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PZ-Pre™ FAQ


How can the PZ-Pre be equally as good on all acoustic instruments?

While most pedals are designed to do one thing, the PZ-Pre is actually a studio preamp that has been put inside a pedal. Studio preamps can be used on voice just as they can on instruments. The same applies with the PZ-Pre. It is a very good sounding, clean & natural instrument preamp.

Can I use the PZ-Pre with an electric guitar or bass?

Absolutely! The PZ-Pre works great on electric guitar or bass and gives you tons of control over your signal path. With dual output instruments that have both magnetic and piezo contact pickups, you can switch between pickups with the piezo pickup in one channel and the magnetic pickup in the other.

I already have a preamp for my piezo pickup. Can I use it with the PZ-Pre?

Sure. Just make sure you turn the PZB boosters off as driving one buffer into the other will likely cause unnecessary noise and increase distortion.

Can I use effects pedals with the PZ-Pre?

Yes. You can use effects pedals before or after the PZ-Pre just like any other pedal or you can use the built-in effects loop. When the pedals are connected before the PZ-Pre, then this wet effect will be applied to all outputs. If you position the pedals after the PZ-Pre in the guitar amp chain or effects-loop, then it will only affect your sound on stage.

How do I add EQ to just one instrument?

There are two ways you can do this. You can insert an EQ in between the instrument and the PZ-Pre or you can insert the EQ via the effects loop and turn it on when that instrument is being used.

Can I use line-level studio effects with the PZ-Pre?

It depends on the effects processor. Check to make sure it is designed to accept instrument levels. If it is, you will be fine.

Can I drive a power amplifier or active speaker directly from the PZ-Pre?

It depends. Most power amplifiers are not designed to accept low output sources such as microphones, direct boxes or pedals. They need an extra booster called a preamp. However there are some self-powered active speakers that are set up with more sensitive inputs that will work.

Why is the XLR output on the PZ-Pre set to mic level?

Professional stages employ mic splitters that let you redirect the microphone and direct box signals to the monitors, recording system and main PA. By having all signals set to the same level, it makes managing signals much easier.

Can I use the PZ-Pre to record direct into my computer?

Yes, as long as you have a mic level input on your interface or preamplifier. As mic inputs are the most common form of input on a mixer, this should not be a problem.

What Radial direct box is used for the PZ-Pre outputs?

The balanced XLR outputs on the PZ-Pre are proprietary active circuits designed specifically to maximize the performance of the PZ-Pre. They are similar to the outputs stage used on the popular Radial J48™ direct box.

Will I hurt the PZ-Pre if I leave the piezo boosters on by mistake?

No. It will likely only result in distortion.

Can I use a phantom powered microphone with the PZ-Pre?

No. You need to add an external 48V phantom power supply to your system to do this.

Can I damage the PZ-Pre by having 48V phantom power turned on?

No. The PZ-Pre has built-in safety capacitors on the input to protect it from external DC voltages.

Are there any manufacturers that make a multi-power supply for the PZ-Pre?

Yes; The Cioks DC10 and AC10 both have 15V outlets for Tonebone pedals.

Which pedal do you recommend to switch between acoustic and electric guitar?

It depends on what you are trying to do: for a simple AB selector, the Radial BigShot i/o™ has two inputs and one of these has a level control to attenuate the signal. If you do not need any control for feedback or tone, this one works great. Connect the acoustic guitar (which is usually louder) using the channel with the level control so that you can turn it down to match your electric guitar. You can also use the PZ-Select which lets you split the output signal to two different amps or the PA system. Or you can use the PZ-Pre which can then give you more EQ options and more DI outs.

My piezo pickup manual suggests a 1 meg-ohm input impedance. Will the PZ-Pre be OK?

The recommended 'minimum' impedance for piezo pickups is usually 1 meg-ohms, but they sound much better with a higher input impedance. The PZ-Pre has 10 meg-ohms for this very reason. This produces a smoother, richer tone that is more balanced.

Is the PZ-Pre primarily for live use as opposed to the studio?

Yes. In the studio, you do not need to worry about feedback or resonance or using a power booster for a solo as all of these can be 'fixed in the mix'. You certainly can use the PZ-Pre to record direct and you will get amazing results... however, many of the PZ-Pre's features are designed to solve problems on live stages.

Can I use the PZ-Pre with my Sunrise pick up? I also have the sunrise buffer box, do I use it with the PZ-Pre?

The Sunrise will work fine and you do not have to use the buffer box. The PZ-Pre can be used with or without.

I noticed that the paint color scheme on the PZ-Pre has changed from the original model, has there been any design change to the functionality of the unit?

No. The changes to the artwork is exclusively for aesthetic purposes.

Does the boost knob function as blend for the effects loop when you have the FOOTSWITCH button assigned to LOOP?

No. The boost knob is simply disabled (i.e. not in the circuit) when you choose to assign the FOOTSWITCH to 'LOOP'.

Can I power the PZ-Pre with 18V instead of 15V?

Yes, however, it is important to note that you will shorten the lifespan of the internal voltage regulators from approximately 20 years to 18 years. Also, be sure to check the polarity of the power supply as most pedal power supplies are center pin negative. If this is the case, you will need to use a 2.1mm barrel-connector polarity reverse cable to feed center pin positive polarity to your PZ-Pre. Proceed with caution!

I notice that the 15V DC power supply that came with my Tonebone pedal can get a little bit warm when not in use, is this normal?

Yes, because the Tonebone has a regulator on the circuit board inside the product itself, it may be used with an unregulated power supply such as the one that was provided when you purchase the product. The small amount of heat that is produced from the unregulated power supply is typical and of no consequence.

Is there a benefit to using a compressor-limiter with an acoustic guitar?

Compressors are both good and bad. When slight compression is used – like a limiter, it can reduce the dynamics which in turn will reduce distortion if you are overloading the preamp (PZ-Pre). When pushed hard, the compressor will suck the signal out of the instrument to create sustain with an electric guitar - however it can produce feedback with an acoustic.

Is the effects loop always on when the assign is set to Boost?

No. on the latest version of the PZ-Pre, there is a recessed effects loop switch on the left side that enables the loop to be either controlled using the footswitch or be on all the time.

Is the effects loop on the PZ-Pre parallel or in series with the signal path?

The effects loop is in series. In other words, all of the instrument signal passes through the PZ-Pre.

Can I combine a passive magnetic pickup with a piezo and have the PZ-Pre control both?

Yes. Engage the BLEND so that both channels are on at the same time, activate the PZB for the piezo and then adjust the relative volumes for each pickup to suit. You can use two separate guitar cables or a stereo TRS cable to make the connection.

I have the older model that does not have the "loop on" switch. Is there a switch inside of mine or is there no ability to have this on my model?

Unfortunately, we had to redesign the PZ-Pre to get this feature included. No internal switch.

I have a condenser mic I use with my guitar, how can I hook it up to the PZ-Pre?

In order to use a condenser microphone with the PZ-Pre you will need to incorporate a StageBug SB-48UB™ which will provide +48V Phantom power to the microphone and convert the signal from balanced low impedance to unbalanced high impedance (instrument level) for input into the PZ-Pre.

If I use stereo TRS source to connect to INPUT-1 of the PZ-Pre, can I still use INPUT-2?

No. The RING (R) from the TRS jack on INPUT-1 is normalled through INPUT-2, when you plug a connector into INPUT-2 it will break the signal.