The Best DI Boxes & Reamp Boxes

The Highest Rated DI Boxes

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Before we dive into the guide, some of you might still be wondering what a D.I. box is for. Maybe you're new to the audio engineering world and want a little primer before you buy one for your studio. If you need a primer on what a D.I. Box is and why you need one (or several) for your studio, click here.

That being said, regardless of how good your instruments and sound sources are, if you plan on recording the cleanest possible signal from instrument to interface or preamp, a D.I. Box is a must. This is also true if you plan to record direct guitar for reamping later on. What is reamping? It is taking a D.I. signal from your computer and feeding it back into an amplifier with a Reamp Box. Going straight from your interface is not enough since the signals wont hit the front end of the amp the same way an instrument would. A reamp box converts a signal back into one that an amp can react to properly.

For our November 2021 edition, we arranged recommendations according to their operation (Passive or Active) and number of channels (Mono or Stereo). This year, the Samson MDA1 makes a return as our budget 1-channel active D.I. pick after a one-year absence. We have also introduced a budget 1-channel passive D.I. pick: The Pyle-Pro PDC21

We retained the Reamp Boxes section from the previous editions since there is still some confusion in forums and reviews; some people have mistakenly purchased regular DI boxes for reamping and vice-versa. We'd like to help you make the right purchasing decision. You can read about the differences in the Things to Consider section.

The Best DI Boxes

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

Best Active DI Boxes - Mono

Active DI Boxes first came to the scene to better capture the sound of electric basses, especially since old bass guitars had weak passive single-coil pickups. These days, Active DIs are widely available, and they are generally considered as better sounding because of their higher headroom and extra features.

Rupert Neve Designs RNDI

98
GEARANK

98 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$299
Rupert Neve Direct Interface (RNDI) Active DI Box

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Mono Active DI Box - a title it has had for the previous 3 years in addition to being the equal highest rated before that.

Started back in the '70s, the brand Neve and their preamps and consoles continue to hold prominent status when it comes to music equipment.

So it is not surprising that their DI Box would rank high in this list, thanks to its impressively high Gearank Rating score which includes many experts recommending it.

Interestingly, what makes this unit special is not necessarily its straightforward DI Box functionality, but its amplifier section which features the same Class-A discrete FET amplifier as found on popular Neve consoles.

Features

  • 48V phantom powered active circuitry
  • Ground Lift switches for both speaker and instruments
  • 1/4" Input and Thru-put jacks, gold-plated XLR output
  • Steel chassis
  • Weight: 1.5lbs

Pros

Reviewers are consistent in saying that Neve RNDI "improved" their sound so much that it has become a critical tone element, rather than just being a mere bridge to the mixer. Reviewers report how this unit works well with bass, acoustic guitars, keyboards, amplifiers, and more. And many of them testify that it makes all these instruments sound warm and big, with little tweaking.

Cons

The simplicity of this DI Box wasn't enough for some looking for more control. It may also not be ideal if you're looking for something transparent, because the amplifier section warms up the sound. Interestingly, even those who wanted something "transparent" ended up loving the warmer and bigger sound that they got after plugging into the RNDI. Finally, you must invest a considerable amount of money for this straightforward DI Box, but based on the positive response it has been getting, it is well worth the price.

Overall

We highly recommend the Rupert Neve RNDI for bass, but it can also work well with any instrument. If you are looking to add more juice to your FOH sound then you should check this one out.

A Designs REDDI Tube

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 90+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$950
A Designs REDDI Tube Active DI Box

While most DI Boxes are meant to be transparent, the A Designs REDDI Tube DI is a different beast because it colors the sound.

It is designed to reproduce the sound of the classic Ampeg B15 bass amplifier, and it does so with the help of a genuine 6NI-P tube at its core.

Being a DI Box, it does all this without the bulk of an actual tube bass amplifier, and with the convenience of going straight to PA systems or recording consoles.

