Radial Engineering EXTC and MC3

Rob 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.

Read the rest in our March digital edition.

The reviewer

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