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Best DI Box For Bass Guitar Reviews
In years past, running the bass guitar direct rather than through an amplifier meant some level of sacrifice in the quality of sound. Much of that has changed for the better.
The advancement of audio and live sound technology has made it very appealing for musicians and sound techs to connect instruments directly to the house PA system.
Terrific sounding DI boxes and preamp pedals have played a significant role in making that possible.
For bands and recording artists looking to run their guitars through a DI box, there is a significant challenge in sorting through which is the best DI box for bass guitar. There are lot of DI boxes for bass on the market, and it goes without saying many of them are not going to produce clean signals, and high-quality results.
That’s why the Solomon’s Music team put together our review of 5 of the best DI boxes for bass guitar.
We’ve spent countless hours and days in the studio testing DI boxes with multiple bass guitars, comparing recordings, and narrowing down our results to the absolute best DI pedals for bass in a variety of sounds and styles.
There are some important considerations to make prior to scooping up a bass DI that can help to push your bass sound to the next level while providing incredible punch, growl, and versatility through the spread of musical genres.
So lets jump right into what you need to look for to get a solid performing bass DI pedal, and we will follow it up with our analysis of our favorite DI boxes for bass.
Top Bass Guitar DI Features To Consider
- Clean Signal – The clarity of the signal produced by your DI box will effect every aspect of how you use it in the future. The last thing you want is to break out your new DI box and find that your new pedal puts off a gnarly hum of some sort. And for an audio engineer, nothing is more annoying and disappointing. Clean sound is important for live sound, but recording your guitar tracks with a quality bass DI is even more important. Simply put, any DI box for your bass that introduces interference into the signal chain should be rejected and replaced.
- Transparency – One of the most important features in bass DI boxes is transparent sound transmission. Transparency in a DI box means the preamps and electronics won’t color your instrument’s natural sound when you don’t want it to. Of course, sometimes you want the coloring effects of the preamp DI, and some DI boxes are known for having desirable coloring effects on your bass. But the overall versatility of any give bass DI will depend on it’s ability to offer transparency.
- Rugged Quality – Performing on stage and touring is not the easy life for music gear. Pedals and DI boxes are stepped on by accident, moved around a lot, and sometimes not very gently. A bargain basement DI box isn’t going to be made for life on the road, and won’t withstand the abuse for the long haul. Tough housing and internal electronics are not tremendously difficult to find, but it will require selecting proven desings that have been time-tested on the road.
- Versatility – The best DI pedals for bass guitar offer a variety of uses, inputs, outputs, and generally beneficial features that make them useful for the common needs of musicians. Whether you need a balanced output, a little gain or overdrive, or maybe just save some cash on an expensive amplifier, a quality DI pedal can get you where you want to go.
Top DI Box For Bass Guitar Comparison Chart
Best DI Box For Bass Guitar
An affordable, reliable and functional, the BSS Audio AR-133 Active DI Box is a handy unit that benefits from both phantom power and battery power. Delivering fantastic functionality for a product at this end of the market, it’s a versatile device to suit musicians in the studio and on the road.
Well-regarded in the industry for its high-quality audio, this AR-133 is the more affordable sibling to the AR-116. Packing a punch when it comes to bass guitar, the AR-133 is equally impressive when it comes to acoustic guitar too. As a flexible piece of kit, investing in an AR-133 gives you the flexibility to use it with other instruments, DJ consoles and other devices that can benefit from some enhanced sound. Because of the audio quality that comes from the AR-133, it can also double up as a balancing device thanks to its 1/4″ jack and XLR sockets.
Made from a sturdy rugged aluminium extrusion case, the AR-133 is a sleek unit that is strong and durable – exactly what’s needed for a musician on tour. The unique arched design makes it easier to keep cables neat, keeping your stage or studio hazard-free.
Featuring a 0, -20 or 40dB input attenuation, the box can be used for instrument, line or amplifier inputs, while the output features a ground-lift switch.
When it comes to making and performing music, you can’t risk a loss of power. Thanks to the inclusion of phantom and battery power, you can feel confident knowing your sound isn’t going anywhere.
Versatile and compact, the AR-133 has everything you need for high-quality bass guitar audio, without breaking the bank.
- Switchable input
- 0dB for guitar-type
- -20dB for line level
A slick device with a classic design, the Tech 21 PBDR SansAmp DI is a bassist’s dream, packed with all the features you could need to get the most out of your audio. Being programmable, it’s ideal for those who play multiple instruments or for those in studios needing to make a quick switch.
Not only is the Tech 21 PBDR a capable DI, but it also works as a stomp box and features a 3-channel pre-amp that makes it a fantastic piece of equipment. Helping you to achieve all of the effects you need in one box, it’s a highly-rated machine that goes above and beyond.
While it boasts digital features via the programer, it’s a simple DI to use, with manual selection making it easy to find the appropriate tone, before locking it in place with a tap of your foot. The versatility it brings makes it a popular choice, while its compact size makes it easy to take it on the road.
The Tech 21 PBDR comes with controls for Drive, Bass, Treble, Presence, Blend and Level – what more could you need from a DI? As useful on stage as it is in the studio, it’s an incredible piece of kit that also boasts an affordable price tag.
