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direct boxes vs amp direct line outs


bassartist

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If you use overdrive or effects in your signal chain, you might be able to get them to take a direct off of your amp...but it'll be more likely that they'll plug you into their DI and then stick a microphone in front of your cabinet.

 

Smile and remember, nobody cares about the peculiarities of your signal chain except you.

 

Okay, I've said enough. :D

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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

Originally posted by tazzola:

My current signal path:

 

bass > DigiTech BP 200 floor multiFX (LEFT jack for output) > Peavey TNT 115 (Lo Gain jack) > preamp out sent to mixer using 1/4 inch speaker cable (my model doesn't use the XLR outs; newer models have this)

Just FYI, you could very easily stick the DI box that house sound-boy wants to use after your BP200 and before your amp.

 

All the amps I have owned up to this point have had hit and miss luck with the direct out on the back. My Ashdown pre-amp however, has yet to sound bad. No hiss, no hum, no fuss, no muss... just add hot water and it's ready in seconds!! oh wait... slipping into some sort of commercial there. Seriously though, the direct out on my Ashdown is brilliant. I've used it for studio session work and the engineers in those sessions had nice things to say about how good it sounded.

 

Bottom line here, and others above have already stated it: If the house sound-boy wants you to use his Countryman DI because that's what he knows and likes, use it. Being exceptionally nice to the house soundman is the best thing you can do for yourself. Hopefully he knows what he's doing, and if he likes to use a DI for the bass and you don't like to use a DI... well, you're going to just have to suck it up and suffer for that evening. :)

I could have the sound guy/gal use the right output of my BP200. I don't use any effects in stereo, so this would be a good compromise. I also use an active bass about 80% of the time, so that should make things easier to deal with.

 

I tried asking this earlier; I suppose I should rephrase it: As for a DI unit I should own for myself, would a tube DI be good, or should I just stick to a solid state model and eliminate the tube hassle? Preamp tubes are cheap though, not more than $15-18 at most stores in my area, and only need to be replaced at least every two years under heavy use. I ask it, because our band currently has no soundman, so we help ourselves to the band's mix at the moment. Also it'd be nice to have my own unit, should I do shows away from my main gig.

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Originally posted by tazzola:

...I tried asking this earlier; I suppose I should rephrase it: As for a DI unit I should own for myself, would a tube DI be good, or should I just stick to a solid state model and eliminate the tube hassle.

IMO, you'd be wasting hundred's of dollars to buy a boutique tube DI for this signal path. A Countryman, Whirlwind HotBox, BSS, or even the Behringer will do very well.

 

For the record, I originally posted the following;

Using a separate bass DI after the instrument (and possibly some pedal effects) gives me the shortest signal path to the board, the cleanest signal possible, and takes most volume control over the PA away from the musician.
I fully advocate tapping the signal after the pedal effects.

 

Bumpcity, Those Ashdown amps are sweeeeet I've only tapped a signal from one of them, but it was clean, clear, and the musician's playing was stable enought that I didn't have to constantly monitor the channel level at the mixing board. :thu:

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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I have consitently run straight out of my GK 700RB's XLR and have had no problems. The one time I did a session with it there was some hiss that was taken out by the ground lift button. Has anyone had any experiences w/ the direct out on this amp failing? I've had it for 3 years now.

"Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine."

--Henry David Thoreau

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Our tech gutted a Countryman and put it in my Alembic F-2b pre. So I guess I use a direct out, but it's really a d.i. box ;)

 

Seriously, it's convenient having it hardwired in there and most sound persons will plug into it once they know what it is. There are still those who are wary of any signal coming out of an amp or pre, so I just accommodate them by using whatever they want me to. Keep the guy/gal with all those knobs happy or you most likely won't be.

Later..................
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Never had any problems coming out of my Eden Metro. Some time ago when my main amp was my GK800RB many sound engineers said they had problems coming direct from them and they were always surprised that mine worked fine. I guess I just lucked out.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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  • 1 month later...

