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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Let me be Direct...!


I'm looking into the DI Box market to outfit my project studio and live-sound jobs. I'm mostly concerned with using them live -for now. I'm looking at two price brackets, lower-end (<$90) for now and upper-end (>$100) when I can afford it. What I'm considering, are the following:
Behringer DI 100
Samson S-Direct
Pro Co's various offerings
Whirlwind's various offerings
Countryman's various offerings (or just one?)
BSS's AR-133
LR Baggs Para DI (since I play acoustic guitar, this would be ideal for my personal use)
From my selection, you can probably tell I'm trying to avoid anything that requires a seperate AC cord and anything that has multiple DI's-in-one. My experiences have mostly been with the Pro Co series (way back when they were all black) and the active DODs (never been a fan of "dud") but unfortunately, I was a mere live-performer then, and never had the opportunity to critically listen to what came out of the box.
If you have it, give me lots of input (and your own suggestions too!). Active vs Passive, switching options, warranty (always important), etc...
This ain't too easy a topic to find written about in reviews, but it's a critical part of the soundchain. Any insight would be well received!
(also posted in the Control Room forum)
September 16, 2002 @06:40am

The Behringer DI is suprisingly good. It's a blatent rip off of the BSS unit, but the sound is quite decent. Phamtom powered, and I picked up a couple locally for well under $50 per. I use them mainly for recording, but they're useful for live sound too. At their cost, they're practically disposable.
September 19, 2002 @10:02pm

heh- wouldn't that be great? A one-time use Active DI box? Plug it in, drain the battery, throw away, use another one. All for about five bucks per unit. Great for the occasional gigger or for the sound gig where you don't know what's going to be on stage. Made by Kodak, of course :)...
September 20, 2002 @07:12pm

I'm in the same box.
I've had excellent results withn the bottom of the line Carvin passive direct box - at about $25. I kid you not. My acoustic guitar (old style Taylor 815C) is fitted with an older b-band active dual source system and sends two signals through a TRS jack. I use a TRS line, break into two mono lines, into a DOD passive resistance mixer (about $40) to blend the signals, and then right into the DI. XLR heads out to the board. The only downside is all the EQ is on the board.
I've been doing the ultra picky review thing with preamps / blenders and can't decide whether to spring for the Raven Labs PMB-1 or the PreSonus AcoustiQ. The Raven is class A, the Presonus is tube driven. Both blenders / preamps have onboard EQ; the Presonus has a footswitch for a pre adjusted gain boost for lead acoustic playing. I figure the Raven is a better piece of equipment, but the PreSonus might be more useful at a gig.
Raven is $300; PreSonus is $250.
October 5, 2002 @01:55am

Want to know something interesting? I believe the Carvin DI boxes are the same as Whirlwind's bottom of the barrel -just rebranded (like most of their non-guitar, small pro-audio gear). I think I may look into that as a stop-gap, for now...
October 8, 2002 @10:37pm

The best sub $90 direct box I've heard is the Stewart ADB1. It's not under by much, but to my ear, it's a significant step ahead of the Whirlwind/Behringer offerings. I would be - and am, as I'm currently working through a system upgrade one step at a time - inclined toward the Stewarts, even if it means waiting a little longer to get the quantity you're looking for (they run in the $85 neighborhood).
On the over, it's hard to argue with Countryman, BSS or Klark Technik. I like the Countryman myself, but that's largely a function of having it at hand and not necessarily indicative of a significant preference.
The other box - and one that's a little harder to find - is Radial's JDI (two versions). But again, I believe the selections above are largely comparable, whereas the Stewart is - again, to my ear - a significant improvement over the others.
September 2, 2003 @09:15pm

Treeline...... Get the Raven Labs. Its not even fair to compare the Presonus to it.
As far as the other DI's go.....
I hated the samson, very lifeless.
The Behringer was not much better, but at $25 what can you expect?
The proco and the whirlwinds are decent, somewhat accepted, and not too expensive.
I love the sound of the Countryman DI's, but they are built HORRIBLY. They sound great, but be prepared to tighten all the screws on them every time you pull them out. I have over a dozen of them that always need adjusting, and have talked with many other engineers who have had the same problems.
AS far as I can tell, the Klark Teknik DI's are virtually the same as the Countryman, if not exactly the same. Since I have not used one for a couple years, and only used them a couple times, it would not be fair to comment on their build.
The radial lab stuff sounds good. Its very clean, and pretty neutral. If I remember right they are a little pricey though.
I recently added a dozen or so BSS AR133 DI's to my rig. They only cost like $10 more than the Countrymans. They sound incredible! They will bring a very smooth high end to guitars that you have not heard before when listening to the other boxes mentioned above, as well as a tighter richer low end. They are also built like tanks, and I love the on/off switch on them (just remember it is there or it could cause a headache later!). I also love the way they are stackable and the phantom power indicator to notify you when it is receiving phantom power.
Basically, I love the sound of the Countrymans and never will complain about it, but the BSS sounds that much better, and is FAR more durable. After buying a case of BSS DI's I am horribly regretting that we ever purchased the Countryman boxes. Its kind of like buying Sennheiser 421's. They sound great, but you have to mummify with gaff tape to make sure it stays on that stupid clip they come with
September 3, 2003 @03:51am