The name Switchcraft is synonymous with quality connectors. They offer a standard of input and output connectors for professional audio uses as well as guitar and vocal applications. Many of you will most likely be using Switchcraft connectors on your guitar leads, or have switches, pots and output jacks on your guitar all made by Switchcraft. They are such a common brand name when it comes to everyday musicians’ use that most won’t even realise that Switchcraft is actually responsible for a great part of your signal chain, and a very important part, too. It’s not until many of us come across the separate devices that we take note of what they are, so for all of you who use Switchcraft every day, perhaps you might like to apply their devices in other areas of your signal chain when you need a dedicated audio solution.
Given that Switchcraft are so good at building components that you often don’t see, it stands to reason that when they offered their AudioStix range of DI boxes for various applications that these, too were about as inconspicuous as could be. Gone is the bulky DI brick getting in the way on stage; this range of clever connections are all little more than the sum total size of the connectors involved with just enough housing to keep them protected. This results in your cabling having a sturdy junction between balanced and unbalanced cables, but with very little getting in the way.
The 314DI is the perfect passive pairing to any guitarist looking to get a balanced microphone level signal to the mixing console as well as passing their signal through to the guitar amp without affecting the tone at all. There’s no circuitry involved to change your signal, just an extension of your guitar lead on the way to the amp, while the XLR output converts to a balanced signal with a ground lift and 20dB pad should it be needed.
The 370DI is a little different and will have plenty of applications for bands, DJs and presenters who are often confronted with various audio devices needing to be run into the PA system. There is a 3.5mm stereo jack connection as well as a pair of RCA connectors, so you can plug an iPhone, CD player, DJ mixer or similar devices in with a short unbalanced cable to keep the noise down. If you need to run a good distance to the mixer, the balanced signal will hold up over an XLR cable, with the stereo signal summed to mono, allowing devices to also be connected to single powered speakers without losing the right side of the mix.
The other device I had to work with this month was the 318BT which is an almost wireless device. It acts as a Bluetooth receiver, powered via Phantom Power through the XLR cable or via an optional 5v USB power supply. It couldn’t be simpler - plug an XLR cable into a spare channel on your mixer and attach this device to the other end. Once paired up, the 318BT will receive the signal from up to 100 feet away. If you need more distance from the mixer, just run a longer XLR cable to get closer to the Bluetooth source and you’re in business.
Each one of these units is built into a seriously tough and compact casing, ready for the rigours of live use, especially in situations where they may get used and abused by several different operators in an evening. They are kitted out with top quality Switchcraft connectors so you know your signal quality is going to be its best as it passes through any of these devices.
Hits and Misses
Small, yet very tough
Great options for a range of audio applications
Not this time