Steve C & Cowbell Allen,

 

You are correct to question the need for a boutique, tube DI for most live gigs. Fact is, no one will notice it on most, if not all, PA's.

 

On bass, I've found even inexpensive, passive DI's sound more than adequate, although I'll take a decent active anytime I can get it. That difference can be heard, but I still question how many of the audience would notice, even when A/B'd side by side.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Hi Guys,

 

I use a Trace Elliot AH250 with two 15" cabinets together with a P-bass and an old Aria...

Allways use the AH250 line out... Gives me some control of sound quality, allows me to utilize the excellent dual compressors on AH250 and last but not least, allows me to use the AH250 mute button to silence the whole set while tuning the bass... ;) We mostly play with big rigs and proficent sound technicans... Base and drummer usually share one of four monitor channels... Even if there are 15" monitors provided... ...the old Trace stack gives me the better feeling... ...these good old below the belt vibrations that tend to enhance at least my groove...

 

All the best

 

JoA

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This kinda thing is very dependent on your situation. If you play the variety of rooms that I do, you learn to take them each as they come.

 

Some sound techs will only use their own gear, period. Others will gladly use whatever you bring. Like Ben and some others have mentioned, it all depends on them... and so will you. Be nice to them and accomodate whatever odd desires they may have. Ultimately, they can totally fuck up your sound or make you sound great. Generally, they know the systems they're using better than you do, so it's usually wisest to defer to their experience.

 

Also.... keeping a decent seperate DI handy will save your ass if your amp decides to take a shit on you while you're playing. If your amp has a built-in direct out and it dies, chances are the direct out will stop working when your amp dies... So it makes sense to keep a DI box amongst your stuff "just in case."

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Now that it seems safe to say so, I am really pleased with my little Countryman Type 85.

 

The advice to just turn your stage amp up until your uncooperative soundguy turns you out of the mix is sometimes the way to go.

 

For 3 years we contracted the same sound company and the engineer that always worked with us consistently mixed bass 'light' and I would get people urging me to turn the bass up, and that's how the second 8x10 cab came to be a part of the arsenal.

 

(evil laugh from long hallway) bra-- haa--haaaa ;)

"We are the Federales... You know, the Mounted Police..."

---"If you're the police, where are your badges?"

"Bodges?..."

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Tazzola,

I recommend either the Countryman or SansAmp DI s. I've used them both in lots of studio sessions (studio provided) and they seem to be what most engineers and front of house soundpersons use around these parts.

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have."

Edgar Watson Howe

"Don't play what's there. Play what's not there" Miles Davis

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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally posted by CMDN:

This kinda thing is very dependent on your situation. If you play the variety of rooms that I do, you learn to take them each as they come.

Yup.

 

Originally posted by CMDN:

Also.... keeping a decent seperate DI handy will save your ass if your amp decides to take a shit on you while you're playing. If your amp has a built-in direct out and it dies, chances are the direct out will stop working when your amp dies... So it makes sense to keep a DI box amongst your stuff "just in case."

Yup.

 

I'm in the process of completing an on-line purchase of a SansAmp Bass Driver DI. It'll be nice to have if/when I don't want to use the DI from my combo (SWR Super Redhead). Also, one of the drummers I jam with has a sweet PA in his basement (w/ a couple of sweet sounding JBL 3-way cabs!), and I'd rather just grab a bass and the SansAmp for the jam than cart an amp over. (Although, if we begin to play even more regularly, my SWR will probably move to his house.)

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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+1 for the WT400 direct out. It has a ground lift, adjustable output, and is dead quiet. I use it live and recording with a Stingray 4.

