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AES Preview: Radial Introduces Workhorse 5000

Advanced Housing System for 500 Series Modules

Radial Engineering’s new Workhorse 5000 is best described as a 500 Series module housing on steroids. To be unveiled at the upcoming AES convention in New York City, this three-rackspace unit accommodates up to eight 500 Series modules. Besides providing ±16VDC and 48-volt phantom power for each of its eight module slots and input, direct out and summing connections on 8-channel D-25 sub jacks (for direct-to-DAW or P.A. feeds), each module has ¼-inch and XLR I/O, mono/stereo link switches and a mix/feed switch for internal patch routing of the output to feed the next module or to the master output section.

OmniPort connectors on each input provide module designers with custom options, such as integrating “keying” inputs, a footswitch port or a tuner output on a direct box/instrument preamp. Designed to allow on-the-spot mixing or stereo recording, the mix bus section has pan/level pots and mute switches for each module, rotary main out and aux out controls and a headphone monitoring section.

The rear panel has XLR and ¼-inch aux and transformer-isolated main outputs, insert jacks for the master outs and bus in/out jacks for connecting additional sources and/or multiple Workhorse units.

The Workhorse derives its main power from a custom-designed universal switching supply that delivers more “juice” than most others. Its external power supply eliminates issues with hum due to magnetic coupling between power supply transformer and the plug-in module’s internal transformer. As an extra measure, additional power filtering has been incorporated to eliminate noise. The power supply is also auto-tracked, which means that should a module fail, other modules will be protected against harmful voltage swings that could potentially cause damage.

“The Workhorse is one of the most exciting products we have ever developed,” says Radial President Peter Janis. “Not only has it forced us to challenge ourselves with historic compatibility, but it’s forced us to go back to the drawing board and redesign several modules that were essentially set to go. But once you get into a project of this magnitude, you really cannot go backwards. We truly believe that the Workhorse will set a new standard in analog audio interfacing. We plan to openly publish our design specifications to enable other module producers to take full advantage of the feature-set we’ve incorporated into the Workhorse. Ultimately, if it’s easy to use, fun and spurs on creativity, we will have achieved our objectives.”

In addition to the Workhorse, Radial has several lunchbox modules near completion. These include the Radial JDV-LB Class-A feed-forward direct box, the Phazer-LB phase adjustment tool, the Radial JDX-LB guitar amp DI emulator, the Komit compressor-limiter, plus a few more surprises!

Like all Radial products, the Workhorse is made from 14-gauge steel and finished in a rugged baked enamel finish. Street price is $999.

For more information, visit Radial Engineering at or visit the company’s exhibit at AES, booth #166.