Metal body with sturdy plastic knobs. If you were to drop it from over your head, it would probably survive the fall and work fine.
Idiot proof. If the connection fits, that’s probably where it goes. Turn the knob to the right for more signal. If you need phantom power, press the button marked phantom power. The market is saturated with devices that depend on software or a menu of some kind to gain access to hundreds of parameters, most of which you’ll never use. But the AudioBuddy will not subject you to that kind of thing. It’s just a two channel pre-amp, and it’s proud to serve it’s purpose.
I used the AudioBuddy to make up for a couple failing pre-amps on my mixer (Alesis MultiMix12). I was wary of the purchase because I’d read some fairly nasty reviews about the sound quality. If you’ve heard the same, feel free to disregard that opinion: this device is as clean as any entry level pre-amp and is free of any noise or ground loops. Everything I recorded through the AudioBuddy sounded just fine.
So, this thing says “Dual Mic Preamp /Direct Box” right on the chassis, and rightly so. It can take an unbalanced, high-impedance signal (like a one directly from an electric guitar) and convert it to a low-impedance, balanced signal (like one that your mixer might want). If you need a direct box in order to attach an electric guitar or bass directly to your mixer, then this will work for you as a direct box. If, on the other hand, you need a direct box to take a line level signal (like the 1/4-line outs on your mixer or keyboard) and and attenuate it to be reamplified or to connect it to an XLR input on another mixer, this device will not do that. This is not the direct box you are looking for. That’s not a dig at this device, I’m only acknowledging that many people are looking for a direct box to take an unbalanced line level signal and attenuate it (reduce the decibel level) for re-amplification in addition to converting it to a balanced signal. Again, this device won’t do that. Snag yourself a couple of these for that purpose.
This is a solid device that serves it’s purpose and will not let you down. Buy one.