Saturday, November 17, 2012

Live Wire Solutions SPDI Passive Direct Box Review


Last month I did a quick article on why you should carry a direct box with you if you plan on plugging your bass or guitar directly into a PA system, but I did not recommend any products. Well, today I am going to let you know which ones I carry around for my PA system, in case some hapless bass player shows up without one.

I think one of the best values out there for a passive unit is the Live Wire Solutions SPDI passive direct box. The latest version of this product has a few more features, and is a really handy thing to have around. As this is a passive unit, it is best used on instruments with an onboard preamp (active electronics), and if you have a passive bass, you will want to consider an active direct box (which I will be reviewing at a later date, but do not buy the Live Wire Solutions ADI…).

The SPDI is small, but it weighs in around 12 ounces and it has a real solid feel to it with a rugged steel chassis. They stuck a rubber pad to the bottom so it will not slide around as much.

This is not a terribly complicated piece of equipment, with 1/4-inch high impedance input and throughput jacks, a balanced XLR out, a ground lift switch and a 0/-20/-40 dB attenuation switch. That is all, folks!

This DI box is easy to hook up, just plug into the ¼-inch in, and hook an XLR cable to the out and run it to the mixing board. If you want you can use the ¼-inch out to send the signal to your onstage amp too. If the instrument’s signal is too hot, the attenuator switch can cut the signal down to more normal levels.

The Live Wire DI works well, and I do not notice any degradation in tone, although I do hear a slight drop in level. I have even used this unit a few times when I did not really need to so that I could use the ground lift to get rid of some extra signal noise. There is not much to the SPDI, but it does everything it is supposed to without any drama. I wish I could say that about more products.

Best of all, the Live Wire Solutions SPDI direct box is dirt cheap. It has a list price of $39.99 and a street price of $29.99, but I see these units on sale all the time for $19.99. When you find them that cheap I recommend picking up a couple of them, because they are really handy to have around.


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