You wouldn’t think of a direct box as having a certain character, unless you’ve worked in a facility that has really good character DI’s. After all, in the age of Multi-I/O converters with DI inputs, it’s easy to forget the role that a quality DI box plays. High end DI boxes were used to help record bass on countless records in the all-hardware days, and they are still widely used by people who know what they bring to the table.
One standout among them is the REDDI tube direct box. Designed with top engineers and bass players, you’ll find REDDI in use on stages and in studios around the globe. The sound was inspired by the Ampeg B-15 tube Bass amp, and REDDI isn’t a transparent unit. This box combines tube character and solid state sturdiness for a bass sound that just sounds good with little effort.
And now Kush have made a plugin version of it, which you can get as part of your Kush subscription for $9.99-month! Or if you’re the type who wants to own their licenses, REDDI is only $49! Either way, it’s easily accessible for the community at large!
Familiar to those who have used the hardware, the Level knob sets the amount of the effect. The higher you drive the level, the more distortion you’ll get. While this isn’t a drive box in the typical sense, the saturation isn’t subtle. You get a punchy, yet mild, driven tone that helps your bass cut through.
The plugin offers a couple of things that the hardware doesn’t. For starters, you get an added “Phase Flip” switch. The role here is common, to flip the polarity of the source. But in my tests I heard a subtle difference in the midrange between both positions. This tells me there’s something else happening here, and you can use the phase flip switch for more than its initial utility. The manual seems to hint to this, stating “this can help a bass-heavy signal sit better in the mix, even though the original polarity is correct, because some things glue better when ‘upside down’”.
Kush have also added a “Bass” control, which adds a 100Hz pre-emphasis low shelf. This allows you to increase the level of sub hitting the DI before the non-linear stages of the DI circuitry, which helps you beef up the low end in quite dramatic ways! I was surprised just how thick, but not muddy, the low seemed when this knob was cranked! I tried it on distorted guitars, as well as kick drums, and it sounded awesome on both sources for adding some real meat! A nice addition by the Kush team indeed!
Another feature added to the plugin is the +20 DB Headroom switch. The hardware circuitry has a certain level it can handle without breaking up. The +20 DB Headroom switch increases this headroom in the plugin world, allowing you to make the saturation effect more subtle and warmer.
But how does it all sound?
Honestly, this thing surprised me. I’ve never used the hardware, and anyone who knows me knows that I don’t care about how accurately something was modeled. I only care about whether or not it has utility. In this case, the utility is there! I’ve never used the hardware REDDI, but this plugin turned a kinda harsh sounding bass DI into a decent sounding bass tone in seconds! Bump up the Bass knob to taste, try the phase flip, adjust the level til you have the amount of drive you like, and try different headroom settings. With that little bit of effort, you’ve dialed in a decent bass sound!
As a Kush subscriber, this was a nice surprise to find today! Here’s the demo video from Kush showing what REDDI can do. What are your thoughts?