PZ-Deluxe™ Development

As with most technical achievements, new technology usually follows a trickle-down whereby the first generation may be targeted at telecommunications, military or broadcast and eventually... it finds its way into equipment for the common man. A great example is the SP-DIF or AES/EBU digital protocol. This started life as an encryption code for military communication and today it has become standard fare for CD players, digital recorders and so on.

Although nowhere near as 'dramatic', the development of the PZ-Deluxe also stems from a trickle down, in this case, the technology came from the award winning Radial PZ-Pre. The Radial PZ-Pre was designed as a no-compromise stage preamp for acoustic instruments and has been adopted by many of the world's leading musicians including James Taylor for his acoustic steel string, Zach Brown for his nylon string, Leo Kottke for his 12 string, Jean Luc Ponty for his violin, Stephen Bennett for his harp guitar and Jerry Douglas for his dobro.

And even though the PZ-Pre has achieved world class acclaim, it has one downside: it is way too complex and expensive for the average player. Only the top touring musicians need dual XLR outs, effects loop and A/B inputs. The PZ-Deluxe comes to the rescue as a pared down version of the PZ-Pre that employs the same award winning audio circuit as its big brother, but does away with the extras. This enables us to cut back on the parts, reduce the size and best of all, lower the price.

The PZ-Deluxe - Made for best sound

Most acoustic preamps are designed to work with batteries. This of course eliminates the need for local power but does so at a cost. The problem of course is that in order to keep the battery charged for a long time, you have to reduce power consumption by starving the audio circuit. This ultimately means that you have less rail voltage and less headroom which results in more distortion.

When developing the PZ-Deluxe, we chose to use the same high output power supply that is used on the PZ-Pre. This delivers 15 volts and 400 milliamps of current - more than double the power as compared to most others. Yes, just like a studio preamp, it needs to be powered. But with more headroom you get less distortion, greater clarity and improved dynamics. It feels natural.

So how does the PZ-Deluxe compare to the PZ-Pre? As stated before, we kept the same audio circuit and all of the key features. This includes the same piezo booster circuit, the powerful 3-band semi-parametric EQ, same low frequency cut-off filter, same Radial DI out. We even kept the power booster and the mute for tuning. We eliminated the notch filter, took off the second direct output and dropped the effects insert loop. This saved a bunch of space and of course allowed us to cut the price significantly. The PZ-Deluxe is all about delivering the purity of the signal without compromise.

Features PZ-Pre PZ-Deluxe
Inputs 2 1
PZ-Boost (piezo drive circuit) Yes Yes
3 band semi parametric EQ Yes Yes
Variable notch filter Yes No
3 position high pass filter Yes Yes
Variable power booster Yes Yes
Effects loop Yes No
Mute footswitch Yes Yes
Tuner output Yes Yes
Stage amp output Yes Yes
Polarity reverse Yes Yes
Built-in direct box output Yes(2) Yes(1)
External power supply 15V Yes Yes