There are few sounds that are as instantly recognizable as a James Jamerson or Bob Babbitt bassline. Their names may not be well-known, but as the resident bass players at Motown Records in the label's heyday, they were the men behind the sounds of "Bernadette," "For Once In My Life," "Ball Of Confusion" and many more hit songs.
Aside from the tremendous abilities of both players, one of the things that helped to shape these memorable recordings was one of the very first direct in boxes ever created. In an effort to revive the distinct character of this D.I. box, Acme Audio has painstakingly recreated all of the original components for the brand new Motown D.I. WB-3.
Designed in 1958 by engineer Dr. Edward Wolfdrum, the Motown D.I., or "Wolfbox," would quickly be sold and distributed to nearly every recording studio and TV station in Southeastern Michigan. Utilizing two distinct transformers, the Triad A-11 and 12J, the box gave instruments a coloration and distorted character that still remains unmatched.
While Acme Audio already recreated the original box with their Wolf Box III design, this piece utilized NOS parts that were still somewhat readily available. In the time since the creation of the Wolf Box III, the price and supply of A-11 and 12J transformers have continued to skyrocket. As an alternative, Acme Audio set about replicating the D.I. box through different methods.
The new Motown D.I. WB-3 is the culmination of Acme establishing a relationship with the original company who produced the transformers. Upon asking the company to start recreating the part once again, they began to manufacture the transformers for the first time in 35 years. In the end, the new Acme box has perfectly captured the character and quality of the original unit.