Price paid: £ 125
Purchased from: GAK Online
Ease of Use: I bought this DI box, as a cheaper alternative to some of the higher end boxes, specifically tailored to suit electro-acoustic guitar. It features a footswitchable boost up to +6db, footswitchable effects loop, ground lift button, -12db pad button, buffered output for amps, unbalanced output for mixers, XLR Low-Z output for providing the appropriate signal to Low-Z or High-Z devices and last, but not least, a footswitchable mute (which you have to connect to your own On/Off pedal.
Despite all this, the unit remains very user friendly, and within 20 minutes, I had unboxed it, followed the instructions, and linked it up to an old bass amp.
Overall, this unit is brimming with features, and arrives with a clear, concise user's manuel which explains the functions and their applications, and shows a sample setup guide with diagrams, to make everything super clear. It also came with a 28v power supply, with 2 interchangable plugs (UK and European) and a 10 foot stereo cable (for use with the CoolTube, explained later).
The unit was designed and optimised, to be used in conjunction with Takamine guitars with the CoolTube preamp, and features a power supply for the tube, which is housed inside the guitar, and stays at a low temperature. However, it is great for use with any acousic instrument with a pickup. // 9
Sound: I use this with a Walden GC630ce electro-acoustic guitar. It has a fairly average undersaddle pickup, that usually sounds a bit nasal, has a very honky/quacky midrange tone and is generally a bit noisy, but with the Takamine DI, the impedance of the signal is matched to whatever output you are using (amp or mixer/pa system),silences hum and optimises the sound quality.
I started off with a fairly uninteresting tone, and managed to get a subtly warmer and more natural sound, after some tweaking with an EQ pedal in the loop. It has always been a dilemma for me to get a live tone that I am happy with, and this pedal has brought that Holy Grail sound a whole lot closer. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This thing looks like it could take a real battering. All input jacks, knobs and footswitches are heavy duty, and the LEDs to show the mode of operations are all clear and different colours to show activity of the different functions.
The casing is made of brushed steel, with a rubber tread underneath, to prevent slippage on stage. I have not used it at a gig, but I have used it in my home setup, and I believe it will be an excellent addition to my live rig. // 9
Overall Impression: I have been playing for 8 years, and I usually play most types of acoustic music, including Delta Blues, Folk, Gypsy Jazz and Pop. The Takamine DI suits my way of fingerstyle playing well, transforming my stale tone into a warm, smooth and natural sound. When played with a pick, it sounds great too, but I prefer to play fingerstyle, or with a thumbpick.
Before buying this product, I compared it to the LR Baggs Para DI, but the saving in money won me over, and, upon reading the manual, it turns out the Takamine has more features anyway, and its a little bit more unique.
The only thing I wish it had, would be an EQ, but I already own a top EQ (MXR 10 band), so its not a problem. If it got broken, or was stolen, I would definately replace it, but I would take the time to try it side by side with the Para DI, to see if the higher price is justified. Overall, a great product. // 9