Stewart Audio ADB1 : moosers's user review
The Stewart Audio ADB1 is an active direct box, which is what the name stands for, suitable for use both on the stage and in the studio. Since I don't do live sound and I'm really a studio rat, I've only got experience using the ADB1 inside a recording studio setting. Most direct boxes are passive, so it is nice to find an active box that sounds this good. Being that it is an active box, it does require either power from a battery or phantom power. The ADB1 is made up of analog parts with unbalanced 1/4" connections for input and output and a balanced XLR output as well. The box also has switches for on/off, ground lift, and for choosing between either speaker or instrument. It isn't rackable - it is in a box form.
Like just about any direct input box, using the Stewart Audio ADB1 is as simple as making your connections. There isn't much more to know beyond this as it really does the job for you once it's set to go. You should be familiar with the basic features found on direct boxes if you want to use this right off the bat without the assistance of a manual or further research, but that shouldn't be too hard for most users.
The Stewart Audio ADB1 is overall a great sounding direct input box. I've only had the chance to use it on a single session where I was the assistance engineer. We used a few of these boxes to track both bass DI sounds as well as getting a stereo DI feed from a keyboard. The bass guitar was also going through an amp, but we wanted a good DI sound as well to blend the two and/or to give the mixing engineer options. The ADB1 reproduced the signals we sent to them with outstanding quality and true accuracy, which is really all that you can ask from a DI box.
In general with direct input boxes, I'm not looking for anything fancy. I just need something that will do the best job possible without add it's own soundtrack or losing any signal quality. The Stewart Audio ADB1 does just this, as it doesn't clutter it up with too many features and offers up just the right amount of control. I'm not really sure what kind of price the ADB1s command, as I've never done research to find out, but it doesn't seem like it will break the bank by any means. There are certainly a lot of great DI boxes to choose from, but I'd encourage those in need of one to check out the Countryman DI Type 85 boxes as well as those made by Radial and Proco in addition to the Stewart Audio ADB1 of course!