Groovetubes DITTO Box|
So how does it sound? In three words: very, very nice. Think of all those buzzwords like "warm", analog", and "big", that float around internet message boards and you'll pretty much have it. I find the DITTO with the stock GT12AX7 tube to sound especially nice on guitar, bass guitar, and any synth or electric keyboard sound that is punchy or aggressive. It also sounds excellent on acoustic guitar, giving a lovely sheen to the sound without being obtrusive. Rich yet clean at the same time. In working with synths I find it smooths off the edges of synths that sound too "digital", making the overall tone better balanced and more pleasing to the ear without losing the punch or bigness. Depending on the source material, all this can range from extremely subtle to quite obvious. Big Tone
I feel that overall the DITTO has a big personality and sounds especially fine on big punchy sources. However, some of my own music is gentle and non-punchy, having a softer smooth character. It seems to me that somehow, that gentler sounds don't quite "get through" the DITTO, that the tubes kind of lay on the sound. Okay, I know that's not exactly scientific, but that's about as clearly as I can describe it. I am talking really fine points here.
I brought my concerns up to Robert Morin of Groove Tubes, the fellow that designed the DITTO. Robert suggested that I replace the factory GT12AX7 tube with the GT7025 tube. The idea being to go for a less obviously colored more "audiophile" type sound. After buying the tubes and popping them in my DITTO's I found the sound that I had been looking for! The lighter tonal color suited my gentle music wonderfully. So pleasant to be able to customize one's sound this way.
It's worth saying here that the stock tubes sound great and will be ideal for most purposes, which is why Aspen chose them. My needs are slightly different and I've only gone onto this side journey to show the flexibility of the DITTO. Needless to say, I'm holding on to the original tubes and expect I'll be using them again in the future!
Another example of flexibility is the +30 dB of tube gain the DITTO provides. I usually follow the DITTO with my Grace 201 preamp, but having the tube gain available on the DITTO give me the option of dialing in some really thick tube sounds! More colors are better and the DITTO provides a beautiful one.
DI's are some of the most essential tools in a studio, and having a variety of them along with a high quality transparent preamp can give anyone a nice variety of tones to work with. The DITTO is solidly built and sounds great. It is priced at $399 retail, although street is of course a bit lower than that. If you are looking for a quality direct box, the DITTO is well worth checking out.
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