DI-Boxes 2017-11-29T08:16:32+00:00

SIMPLEWAY DI Box

SIMPLE WAY DI-box line: how we made it happen

Nowadays, a DI-box is one of the most used pieces of equipment both on stage and in the recording studio. Its main purpose is to convert an unbalanced instrument signal into a balanced one to pass it further through microphone cables into any other piece of equipment such as a mixer or an audio interface. It also helps managing ground loops. If grounding is not carefully managed in your setup, a rogue hum can appear around 50-60Hz, which signifies of a ground loop. The longer the cables, the louder the hum will get. Historically, to aid this problem, the instruments were connected through matching transformers. As these transformers didn’t have a common ground, they were used to easily manage the ground loops. This is how the first contemporary DI-boxes came to be.

These, passive, DI-boxes were great at lifting ground, but didn’t fare too well at passing signals. Firstly, a decent transformer is an expensive piece of hardware and to have a low margin of distortion, it had to be big. Also, these transformers were overdriving the instrument signal too much – the resulting sound came to be plain, muffled and colourless. This is the reason why many sound engineers had disliked DI-boxes at the time, preferring to mike the amps instead.

After passive DI-boxes came a new generation of active DI-boxes. These came with high impedance inputs, that did not alter the sound as their passive counterparts did and also required external power. Usually, they used 48V phantom power coming from a mixing desk or an audio interface, that originally was used to power condenser microphones. Usually, these no longer came with transformers used in passive DI-boxes, as they were replaced by electronics, but that caused an old problem to rise once again – inability to lift ground without the aid of external power supplies or battery power. Batteries were unreliable as their current altered depending on the charge, and as they depleted, the quality of the sound degraded. Using an external power only added to cable clutter and added another possibility to create a ground loop.

Taking into consideration all the challenges and state of the DI-box market, in 2003 we set out to create our own competitor that would be a truly universal device that would not only adhere to the Hi-end audio standards, emit low noise and work with overwhelming majority of musical instruments and pickups but also still managed to lift the ground.  Today, we have a whole lineup of these DI-boxes to suit every challenge you may pose to them.

Specs.

Circuit type - analog circuit, made on the discrete semiconductor devices operating in class A, without common negative feedback.
  • Input impedance: >4,7 MOhm

  • Input impedance with PAD enabled: 47 kOhm

  • PAD reduction: 20dB

  • Unbalanced noise level (10-20kHz): <-100dBu

  • Non linear distortion, PAD enabled (-20dB, guitar) : <0.001%

  • Non linear distortion, input level at 0dBu, at 1kHz: <0.003% (typically <0.002%)

  • Non linear distortion, input level at 0dBu, at 100Hz: <0.006% (typically <0.004%)

  • Max input level (<3% distortion): >+9dBu

  • Max input level with PAD enabled (<3% distortion): >+29dBu

  • Balanced output (XLR) impedance: <10Ohm

  • Unbalanced output (Jack) impedance: 100Ohm

Readings taken @ 0dBu

Please remember that the quality of the sound examples are heavily influenced by the quality of your sound system and connection to the internet. For best experience, please use headphones.

I found the Simple Way D1 to be a very competent active DI box. Some aspects of its design have clearly been inspired by Radial’s J48, and it is a credit to Simple Way that the D1’s performance matches or exceeds that of the J48 in most areas.

Hugh Robjohns, Sound on Sound

Simple Way D1’s mechanical design and processing is faultless. A price of 160€ may seem very steep for a lesser-known company, but it’s a great value for professional studios and stage application.

Von Stefan Kosmalla, Tools4Music