DI unit

A DI unit (direct input or direct inject) is an electronic device typically used in recording studios and in sound reinforcement systems to connect a high-output impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal to a low-impedance, microphone level, balanced input, usually via an XLR connector and XLR cable. DIs are frequently used to connect an electric guitar or electric bass to a mixing console's microphone input jack. The DI performs level matching, balancing, and either active buffering or passive impedance matching/impedance bridging to minimize unwanted noise, distortion, and ground loops. DI units are typically metal boxes with input and output jacks and, for more expensive units, “ground lift” and attenuator switches.

A professional passive DI box. It is passive because it does not need external power to operate. DI boxes which require a power source (batteries or phantom power) are called active DI boxes.

DI boxes are extensively used with professional and semi-professional PA systems, professional sound reinforcement systems and in sound recording studios. Manufacturers produce a wide range of units, from inexpensive, basic, passive units to expensive, sophisticated, active units. DI boxes may provide numerous features and user-controllable options (e.g., a user-selectable 0dB, 20dB or 40dB pad and/or a "ground lift" switch). They may come in different types of enclosures, usually a metal chassis that helps to protect against electrical interference. Some bass amplifiers have built-in DI units, so that the bass amp's output signal can be connected directly to a mixing board in a sound reinforcement/live show or recording context.