Active/Passive Direct BoxThe APD-1 Active/Passive Direct Box ($349 retail) from Raven Labs is a battery-powered unit that runs for 100 hours, making it perfect for remote recording. There are two independent instrument inputs each with its own mute switch as well as a master output mute button and LED indicator. An unusual feature for a DI box, the APD-1 has a sidechain effects loop with blend control. You can record "dry" but hear yourself with effects, as the effect/dry mix can be switched solely to the 11/44-inch amp out jack. There is also an XLR pad with -20dB, -10dB, 0dB and +6dB positions, a ground lift switch, isolated tuner send jack, effect send and receive jacks, and a dual 9-volt battery holder compartment. The unit runs on + and - 9 volt rails or from the included wall wart, although there is no provision for phantom power.
The APD-1's electronics are augmented by a multiple arrayed geometric inductive coupled balanced output transformer that is Trifiler wound with oxygen-free copper magnet wire. Input impedance is 10 megohms for negligible loading of your guitar's pickups, and the maximum output level is a hefty 6 volts RMS (into 1k ohms). Specs include a 10 to 60k Hz frequency response, THD of 0.004% and signal-to-noise ratio said to be greater than 95 dB unweighted. I used the unit for recording a bass guitar with a passive pickup, as I prefer an active DI in that application. With so little insertion loss, the APD-1 offers a hot output signal with full isolation. Its sturdy steel box and construction is a good bet for the studio or stage, as the unit was (accidentally) kicked across the floor during a take with no sonic change...the tape playback proved it!
Raven Labs: 818/368-2400; www.raven-labs.com.