The RNDI is an active, transformer-equipped, direct interface. It not only provides the best-sounding DI signal I've ever heard, but it can also handle line-level signals, as well as the speaker-level output of guitar amps (more on this later). I was most interested in the RNDI as a direct box, because the idea of easily inserting a Rupert Neve-designed transformer into my signal path was too appealing to pass up. The RNDI delivered right off the bat. I hooked up its output to a clean-sounding preamp that I typically use for recording direct guitar signals, turned on the preamp's phantom power, and instantly, the tone of the guitar sounded warmer, fuller, richer, more musical... all adjectives that you're used to both associating with products designed by Rupert Neve, and not associating with direct boxes.

The unique sound of the RNDI comes from a newly designed transformer paired with a Class-A biased, discrete FET amplifier. This marriage produces subtle second-order harmonics, as well as some third-order too; and it provides the punch, clarity, and richness that sets it apart from every other DI you've ever heard. 

Like other DIs, the RNDI can be used for other applications, such as interfacing your synths or drum machines to your mic preamps — all while infusing its signature tone. But interestingly, because the RNDI has massive headroom (+21.5 dBu), you can feed the RNDI a line-level signal, like the output of your DAW, and in turn feed a mic preamp in order to "re-preamp" a track to impart the sound of a favorite recording chain onto the track. Moreover, an input-level switch allows you to insert the RNDI between the output of your guitar amp (up to 1,000 watts) and your cabinet or power soak (via the RNDI's Thru jack), allowing you to capture the tone of your head for recording or processing purposes. 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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