Review: Phoenix Audio NICE DI Class A Stereo DI
Negatives:front panel output is not a throughput, no stepped gain pots, expensive DI
The Nice DI is a class A stereo direct box. The idea is basically the DI stage of Phoenix preamps which are a Neve style pre. The box is great for DI use. It sounds amazing especially direct bass guitar, and with the front mounted outputs its easy to split the signal to route to an amp as well so you can blend the direct and mix signal. One problem is that the output is not a throughput meaning that the signal to the output is controlled by the gain knob. This can be troublesome if you are using the direct signal then splitting it to amp. As you increase the gain for the DI signal it also increases the gain going to the amplifier which can cause the amp to distort way too quickly or in the case of a bass amp, overload it all together. This causes me to leave my DI signal lower than I would like it. DI’s like radial have a simple through put but also keep in mind your usual DI doesnt have adjustable gain.
My other major complaint and its the biggest one. THe unit DOES NOT have stepped gain POTS! This is a major problem when using stereo sources like keyboards. Also, one of their big selling points of this unit is to use it on mixdown to run your mixes through for “sweetening”. Without stepped gain pots this is hard to do beacuse the knobs have tiny set screws that allow you to place the knob anywhere on the shaft so once it gets moved its hard to eyeball the knobs the same. The only solution is to run a mono signal to both sides and match them up on the meter in you DAW. Not a big deal but when I bought the unit I assumed it was stepped because it has the same knobs as their pres which are stepped.
All in all the unit sounds great but the quirks about it make me second guess my purchase.