Radial Tonebone Review – A Set of Preamps

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1Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre 3-way3.75 pounds1 Check

2PZ Deluxe Acoustic Preamp 3-way1.1 pound2 Check

3Bassbone OD Two-Channel Bass Preamp 2-way1 pound3 Check

Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre
Equalizer 3-way
3.75 pounds
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PZ Deluxe Acoustic Preamp
1.1 pound
Our top2
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Bassbone OD Two-Channel Bass Preamp
Equalizer 2-way
1 pound
Our top3
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Although preamplifier isn`t the most essential thing to own, having one will always be nice in terms of extended sound producing. Let us take a look at some products manufactured by Radial engineering.

Radial Engineering Company

Radial Engineering was established in 1991. The company was originally oriented towards creating some cables. However, local engineers were trying to produce something else. Their attempts were pretty successful. The first Radial DI Box was launched in 1996 and became popular pretty fast.

Nowadays the company several lines (Radial, Tonebone, Hafler, Dynaco). Each of this lines includes a set of narrowly oriented audio devices. We are especially interested in Tonebone today, the line that focuses on preamps, switchers and pedals. I`ll cover some popular preamps from the line today.

Tonebone Preamps

Radial has a lot of preamps. But, despite this fact, the manufacturer himself claims that there are three models, that are especially successful. They are PZ-Pre, PZ-Deluxe and Bassbone OD. Let us take a look at all of them, to make picking the correct one as easy as possible.

Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre

First things first, let me tell you about the physical characteristics (the weight, the dimensions and the material the device is made of). Knowing information of this kind makes it easy to plan your studio and carrying the piece of equipment around.

The WeightThe item weighs 3.75 pounds (which is like a kilo and a half). The preamp is light-weighed, so it can be carried around easily.
The DimensionsPZ-pre is 13’’ * 5.5’’ * 3.5 inches (which is 330 * 140 * 89 in millimeters). It is like a large book. One can easily place it in the backpack or suitcase.
The MaterialPreamp is made out of solid plastic, has plastic knobs and everything. It is not an easy-to-break one, but it will definitely not survive pouring in the water.

Now let us take a look at the technical feaures:

  • Two channels for instrument switching
This preamplifier can be connected to two instruments at once. Moreover, double channel makes it possible to switch between instruments. So making a performance of two is possible.
  • Notch and resonance filters
The filters of high quality remove the sound feedback almost immediately. Therefore, the sound of the instrument is always clean and clear, with bright notes and no distortion.
  • Pre and post radial DI outputs

These types of outputs make it possible to connect PA and monitors. The sound can be played out loud, or analyzed while the guitar is connected to professional studio monitors.
  • Power booster and mute controller
Tip:Well, not much to comment on here. This is exactly boosting the power of sound or muting it.

However the greatest feature of Radial Tonebone Pz-Pre is that it can be connected to any type of acoustic device. I mean guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, contrabasses, etc. So the thing is really multifunctional and suitable in any type of studio or live performance.

  • With a 3-band EQ, variable notch filter
  • high-pass filter
  • Also included are separate pre- and post-EQ DI outs for monitoring and FOH connections, plus a tuner out with footswitch mute
Convenient and portable
Easy To Use
Maybe: price/quality does not match

PZ Deluxe Acoustic Preamp


Let us follow the review pattern we already have. Technical characteristics first:

The WeightPZ Deluxe preamp weighs only 1.1 pound, which is a little less than half a kilo. The light-weighed device like this one can easily be handled even by children and women.
The DimensionsThis preamp is 5’’ * 3’’ * 1’’ inches (which is 127 * 76 * 25.5 in millimeters). It is more like a huge chocolate bar, than a piece of audio equipment, but, well, as still as the size doesn`t affect qualities, why not have something this compact in the pocket?
The MaterialThere is nothing surprising. All PZ-series are made of the same material. It is OK in terms of durability, but not the perfect one for sure.

Here are some features of this preamplifier:

  • High functionality
This device combines a preamp and direct box. It means, that there is no need to carry around extra piece of equipment.
  • Quiet Performance
Don`t get this one wrong. It`s not the sound, that is loud, but the performance of the device itself. Pz-Pre Deluxe doesn`t distort sounds and doesn`t make any unwanted sounds during the playing process.
  • Footswitches

The preamp has foot controllers for boosting the power and muting. It is possible to control the audience mood, by making the volume bigger or reducing it, to provide the cleanest acoustic experience.

  • Separate tuner output
Tip:Another small feature, that improves level of convenience. The construction of tuner makes the process of tuning itself soundless, which allows to make fast changes on stage without actually interrupting the performance.

The engineers themselves claim that this preamp is an easy to carry and to work with and belongs to plug-and-play type. So, if you are not quite confident about your tuning abilities, just ask more experienced person to tune the device once and enjoy the results later on.

  • Combo preamp and direct box
  • Footswitches for muting and power booster
  • Quiet audio performance
Good price
Quality sound
Maybe: more boost adjustment would be nice
Lacks bells and whistles

Bassbone OD Two-Channel Bass Preamp


Last, but not the least comes the Bassbone OD Preamp. Without further hesitation, let us start reviewing it.

The WeightThis is the lightest device in our today`s list, which weighs 1 pound only (it is less than half a kilogram even). I can surely say, that it will not be a problem for any person to carry it.
The DimensionsIt is 6 * 6 * 6 inches (which is 152 * 152 * 152 in millimeters). Cubic form is convenient for placing on any surface. However, I think that rectangular shape would be better for something as compact as this device.
The MaterialNothing outstanding again. Same as always.

Let us take a look at what this compact thing is capable of. Bassbone OD has the following features:

  • Switching mechanism
The build of this bass breamp allows to switch between two connected instruments, so the party of two can be played simultaneously.
  • Variable adjustability
Except all the basic features, this preamp has a wet-dry control and bass overdrive. These two options will bring the quality of produced sounds to the higher level.
  • Drag control load correction

That`s nice piece of news for all the vintage basses players. However, even if you are playing a modern bass, this feature might come in handy as well.
  • Headphone Amp
Tip:A possibility to connect the pair of headphones to the amplifier has always been nice. It makes listening to your own tunes easier, correcting the mistakes faster and levels of overall sound quality higher.
  • Two-channel bass preamp for 1 or 2 basses Built-in Radial direct box with low-Z balanced out Combination power boost and effects loop Powerful EQ and contour control for each bass
  • The Radial Bassbone is a power-packed bass preamp that combines on-stage efficiency, amazing tonal control and superb audio performance making it the ideal front end for both live and studio recording
  • Designed as a bass command center, the Bassbone lets you connect two basses and seamlessly toggle between them using a footswitch
Expressive playability
Maybe: good Warmth
No Battery Power


To sum things up I`ll once more mention all the most important information from the article:

  • Radial engineering is a company, producing audio equipment. It has several lines of products. Tonebone is the line of preamps and pedals for bass guitars.
  • There are three preamps in Tonebone series, which are considered to be the most successful ones: PZ-Pre, PZ-Pre Deluxe and Bassbone OD Two channels. They all have unique features and come at an affordable price.
  • These preamps will be convenient for travelers and those who are used to carrying the equipment around.
With this being said, I can only recommend you to practice a lot and never give up. Spending several hours training will be much more useful for your further career, than wasting them for choosing a piece of equipment. Pick any and start playing. Good luck.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (27 votes, average: 4.48 out of 5)

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1 Response

  1. Lisbeth
    I think that the main advantage and advantage of in Tonebone series is the availability to the common man who earns not very much, but not very little. And it is very convenient that they are not heavy and can be worn wherever you want and so, a lot of people like them.

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