If you are a musician or a serious music lover, then you would know what an audio direct box is. It also goes by the name Direct Inject (DI). Its function is simple yet vital in getting the right quality of sound and mix. A DI matches the levels and balances, does active buffering or passive impedance bridging to result to good quality, because of minimized noise, distortion and ground loops. Say you play the electric guitar. You are in a small band set on the stage. How do you make sure that what you play will be heard in good quality by the throngs of people in the crowd? You plug in your electric guitar into the audio direct box. Then you plug it into an audio mixer or mixing console or amplifier.
How does this happen? The DI converts a high impedance unbalanced signal into a low impedance balanced signal. There is less signal loss, and high sensitivity in picking up from low impedance microphones. You also need a DI if your instrument, like the electric guitar, only contains an unbalanced ??’ phone output, which requires to be connected to an XLR input. There are two kinds of audio direct boxes. One is passive, while the other is active. The passive consists of an audio transformer. It can already deliver the loud sound of your guitar to your audience. However, a passive DI is prone to hum. As to its advantages, it requires no batteries, and is simple to use.
Now if you would like to a wider frequency response, you need an active DI that you can fine-tune. It requires electric power, which you can get from internal batteries, or through the mixer it is plugged into. If you need higher signal levels, you need this kind of DI. If you are using digital signal in your recording, you need an active DI. There are a lot of brands of audio direct boxes available, with different features and price ranges. What you buy will wholly depend on what you need. Are you going to use it for a home audio studio or perhaps a professional studio? Are you using it for your musical equipment?
Whirlwind is one of the more famous brands. It invented the very first DI that was made commercially available in the 1980’s. If you order online, some sites offer free shipment. Other brands available are ART, BBE Sound, Behringer, Countryman, DBX Professional, DOD Electronics, Hosa Cables, On Stage Stands, Phonic, ProCo, Radial Engineering, Rolls, Samson, Stewart Audio, Whirlwind, and Klark Teknik among the many others. If you are serious about sound, you might want to invest on a top-of-the-line audio direct box at over a thousand dollars. Or you can be less serious and get one at only $ 30.
Before you buy your audio direct box, make sure to do your homework. Assess exactly what you need, what equipment it will be attached to, and how much you are willing to spend. Then you can go online and let your fingers do the window shopping. Compare prices, brands, ask questions if needed. You may also opt to buy secondhand, but of a good brand. There is an audio direct box specifically for your kind of need, and it is waiting for you to find it.