Sometimes a simple piece of gear can make your life so much easier. Think about a TT to TRS adapter-handy for patching in something that you will use once on a project or maybe once this whole year. Sometimes the piece of gear makes your life easier by combining simplicity with quality and ease of use, like the Mooktronics PDI 500. It's hand-built by a skilled young tech; the faceplate material, jacks, switches, and transformers (with two options available-Cinemag or Jensen) all exude quality; and the design is clean and easy to grasp. It's a passive DI in a 500-series form factor. The twist? It has a pair of jacks on the face that intrigued me right away, especially with a toggle switch to select Thru or Sum modes. Interesting. I own and operate a fairly extensive modular synthesizer, and a summing module always comes in handy with more than one sound source being fed to a filter or further processing. The Sum option made sense to me immediately. Beyond simply maximizing your tape inputs by having a two-input/one-patch-point scenario, you can simply return a couple of things to a single channel on a console, or process a pair of tape echo returns through a single mono filter. In addition, pad, polarity, and ground lift switches take care of anything you throw at the unit. The PDI 500 looks great in the rack, is totally simple, sounds great, and has interesting possibilities for use and abuse if you ever integrate guitar pedals, tape echoes, or effects in general that don't really talk to your DAW or console easily or elegantly. It's super well built and seems to have many uses outside simple, direct-input tasks. For a creative recordist, these things will be really useful. If you have a 500-series rack or an API console, you really should have two of these things. I am getting a pair with Cinemags, for sure. Great work, Mooktronics. I hope to see more interesting designs from you. ($275 direct w/ Jenson, $235 w/ Cinemag; www.

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

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