Avalon U5 : afterglow479's user review
This is an analog direct box. I got this a while ago mostly just to use for DI bass recording. It is pretty pricey so you probably don't want to take it out on the road. Apart from just serving up a signal to your sound card of the appropriate level, there is also an optional tone shape control, which is basically a simplified EQ. You also get a high cut if you want it, and then of course level adjustment. There are standard audio connections, including your HiZ input for guitar/bass input. This is half-rack size, so you can't mount it traditionally. I believe Avalon sells a kit to make it rack mountable though.
The configuration and setup is extremely easy. You pretty much just plug it in, turn it on, and plug in your instrument and you should be good to go. You'll probably want to do some experimenting with the tone shaper option. You can definitely sometimes improve your bass sound with the right setting on this tone shaper knob. The manual is very thorough and can give you some good starting points on using this unit well.
The sound quality of this direct box is totally pristine. This is the best box that I've used. Your instrument is going to come in crystal clear assuming you've got good cables. It is definitely more of a transparent sounding box on its own, but you can color it some if you want to using the tone shaper control on the front panel. Definitely A+ in the sound category.
I have been using this for a few years. I love the great sound quality and the dependability of this box. I am just about never disappointed with the sound I get out of it, and if I am it's usually the bass that's to blame. I have tried a lot of other direct boxes, and this one's quality takes the prize. They are expensive, but you get what you pay for - in this case a great direct box. I would get it again - I need it for my bass tracks.