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Author Topic: Radian Microwedge impressions  (Read 6707 times)

Adam Mottley

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Radian Microwedge impressions
« on: December 06, 2005, 04:05:26 am »

Hi guys,

About six weeks ago, I received four Radian Microwedge 12's as part of a system upgrade. These wedges are replacing my other wedges (Bag End TA-12M's, EV FM1502ER's, Yamaha SM115IV's). My goal was to create a small monitor system capable of decent SPL that required a minimum of fuss to dial in during setup, performed well for the artists, and easy on the truck pack.

On inspection, my initial impression of the RMW-1122's were "these little dudes are heavy". The build quality of the Microwedges are impressive. Perfect fit/finish, good ergonomics, and nice sight lines. The finish is very durable and resistant to scuff as compared to the JBL SRX or EV QRx finishing materials. Although these wedges are a bit heavy, they are very easy to lift/carry, as the handle integrated into the front lip of the bass port centers/distributes the weight of the unit very well. Radian/Rat Sound did a heck of a job designing these things. You can tell a SR provider had some input in design as soon as you unbox these guys. Cabling is recessed into the front port. Once cabled, this is a great feature, however (as mentioned in another thread in the Lab), guiding the NL4 into its receptacle can be problematic unless you flip them upright. Since this is the way you carry them, it's best to leave them upright until cabling is complete and then place them accordingly.

An initial test was performed "off the cuff" using a small Mackie mixer, an SM-58, no EQ, powered passively from one side of a MA-2400 (that's what was lying around at the time). Sound quality was excellent, but not as impressive as I thought it would be SPL-wise. The next day, I unpacked the truck and began to test using the gear the MW's were destined to work with on a regular basis. An un-scientific, "on-the-job" test follows:

Using a Yamaha O1v96, a Sabine Graphi-Q 3102, one side of a Crown MA-3600, and a variety of mics, I was ready to see what the Radians were all about. Initial tests were done running wedges passive. (I tried bi-amping them using a DR-260, MT-1200, & MA-3600 later. My reaction was that passive mode was more than adequate for my needs). I bypassed all of the board EQ, on both the channel and aux out. I zeroed the 3102 and reset the parametrics flat, and reset the parametics to be dynamic filters (so as to see what frequencies the MW was sensitive to). I ran a pink noise test tone through the channel and set gains up so that nothing was clipping at the board, EQ, or amp input, and then cabled the wedge. Out came the SM-58. I placed it on a stand, with the wedge a foot or so to the rear of the stand and slightly off-axis. I set the aux send to 0 db, and ran the aux master up. And up. And up.

Amazed.

That's only one of the adjectives I thought of at the time. When the aux master fader was at 0 db, and there was no sound at all, I reached down to make sure the cable was properly inserted into the wedge. I brushed the mic stand on the way down, and I heard the rustle. I stepped up to the mic and was nearly blown down. Incredible. No feedback, no low-end "hint-of-feedback", nothing. Just crystal clear vox monitor at volumes that I could never imagine attaining using my other wedges. Keep in mind, this was a small area full of reflective surfaces. I ran the gain of the Graphi-Q up 3db. And then 3db more. Still no issues. The RMW-1122 was like the Energizer bunny. Going and going. At this point, I ran the Graphi-Q gain back down to 0 db, and muted the channel strip and began testing the Microwedge's sensitivity to various microphones.

All in all, I ran the wedge up against a SM-58, a SM-57, a Beta 58, a Beta 57, a SM-81, an Audix OM-5, a Sennheiser E-865, an EV RE-20, an AT-4050, and a Rode NT-2. The wedge performed extremely well with them all. The larger condenser mics (particularly the Rode) had less GBF, but that was expected, especially in the room I was testing in. The initial tests done, I felt the wedges were ready for some gig time, now that I knew what to expect.

