Vintage Audio Technology for the Modern Studio
The Hydra

The Hydra: Tube and Transformer Balanced Splitter


In Oliver's early days of Seattle, he was working with a number of bands as their sound man and technician.  One of the guitarists that he worked with complained that there was not a good splitter designed for guitarists that was both studio quality in sound and road worthy for live performances.  Oliver sat down and created a new product- The Hydra.

The Hydra is a great blend of flexibility, quality sound and sturdiness.  The unit can be set up to run either as a 1 input with 6 outputs, or you can set it up as 2 inputs with 3 separate outputs for each input.  Thus if neccessary, The Hydra can be used by two different guitarists simultaneously!

The sound is driven by four military grade 12AX7 tubes.  Each tube

If you go to GuitarGeek, you can find two set-ups illustrating how working guitarists have used The Hydra in their live rigs.  The first set-up was used by Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters.  On their tour in 2000, Mr. Grohl essentially used the Whirlwind A/B/Y box to shift between clean (the Vox AC 30's) and distorted (the Mesa Boogie half stacks) guitar sounds.  Each side of the drum riser had one of each amp so that he could create duplicate signals and volume so that the sound would be consistent as he moved across the front of the stage.

The second set-up was used by Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.  In this case, Mike used two separate inputs into The Hydra; one clean and one from the distortion box.  These were then sent to their respective pair of guitar amps to create clean and distorted sounds to be blended through the front of house mixing console into the PA.  These are just two of the many ways in which The Hydra can provide flexibility in a live application.