Have you ever wished your guitar sound just had a little more zing? A little more kick to your electric, or shine to your acoustic tone? If so, listen up. BBE has created a pair of slick direct boxes to help musicians give their instruments that extra “magic” when plugged straight into a mixer for gigging or recording.
The DI-1000 and DI-100x are super-rugged direct boxes that are handy for countless applications – you can use them for virtually any instrument that you record directly (i.e., via a cable). For us guitarists, they can be especially useful for direct recording of acoustic guitars. Often, DI’d acoustics sound either flat or fake, especially if you use certain passive piezo pickups. But these boxes can bring new life to these guitars, since both include BBE’s famous Sonic Maximizer circuits. Just a tweak of the knob, and suddenly your guitar tone is back from the dead – almost like you put on a new set of strings. The DI-100x’s 1/4″ line out allows its Sonic Maximizer to be used independently; great for guys who want to use it in their rig, but have no place for a rack piece.
In addition to the Sonic Maximizer benefit, there are pad buttons on each unit (-15dB on the DI-100x and -30dB on the DX-1000), so you can plug in hotter sources – like the output of an amp head – and bring it down to a line level for recording. The DI-1000 also has a Jensen JT-DB-EP transformer to help match impedance levels, in passive mode, or active mode with the Sonic Maximizer (the DI-100x, meanwhile, is a purely active unit). And while the Maximizer shines the upper frequencies, the Lo Contour knobs on each box help dial in the low-to-mid sounds your ear likes. I tested these units with a Strat, a Les Paul, and a Wechter acoustic/electric, and was pleased all the way around.
In short, these two BBE boxes will take whatever instrument you’re trying to record directly (or plug into a mixer at a gig) – guitar, bass, drum machine, etc. – and make it sound better, and all without an amp anywhere in sight. Bigger, louder, cleaner, beefier: that’s the goal of the DI-100x and DI-1000, and they succeed mightily. Plus, each is built like a tank, so you’ll get years (if not decades) of use out of them. Think of them as Swiss Army knives for your tone – so many uses, and all of them good.
BBE DI-100/DI-100X direct boxes
Type of Units Active/Passive.
Features Output impedence-matching electronics, built-in BBE Sonic Maximizer, -15db/-30db pads.
Price $199.99 (DI-100x), $299.99 (DI-1000).
Contact BBE Sound, Inc., 5381 Production Drive, Huntington Beach, CA 92649, phone (714)897-6766, www.bbesound.com.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.