Radial Engineering USB-Mobile: An active DI box for smartphones and tablets
Radial Engineering has introduced an interesting product that we can’t recall having seen before. Borrowing concepts from the manufacturer’s USB-Pro digital direct box, the new USB-Mobile is a digital interface and direct box designed for smartphones and tablets.
The gizmo provides two balanced analog output channels over XLR connectors and an iOS-compliant USB connection which also charges your Apple devices. Connecting to Android and Windows should be a possibility as well, at least on more recent devices. The USB port is Type-A so you are taking either a Lighting cable or Type-A to microUSB/USB-C cable from it. I assume no driver or app installations are necesarry for the DI to function. Otherwise, Radial would have built an app.
Other features include a level control, 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring, a mono sum switch, a ground/lift switch, and a DC input for power supply.
The Radial USB-Mobile would be a right fit if you are looking to take any sort of audio from your mobile device to a mixer, console, or PA without compromising on signal quality. But remember that this isn’t an audio interface – you can’t record audio with it.
Price and availability
At USD 299, Radial’s mobile-friendly DI is a bit of an investment for sure – especially compared to similarly priced mobile audio interfaces by IK Multimedia, Apogee and so forth. But if you rely on a phone or tablet for backing tracks, layers and other types of audio playback for studio or live use, then a high-quality DI from a reputable manufacturer which connects to your device in a pinch is a godsend, indeed. With modern mobile devices having very good to audiophile-grade DACs, I wouldn’t be too worried about audio quality coming out of yours.
The USB-Mobile is available now from Radial’s dealers worldwide.