While it works well with bass guitars, REDDI is also equally viable for use with synths, keyboards, electric guitars, and other instruments - it's especially good for adding analog touch to home studios / venues that have mostly digital equipment.

Features

  • Combo 1/4" XLR Input, XLR Output, 1/4" Thru
  • 16dB gain
  • Metal enclosure
  • Genuine 6NI-P Tube
  • Custom wound Output Transformer

Pros

The REDDI Tube DI Box continues to get high ratings from users and experts, be it for live performances in housed of worship and bars, or recordings at home or in the studio. Many commend it for its warm tube tone, which improves the sound of instruments that is paired with the box. It also helps that the unit looks nice and feels solidly built, from its Neutrik connectors to the heavy-duty switches and knobs, to its metal exterior.

Cons

Most users like the way it colors the resulting sound, but there are a few who did not like its tonal character. And because of its ability to change the overall sonic character of your instrument, it is not recommended if you prefer transparency. Some wish for a lower-priced version of the Reddi, but most are more than happy with its cost.

Overall

If you're looking to add old school warmth to your instrument, be it for recording or live performance, then check out the A Designs REDDI Tube Active DI Box.

Best Budget Active DI Box

Samson MDA1

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$40
Samson MDA1

The Samson MDA1 is a simple active D.I. Box that can be powered by phantom 48V or by a 9V battery.

The MDA1 is able to reproduce frequencies as low as 18Hz, making it ideal for recording bass D.I. tracks

The solid metal enclosure ensures long term durability.

Features

  • In: 1 x 1/4" (instrument), Out: 1 x 1/4" (thru), 1 x XLR (balanced out)
  • Powered by 48V Phantom Power / 9V battery
  • Metal enclosure
  • -15dB pad and ground lift

Pros

Many users who have the MDA1 have had them for several years. The MDA1 is noted to be built like a tank. True to the specs, the MDA1 is able to preserve deep sub frequencies with good detail without being too overwhelming.

Cons

Despite the solid enclosure, the first thing to fail for some users are the jacks. Luckily, these are easily serviceable/replaceable by a technician.

Overall

If you're looking for an active D.I. box that is able to reproduce sub low frequencies with ease and is built to last, the Samson MDA1 is a great budget pick.

Best Active DI Boxes - Stereo

Active Stereo DI Boxes add life to backing tracks and playback from sources like mobile phones, laptops, or tablets. The signal from these sources may suffer a loss in quality over long cable runs from the stage to the mixer and back out the FOH or monitors.

Radial USB-Pro

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$250
Radial USB-Pro 2-Channel Active DI Box

The Radial USB-Pro is a specialized DI box from Radial Engineering.

It is not your standard DI box in that it's primary purpose is to allow you to connect your laptop to a mixer, p.a. system, or recorder with a strong signal and minimal noise.

Despite requiring a USB connection, it is not meant to be an audio interface -- rather, it becomes an extension of your playback device.

Features

  • 24bit/96k stereo direct box
  • Balanced stereo Lo-Z output
  • Connects to your laptop via USB
  • 2 x XLR, 1 x headphone out, output level
  • Mono sum switch, ground lift
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs

Pros

Reviewers use the USB-Pro to get pristine audio signal to a mixing console via XLR. Some performers noted in music forums that it is a compact way to perform with backing tracks since clicks can be panned one side and the backing track to the other. Others found it useful as a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) for their home audiophile setups.

Cons

For its specific purpose, no reports of negatives for performance although one user wanted an included USB cable which it doesn't come with.

Overall

Being a specialty product, it was engineered to do one thing well: convert laptop audio into a balanced stereo signal to XLR. Some may wonder why not just use a small adapter to plug into the mixer but anyone who's ever performed knows how much could go wrong in that setup. Having a secure means of sending audio from your laptop in stereo is essential for great performances on stage or consistent program material during events.

Rupert Neve Designs RNDI-S

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
Rupert Neve Designs RNDI-S Stereo Active Transformer DI Box

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Stereo Active DI Box - now for the third year in a row!

