The direct input box (commonly referred to as the DI) plays a crucial role in delivering balanced sound in both contained recording environments as well as in more dynamic live performance settings. By taking a high impedance, unbalanced signal and converting it into a low impedance, balanced sound, the signal can be routed over long cable distance without any frequency loss. Though this may not all sound like the sexiest part of the signal flow process, its function is invaluable, as it allows the audio signal to remain intact even when traveling through long cables. We've chosen the following best DI boxes available today because they each feature a pad to protect against unwanted hot signal from overdriving through the unit, they all weigh less than two pounds making them easy to travel with, and they're also able to handle multiple types of input sources, providing versatility for musicians and engineers who need a tool that can perform several functions.
Radial’s ProD2 DI box is an ideal weapon of choice for active acoustic guitars, bass guitars, synthesizers, drum machines, and more. The unit is built like a tank and is simple to use as you just plug and play. Read Full Review
The Radial ProD2 full-range passive DI box utilizes an isolation transformer that eliminates unwanted noise from your signal. Its small size and tough build make it ideal for use in both the recording studio as well as the live environment. A -15dB pad reduces prohibitively loud incoming signal, helping to prevent distortion-causing circuit overload. This DI box is also equipped with a full no-slip rubber bottom to ensure that the unit won’t slide around and that it remains electrically insulated. In addition to being a great DI for instruments, the ProD2 is also handy for running signal from external media sources like CD, DVD, and Mp3 players.
The BSS AR-133 DI box’s appearance is telling as it looks like some sort of alien device harbored in a tough external housing. And that’s fitting, because this unit not only provides unparalleled tone, but it is durable enough to take on the road without any worry of incidental damage to the unit. Read Full Review
The BSS AR-133 is a DI box that performs its key function, maintaining the fidelity of audio signal, swiftly and succinctly. It features phantom power as well as battery supplies; should the former fail or accidentally be switched off during use, the latter will instantly kick in thus allowing the unit to seamlessly continue operation without interruption. The design of the AR-133 is also notable because not only is its aluminum case a mighty protector from any unwanted dings or bruises, the arched body allows you to run cables back underneath the unit from the end. This design feature works wonder to make things a lot more organized for individuals drowning in loose cables. Its input offers a 0, -20, or -40dB pad, so this unit can easily switch between instrument, line, or amplifier levels.
Many DI boxes are made with the instrumentalist in mind, but we live in a time when signal flow comes from places other than the traditional sources. The Whirlwind pcDI direct input box was designed with those alternative sources in mind, making it ideal for routing signal from CD players, iPods, and more. Read Full Review
The Whirlwind pcDI is actually equipped with two separate DIs; one employs a stereo 1/8 inch jack input, while the other provides an option for RCA cables. This gives it an advantage over other DI boxes that aren’t always equipped to receive signal from tape decks, computer sound cards, and other non-instrument audio sources. Both the input jacks and XLR output jacks are color-coded, preventing any confusion in the signal flow process. The unit features a ground lift switch to eliminate any unwanted humming or buzzing noises. A 20dB pad switch also provides safety from any sources that may be coming in too hot.
The Countryman Type 10 DI box is built for road use, with its rugged and compact design. This unit is dedicated to providing accurate and untampered sound that is pristine and precise. Read Full Review
Countryman’s Type 10 DI box offers a response and audio quality that remains extremely faithful to the original signal that is sent through the unit. This can definitely be attributed to the unit’s wide and flat bandwidth. The Type 10 is built with an analog circuit that will tune itself to the signal that it receives, preventing any distortion and noise from creeping in. Weighing in at just a little over one pound, this unit is built tough enough to handle the perils of touring and gigging. The unit also features a switchable -15dB and -30dB pad, so you can keep any unruly audio under control.
The Pro Co DB2 DI box is ideal for handling audio from practically any type of instrument or signal source. It holds its own in both the studio and onstage, thanks to its tough design and impeccable sound. Read Full Review
Pro Co’s DB1 was already a popular DI box amongst musicians and audio geeks alike, but the DB2 only improves that sound, offering crystal clear signal in stereo. That means that users are getting two separate channels of audio in one single unit. And when you plug into only one input, the DB2 morphs into a transformer-isolated signal splitter. The unit also features a ground lift switch to take out nasty hum and buzz noises. Each channel in the DB2 has its own 20dB pad. And because this unit is a passive design, it doesn’t require any phantom power or batteries to operate.