First gig with the Radians was at a "stacks & racks" gig where the FOH is provided by the venue. Console and monitoring is provided by the SR crew servicing the venue that evening (me, in this case). Monitors run from FOH. The stage at this place is rather small, so normal procedure for this act, on this stage, is to situate a pair of wedges atop the mains stacks, one wedge per stack, toed inwards. I cabled the RMW-1122's and sat them on their backs on top of the stacks. From the musician's POV, this meant just above head high, about 30 degrees off axis from the vox mics at the stage corners, with a slight downward angle (due to the wedges being on their backs [this feature works well in this configuration]). Two of the guys (drummer/bassist) in this act are on in-ears, so they were covered. Lead vox was center stage, wireless, using an E-865. The other guys were on wired E-865's. It's a four mix gig, so the guitarist had a mix at upstage right, the vocalist a mix coming from upstage left (beside the bassist) amd the two ear mixes. The venue was nearly empty during setup, so, for giggles, I ran the auto-EQ of the Graphi-Q on each of the wedge mixes. The Radians took +18db of gain in auto-mode before they gave a squeak. One wedge required a -3db cut (10th octave para) @ 1.6k and another -3db dip at 4.8k. The other wedge needed at -3db cut at 1.8k. As far as I'm concerned, these wedges didn't need any EQ for this gig, as the cuts were only necessary at +18db. I HP'ed the wedges at 70hz using the 3102's filters and LP'ed at 16khz. Graphic was flat. I waited for the backline to arrive and ate some supper.

When the band arrived, they saw the new wedges and inquired about them. "Kinda small, aren't they". A quick "check, 1,2" and they remarked how clear & loud they were. I thought to myself, "The guys are gonna be surprised when the show starts." With this group, wedge mixes consist of vox, keyboards, and a bit of drums. Being a top-40 variety act, the band prefers songs that are vocal-heavy. The first song got a "thumbs-up, a-ok" from the band, pointing at the monitors. The third song of the set was the deal-maker. "Any Way You Want It" by Journey. By the fifth measure, the guys asked that the monitors be turned down. This came from the vocalist in the band that always requests "more me, please". Part of this is probably due to the high power handling of the wedges. I was running nearly 1200 watts per wedge, so when the vocalists all came in together, the amp was putting out considerable power. The Radians took it and "kept on keepin' on." The monitors performed extremely well for the rest of the show, without any issues due to mic handling. The guys raved about them on the break.

The Radians handled the keys and drums well. Plenty of punch for such a small box, without being "tubby". One of these atop a small sub would, in my estimation, provide enough SPL for all but the most demanding drummer. The interaction at the crossover point was minimal, without the "smear" in the mids that I am used to hearing from some of my other wedges. The guys remarked on the "separation" between midrange instruments and vox. I think this is a testament to the crossover/box design. Hats off to the crew at Radian.

Having used these wedges for about a month now, I am glad I made the decision to buy them. Although a bit expensive, these wedges have surpassed all of my expectations, and then some. So much so, that I am budgeting for another pair within the next year. Radian is supposedly working on a "MicroSub" as a companion to the MicroWedge. I'm interested in hearing those when they debut.

I also want to thank the crew at Sound Productions in Dallas, particulary Tony Palmer and Baxter Lawson. Sound Productions have some great guys, with excellent product knowledge, and top-notch service. Great pricing too. Thanks for the help during my upgrade process.

I hope this review helps anyone interested in the MicroWedge boxes.

Adam


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John Chiara

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Re: Radian Microwedge impressions
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2005, 03:53:03 pm »

Adam,
Thanks for the review...what is the sell price on the MicroWedge?

JOhn
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Albany Audio Associates Inc.
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Adam Mottley

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Re: Radian Microwedge impressions
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2005, 04:59:39 pm »

John,

PM sent.

Adam
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Adam Mottley

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Re: Radian Microwedge impressions
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2005, 10:36:27 pm »

*Update: Although a bit off topic, what follows may help some folks using/considering Microwedges.*

I did a show last night that revealed an error on my part, as well as highlighting wedge placement as it relates to interaction with FOH. It's always the small things that get you. Hopefully, this account will help anyone else that finds themselves in the same situation.

As seen in my last post on the Microwedges, I had a good experience placing the wedges upright (atop stacks) in one venue. I've done this for years on tight stages using other wedges with pretty good success. Last night, however, this arrangement did not work well at all, even though past gigs using other wedges in this arrangement in this venue have gone well.

