available as a standalone product called the Dragster.

The Benefit of load correction

What we discovered was that magnetic pickups react differently when connected to solid state amps versus tube amps. In fact pretty much everyone will agree that these sound very different. But no one seemed to have ever asked 'why'. When Leo Fender built his first tube amplifiers, he set the input impedance to 1 meg-ohms. This decision likely came after many long hours of listening tests and trying to optimize the output signal versus the inherent noise that was present with these early devices. When solid state circuits began to appear, engineers merely followed the lead set by Mr. Fender without ever actually considering how these circuits 'sound' or how they affect the way guitarists play.

When Leo Fender built his first tube amplifiers, he set the input impedance to 1 meg-ohms. This decision likely came to be after many long hours of listening tests and trying to optimize the output signal versus the inherent noise that was present with these early devices. When solid state circuits began to appear, engineers merely followed the lead set by Mr. Fender without ever actually considering how these circuits sound.

During listening tests, we discovered that the input impedance or load of a tube circuit sounds very different than that of a solid state amp. Tube amps tend to sound warm and full while solid state amps sounds harsh and brittle. By varying the load on the pickup, we could compensate to remove some of the harshness and the resulting tone would be much more pleasing. We also discovered that when you set the load, the feel of the instrument changes. In other words, the guitar reacts differently to distortion and feedback making it feel more natural. This, we believe is what has convinced so many of the world's top artists to 'accept' introducing a Radial solid state buffer into their signal path.

Making the Dragster

Necessity is of course the mother of invention. And in our world, fixing problems leads to developing new products. We noticed that guitarists hated the sound of the buffers when they connected their guitar to a wireless system or their guitar pedals. The problem is evident: You are introducing a buffer in between the guitar and amp which of course affects the tone and feel.

Dragster's exclusive Drag™ control makes passive pickups think (and sound like) they're connected directly to an amplifier input by allowing you to precisely dial in the correct load. Simply rotate the thumb wheel until you get the tone you want and your guitar tone regains its warmth – it feels 'right' again and your performance sounds great!

We chose to make the Dragster as compact as possible and also made it out of aluminum in order to reduce the weight to the absolute minimum. This enables the Dragster to easily fit on any pedalboard. We then added flanges and attachment holes that lets the guitarist mount the Dragster on the guitar strap so that it can be wired ahead of the transmitter when used with a wireless system.