DI boxes are just not that sexy.

However, the more sessions I record, the more I grow to really appreciate the simple pieces of gear that I can consistently rely upon. After repeated use, the Avenson IsoDI boxes now hit the tracking room floor at the same time the mic stands and cables come out. Too often we view the DI box as a standard studio tool without consideration for it's features or fidelity. If our concern is to honor the sound of the instrument we're recording, while maintaining true grounding, the IsoDI proves more valuable than a standard DI box.

The IsoDI provides a phantom powered transformerless FET circuit design with true ground isolated DC-to-DC power conversion. When working in studios (or venues) with less than perfect wiring, or with ground loops, guitar amps and long cable runs‚ these tough little boxes can save you from hum, buzz and losing your mind. The Avenson's isolated transformer output and ground lift switch have always left me with a clean, honest sound. In addition to the two isolation stages (parallel or iso out) and its ground lift mode, the IsoDI offers an LED indicating phantom power — when the little blue light comes on I feel calm and reassured. Any tool in the studio that gives me that kind of confidence is going to get used constantly.

So how does it sound? Paired with it's extended frequency response (10 Hz-100 kHz) and FET technology, I'm consistently pleased with the IsoDI's 'Hi-Fi/Hands-off' design. It’s a little bit of vibe and a whole lot of truth. While the IsoDI has proved well on electric guitars and basses, it really shines on electronic instruments. Many of my clients focus on the craft of their electronic sounds (be it MPC samples, synth patches, etc.) and wish to maintain the essence of those sounds throughout the recording process; when tracking these instruments live, we have all been happy with both execution and result.

What seals the deal for me is the build; smaller than a guitar pedal, able to fit in the palm of your hand and durable as f$%k!

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

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