Radial StageBug SB-1 1-Channel Active DI-Box
Radial Engineering describes the StageBug as a compact DI box for bass and keyboard. Compared to the ProDI, the SB-2 uses the more affordable Eclipse ET-DB3 transformer and reduces the feature set for everything to fit in a more compact enclosure.
It has a compact and lightweight profile that is easy to carry around, and since it runs on 48V phantom power, you don't need to worry about batteries or wall warts.
To emphasize the size, Radial humorously included a tongue-in-cheek line in their FAQ section on the product saying that they do not recommend the StageBug for touring because it's small size makes it very easy to steal.
Other features include a 15dB pad for working with hot signals and a polarity switch that helps stop and prevent feedback.
- Active DI Box Design
- Phantom Powered
- -15dB Pad
- Polarity Switch
- 800k-ohm Input Impedance
- Input 1/4", Output XLR and 1/4" Tuner
- Weight: 0.55lbs
While not as transparent as many DI boxes, some reviewers and forum users noted that the StageBug has a "Neve"-like quality to the sound. It slightly compresses harsh attacks from instruments like acoustic guitar and bass in a musical manner. The added stereo to mono sum feature is also seen as a great plus for keyboard users. Having been made by Radial, it is also applauded for its solid build and reliability.
Not much can be found in terms of cons except a few isolated cases of the box picking up radio signals (because of proximity to other electrical devices) and a weak stereo sum signal (probably a faulty cable messing with the phase of the summed track). There were a few who found the XLR port to be too stiff when brand new, but it did work well after a while.
The StageBug isn't the box to go to if you want absolute transparent tone but as a means to add a little smoothness to harsh slapped bass, lively acoustic guitar or dynamic pianos. Think of it as a much needed condiment rather than a hearty sauce if you will. Get it if you want something small to bring along with you that makes your bass, keyboard or acoustic guitar direct tone smoother.
Although this was previously on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Best DI Boxes & Reamp Boxes.