PYLE® PDC21 DIRECT BOX
Ever since the late 1970’s I’ve built dozens of direct boxes using Jensen, Crimson or my own handwound audio transformers. The key to a decent sounding direct box is having a decent transformer inside.
This Pyle direct box was pushed to me on Amazon, it WAS priced at $9.50. I bought it immediately, I had to know if it really had a transformer in it and whether it sounded good. As one of THE lowest priced direct boxes on the planet I thought this would make a fun contrast to the RNDI, one of the most expensive direct boxes which is reviewed here on HoT.
|LEFT: NEVE RNDI, RIGHT: PYLE DIRECT BOX|
|INPUT AND PARALLEL PORT OUTPUT, PARPOUT :-)|
The enclosure is formed steel.
The first thing I did was open it up and look to see if there was a transformer in there. Yes, a real transformer is inside and it provides excellent galvanic isolation with minimal electrostatic coupling. The transformer is not in a MU® Metal can and it is not nickle core but it sounds surprisingly good. The steel enclosure helps with shielding the box.
A three position attenuator switch is provided to provide -20dB and -40dB. This switch is probably the worst part of the whole box, it’s an incredibly cheap component.
A pushbutton switch is provided for the output ground-lift switch function.
Amazing price/performance package.
Real transformer isolation in a passive direct box.
Works great with active instruments and sources.
Cheap attenuator switch.
Dulls the tone of passive instruments
With a part number of PDC21 you have to wonder if it means “pretty darn cheap” 21, since the new price for this box is around $21. The performance of this direct box goes head to head with models that cost up to $90. It would be best used by a keyboard player or an instrument with an active output. The input impedance is a little low for instruments with passive pickups. It’s not a good choice for passive bass instruments. It is great on my vintage DX-7.
Enjoy the journey, Good Music to You!
©Sept 2021 by Mark King. It’s not ok to copy or quote without written permission.
UPDATE: The Pyle direct box seems to no longer be available on Amazon but a search today found the one pictured below for under $26 Prime. It appears to be identical to the Pyle except for the paint job.
|Catalog Chinese Direct Box in alternate outfit|