Best Recording Signal Direct Boxes in 2020



Radial ProD2 Passive 2 Channel Direct Box Review:


Our church recently remodeled, and replaced our acoustic drums with electric drums. The size of our sanctuary just couldn't handle acoustic very well (too small/loud). The problem was, once we hooked up the electric drums we had an issue where they would periodically "clip" (pop in the speakers) when hit harder. This didn't seem to be a consistent repeatable thing, it just kept happening consistently-random. To avoid this, we had to pull the drum kit volume down to 3 or less (Default is 13).
Additionally, there was this TERRIBLE BUZZ in the speakers. NO matter what volume level you put the drum kit on, the buzz was still there (Same level). When we pulled the drum volume down on the mixing board, we could reduce the volume of the buzz, but not eliminate it altogether, and then, all the other instruments/vocals were overpowering the drums.

So i did some research and concluded that we must be experiencing a "Ground Loop". After reading reviews on this product, i though i would give it a try. I installed this between the drum kit and the snake. When i powered on the sound system, i was shocked that there was NO SOUND. No buzz, no hum, no noise of any kind. it didn't even sound like i had turned anything on. Our sound system has NEVER been that quiet, even before the remodel. My first thought was "Man, this thing isn't working, now i have NO sound". As i walked toward the box to start trouble shooting, it occurred to me that i should at least TEST the drums first. Guess what, they WORKED. The box was just THAT GOOD. Praise God. Additionally, this also seemed to fix the Popping / Clipping volume issue we had previously as i can now put the drums back on the default volume level of 13 with no issues.



Whirlwind Direct Box - IMP2 Review:


It's hard to say much about a device with such a simple function, but it has lasted me quite a while without failing like the DI box it replaced. The ground/lift switch came in handy to eliminate a buzz in the system. It's hard to say what the sound quality is like. Though the sound coming from the PA seems to be less bright, it may just be the system and not the DI box. Anyway, it's a good way to connect an electric guitar straight to the PA's XLR jack (don't forget the amp/cab simulator).



Behringer Ultra-G GI100 Professional Battery/Phantom Powered DI-Box with Guitar Speaker Emulation Review:


I just received this and tested it but felt the need to review to clear up the buzzing/hum issue. First off, this thing feels solidly build. Nothing cheap feeling about it. It mounts in the rear of my rack with velcro tape nicely. The cab sim sounds very good - better than the pod HD cab sims to my ears, which is what I plan to use this box in place of (the lousy pod cab sims) if my power amp dies during a gig.- so this is a backup (for now- more on that later.). Also with this box, i can use my usual pod patches that have no cab sims and just plug into this, using the same patches without having to add cabs to the patches if my power amp were to die at a gig, since i'll then need to go direct to PA - this box will provide the cab model for all my patches. Again the cab sim sounds plenty good on this box..

I plugged my Pod HD unbalanced out into this, and then the bypass on to my power amp, so i am sending this box a line level signal - when used in this manner, it's dead quiet - NO hum. Only when used as a load box, from a power amp speaker out (the manual says this is designed for it if desired) does the box produce hum. If i needed a true load box, i would not expect a $40 box to pull this off, but as a true DI box using a line level signal, it works great, no hum, and the cab sim is excellent.

It is promising enough that at my next gig i'm going to try running direct for a set, and compare this setup (pod -> G100 -> PA) to my usual (Pod -> Tube power amp --> V30 loaded guitar cab miced up) for another set and see which sounds better to the sound guy. If this box sounds better, i've got some changes to make on my rig!



Behringer Ultra-DI DI400P Professional High-Performance Passive DI-Box Review:


But this deserves it. Listen, a DI box is nothing but one in and two outs with a transformer between them. Would a $250 Neve DI box sound better? Possibly. Will a $100 Radial last longer? Probably. Do I care? Oh my Carl Sagan no, this little DI box sounds great and it's small enough to fit right on my pedal board. I do not baby this unit: It's been dropped, it's gotten rain on it, and it still sounds wonderful. I run two amps- a big-wattage solid-state bass amp for the lows and an all-tube guitar amp for the mids and highs, and a third line is just clean DI. I have used green Radial DI boxes, the industry standard, every time I go into the studio, but I wanted one for myself. I simply couldn't justify spending $100 on a little box with two 1/4" jacks, and XLR jack and a transformer in it when the world's largest musical equipment company sells this for several times less. I really cannot tell the difference.



Monoprice Sound Block Passive Direct Box with Ground Lift & attenuator Review:


So the Monoprice Sound Block passive direct box arrived today. I’m very impressed – I don’t know how they did that for $14.99 (and free Prime shipping). When I first picked up the box, I though they sent the wrong item because it was so heavy (if weight was an indication of quality, then this is an 11). But on unboxing, it was the item I ordered, so I plugged it in for a test drive. I was fully expecting hiss and other noise but it is dead quiet, and the ground lift and attenuation switches work well, also. If I had to pick at something, I would say the ¼ inch jacks are a bit stiff to plug into, but those will probably ease up a bit with use. If you need a high quality passive direct box at an affordable price, I highly recommend this item.



