DI boxes can be an essential tool for DJs. In this article, we’ll look at how a DI box works, why you need one, and what DI boxes we recommend for DJs. 

Quick Answer: We recommend the Radial Pro AV2 for most DJs. You can use this DI box to connect your DJ controller directly to speakers or to an audio mixer. For the price, you may want to consider getting a small audio mixer instead of a DI box.

Unbalanced vs Balanced Cable

Unbalanced vs Balanced Audio Cables

There are two main categories of audio cable, unbalanced and balanced. Let’s take a look at the differences. 

Unbalanced Audio Cable

An unbalanced audio cable should be run at most 10-15ft (3-5m). If you use an unbalanced audio cable longer than this length, you may notice static, hissing, or buzzing in your audio signal. Occasionally, your audio cable might even pick up a radio station!

Two common examples of unbalanced audio cables:

  • RCA Cable
  • ¼” TS Cable

Balanced Audio Cable

A balanced audio cable is more reliable than an unbalanced audio cable. A fully balanced audio cable can be used reliably up to 1000ft (300m) with little to no interference. 

Two common examples of balanced audio cables:

  • ¼” TS
  • XLR Cable

Line Level vs Mic Level

DJ Controller Outputs

There is a big difference between the line level output on your DJ controller and the microphone level inputs on your audio mixer. 

Mic Level & Line Level Inputs

Common Line Level Outputs:

  • XLR: +4dB
  • ¼ TRS:  +4dB
  • RCA: -10dB

Common Mic Level Inputs

  • XLR Mic Level: -30dB to -40dB 

So what happens if you connect your line-level output to a microphone-level input? You will experience peaking, clipping, and distortion.

It is much better to connect your line-level outputs to a line-level input on an audio mixer, unless you’re using a DI Box. 

How Does A DI Box Work

A DI box uses a transformer to balance your unbalanced audio signal. It uses the extra voltage from a line-level input signal to run the transformer and typically outputs a mic-level XLR signal. 

Connect DI Box Directly To Speaker

Did you know that you can use a DI box to connect your DJ controller to powered speakers? 

If your DJ controller only has RCA outputs, you shouldn’t use a cable longer than 10-15’, which is often far too short for most live events. Using a DI Box, you can balance your RCA cable and convert it to XLR. This will allow you to run to speakers hundreds of feet away (if needed).

How To connect DI Box Directly To Speaker. 

  1. Set up your DJ controller, as usual.
  2. Use an RCA to ¼” cable to connect your DJ controller to a DI box. 
  3. Connect XLR output of DI Box to Powered Speaker
  4. Power on Your Speaker
  5. Switch the input from line level to mic level (IMPORTANT)

Connect DI Box To Audio Mixer

If you need to connect your DJ controller to an audio mixer that is longer than 10’ away, you can use a DI box for this as well.

  1. Setup your DJ controller, as usual
  2. Use an RCA to ¼” cable to connect your DJ controller to a DI box. 
  3. Connect XLR output of DI box to XLR mic input on the audio mixer. 
  4. Turn on your audio mixer
  5. Turn on your speaker
  6. Turn up the level knob for the microphone channel and output of the mixer
  7. Increase gain on the microphone channel, as desired. 
  8. Make sure that your speaker is set to receive a line-level signal

Best DI Box For DJs

There are many different DI boxes that you can choose for your gig bag. We’ve always used Radial DI boxes for our production company and have been happy with the quality and reliability of their products.

When you’re looking for a DI box, I believe Radial has four great DI boxes worth considering. 

Radial Pro AV2

This is the DI box we spec for all DJs when we work with them. It has three different input options for DJs to use, no matter if you need ¼”, RCA, or ⅛” TRRS inputs; this DI box will handle anything that you throw at it. 

The Radial Pro AV2 is a passive DI box with the following connectivity features:

  • 2 x ¼” Inputs
  • 2 x RCA Inputs
  • 1 x ⅛” TRRS input (aux)
  • 1 x 15dB Pad
  • 1 x Ground Lift
  • 2 x Balanced XLR Mic Level Outputs
  • Price: https://currentprice.io/pro_av2

Radial Pro D2

The Radial ProD2 DI box is much more common for musicians who aren’t DJs. This DI box only has ¼” inputs, but it comes with a ¼” loop output for musicians who need to connect their speakers while sending a copy of their audio to the main audio mixer. 

The Radial ProD2 has the following connectivity features. 

Radial Pro J48 Stereo

The Radial Pro J48 Stereo is an active DI box that must be powered by 48v of phantom power. If you want more output from your DI box, then this is the best option for you.

The Radial Pro J48 Stereo has the following connectivity options:

Radial Trim 2

The Radial Trim Two is similar to the ProAV2, but it has a trim knob instead of a 15dB pad which allows you to reduce the output level (as necessary).

The Radial Trim Two has the following connectivity options:

DI Box vs Audio Mixer

Before buying a DI box, you may want to consider buying an audio mixer. An audio mixer will balance your audio signal in the same way that a DI box does, but it will give you a lot more functionality:

  • XLR microphone inputs
  • 1/4″ line-level inputs
  • RCA inputs (on some)
  • FX Engine (on some)
  • Ability to mix
  • Balanced XLR & 1/4″ outputs

Some popular audio mixers for DJs:

Related Article: 3 Best External Audio Mixers For DJs (and why you need one)

DI Boxes For DJs – Everything You Need To Know – Topics


DI Boxes For DJs – Everything You Need To Know | Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:35 – Price & Specs
  • 0:50 – Unbalanced vs Balanced Audio Cable
  • 1:57 – Line Level vs Mic Level Signal
  • 3:04 – How Does A DI Box Work?
  • 4:26 – Connect DI Box Directly To Speaker
  • 6:47 – Connect DI Box To Audio Mixer
  • 8:40 – Best DI Boxes for DJs
  • 9:52 – Radial Pro AV2 DI Box
  • 11:42 – Radial Pro D2 DI Box
  • 12:53 – Radial Pro J48 Stereo DI Box
  • 13:36 – Radial Pro Trim Twi Di Box
  • 14:09 – DI Box vs Audio Mixer
  • 15:11 – Final Thoughts