DI Boxes - When do I use them? What do they sound like?
Author: Brad Date Posted:13 November 2018
DI Boxes - what do they do? When do I use them? What do they sound like? Today Brad's talking about DI Boxes.
What is a DI Box?
A DI Box changes a high-impedance unbalanced signal into a low-impedance balanced signal.
Why do we need one?
It might just be that your mixing console doesn’t have quarter-inch inputs and you need to convert it to an XLR or let’s say you have a really big stage and your guitar player is 20 feet away, you could use a DI to run across the stage, so you don’t get any signal loss.
Active or passive?
Do you need an active or passive DI? It depends on the situation. Generally speaking, if you’ve got a passive instrument, let’s say a guitar with magnetic pickups or a bass guitar, you’d use an active DI. The active DI works really great for my fender bass it’s got passive pickups so I use an active DI.
An active DI also needs to run on batteries or phantom power. An active DI will give you a little bit more signal that way you won’t have to run your mixing console as hard to get the same amount of signal.
Passive DI’s they’re used more for distance or converting a quarter-inch to an XLR. I’d use a passive for keyboards, digital drum kit, anything with active pickups. What do they sound like? All DI’s sound different from Radial to Behringer, from Klark Teknik to our brand Titan AV.
How do they sound?
Brad put 3 DI Boxes to the test: Klark Teknik, Behringer & Titan AV active Di Box.
- The Klark Teknik sounded a little bit nicer in the low end. The mid-range was a little bit smoother.
- The Behringer Ultra DI it sounded pretty good the low end was ok, top end was nice. Mid-range was pretty good.
- The Titan AV it did alright for the job. For $42 you could get away with it. The low end was ok, top end was ok, mid-range I didn’t like as much but I’d use it at a gig.
All 3 DI’s were set up the same way. Flat EQ, flat on my guitar, same gain structure, same level.
Which DI is right for me?
DI’s are about personal preference. Everyone’s got different ears. Everyone hears things differently. When choosing a DI ask yourself these questions. How often will I use it? Will I notice the sound difference? Do I need something high end? Or can I get away with using a DI on a budget?
Test them out, do your research. You’ll figure out what ones best for you.
So now you’ve got the low down on DI’s. If you're in Brisbane come instore and test our DI Boxes for yourself.