Your choice of power options can often cement your buying decision. You won’t be disappointed with the Tech 21 PBDR, which not is not only mains and battery-powered, but features phantom power too. A range of power options are crucial to putting on your best performance, and you can feel confident knowing your DI won’t let you down on stage.
Musicians love the ability to create multiple tones from one device, giving audio a boost to ensure a professional, high-quality sound. From easy-going to heavier sounds, you can get the full range from this amazing DI.
With everything you need to get the best out of your bass, it’s looking good for the Tech 21 PBDR.
- 100% analog signal path
- Digital programmability
- For stage and studio applications.
- Just tweak the knobs and double-tap a footswitch location to save a setting.
Highly-rated and highly versatile, bassists live the Ampeg SCRDI. Enabling you to benefit from a wide range of Ampeg tones, it is particularly well-suited for live performances. Ths DI features both Ultra-Hi and Ultra-Lo tone shaping, providing that enhanced tonal control that can make a big difference to your performance.
Control your tone with a touch of your foot thanks to its superb functionality and useful footswitch. The brand-new Bass Scrambler overdrive allows ‘tube-like grind’ for more interesting sound quality, an impressive feature that can help boost the way you play.
The design is a simple and classic DI, helping you get to know your equipment quickly. It’s lightweight, compact and is as useful for practice as it is for getting out there on stage. It’s highly durable too, which makes it a valuable investment for your setup.
Ampeg are well-known for their amplifier range for bass guitar, and have adapted some of their amps’ best features to design this complementary bass DI. This includes the tone stack circuits and legacy preamp that help you to enjoy your sound your way.
For those looking for boosted connectivity from their bass DI, the Ampeg SCRDI doesn’t disappoint. Featuring two 1/4″ and a 1/8″ input, alongside an XLR, 1/4″ (Line) and 1/4″ (Thru) output, there is plenty of flexibility to be had here. Meanwhile, the AUX input also enables you to connect an audio device to the DI, either for media player connection. This clever device also features a valuable headphone output, ideal for practice or in the studio.
In terms of power, you’ve got the choice of a 9V battery or an optional 9-12V DC power supply. It’s recommended that you purchase the DC power supply to ensure uninterrupted functionality – something that’s especially important when performing.
The Ampeg SCRDI is a big hit with users, who are impressed with its range of sounds, as well as ease of use. With a design that’s build to last, you can be sure of more bang for your buck from this feature-packed DI.
- Bass preamp pedal with EQ, tone controls, and Bass Scrambler Overdrive
- Send your tone direct to a PA or recording system with the balanced XLR output
- Send a split of your signal to monitors or your amp with the 1/4" outputs
- Creates a wide range of iconic Ampeg bass tones
- Perfect for practice, with 1/8" aux input to jam along with your music player
Are you looking for a powerful DI that can provide you with a range of controls and superior sound? The Aguilar Tone Hammer Bass Preamp DI has you covered. Based on Aguilar’s famous ‘Tone Hammer’ range, this DI allows for great sound quality directly through a PA for a more compact solution to your typical amp.
If you love the Tone Hammer range, you won’t be disappointed with the quality of this bass DI. The reviews speak for themselves, it’s one impressive machine.
Featuring the typical Master, Gain, Treble, Bass, Mid Level and Mid Frequency controls you’d expect from a DI, in addition to footswitches for gain and EQ, it’s easy to switch between a range of sounds from a heavy slap right through to classic tones.
The Aguilar Tone Hammer Bass Preamp DI features a single 1/4″ jack input alongside a 1/4″ jack and XLR outputs, providing you with the simple connectivity you need.
Designed to be tough and durable, this handy bass DI is powered by two 9V batteries and phantom power to give you the longevity you need for studio or stage. There’s also the option of a universal power supply, although this will need to be purchased separately.
Housed in an attractive and compact unit, and made from heavy-duty steel construction, you can be confident that this DI is built to last and the perfect addition to your kit.
- Footswitchable 3-band EQ with sweepable midrange frequencies
- Overdrive circuit
- Flexible gain structure, can drive a power amp!
- Switchable pre/post eq balanced output
- Ground lift switch
An affordable model that delivers all of the features you need, the MXR M80 Bass DI is ideal for boosting the quality of your audio. A popular product that offers excellent value for money, it’s no wonder people are raving about this Dunlop product.
Don’t let the size fool you here, this handy little box has everything you need for high-quality sound. Housed in a very tough case, it’s the ideal product for touring at even the most energetic of shows.
The MXR M80 features a fantastic distortion channel that’s perfect for that added grit, while the noise gate features an incredible sensitivity trigger which will end audio-affecting hissing and humming, giving you a much cleaner sound.
Easy to control thanks to the Effects on/Bypass footswitch and a variety of knobs, you can easily adjust your Clean Volume, Distortion, Bass, Mid and Treble to help you get your desired effect. The fantastic COLOUR switch provides a boosted tone for sound that will surprise you from such a compact machine.
Keep your MXR M80 powered up via the 9V battery power, phantom power or an AC power supply, giving you plenty of options to keep your bass up and running.
Ideal for practice, stage and the studio, this is a compact DI with plenty of great features and is housed in a sturdy case to make it a long-lasting item for your kit.