Expanding on the RNDI (also covered in this guide), The Rupert Neve Designs RNDI-S is the stereo version of the RNDI.

Features

  • 48-Volt phantom powered direct box
  • High rail voltage design to avoid clipping
  • 80Hz highpass roll-off filter for reducing mud and increases headroom
  • Input 1/4", Outputs XLR, 1/4" thru
  • Weight: 1.55 lbs

Pros

For stereo DI boxes, stereo coherence is important especially during recording from stereo sources like effects, keyboards, and loops and samples. The better the phase coherence between channels, the better stereo tracks fit into the mix. Several pro engineers consistently write about how the circuitry adds certain dynamics that recording without one didn't bring to their sessions. One user even used 7 for his touring band just for the consistency and sound.

Cons

No reported negatives for the unit itself. Price has been an issue with the RNDI-S simply being out of reach for most project studios.

Overall

Despite being at the more expensive end of our list, many users praise the RNDI-S for its sonic enhancements, phase coherence, and build quality. If you're looking to upgrade your already stacked studio, get it; it might just be that last small improvement your workflow/signal chain needs.

Best Passive DI Boxes - Mono

Passive DI Boxes provide the most convenient, easy to use, and practical straight-to-console solution for musicians and engineers alike. Note that when used with guitars and basses that have passive pickups, there may be a noticeable level drop. This can be addressed by increasing the gain on the console a bit.

Radial ProDI

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$110
Radial ProDI

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Mono Passive DI Box along with the Radial JDI.

At just half the price of the JDI model, the Radial ProDI brings the company's famed sound quality and reliability to a more accessible price point.

Because of its reasonable price tag, venues that house multiple instruments like churches have been getting these in buckets.

And looking at its impressive Gearank Rating, the quality does not stray too far from more expensive units, some even comment that differences are practically unnoticeable in most musical applications.

Features

  • Passive direct box design with isolation transformer
  • Isolated and balanced XLR output connector to prevent chassis to ground noise
  • Radial 14-gauge steel welded I-beam housing
  • -15dB pad
  • 1/4" input and 1/4" thru-put
  • Ground lift switch
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs

Pros

While it is reassuring that professionals like Terry Lawless (who plays keyboards for the band U2) endorse this unit, it still pays to heed the advice of regular users, and they have many good things to say about the Radial ProDI. Almost everyone is satisfied with its clear audio and solid construction, it also helps that it is compact and readily portable. From keyboards to laptops, and even instruments, the ProDI will get you sounding good with little hassle.

Cons

There was one who warned that the rubber footing will eventually fall off so that maybe something to look into and prevent. Other than that, there are not that many complaints, even some of those that ranked this DI Box lower reported that they are very happy with it.

Overall

If you are looking for an all-round DI box for your keyboards and other electronic instruments, that's relatively easy on the pocket, then check this one out.

Radial JDI

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$220
Radial JDI Passive DI Box

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Mono Passive DI Box along with the Radial ProDI.

It is impressive how the Radial JDI has kept its high Gearank Rating through multiple versions of this guide for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and now in 2021.

Besides many positive reviews, keyboard virtuoso Chick Corea and artists like Adrian Belew use and recommend the unit, adding to its already superb credibility.

Features

  • Passive DI Box design with Jensen Transformers.
  • -15dB input pad.
  • Merge Function
  • Single 1/4" input, single XLR and one TS Thru output
  • Welded I-beam construction.
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs

Pros

There aren't any extra features to speak of, but the Radial JDI does what it does excellently - removes ground hum and noise and allows your instrument or amplifier signal to get to the PA with the cleanest and clearest sound. And since it is passive, it works well with active pickup equipped guitars and bases, amplifiers, and other electronic instruments which include keyboards, laptops.

Cons

No reported major problems. Some wished the price was a bit lower.

Overall

More than just a great DI Box, the Radial JDI is arguably the best all-around DI Box in the market today. If you're not sure what to get, if you are a multi-instrumentalist, or if you are a sound engineer who deals with various sound sources, get this one.