This particular venue has a *very* small corner stage, about 10" high, with all wood flooring and walls, without any redeeming acoustical properties whatsoever. It's a nice establishment, otherwise (it's a bit laughable when you consider the total size of the club, as the place is pretty large in comparison with the space allotted to entertainment). The stage is so small that it's only large enough for the drum kit and backline amplification. The musicians (other than the drummer) were out in the dance floor. The area is so tight that the mic stand bases were almost even with the forward edges of the FOH cabs. This put the mics approximately even with the rear of the mid/high cabs once boom arms were in place. FOH consisted of one EV QRx 153/75-EV QRx 218s stack, per side. A simple, small, four box system, and appropriate for the coverage required. Since "stage" space was at a minimum, I placed the MicroWedges, upright, atop the stacks. However, due to the tight stage/musician coverage required, the wedges were at a 90 degree angle to the FOH stacks, instead of toed inwards. The band arrived about 30 minutes before downbeat, and managed to get backline set up with five minutes to spare (the drummer was there about an hour before downbeat, so he was set & mic'ed with 10 minutes to spare). I spent this time (5 minutes) getting line checks, and they kicked off the show to a packed house.

Although I've had the QRx's for a little while now, I'd only had the pleasure of one gig with them (due to the many 'stacks & racks' gigs I'm booked for). The first was a large ballroom gig, about 200' deep, with 70' ceilings. They performed great in that setting, and I was looking forward to using them in a smaller venue to hear the differences. I got quite the shock. Once the band was half way into the first number, I knew something was wrong. Very wrong. It was if the high end had disappeared, and there was a strong low-mid presence that I'd not experienced at the gig prior. It was almost as if the crossover settings were off. I pulled up the Driverack crossover GUI page on the laptop, and all was as it should be. Amplifier gains in each bandpass were fine as well. WTF. The first hint was that the problem got worse when all the guys came in singing, together. As I walked the room, I noticed the outside coverage areas of the QRx's sounded great; however, the sound in the dance floor area and at FOH was terrible, with a very blurred high mid and high end response. My eyes shot up to the Microwedges. Hmmmmm.

On the break, I took the Microwedges down and set them on the floor, at the base of the mic stands, about 30 degrees off axis (and prayed none of the drink wielding drunks on the dance floor decided my monitor boxes were "excess alcohol disposal units"). When the band took the stage again, it was like night and day at FOH, compared to the set before. This got me to thinking.

The Radian is a 90 degree conical box, coverage-wise. The wedges I used in the past, when doing the 'wedge atop the stacks' thing, are 80Hx60V, and they were on their 'sides', effectively making them 60Hx80V. Also, due to the orientation of the horn lens, I always toed them inward a bit. This meant that I was not experiencing a lot of phase cancellation at FOH (using my old wedges), as the horizontal splay outwards to FOH was limited, due to the 60 degree horizontal dispersion and the 'toeing'. This time, the Radians were effectively cancelling the Qrx horns (on the inward sides, especially), particularly the elements that were present in the monitor mixes (mainly vox/keyboards). This is something to think about, as the Microwedge has very good projection, SPL-wise.

I guess what it comes down to is that a small miscalculation on my part resulted in a fairly large negative impact on the show, at least in my mind. The crowd in attendance remarked on how "great" everything sounded, but being "un-lubricated" myself, I knew that I'd made a "boo-boo", to quote my daughter.

So, the moral of the story is: "Think, lest you stink."

Hope this helps,

Adam




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Alex Fernie

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Re: Radian Microwedge impressions
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2005, 04:51:47 pm »

Hi,
Just saw the post on the Radian microwedges. I've bought 4 of the 1108's - 8"/1" concentric. Kickin' wedges. Bought mainly at first for doing traditional Irish folk stuff - their small profile means we can get them right in the faces of seated musicians - but lately I've used them with small rock acts in small venues/stages. All the above that Adam said re frequency response/feedback. Not as much poke obviously. Expensive but worth the money.
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