Pro DI Box Usage Guidance

Pro DI Box – In music performances, the sound engineer usually works to always ensure that there is no magnetic and electrical interference on the sound quality of the bands that are performing on stage. Therefore, we need a tool that is very useful in this effort, namely DI Box. This article will ensure that super friends will get information about what DI Box is, what does it do?, types of DI Box and their differences, and how to choose the right DI Box. Let’s just see the discussion!

What is Pro DI Box?

The Pro DI box is a device for connecting instruments to the mixer without adding unwanted noise. Most electronic musical instruments transmit unbalanced high-impedance audio signals. Well, it must be a little complicated, isn’t it! Well, let me try to simplify, impedance will affect the work of an audio system. In essence, impedance is related to current. The greater the impedance, the smaller the current that can pass, and vice versa.

Pro DI BOX Guidance

How much current can flow will have a big effect on the maximum power and strength of a circuit (hopefully it will enlighten you a bit). On the other hand, audio signals will travel better through balanced cables with low impedance, i.e., low resistance, as with microphones using XLR cables. To prevent an audio signal from becoming too noisy on its way to the mixer, FOH musicians and engineers needed a way to convert a high impedance signal into a low impedance signal and this is where the DI Box works.

What Can a DI Box do?

The DI box converts the high impedance input signal into a low impedance signal that can be sent to the mixer. In this case, it has three important effects, namely:

  • Converts instrument-level signals from 1/4″ instrument cables to microphone level audio that can be run via balanced XLR cables.
  • Eliminates unwanted 60-cycle hum generated by ground loops.
  • Allows long cable runs without adding unnecessary noise to the PA system.

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Types of DI Boxes and Their Differences

The active DI box is a direct box that requires resources. Some of these boxes use nine-volt batteries, some use 48-V phantom power carried via XLR cables and some have dedicated AC power supplies. While the Passive DI Box is a direct box that does not require a power source, functions as a transformer, converts the input level into a low impedance output through electromagnetic induction. In short, they both serve the same function, converting an unbalanced high impedance signal into a balanced XLR output, both operating differently and pairing with different types of instruments.

XLR Cable

XLR Cable

In short, we can imagine a condenser microphone, active DI requires power, either in the form of batteries, power supply, or via phantom power. Active DIs are very popular because of the wide availability of 48V phantom power and their affordable manufacturing cost compared to passive transformers. Like condenser mics, active direct boxes have a few advantages over passive DI. More or less an overview of the advantages and disadvantages as follows:

  • The passive DI Box increases saturation and acts as a transformer, allowing it to saturate the sound under high output audio power. Simply put, if using direct input with a strong signal such as a bass with active pickups or a strong electronic keyboard, then passive DI is the choice.
  • The passive DI Box has a ground lift which provides an additional option for removing the ground loop or causing interference with signal transmission from the transmitter to the control system (PLC/DCS) in the form of noise.
  • An active DI Box functions as a preamplifier and provides an injection of electricity into the audio signal, this type effectively functions as a preamp, boosting high-frequency signals. For this reason, the active DI Box is very popular in studios and concerts.
  • The active DI Box is best paired with passive instruments. The lower the instrument output, the more useful the active DI Box is. Electric guitars with passive pickups benefit from an active DI Box, as do acoustic guitars that don’t have a battery-powered output.
  • The passive DI Box pairs well with active instruments. As a general rule, passive DI Boxes are the best choice when the instruments used have high-intensity signal inputs such as electronic keyboards and battery-powered acoustic guitars.

The next question is, which one is better? With so many DI Box circulating in the market, there are two considerations to choose which one is the right weapon on the stage.

  • Find out what type of input to use. If using with bass or guitar, just IN Box with one channel. When working with a keyboard, you can better benefit from a stereo DI, as most keyboards provide stereo output. If the sound source is from a phone, tablet, or computer, we recommend using a DI Box which has a 1/8″ input. You can also remove a lot of noise and improve the frequency response of this device as it sends it through the DI box and out into a balanced output.
  • How should I choose? Passive or active? This choice depends on the type of instrument to be amplified. Passive audio sources like vintage pickups and acoustic instruments fit into active DI boxes, and active audio sources like electric keyboards and powered guitar pickups fit into passive DI boxes. The active direct box also sounds great as a preamp for tracking or re-amping in the recording studio.

In turn, it all boils down to one thing, namely learning the character of the instrument and Pro DI Box is very important because we will be wiser in making decisions.