Best Budget Passive DI Box

For those with limited budgets, we've included the Pyle-Pro PDC21 as a good low-cost option.

Pyle-Pro PDC21

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 1450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$10
Pyle-Pro PDC21 1-Channel Passive DI Box

Although more known for their stage gear like their mic stands, Pyle-Pro's PDC21 D.I. box is one of, if not, the most affordable passive D.I. box in the market today.

Featuring a rugged all-steel chassis, switchable input pads and ground lift, it has more features than you would expect from a D.I. box at this price point.

Features

  • Passive DI Box
  • Switchable (0db, -20db,-40db) input pad, and ground lift
  • In: 1/4'' Phone Jack, unbalanced. Out: 1/4'' Phone Jack, unbalanced and XLR Connector, balanced
  • All - Steel Chassis.
  • Weight:1.05 lbs.

Pros

Users were mostly amazed at the quality for price. Many users were able to buy multiple units for their studios and stage setups.

Cons

Noted high and low frequency roll-off. Others experienced bad switches although most can be remedied by spraying contact cleaner.

Overall

If you're on a tight budget and need one or more D.I. boxes for your studio, the Pyle-Pro PDC21 is a very affordable and decent performing pick.

Best Passive DI Boxes - Stereo

Passive Stereo DI Boxes don't have the lively tonality of Active DI boxes but because no other electrical source melds with the signal, a soft high-frequency roll-off and hard transient suppression can be expected, though most designs have achieved relative transparency without the need for external power.

Mackie MDB-2P

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$70
Mackie MDB-2P Stereo Passive DI Box

The Mackie MDB series was designed to be a no-frills, premium component DI solution with various models rounding out the lineup.

The MBB-2P is a 2 Channel Passive DI box.

Each channel is independent of the other which means it can be used as a Stereo DI box for instruments, laptop outs, or other stereo sound sources; or as a dual mono DI box for 2 different sound sources.

High-quality components and circuit layout ensure no crosstalk (leakage) between channels for a transparent sound.

Features

  • Dual independent channels for stereo or dual-mono applications
  • -15dB pads
  • Ground Lift switch
  • Inputs 2 x 1/4", Outputs 2 x 1/4" (thru), 2 x XLR (balanced line out)
  • Weight: 0.8 lbs

Pros

Users note that the unit's transparency rivals even more expensive DI boxes. For the price, the convenience and transparency without crosstalk make it a great value according to several positive reviews.

Cons

One user reported that you lose a little high end, but that's to be expected of passive designs.

Overall

"It just works", says one review we encountered during our research. With no consistently reported negatives in both product reviews and community discussions, the Mackie MDB-2P is a reliable piece of kit that you wouldn't be afraid of taking on the road. Built-like-a-tank™ (yes, it's trademarked) construction by Mackie has failed no one (not that we know of at least!).

Radial ProD2

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$170
Radial ProD2 2-channel Passive Instrument DI Box

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Stereo Passive DI Box - now for a third year in a row!

There's no question that Radial Engineering dominates the DI box market with their range of offerings for almost any situation.

The ProD2 is their transparent, 2-channel DI box solution for keyboards, program material, and other high output sound sources.

The box was designed to smooth out extreme transients while keeping most of the input intact. This prevents overloading your mixer or audio interface's preamp.

Features

  • Full range passive direct box with Eclipse ET-DB2 transformers
  • Very low harmonic and phase distortion
  • 14-gauge steel welded I-beam construction
  • -15dB pad
  • Input 2 x 1/4", Outputs 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4" thru
  • Weight: 1.95 lbs

Pros

Users praise its transparent sound while smoothing out harsher transients and background noise. Where other DI boxes color the sound in obvious ways, the ProD2 is consistently praised by reviewers and users to maintain more true to the input while rounding any excess digital "harshness".

