I usually use BSS AR-133 or Radial J48, JDI and Pro D2. When a need emerged for a high-quality stereo isolation transformer, I first thought to get a Radial Twin ISO. However, by a chance I stumbled upon a product by a new Czech company – OteCables DIVerse 2ch ISO. There were three reasons it caught my interest: firstly, OteCables is a subsidiary the live sound company OteSound, who I am familiar with and I heard only the best best references about them, secondly, because I liked the rugged mechanical design, unabashedly inspired by Radial products, and thirdly – there is no reason not to admit it – I just liked the imaginative aesthetic design of the product in the picture. Moreover, the fact that the they use transformer made by a renowned Swedish company Lundahl told me that they don't just want to make another ordinary box, they are after quality without any compromises. So I decided to choose the local manufacturer instead of universally respected Canadian company, and I have absolutely no regrets!
The moment I held the DIVerse 2ch ISO in my hand, it was obvious that the mechanical execution of the product is simply excellent, and same goes the thick layer of lacquer and print job. Because I am curious by nature, I got my screwdriver and (same as with my other DI boxes by Radial and BSS) decided to look inside. And I have to say that the product is constructed and assembled immaculately. The “insides” look even better than Radial JDI. Two-sided fiberglass PCB, clean soldering, use of the highest-quality Neutrik XLR connectors, Lundahl L1588 transformers with output ratio of 1:1, protected by permalloy shielding. Even such little details like a copper plate that helps properly ground the components. The only thing I can say that it is a beauty to behold!
After putting the isolator in the signal chain, (apart from getting rid of a 60 cycle hum from a ground loop or a laptop adapter, for example) nothing really happens. The signal level stays the same, and the transformer does not have any noticeable sonic signature. I did not notice even a hint of cutting out frequencies from the lower or higher parts of the frequency spectrum, or any distortion. Absolutely transparent transmission of signal means that you will not even notice that the signal is galvanicaly separated. By the way, the DIVerse 2ch ISO can be easily used as a classic DI box, you only need to have the Neutrik “rolling pin” - a female to male adapter.
After a positive experience with the ISO, I didn't hesitate to grab another product with the OteCables logo, this time the DIVerse HiZ. This model features very high input impedance (100k Ohm), is employs the Lundahl LL1935 transformer and has an output ratio of 5:1 (or 10:1 after re-routing the included jumper cable). I have to mention that the volume drop was significant and I had to really crank the gain at the mixing board, so for sources that give a relatively weak signal and have a tendency to produce noise (in my case a Roland SPD-SX), this DI box is really not the best option (unlike the Radial JDI, with an even higher input impedance of 140k Ohm). However, as the manufacturer correctly points out, for such purposes, it is better to use the standard DIverse 1ch. The Hi-Z is a specific tool for specific situations (it is invaluable for Rhodes and Fender pianos). There is one more thing I want to mention – the toggles are much more resistant to being accidentally switched than the ISOSTAT buttons on Radial products. And if you ever experienced a keyboard player accidentally kicking the phase flip on one of his channels, you certainly had some fun moments with that.
I'm certain that my next DI boxes will be the DIVerse 1ch – for practical reasons, I am not fond of stereo DIs. If you need to connect a stereo source, two mono DIs will do the job, but if you have two sources on the opposite sides of the stage, you cannot split a stereo DI box, not even with an axe. In case of the DIVerse, probably not even by running it over with a tank.
Martin Dušák - FOH Engineer