The Buzz MIA 1.0 is designed to solve interfacing problems between unbalanced instruments and balanced recording systems. In that respect, it might best be described as a type of DI box and, like many active DI boxes, it runs from phantom power for convenience. It can accept high‑impedance instruments, such as guitars and basses, low‑impedance instruments such as keyboards, or speaker‑level signals taken from stage amplifiers.
It also has a Loop output that passes on the high‑impedance input 'as is', the low‑impedance input at ‑6dB or the amp input at ‑35dB. There's a buffered output that duplicates the high‑impedance input signal and a main balanced output that must be connected to a mic input with phantom power applied.
The unit is very professionally put together with the three inputs and loop output (unbalanced jacks) on the front panel and the buffered output jack and XLR output on the rear panel. A ground lift switch is fitted for isolating the input and output grounds from each other in situations where ground loop hum might be a problem. Because the circuitry is active, it operates over a finite range of levels, and it is recommended that the output level doesn't exceed 0dBu. Used with a high‑quality mic preamp, the signal‑to‑noise ratio is quoted as ‑83dB with a frequency response extending from 6Hz to 250kHz.
Because of its low‑noise, wide‑bandwidth circuitry, it does what it sets out to do very well. I was particularly impressed with the high‑impedance (1MΩ) guitar input, which effortlessly delivered a lively, clean electric guitar or bass sound. This is clearly a DI box designed by people who were a little underwhelmed by many of the existing off‑the‑shelf solutions, so it does cost a fair bit more, but there's no arguing that it gets the job done, and should continue to do so for many years to come.