Cons

An isolated report of signal loss. The community figured that the jacks need to be cleaned or cables checked as this is a rare case.

Overall

Radial Engineering puts a winner in the lineup again with the ProD2. It ticks all the boxes of what a good stereo DI box should be while bringing out the best of your instruments.

Best Reamp Boxes

Reamping is a practice commonly done in modern recording studios where clean DI guitar recording gets fed through a Reamp box to convert it into a signal ideal for feeding into a guitar amplifier as if it were played from an instrument. This preserves the response of the amplifier and enables the re-recording of guitar parts with different equipment, microphones, and mic placement even without the original session musician.

Radial ProRMP

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$110
Radial ProRMP Passive Re-Amping DI Box

The ProRMP is Radial's most affordable reamp box.

Being affordable doesn't mean they skimped out on quality and features.

Featuring a modified version of the JCR circuit and transformer, the ProRMP feeds your amp with a strong and harmonically rich signal for sweeter cleans and fatter overdrive tones.

Features

  • Passive design re-amping box with custom transformer
  • 14-Gauge steel welded I-beam construction
  • On-board level control
  • Input 1 x XLR , Outputs 1 x 1/4" TS
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs.

Pros

Many happy users have noted that "it does what it says on the box" which is to enable you to feed a DI signal from your computer to an amp. The signal itself sounds close to how the recorded tone would sound from a guitar without too much fuss.

Cons

The level adjustment requires a flat head screwdriver to adjust. This made it inconvenient for a few users who need to make adjustments on the fly.

Overall

As the "little brother" of Radial's Reamp box line, you might expect some compromises with sound and build quality but the ProRMP delivers with a lot of convenience, reliability, and value.

Radial Reamp JCR Studio Reamper

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$220
Radial Reamp JCR Studio Reamper DI Box

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Reamp Box - now for the second year in a row!

The Radial JCR is a passive reamp box.

Engineered by the inventor of the Reamping process John Cuniberti, the Radial JCR is THE reamp box if you're looking for absolute simplicity.

Features

  • Passive design re-amping box with custom transformer
  • 14-Gauge steel welded I-beam construction
  • Ground lift switch, Phase inverter, Mute switch, Tone Control
  • Input 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS, Outputs 1 x 1/4" TS
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs.

Pros

The Radial JCR gets universal praise from studio engineers for being the best at what it does: reamping studio-recorded guitars. Many users call it an essential studio tool and there are no substitutes. Compared to other reamp boxes, many found the JCR to add musical harmonics over the original guitar tone much like using a boutique buffer or clean boost in the signal chain.

Cons

Not everyone liked their sound being colored on the way to the amplifier.

Overall

The JCR reigns as the definitive single-channel reamp box. If you're looking to reamp to a stereo signal chain like reverbs and delays, the Radial X-amp might be more for you.

Things to Consider when Buying a DI Box

So what is a DI Box for anyway?

The main job of a DI Box is to convert your instrument lead (1/4" TS) signal 'directly' into the microphone inputs (balanced 3-pin XLR) that a mixing console typically has. Unlike a simple headphone adapter (1/4" to 1/8") it doesn't just need to change the size or shape of the connectors, it has to convert the differences in impedance and voltage between the two sides of the connection. The details of how it does this are beyond the scope of this guide but if you want to delve further into the topic then look at this DI article on Wikipedia. The main thing to consider is that due to electrical designs this conversion process can influence the tone of your instrument (in a good or a bad way) and that's why getting the right DI Box is important.

Apart from just "getting the signal to the desk" a DI Box (also called Direct Box, Direct Input, or Direct Injection Box) can also have several other advantages. Firstly the balanced XLR connection is much better for running cables over long distances without picking up noise and interference. Guitar leads, for example, can lose some sound quality at around 20 feet (6m) so if you want to cover more distance than a balanced XLR cable from the Direct box is better. Secondly, many DI boxes (especially passive ones) isolate the input and the output circuit which can help prevent ground loop hums and other electrical noise from creeping into the sound system.

