The ADL 100-G is a single-channel tube DI featuring two Sovtek 6922 twin triodes in its all-tube audio path. The unit has all of the standard direct box features, plus a few nice extras. The 10-megohm impedance of the unbalanced instrument inputs is high enough that it shouldn't load down piezo pickups. Other features include a low-impedance, mic level, balanced XLR output; a high-impedance output on an unbalanced -inch jack; ground lift switch; power switch (with ultra-cool, neon-blue LED); and captive AC power cord.
The hi-Z, unbalanced output is useful for splitting the DI's signal out to an amp. A switch allows you to choose between a direct out signal (multed off the instrument input) and a signal taken after the tube input buffer. The mic level, XLR output is always through the box's tubes and is served by a rotary gain knob. The continuously variable knob is strictly an attenuator for the tube output stage, providing roughly 13 to 34 dB of attenuation across its range. I prefer an unattenuated output (or, at least, attenuation starting at unity/0 dB) for most studio applications. Unfortunately, the gain control cannot be bypassed.
The ADL 100-G offers a similar spectral balance to the company's ADL 1500 Stereo Tube Compressor. Fans of vintage tube equipment will appreciate the 100-G's fat, tubey timbre and soft top end. My '62 Strat oozed liquid, round, bell-like tones through the unit. On electric bass, my Aguilar DB 900 Tube Direct Box sounded a bit more lush and open compared to the ADL 100-G. But the differences were subtle, and the 100-G's slightly darker tone was nevertheless flatteringly fat. At $599 list, the ADL 100-G is an excellent choice for DI duties and is sure to please the tube enthusiast.
Anthony DeMaria Labs; www.adltube.com; 845/256-0032.