Vintage-Style Large-Transformer DI Box

US United Studio Technologies Vintage Direct bridges the gap between old and modern      19/06/24

Vintage-Style Large-Transformer DI Box

United Studio Technologies has introduced its Vintage Direct DI box, which they say bridges the gap between old-school tape operators and modern recordists to deliver a massive sound from its massive transformer, all neatly packed into a road-worthy chassis that is as sturdy as it is portable. Here's the full details in their own words...

Though typical DI circuits are simple, the best are dependent on great transformers. This is where Vintage Direct excels since its design is inspired by the earliest hand-wired DI boxes, such as the Wolfbox -- the original passive DI box invented in the late Fifties by Dr. Edward Wolfrum, PhD, alumnus engineer of Motown, Golden World Records, Terra-Shirma Studios, Metro-Audio Capstan Roller Remote Recording, and United Sound Systems in Detroit, Michigan, USA -- and American mix/recording engineer-cum-record producer Bruce Swedien's Bass Box, both of which used massive early transformers made by Triad, UTC, and others.

It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that United Studio Technologies began by researching the UTC A12 transformer, first manufactured in the early Sixties. Several such transformers were measured to accurately reproduce their winding ratios, bobbin and magnet wire type, and lamination style. Subsequently, years were spent exploring many versions of that design, experimenting with different winding ratios and alloys before ultimately settling upon a high-nickel lamination and a winding ratio very close to those inspirational classics. As a result, United Studio Technologies' US-made 5078 now ranks as one of the largest transformers that can be found in any DI, delivering a pristine low-noise signal, wide frequency response, extraordinary headroom, and outstanding noise rejection.

Reality duly dictated United Studio Technologies' settling upon the fact that nothing could come between the transformer and source that could rob tone or add noise. By being built into the transformer taps of its output, Vintage Direct's level tailoring is far more tolerant of adjustment without affecting tone -- unlike most passive DI boxes that use smaller, unshielded transformers reliant on resistor pad, volume pots, and RC (Resistor Capacitor) network filters before the signal hits the transformer. Three different secondary winding configurations are used in conjunction with a precision T-pad output attenuator for six evenly-spaced -- -42, -38, -34, -30, -26, -22 -- OUTPUT settings, while true ground isolation mitigates ground-loop hum while tracking.

Ultimately, United Studio Technologies succeeded in building a large, well-shielded transformer that can take any line- or instrument-level signal without risking overload. Far from inexpensive, it ensures pinnacle performance and the highest preservation of tone. That investment in quality extends to custom audio-grade resistors made in the USA for United Studio Technologies by PRP -- a component provider for NASA, no less.

It is fair to say that Vintage Direct is the most exceptional DI box built in decades, sporting an aluminum, road-worthy chassis that is as sturdy as it is portable -- measuring 149mm/5.86" (W) x 155mm/6.1" (D) x 52mm/2" (H), while weighing in at .95kg/21 Ibs -- so sure to survive turbulent touring yet still impress studio clientele upon safely returning home. Indeed, its recessed front and rear panel design provides protection from both studio accidents and on-stage flying kicks, while its screw-mounted removable feet allow for creative mounting options whenever needed.

Needless to say, 50-plus years of combined industry experience, many of which have been spent on the research and development of Vintage Direct, is reflected in its impressive -- input impedance: 80 kOhms (unbalanced); output impedance: 50 - 250 Ohms (balanced), depending on setting; frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz, +/-0.5 dB; maximum recommended input levels: +10 dB or lower -- specifications, while not forgetting, of course, its handy -- phase inverse and GROUND LIFT -- auxiliary controls. Is it any wonder, then, that United Studio Technologies collectively cannot wait to hear what users make of its latest creation.

Pricing and Availability:
Distributed worldwide by RAD Distribution, Vintage Direct is expected to ship in late July 2024 with a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) of $399.00 USD and an SSP (Suggested Selling Price) of €529.00 EUR (including VAT).

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