The most versatile, affordable DI box on the market? Meet the Samson MD series

Now, I’m being honest here, DI boxes aren’t usually something I’d get overly excited about. They’re the sort of thing that – if it’s good – you won’t notice. A utility product through and through. What is quite rare and, dare I say it, “interesting” about the new MD series from Samson, is that they seem to be exceptionally high quality, very durable, but also extremely friendly for those on a tight budget.samsondi2

As you can see from the pictures, every unit features the same incredibly robust solid metal casing, ensuring minimal impact damage or case warping. With a design very reminiscent to Radial, but with a considerably smaller price tag, each unit also has a sort of non-slip, rubberised, foam-like (“faum”? Hahaha, I kill me) mat on the underside to stop any scrapes or falls when stacked.

The full range consists of…

  • MD1 / £35 – single channel, ground lift switch, 1/4″ input and thru, balanced XLR out, no phantom power or battery power required
  • MDA1 / £29.99 – 2-position 0dB/-15dB attenuation switch, ground lift switch, 1/4″ input and thru, balanced XLR out, 48V phantom power or 9V battery powered
  • MD1 Pro / £49.99 – Samson “STLX Mu-Metal” shielded transformer, 0dB/-15dB/-30dB attenuation switch, ground lift switch, 1/4″ input and thru, balanced XLR out, no phantom power or battery power required
  • MD2 Pro / £70 – 2 x Samson “STLX Mu-Metal” shielded transformers, linked -10dB and -20dB attenuation settings, ground lift switches, dual 1/4″ inputs and thrus, dual balanced XLR outputs, no phantom power or battery power required
  • MD2 Pro PC / £85 – 2 x Samson “STLX Mu-Metal” shielded transformers, mono sum switch, -15dB and -30dB attenuation settings, ground lift switch dual 1/4″ and RCA inputs, stereo 1/8″ minijack input, dual balanced XLR outputs, no phantom power or battery power required

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From doing their rounds with the Red Dog Music crew, general consensus is that the star players are the MD1 and MD2 Pro PC models. For sheer simplicity, the MD1 should be part of every gigging musician’s kit bag. No batteries or phantom power required, it simply removes unwanted interference to your line level signal and supplies a mixing desk with a nice, clean signal. The MD2 Pro PC was a favourite for John – Red Dog Music’s PA specialist – who moonlights at some of Edinburgh’s finest gig venues as a sound engineer and basically gets no sleep during the Edinburgh Festival. For him, it’s the perfect tool for handling the predictably unpredictable demands of a mixed bill of performers. This thing will handle everything from a DJ deck to a stereo keyboard, a playlist on someone’s phone to the minijack output of someone’s computer.

If you’re interested in trying one of these units out to see how they fair in a live situation, or are just looking to stock up your venue’s kit cupboard, get in touch with your pals at Red Dog Music – the friendly music store – and see what kind of deal they can do for you!

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Guy Perchard

Digital editor & recording specialist at Red Dog Music
As well as being the marketing man-about-town at Red Dog Music, Guy is a busy, award winning record producer and mixing engineer. He is also partial to a chorizo stromboli for elevenses.

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