My band was in a high end studio last summer and we A/B'd it with some Focusrite and Brent Averill stuff and the WT400 won hands down (and that was unanimous with 3 engineers present)

my band: Mission 5
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Originally posted by Ted the bass player:

Most of the time, the "do what soundman wants" approach is a good one. However, if the soundman looks at my rack and reads "Demeter" and still insists on using his cheesy Whirlwind DI then at that point I know we have made an incorrect hiring decision.

 

Beleive, I've been "soundguy" enough to know :)

 

Ted

Yeah... I was really impressed with Viktor Krauss' Demeter when I mixed Bill Frissell... right up until it crapped out on him at the beginning of the show. :rolleyes: Luckily it was a small room and didn't need the DI. I was able to get Viktor to turn up just a bit to compensate. We put a Countryman on it during the break, just in case.

 

I have nothing against Demeter. They sound great. But I wouldn't have it as my sole DI. You never know when you'll need something more robust and rugged. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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I generally use a direct box rather than the direct out on my amp because it seems to work out better in terms of the "hiss" mentioned below, which (not suprisingly) is much worse with my active P-bass than it is with my passive Jazz). I do not use my on board EQ, and run my tone essentially flat (12 oclock). My sound guy knows what tone I'm looking for and get's it from the house. I use my rig (4x10 hartke and a 1X15 Marshall powered by a hartke amp)basically as a moniter since you can't always rely on the moniter mix. I found this out the hard way at a gig we did with King's X, who use ear monitors. I couldn't hear a damn thing from the monitors and had to hope like hell that our drummer knew what was going on, because I sure as hell didn't. I now ALWAYS take my rig, for that reason.
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  • 2 years later...

The problem with my Eden head (WT-550) is that the DI is POST EQ - with no option to go pre EQ.

 

Do you tweak your EQ for stage monitoring and send an EQ'ed signal to the FOH, or do you leave it flat (and possibly crappy sounding on stage) and send a flat signal to the FOH?

 

Maybe an external DI isn't a bad idea?

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The out in my Alembic F1-x was WAY to hot for our little Carvin board and pretty noisy when we had sound provided with a nice desk. I don't think I've ever had an onboard out in an amp that wasn't noisy. I finally decided just to get my own and be done with it. I got the Radial JDI which has what is considered by many to be one of the best quality transformers. I guess I could have spent alot less money on a Behringer or something, but I figured I'd go with something nice because I'm kind of a gear whore and an engineer friend of mine recommended it. So far everyone has been happy with it.

 

I have had the noise problem with the DI on top of the amp before, as well. I was told that it was because it was close to the tranformer in the amp. It was NOISY! Unbearable. The guy came up and moved it from one side to the other and kind of rolled his eyes. Heh. Big, professional me. :rolleyes:

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The Aphex Punch factory DI works fine, and i like the compressor a lot. I just always find my self turning the compressor off after a tune or two, I like dynamic range give me more not less!

 

Just a note about all this talk about DI,s. The purpose for a DI is impedance conversion, Hi to low . Traditionally so a hi impedance bass pickup could drive a signal into a low impedance mixing board.

 

In the firast place all of you using active pre's or pickups, forget about it, you already have a DI box built into your bass.

 

For the rest of us the good news is that a DI is about the simplest active device to design. The bottom line is this, in a live situation with the ambient noise level in a bar nobody could hear the difference between one DI and another.

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Another thing thats seems to have been overlooked in the discussion so far is the vast difference in frequency response characteristics between most bass cabinets and most PA cabinets. If you give the sound guy a post EQ signal..it may be exactly what you want using your cabinet but sound nothing like what you want comming out of the PA cabinets.

 

Giving them a signal straight off the bass eliminates a lot of that headache for a sound guy...and you.

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The guys at Eden said that the Effects Send is post tube and compressor and pre EQ, but I got the impression that they wouldn't go that way. They would either take the post EQ DI and work with it, or use an external DI box.

 

They said they were working on a upgrade modification, but who knows when and what that will take. Never hurts to have a backup, so I guess I'm looking for a decent DI.

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