SAVVY ENGINEERS know that the signal chain
is crucial. Matching the right mic to the right
singer can make the difference between a track
you have to fight with in the mix and one that
Matching the right mic with the right preamp
can also make a big difference, but quick
comparisons aren’t always easy. You often have
to unplug one, then plug in something else, and
by then you’ve forgotten exactly what the first
one sounded like. Radial Engineering designed
the Gold Digger and Cherry Picker to help
solve the auditioning problem.
Both units are housed in heavy-duty,
14-gauge steel with a baked enamel finish.
Neoprene bottom pads prevent them
from sliding around and provide electrical
insulation and mechanical isolation. Power
is supplied by an included 15VDC external
adapter. The case’s locking cable clamp helps
ensure that the power plug stays connected. As
with Radial’s direct boxes, front controls are
protected by a pair of metal lips that extend
from the top and bottom of the enclosure,
similar to the way a book cover extends
beyond its pages.
Cherry Picker The Cherry Picker mic/line
switcher lets a single XLR input jack (with
48V phantom power) feed one of four XLR
outputs. This configuration allows you to
connect a single mic to multiple mic preamps
so you can audition them quickly.
The front panel has four output switches,
each with a corresponding LED and ground-lift
button. Select an output and the others
are automatically disengaged. The Mute
switch silences all four outputs so you can
swap mics. The phantom-power switch and
ground-lift buttons are recessed to prevent
The Cherry Picker can also be used as a
line-level signal switcher or router, letting
you send an input to one of four different
processors or output destinations. Very handy!
Gold Digger The Gold Digger lets you connect
four mics to one destination, so you can quickly
determine which transducer works best with
your sound source. Like the Cherry Picker,
it uses relays for switching in order to avoid
pops. When you select an input, the others are
automatically disengaged. LED indicators
show the selected input.
Phantom power is individually switchable,
so you can connect condensers and ribbon
microphones at the same time. Because mics
have different output levels, the Gold Digger
has four attenuators so you can match levels
and avoid being swayed by the louder-is-better
phenomenon. And like the Cherry Picker, the
signal path is 100% passive, with no active
electronics between the inputs and output. The
sound is neutral and uncolored: What goes in
is what comes out. The Gold Digger can also be
used to compare different direct boxes.
The New Switcheroo I have nothing but
praise for both units. They’re quiet and do not
color to the signal path. Most importantly, they
make the difficult task of performing direct
evaluations among multiple microphones and
mic preamps much easier, allowing for instant
side-by-side comparisons, which helps you
make better choices and, ultimately, better-sounding
recordings. I highly recommended
Phil O’Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, engineer,
and producer. His credits include Alien Ant
Farm, Jules Day, and Voodoo Glow Skulls.
STRENGTHS: Well designed. Noise-free
passive signal paths. Silent switching.
Rugged and road-worthy housing. Three-year
transferable limited warranties.
$400 MSRP each,
$350 street each