Passive vs Active

There are two types of DI boxes - Passive and Active. Passive DI boxes work with no external power source, while active direct boxes require either phantom power, a battery, or a separate power supply. Active DI boxes offer more functionality and improved sound quality, while Passive Direct Boxes offer straightforward functionality without having to worry about the power supply. The general rule is to use an Active DI Box for instruments with passive pickups and use a Passive DI Box for instruments with active pickups and electronics. If you're wondering whether your instrument is passive or active it's simple - if you have to supply power or put a battery in then it's active, otherwise, it's passive.

Input/Output Ports

The most basic form of a DI Box usually has one input and one output that goes straight to the mixer. As the price goes up, they offer more options that include a separate output for amp or monitoring, while some even have multiple input/output options for complex rigs and multiple instruments. You'll want to have a DI Box with the right amount and type of inputs for your needs. If you're using a single instrument like electric bass, or acoustic guitar then a compact straightforward DI Box would be more than enough.

Ground Lift

The more music equipment you manage, the more voltage differences there may be between them, and these differences are perceived by the mixer as hum and noise. Since Passive DI boxes are transformers, they provide automatic ground lift for instant noise and hum reduction, making them important in keeping stages and studios quiet and clean sounding. Active DI Boxes also provide this feature, with some of them having a ground lift switch that isolates the signal ground from the unit's chassis ground.

Size

As mentioned above, more features and connectivity options require space, which increases the size of the box. It is important to find one that has just the right connectivity and features packed inside a unit with a size that's comfortable for you to use or carry around.

Are Regular DI Boxes and Reamp DI Boxes Interchangeable?

Because of the different purposes with both devices, it is best to choose a box specific to your needs. DI boxes are for feeding signals into a recording interface or mixer while Reamping DI Boxes convert pre-recorded signals for going into amplifiers or effects processors - these require a different impedance level to mixing consoles.

Best DI Box Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 and the current edition was published on November 16, 2021.

For this 2021 edition, we took the time to look at the most current ratings and reviews for 42 promising DI Boxes, along with recommendations of artists and experts. We ended up with over 13,800 comment, rating, and review sources, all of which were fed into the Gearank Algorithm. This resulted in rating scores out of 100 that numerically represent market sentiment, which we used to come up with a list of the best DI boxes, divided into five categories: Active Mono, Active Stereo, and Passive Mono, Passive Stereo, and Reamping DI Boxes. Finally, we added budget-friendly DI Box sections for both passive and active models, that have reasonable ratings, to make sure you know of cheaper alternatives. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

Aside from endlessly window shopping and watching hours of gear reviews for leisure, he enjoys playing competitive FPS games, MMORPGs and caring for his 5 cats. He is primarily influenced by guitarists like Kurt Ballou and Paul Gilbert. His favorite pieces of gear are his Ibanez RG550RFR, Orange Brent Hinds Terror amplifier and EQD Acapulco Gold fuzz.

Contributors

Alexander Briones: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Supplemental research, Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: By Gearank.com using photographs of the Radial JDI, Rupert Neve Designs RNDI and Radial Reamp JCR Studio Reamper.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

I'm surprised to not see the

I'm surprised to not see the Countryman Type 85 get a mention for active mono DI boxes. It's a personal favorite of mine. Great neutral sound, roadworthy construction, and flexibility in use with its ability to accept speaker-level signals.

The Countryman Type 85 was on

The Countryman Type 85 was on our recommended list from the time we first published this guide back in 2016 until November 2019, but times move on and although it's still a good active DI, there are now more highly rated options available which we chose to recommend instead.

