Do I need a DI box for the acoustic guitar? Yes, it is recommended to use a DI box for acoustic guitars. A DI box is necessary for electric guitarists.
It is also very useful for acoustic and bass guitarists. Especially, when you have a lot of gigs or studio recordings, you will need a good DI box.
What is a DI box and what is its function?
DI is the abbreviation of Direct Injection or Direct Input. DI boxes are intermediate devices between your instruments and a console or multitrack recorder.
DI boxes first appeared in the 1960s. They responded to the demand of connecting electronic devices of large studios such as Motown and United Sound Systems.
Electric guitars have high impedance, but studio equipment has low impedance. So people originally used DI boxes to resolve this mismatch.
Today, the main function of the DI box is to convert unbalanced, high-impedance signals into balanced, low-impedance signals. There are high-impedance instruments such as guitars and basses, or a keyboard.
DI boxes allow users to directly plug these instruments into microphone preamplifiers. Besides, it helps send the signal over extended cable runs while keeping volume and significant high-frequency information.
Why should you have a DI box for acoustic guitars?
A DI box will be very useful for acoustic guitars. You need a DI box to convert impedance and remove ground noise. Besides, it helps much in recording a direct guitar signal and re-amp a guitar signal.
#1. Convert impedance
The signal of an acoustic guitar is an unbalanced signal. Or to put it more simply, it is a ¼” input. Connecting this signal directly to a mixing desk with a cable longer than 5m will cause interference. A DI box can convert this input into a balanced signal, or XLR (microphone) output. This allows you to use longer cables.
#2. Remove ground noise
DI boxes can also isolate instruments and eliminate any noise bleed. You can capture the full vibe of an acoustic guitar live performance without any interference.
While capturing an isolated copy of the guitar, you can still send the same signal to an amp. This is very useful for concerts or live recordings.
#3. Support in recording a direct guitar signal
A DI box can shield your signal from unwanted noise without losing volume or high-frequency information.
So it permits you to record a direct guitar signal to use during the mix. In some cases when amp mics are unusable, this record is a useful backup.
#4. Support in re-amp a guitar signal
For the guitarists that don’t have proper recording devices, a DI box is a great supporter.
It helps record the guitar signal and allows it to run through digital amp simulators. This can help the guitarists to perform all the parts themselves.
Moreover, a DI box is quite small. Therefore, it is easy to carry along with your instruments. For such a compact and useful device like that, any guitar player should have one.
Two types of DI boxes
There are two types of DI boxes: passive DI boxes and active DI boxes. They are different and you should consider this to choose a proper DI box.
#1. Passive DI boxes
They are the original DI box models. Passive DI boxes convert impedance by using a form of balun transformer.
The transformer has separate electric windings in the input and output stages. With the low-impedance signal, passive DI boxes only balance it without strengthening the signal.
Passive DI boxes don’t need a power source to run. People use passive DI boxes with active sources of the signal.
#2. Active DI boxes
Active DI boxes are developed later with many new features. They have a preamplifier that can strengthen the signal and input impedance.
So, active DI boxes can work well even on low-level signals. Besides, it also has an LED light and an On/Off switch.
Different from passive DI boxes, active DI boxes need a power source to run. People use active DI boxes with passive sources of signal to avoid the loss of high frequencies.
So, it is necessary to have a DI box for acoustic guitar. We hope that after reading this article, you have known more about DI boxes.
Besides, on the market, there are many models of both passive and active DI boxes. You should consider carefully choosing a suitable DI box.