ART CLEANBoxPro 2-Channel Balanced Unbalanced Level Converter Review:


A device intended to increase the voltage of a pre-out from your receiver. I can't think of a better use for this than to hook up a Pro AMP with a consumer HT Receiver for subwoofer use.

Why? That Pro AMP will want a higher level of voltage before it will decide to do anything with it and your HT Receiver doesn't provide a good amount of voltage on the LFE Pre-Outs without running it super hot.

Why don't you want to run the pre-outs at max? Well a few things can happen; 1 - can cause artifacts in the signal which can affect the sound, 2 - lower the lifespan of the pre-out and 3 - not be enough to drive the external AMP to max power. (#3 is the most important)

Why use a Pro AMP? Cheap power for great performance AND most give you DSP (Hooray!).

Now, consider this, DSP (Digital Signal Processing) IS important and these don't provide that but there are products that will provide signal boost and DSP capabilities. They are more expensive but at the same time a better solution than going Boosted Signal -> AMP w/DSP. For an introductory to setting up your HT, going with a CLEANBox Pro -> Pro AMP w/DSP is probably safer, easier and cheaper, maybe just not the best approach.

Been using mine for almost 2 years now, honestly I forgot I had it till the other day when I had to move it. My major qualm is the form factor, I know car use was a consideration so smaller sizes are important but for HT use the size is somewhat a pain on initial set up. After that though its fine, still wish I could get it in a bigger box style.

The uses for the CLEANBoxPro has been restated many times, figured I'd put in mine! Would I buy again? no, but that's not against the product itself, I just want something with DSP so I can put a bunch of power amps after it.



rolls Stereo Direct Interface (DB24) Review:


This DI box is great. It works for a number of things, and the POT style attenuators per channel really make getting just the right levels a breeze. Audio doesn't seem to be modified EQ-wise when using this unit, and there are mono and ground lift options of course.

I use this unit in conjunction with my Zoom H4N in order to record line-level (without it, the levels are way too high). If you're wanting to do the same, put the microphone level on the zoom to 1, then use the 2 knobs on this guy to set your levels, works great!

I also have used this to run the sound out of a PC to the soundboard, and it worked great in that application too.

It's very solid, and extremely well constructed. I couldn't think of anything more I would expect out of this unit. It was a bit expensive, but a good DI box is expensive even if not stereo.



Premium Direct Injection Audio Box - Passive DI Unit Hum Eliminator w/ Input Attenuator to Connect Guitar & Bass - 1/4 Inch Impedance Transformer Connector to Balanced & Unbalanced XLR - Pyle PDC21 Review:


So this is a good product for a decent price if you know what it is you're getting. What this is, is a passive direct box with nothing but a transformer to match impiedance between XLR balanced and 1/4" unbalanced. As such a few things to keep in mind are that this is not an amplifier, it has no active powered electronics inside. Also there is some inherent loss in any transformer, so the signal coming out may not be quite as strong as the signal going in. If you're looking for a lossless direct box with low impiedance, then you will want an active direct box with operational amplifiers and powered circuits. This is not on of those. But having said that, it does a fairly good job and is built like a brick ####-house. It has some serious weight to it, and if it fails as a proper direct box for you it can certainly be used as a theft deterrent device. Seriously though, good little unit. Since there is no active electronics there is little to no chance of inducing extra noise or hum. It does have some attenuation resistors (meaning it can make loud things quieter) for if you are feeding something with higher volume like a speaker output into something that's expecting lower volume like a microphone input. It also has the ability to do ground lift, if you're getting ground loop hum. (And if you don't know what that is, simply nod and act impressed.)

All in all I rated it with 4 stars because as long as you know what you're getting, its a great little unit. But just be sure you do some reading on the differences between active and passive direct boxes. Happy Hunting!



Premium Direct Injection Audio Box - Passive DI Unit Hum Eliminator w/ Input Attenuator to Connect Guitar & Bass - 1/4 Inch Impedance Transformer Connector to Balanced & Unbalanced XLR - Pyle PDC22 Review:


So this is a good product for a decent price if you know what it is you're getting. What this is, is a passive direct box with nothing but a transformer to match impiedance between XLR balanced and 1/4" unbalanced. As such a few things to keep in mind are that this is not an amplifier, it has no active powered electronics inside. Also there is some inherent loss in any transformer, so the signal coming out may not be quite as strong as the signal going in. If you're looking for a lossless direct box with low impiedance, then you will want an active direct box with operational amplifiers and powered circuits. This is not on of those. But having said that, it does a fairly good job and is built like a brick ####-house. It has some serious weight to it, and if it fails as a proper direct box for you it can certainly be used as a theft deterrent device. Seriously though, good little unit. Since there is no active electronics there is little to no chance of inducing extra noise or hum. It does have some attenuation resistors (meaning it can make loud things quieter) for if you are feeding something with higher volume like a speaker output into something that's expecting lower volume like a microphone input. It also has the ability to do ground lift, if you're getting ground loop hum. (And if you don't know what that is, simply nod and act impressed.)

All in all I rated it with 4 stars because as long as you know what you're getting, its a great little unit. But just be sure you do some reading on the differences between active and passive direct boxes. Happy Hunting!