A direct box's utility is simple, but it has a great impact on your sound. It converts an unbalanced signal into a balanced one, letting you split an instrument signal onstage and in the studio.
Now, how do you choose direct boxes for your specific needs? Sweetwater carries two types of DI boxes: passive and active. A passive direct box uses a transformer to convert the signal, whereas an active direct box has a preamp built into the circuitry. Thanks to this circuitry, active DI boxes commonly require phantom power or a nine-volt battery. To put it simply, active boxes require a power supply, while passive ones don't.
Here's a quick way to choose between active and passive direct boxes: if you're using an active signal source (keyboards, electronic drums, electric bass with active pickups, and so on), go for a passive box. If your signal source is passive (acoustic guitar with passive pickups, electric bass with passive pickups, and so on), the active box is the best choice you can make. Therefore, all you have to keep in mind is the rule of opposites. An active source needs a passive direct box, while a passive source needs an active direct box.
Speaking of matching your source to your DI box, take a quick look at the analog inputs and outputs. These need to match up, too.
Top-notch passive direct boxes feature a transformer with great shielding, as well as an outer casing that maintains isolation from outside interference. Quality active direct boxes feature circuitry with high headroom that helps avoid clipping from very high signal levels.
If you have any questions about the best direct box for your audio set up, you're always just a call away from our Sweetwater Sales Engineers. We can provide you with all the details you need in order to make an informed purchase and quickly find the ideal direct box for you.