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In-depth Feature:  Groovetubes DITTO Box
Hi Spec D.I. Box for the discerning
Albert Potts writes: .


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Why DI?
One of the first things an engineer will do at a recording studio or on a live gig is plug your axe into a direct box (DI). This is to interface your gear with their mixer. The DI attenuates the signal, brings it down to mic level, and also balances it. This signal is then sent to the mixer's mic input, or an external preamp and then to the mixer. Once in the mixer, the signal is at line level. DI's are an essential part of interfacing different kinds of gear with mixers. Whether you play guitar, bass guitar, electric keyboards, or synths, you *will* be plugged into a DI quite often. These little buggers are the workhorses of the audio world and also have a huge effect on the tone of your instrument.

One thing that has always puzzled me a bit is the question: if the outputs of my synth are at line level, why should I go through a DI? I'm not sure there is a clear-cut answer to that. If the mixer only has XLR mic inputs, then absolutely you have to go through a DI and then to the mixer inputs. However, a lot of keyboard mixers have line inputs built in. In the case of the Mackie 1604 VLZ series for example, the signal going into the line inputs is attenuated and then sent to the board's preamps. This essentially functions as 16 DI's. But the question remains, should a keyboard player really have DI's if using line level outs with a mixer that has line level inputs? The answer is that the DI will give you tone colors you wouldn't have otherwise, and for some reason I can't quite explain will very often just plain sound better. Using a DI and then a preamp will also greatly help synths with weak output levels. Groove Tubes, and the DITTO

All this brings us to the Groove Tubes new direct box, the DITTO. Groove Tubes is an audio company run by Aspen Pitmann, located in the San Fernando Valley, California. Their product line includes the VIPre preamp, DITTO, a line of tube and FET mics, as well as M/S processing gear, amps, and of course, tubes. Most of the tubes GT sells are rebranded from other manufacturers, but have been tested to meet GT's standards. Tubes that don't pass the tests are discarded, only the passed tubes are sold to customers. GT also owns tube manufacturing equipment and makes small quantities of their own tubes from scratch. Aspen was kind enough to give me a tour of his factory and it was quite interesting to see the tube making process, and to hear his M/S speaker technology in action.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • GrooveTubes WWW
  • Ditto Box from zZounds

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       1 Comments...  
    TL    Said...

    In the article the question is asked why, if my synth has line outputs, do I need a DI? The answer is that the DI provides isolation between your keyboard's grounding scheme and that of the sound/PA system. This is accomplished through the DI's transformer, without which the system would produce humm and buzz. Another reason is that the line out's on your keyboards produce a much higher signal than what a mic input can accept so the DI also breaks the line level voltage down to mic level voltages.

    22-May-10 04:23 AM


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