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When to use a DI box?


swolock

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I'm wondering when or if I should be using a DI box.

 

Here's my setup: Yamaha CP4 and Hammond SK1, with left and right channels of both keyboards connecting to a Yamaha MG10 mixer via 1/4" cables; The mixer then goes to the house snake via left and right XLRs (so I'm using 2 channels on the house snake). I'm also using a powered monitor as a stage monitor from the monitor jacks on the MG10.

 

Someone told me I should be using a DI box. I'm not sure where and I'm not sure why.

 

Is that advice correct? Does the MG10 act as a DI box?

 

Thanks

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Welcome, Swolock.

 

Your balanced outs from your mixer can go right to FOH.

 

The only reason I could think of to introduce the DI post-powered mixer would be if you needed a ground lift for some reason. Was the person suggesting this responding to some noise he or she heard in your signal?

 

 

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What Moe said. Also - in addition to ground lift, you have complete isolation from any 48 volt phantom power that may be coming from FOH. Some mixers handle that well, others not so much.

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I'd still use a DI on the outputs of the mixer to feed the house. Ground lifting capability is important.

 

Also, if you get a quality DI like a Radial JDI, it gives you a chance to sprinkle some magic fairy dust on your sound.

 

+1

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I'd still use a DI on the outputs of the mixer to feed the house. Ground lifting capability is important.

 

Also, if you get a quality DI like a Radial JDI, it gives you a chance to sprinkle some magic fairy dust on your sound.

 

+1

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If you're always performing in the same situation (e.g. a church gig) and you've had trouble-free performance so far, you can stick with this setup.

 

BUT if you're gigging around in different venues, you'll want to acquire and always use a stereo DI, or at least an isolation transformer. This will block phantom power if the FOH operator accidentally activates it on your channels (or if the FOH console can only globally activate it), and as MoodyBluesKeys points out, some equipment *really* doesn't like seeing 48V on the XLR outputs - your Yamaha may or may not be among those items. It will also prevent ground loop hum and other odd noise issues that come up when connecting two consoles together that aren't on the same power circuit.

 

The last benefit to using a stereo DI is that it will step down your Yamaha's hot +4dBu line level output to a mic-level signal. This may sound like a bad thing, but in practice it gives the FOH engineer the signal level he's expecting to see. Some consoles don't deal well with hot line-level signals appearing on their mic preamps.

 

A few small mixers do have transformer-isolated outputs (the Radial Key Largo comes to mind). The Yamaha MG10, I believe, does not (nor would most low-cost mini-mixers).

 

If you're taking this rig to other venues, I'd recommend either replacing your mixer with a Radial Key Largo, which will meet all your needs perfectly in a more compact and roadworthy package, or (if you want to keep the Yamaha), purchase a Radial JDI Stereo, Radial ProD2, or other high-quality passive stereo direct box, and connect it to the 1/4" outputs on your mixer.

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