Sonic Nuance TDI Mk2
$330 + $6.45 shipping
The Sonic Nuance TDI Mk2 is a tuner and direct input device in one unit. This has essential appeal because it takes the place of two must-have utility items on my pedal board.
The TDI arrived quickly and was packed well. Everything about this item is quality. The enclosure is stout metal. All inputs, outputs, and the foot switch are high-grade and chassis-mounted (rather than the more fragile PCB-mount). The labeling is all business and suggests studio-level gear. In fact, there is a Jensen JT-DB transformer under the hood doing the impedance-matching magic. There are little touches too like gold-plated XLR pins and substantial rubber feet. There is no battery compartment. The TDI runs on phantom power whenever the DI is being used. When you’re not using the DI function (or not supplying phantom power through it) the TDI also takes standard center-negative 9-24 VDC pedal power.
I took the TDI to a gig for a test-drive. I put it on my pedal board at the beginning of the chain. At sound check I immediately noticed the improvement over my old cheapo, passive direct box. The TDI had incredible dynamic range. The sound was lively, full and clear. The tone possessed more bass, more treble- more everything. My bass guitar sounded like a bass guitar through the mains, not the sterile, lifeless, generic sound I had always loathed before. There was a delightful and subtle overdriven sound through the TDI. I don't know if this was from my passive bass's hot pick-ups overloading the TDI's transformer or if I was simply hearing my instrument’s true tone for the first time. Either way, it was delightful. My sound guy LOVED it.
The average pedal tuner does not play nicely with the low B string on a five-string bass. The TDI doesn’t have any trouble at all. Response on the B string was just as swift and accurate as on all the other strings. This tuner is both more quick to respond and more accurate than the industry-standard pedal tuner I have been using. The TDI has an LED display for the note and single LED's that light for flat and sharp notes. Two LED's on either side of a center target LED indicate pitch; flat to the left, sharp to the right. As you approach the target pitch, only the center LED lights-up. When you’re dead-on, the two LED's on either side flash quickly in affirmation. I found this feature helpful and quite satisfying.
The Sonic Nuance TDI Mk2 does tuning and DI better than anything I have ever owned or been provided and it’s super well-built.
Not overpriced for the quality and convenience, but this piece of gear comes with a substantial price tag. The TDI is slightly larger than a pedal tuner (but no larger than a traditional DI). If you’re into saving the cardboard box your pedals come in, you’re out of luck – the TDI does not come in a box.
-Christopher Todd Jordan, July 2016