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Silicon Chip Passive DI Box

Don't let hum & noise spoil your performance. This DI box performs as well as a powered unit but doesn't need batteries

By John Clarke

Musicians and performers often have to connect to an existing PA system in a pub or club, hall, auditorium, church, etc.

You might think that’s as simple as plugging a lead from the output socket of an instrument, effects unit, preamp, etc into an appropriate input on the PA system. But it’s not usually quite that simple.

Just some of the uses . . .

  • Connecting unbalanced signals to balanced

  • Public Address Amplifier inputs and mixers.
  • Ideal for connecting to powered instruments.
  • (Not suited for high-impedance guitar pickups
    unless via a preamp or effects unit, etc.)
  • For a start, most musical equipment has 6.35mm phono jacks, while most "pro" mixers and amplifiers use XLR connectors. Even if the incompatible leads problem can be solved (why is it that your lead always has male plugs and their equipment has male sockets?), even using a special interconnecting lead, there is usually a far greater problem.

    Hummmmmmmmmmmm . . . . .

    There will sometimes, even often, be a large amount of mains hum and noise introduced into the long leads generally associated with these installations.

    So by the time the signal reaches the mixer, which is the heart of a typical Public Address System, hum and noise will mar the performance.

    If you’re lucky, it’s barely tolerable; usually it’s not!

    That’s where the DI Box comes in. Just in case you were wondering, the term DI stands for Direct Injection and refers to the direct coupling-by-wire of a musical instrument to a sound system rather than using a microphone to pickup the sounds.

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