Raise your hand if you have ever heard anyone complain about a microphone not being of good quality. I am sure I am not the only one. This is a pretty common complaint. Especially from vocalists. I am not saying that singers shouldn't be picky. By all means they should be. After all the microphone they use can make their vocal sound smooth and crystal clear or... well... let's just say bad.
Now answer this question. When is the last time you heard anyone complain about a direct box? If you have I would be surprised. It just doesn't happen very often. I think direct boxes tend to be the stepchild of the audio world. To many times people take them for granted even though you would be very hard pressed to find a venue without them.
When I first started learning about sound my mentor told me that, "Direct boxes should be treated like mic's. They serve the same function and no one goes out and buys the cheapest mic from Radioshack to save a few bucks on their lead vocal. Why do it for your DI too?"
This has stuck with me throughout the years and has served me well. It certainly makes a lot of sense. This little box is what is getting your guitar or keys into the PA system. Why would you go out and pay $1200 for a guitar that has the "best tone you ever heard" and then run it through a $15 piece of junk?
Having a great DI will let the natural untampered sound of your instrument ring through. Great DI's don't color the sound like cheap ones do. They get out of the way so the sound you hear unplugged is the sound the audience gets at your venue.
So the next time you go out and buy a direct box think twice. I promise it is worth the extra $100 to get the nice one.
written by | Adam Geesaman