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Direct Box Primer

February 15, 2012

Hey, Guitarists—You don’t need a direct box for your studio just to make your bass player or keyboardist happy. You can employ that little jewel to lay down some fabulously clean guitar parts. Get all funky with some shimmering riffs. Add some sparkling textures to a phalanx of distorted fury. Evoke jazz-like cool with a stout, spotless neck-pickup tone, or go for an Ennio Morricone vibe with a resonant, reverb-washed melody.

All you need to do is envision a cool clean part, plug into the direct box, and play. You could also plug into your audio interface and select a clean guitar model or no processing at all, but I dig the subtle, yet very robust sounds produced when you route a good direct box directly to a DAW. As we are going for sanity glory here, I recommend adding no more signal processing to your pristine guitar tone. Stay away from EQ, compression, and other effects (unless you are exploring ambient textures), and rock like Mr. Clean.

Budget Babes

ART Zdirect, $25 street
Samson S-Direct Plus, $39 street
Whirlwind Director, $69 street

Mid-Priced Marvels

BBE DI-100X, $149 street
Boss DI-1, $159 street
Radial JD1, $199 street

High-Priced Spreads

LR Baggs Venue, $299
Summit Audio TD-100, $449 street
Avalon U5, $585 street

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