I hope you’re thinking about using a direct box (DI) for your electric guitar.
Here’s the deal:
DI boxes are among those things that only a handful of guitar players use, but all of us could benefit from.
Even though these devices serve a single purpose that is often overlooked, a DI box becomes a necessity once you start working with more complex guitar setups.
This is especially true when you need to plug your instrument directly into mixers or similar devices which require a balanced input.
Let’s do a quick refresh:
A DI box is a circuit that transforms the unbalanced instrument-level signal into a balanced one that is free of any impurities. Acoustic guitar players, or even bass players for that matter, greatly benefit from this design.
If you have a gig lined up and you’re in a need of a good DI box, I’ve got three of them that should serve whatever purpose you have in mind.
Let’s get straight to it:
The Top 3 DI Boxes for Electric Guitars
|1.||Radial Pro DI|
|3.||Behringer ULTRA-DI DI400P|
Radial Pro DI Passive Direct Box
We are going to start things off with one model that just sets the standard.
The Radial Pro DI Passive Direct Box is a true multi-tool that offers a lot of versatility but sends out a crystal clear, balanced signal.
This one is definitely not cheap, especially for something as 'simple' as a DI box. However, if you are trying to find the ultimate solution for your unbalanced troubles, the investment is well worth it.
- Full range
- Noise elimination
- Low distortion
- Great for live shows
If You Want Quality, Stick With This DI Box
The whole package comes in what appears to be a bullet-proof enclosure with inputs on one end, and outputs on the other.
There's nothing complicated about using this DI box. Aside from balancing out your signal, the box is also very well isolated against any kind of interference.
On top of that, it comes with an attenuation pad, should you need to knock off some 15 dB off your volume without losing any signal integrity. When it comes to build quality, you can't beat the Radial Pro DI.
If You're a Serious Player, the Extra Cost is Worth it!
When you pay this type of money for a DI box, you expect it to work perfectly right out of the box.
That is exactly the case with this model.
Everything is ready to go as soon as you unpack the Radial Pro.
One thing you will notice is the lack of any kind of harmonic distortion.
In terms of DIs, Radial Pro is the go-to option at the moment.
Compared to the Radial DI we just talked about, the Hosa DIB-443 may not look like much, but it's a practical solution for those on a budget.
For something that costs only a fraction of what the Radial will cost you, it is more than enough for most guitar players.
The box itself is pretty simple and will meet most of your demands.
- Great price
- Easy to connect electronic instruments
- Ideal for most guitar players
Great Option for Those on a Budget
While it's not as shielded as some higher tier models, the Hosa DIB-443 comes with a pretty versatile I/O port.
For starters, you can use the 1/4 inch TRS inputs/output cluster, or you could send that signal through a low impedance XLR line straight to the mixer.
With that said:
This DI box comes with a switch that lets you choose whether you are pushing a line or an instrument type signal through the box.
Performance is More Than Enough for Most Players
How well the Hosa DIB-443 performs depends on your expectations.
If you are looking for a solid DI box for moderate use, it will be more than enough for you. However, if you're looking for something more capable than that, you should look elsewhere.
When used within its capabilities, the Hosa DIB-443 performs reliably and consistently.
There are no obvious signs of signal distortion that is caused by this DI unit, nor any other serious signal interference.
Behringer ULTRA-DI DI400P
Behringer is one of those brands that is known as the patron saint of those who need decent performance on a very tight budget.
There's nothing flashy about Behringer's more affordable stuff, but it works.
The Behringer Ultra-DI DI400P is another great product that you can grab for cheap, which will get your balance issues solved in no time.
Very Affordable with Simple Design
The whole box is rather simple.
There is one input and two outputs on it.
One of those outputs is a through line that sends an unbalanced signal back to the amp, while the other output line is where you push the balanced signal into a mixer or any other device.
The Behringer Ultra-DI DI400P comes with a Ground Lift switch that takes care of any ground loop problems you might encounter.
Get's the Job Done Nicely for Most Players
Overall, this little box pushes out a flat signal that reaches the mixer undistorted.
For the most part, the Behringer Ultra-DI DI400P works flawlessly to a point where you could easily use it for more serious work on stage.
It's a bit rugged around the edges, then again that can be said about many Behringer products. What we wanted to see is a DI box that gets the job done without any issues.
That is exactly what we got.
Quick Recap and Conclusion
Direct boxes for guitars are not something you will often see on stage.
However, depending on the setup you are running, or could run into, it's useful to have one around just in case.
I have shown you the best direct boxes (DI) for electric guitars on the market, and one of them should meet your needs.
You have one absolute beast, and two very competitive mid-range models that won't break your bank account.
At the end of the day, no matter which one you choose, you will get the desired performance and a clean signal into the mixer.
Those of you who record music at home, keep in mind that adding a DI box between your guitar and a USB audio interface could solve a decent amount of your tone problems.
What else can I say:
DI boxes are one of those tools that every guitar player should have because chances are you will need it from time to time.
Acoustic-electric owners should have a direct box as a mandatory piece of gear.
Where to Buy for Sales Price:
You can find a sales price through the table above.
I regularly update the table with the online retailers who offer these units at the lowest prices.