Hi, I have a Scarllet 2i4

Hi, I have a Scarllet 2i4 interface and when I record electric guitars I get some noise coming from the Pickups. My question is: would a DI Box solve that problem or the actual interface has already its own DI inside? If a new DI solve that problem wich one would be better? active or passive? Thank you

Hi Pedro,

Hi Pedro,

Noise during recording is usually compounded from multiple sources and factors. Unshielded cavities on your guitar + single coils is instantly a recipe for buzzing/hum. A bad cable can also be the cause. Some pickups, even humbuckers, are wound in a way that the two coils dont completely cancel out hum. There is also the question of how clean the power in your area is. Some establishments and houses have poorly planned electronics which contributes to noise especially when using pedals.

Your Focusrite is probably fine since the signal is converted from unbalanced to balanced internally. A d.i. usually solves the problem of Ground Noise and if you want to use a d.i. make sure it has a ground lift switch. What d.i.'s don't solve is accumulated noise from the sources I listed above. If you notice, the hum may lessen or disappear when facing a specific direction. This may be because you are near an electric device like a CPU or an electric fan. Putting your guitar close to a stepdown/stepup transformer can also contribute to that.

My advice is to test everything one by one. Are you using single coils? Try a humbucker guitar. Are the cavities of your guitar shielded? Check to see with a guitar that you know is shielded. Is your cable working right? try different cables. Is the power in your house/studio clean and conditioned? Turn your appliances off or on and see if it makes popping noises when you have your guitar turned up with some distortion.

A d.i. is handy to keep around for its utility in being able to use an amplifier and your entire rig for recording while having a dry signal go to your computer for recording. Using an ordinary splitter can affect the strength of your signal going into your rig and into the interface. A d.i. box solves this by passing your signal through one end while the other is converted into a balanced signal.

Hope this helps.

-Raph

Hi Raph,

Hi Raph,

Thank you so much for your detailed insights! My guitar is HSH and I believe is shielded (At least on the back side I see a wire solded to the tremolo. I know that single coils can cause some issues, so I avoid to use them. With the bridge pick-up I don´t have any problem at all but when I´m using the neck humbucker there´s almost always some hum that get´s worse if I switch on a desk lamp for instance. So, as you said, has maybe something to do with the electric devices around. I read above that passive DI are better than active ones on these hum problems but on the other hand active ones should be used with passive pick-ups (my case). What would be your advice in this situation? Thank you

Hi Pedro,

Hi Pedro,

Since there might be some issues with the power filtering in your area, I would advise using a good Passive D.i. instead of an active d.i. While pairing a guitar with passive pickups with an active d.i. would result in a slightly stronger signal to the interface, it would come at the risk of adding noise because of the power conditions in your area especially with less than optimal circuit designs.

I see no disadvantage of owning both if they are within budget.

-Raph

It seems like the best

It seems like the best sounding DI for guitars has either been overlooked or simply avoided. The SANSAMP has yet to meet it's match in price/versatility/durability/reliability!!! I have the GT2, Para Driver DI, and the TRI A.C. and one of them is always in my gig bag. Para Driver is the only one I have with XLR outs, but the other two can 1/4" directly into DAW or console. Can't beat THAT with a stick!!!

What, no L.R. Baggs products?

What, no L.R. Baggs products?? Their Para Acoustic DI (PADI) is still the best sounding DI I have ever used! I have several as I play several instruments (some have multiple pickups in them).

I have not tried their newer Session DI yet, but by reputation it should do nicely also.

You really should add Baggs to the list. The PADI is however (in my opinion) the gold standard for a DI for Acoustic Guitars (also works great on Bass)! I've used it on my electric too with good results (I prefer a clean sound with little to no effects, so it still works in my case, those who like many effects may understandably not agree)!

Its Parametric EQ is quite effective and the sound I get when running my instruments through it (Guitar and Banjo) is regularly complimented on by sound techs at the venues I play at.

If you haven't done so yet, I challenge any Acoustic guitarist to try the PADI! They are very well built for a reasonably good price-point.

People are happy paying 750

People are happy paying 750.00 for a reddi direct box? nonsense.
They clearly dont run sound and have never had a di stolen or lost. lose one or two of these and the price becomes an issue. in a live situation, you wont hear the difference between a 100 or 1000 di.