Colin James

Joe Bonamassa

Shotgun™ Development

Anyone that knows Radial knows that our product development comes from meeting up with the technicians that make shows happen behind the scenes. As Radial company president Peter Janis often says: "We are a solution company. And like so many other products, the Shotgun was developed as a solution to a long standing problem."

The Shotgun story began after meeting up with two exceptionally talented guitarists: Colin James and Joe Bonamassa. Both of these players are heavily influenced by blues and use similar setups on stage. Colin uses two or three amps in mono plus a direct out while Joe uses four amps arranged in stereo.


Colin James typical setup includes a single input going to four amps

Joe Bonamassa typical setup includes a stereo signal going to two stereo amps

In both cases, their guitar techs told us that before every concert, they spend hours battling against noise trying various options and more often than not, they simply give up and live with the horrendous hum and buzz caused by so-called ground loops. Ground loops seem to come from nowhere. Although most amps cause problems, vintage tube amps are most problematic due to their less than ideal grounding schemes and huge ground voltage discrepancies. When connected together, this manifests itself in the form of uncontrollable hum.

The first line of defence is to connect all of the amps to the same power bar. On the surface, this makes sense. However, if you consider most AC outlets in America provide 115 volts with 15 amps of current, and a 100 watt amp draws about 3 amps, if you are using 4 amps plus a bunch of pedals, you may exceed the circuit's current carrying capacity and blowing a fuse half-way through a show is not a good option. In Europe, a typical electrical outlet delivers 220V with 7.5 amps of current. The same rules apply. Using 50 watt amps do not fare much better while bigger amps exacerbate the problem. Invariably, more than one circuit is generally put to work and when two amps are bridged together, this is where the hum problems begin to manifest. One very dangerous solution is to disconnect the safety U ground. Never do it. What this essentially does is take away the only preventative measure you have from being electrocuted on stage. Musicians have died because of this. Disconnecting the electrical ground is not only illegal, it can be lethal.

The Shotgun solves the problem in another way. Instead of disconnecting the electrical ground, it is designed to allow you to disconnect the audio ground. This is achieved by introducing isolation transformers into the audio signal path. These innovative devices pass audio while blocking hum-causing stray DC voltages that upset the audio. This is supplemented with ground lift and polarity reverse switches to further eliminate noise and then phase-align the amps.

Another innovation is the way we have designed the architecture. It can be used in either mono or stereo to suit various stage setups. Today, it is common for artists to record every show and once in the studio, songs may be edited using a Reamp™ to fix a bad note or replace the track with a better guitar tone or as a means to eliminate stage noise. This is easily done under the more controlled environment of a studio.

Finally, the Shotgun was made as compact as possible to fit on or under a pedalboard and uses a standard 9V Boss-style power supply to make it as easy as possible to integrate into a pedalboard. Please note the power supply is not included as most musicians today employ a multi-pedal power brick.