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REDDI When You Are

An outstanding new tube DI from A Designs By Frank Moldstad

Just as with microphone preamps, there are major differences between instrument DI boxes. Some are ultra-clean, others have built-in EQ circuitry to emphasize certain tonal characters. But rarely do you find a DI that preserves all the definition of an instrument the way that A Designs' REDDI does. This tube instrument preamp is clean but still dripping with natural tone.

The best way I can describe what REDDI adds is dimension. It reveals a wide range of harmonics in a source, with an excellent translation of an instrument's character. It doesn't have to be blended with an amp signal to sound good. I tried it with electric guitar and bass as well as a synthesizer, and found the REDDI to perform impressively on every source.

The REDDI employs a vacuum tube design with a Sovtek 6N1P tube -- the same tube as the company's MP line of mic preamps. It has a custom-wound output transformer, and puts out 16dB of gain. The REDDI is designed to run wide open, with the Level knob essentially serving as an attenuator pad. Since there is no input transformer, there's a pure passive signal path to the tube. So if you have a good tone going in to the REDDI, you'll get an even better one going out.

Introduced at the 117th AES Convention in San Francisco last fall, the REDDI has a suggested list price of $850. Its fire-engine red metal vented casing makes a statement, and with the front panel's glowing blue LED power indicator, the REDDI is hard to miss in a dark control room. It includes a combo XLR/1/4-inch input, balanced XLR output, level control knob, ground lift, EIN power connector, and a Toroid power transformer in addition to the custom output transformer. The  ON/OFF power switch snaps back and forth with a solid industrial feel. A 2U rackmounting option is available, which can accomodate two REDDIs side by side.

Interior layout


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