Review: LR Baggs Venue DI Direct Box

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The LR Baggs Venue DI Acoustic Direct Box is a professional quality acoustic guitar preamp with several well thought out features for the performing guitarist. First, it is a high-quality transformer-coupled DI to prevent extraneous noise or hum on stage, but it also has an EQ specifically engineered for acoustic guitars along with a variable boost control to quickly change dynamics on stage and a chromatic digital tuner. Combining features like this into one professional unit means you have to carry less, there is less to go wrong. If you count on a solid guitar sound for your music this unit can put all the control you need right at your finger tips.

Something that’s key to getting a good acoustic guitar sound on stage is setting a good signal level for noise-free sound. The Baggs Venue DI helps with a clearly readable clip meter that shows you exactly what level your guitar is sending—too little and noise will creep into your signal and too much will cause your signal to overload the amp. Gain and volume controls on the DI help you get your level and match it precisely to your amp. It’s also important to note that a good DI doesn’t impart any noise of its own and this one is very, very quiet.

Feedback is an acoustic guitarist’s constant irritant on stage. Because of this, the Baggs Venue DI has a built-in Garret Null notch filter that allows you to comb through frequencies that are potential trouble in a particular venue or performing situation and adjust around them. It’s simple to do and can get you a lot more gain before feedback without losing tone. You can also turn this feature completely off. There’s also lots of smooth EQ control with low, low mid, high mid and two top end adjustments: a presence control (a 12dB boost or cut at 3kHz) and a treble control (a 12dB boost or cut at 10kHz). This gives you a great control of tone throughout the range of the instrument. Finally, in addition to a ground lift to prevent hum, there is an invaluable switch that allows you to invert the phase of your guitar signal. This is a very useful and simple tool for defeating feedback and making your guitar sound its best on stage. By the way, you’ll want to try out the Baggs EQ and notch filter while plugged into a good full-range sound system. Open-backed guitar amps and even some small PA systems just can’t reproduce all the frequencies present in a good acoustic guitar signal.

Powered by a standard 9-volt battery or adapter, this solidly built unit can sit on the floor or somewhere closer to give you easy access to all the features during performance. A boost switch is easily operated by hand or with a foot and works with a knob on the back of the unit to boost your signal from 0-9dB to help you to cut through a mix or make hands-free transition from strumming to finger picking. A mute switch will mute your signal and engage the clearly visible, lighted tuner.

The Baggs Venue DI packs the tools you need to get the best sound out of your guitar into one roadworthy package. It replaces a variety of other units you could string together, but even if you did, they wouldn’t be engineered to work as well together. With its protective case, this unit is ideal for the acoustic performer who sets up frequently in new venues and who wants precise control of their sound.

Suggested Retail: $399.
Street price: $299.


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