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DI BOXES: Ultrasound vs. Radial


MILLO

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I have an Ultrasound amp and love it, so I was thinking about getting their DI box. I MIGHT need a DI ASAP, if the direct out in my amp doesn't LOGISTICALLY work well.

 

Radial has different DI boxes, and I'm abit confused since I didn't know about them until someone else mentioned one of them.I looked it up today and it turns out the offer a bunch of models. I'll check out the prices, but overall my questions is:

 

Has anyone compared the Ultrasound DI ($99) against any of Radial's DIs (JDI and J48)? Should I get an active or passive DI? How do they compare in fidelity and signal-to-noise ratios?

 

Thanks in advance...

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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For 20-30 years, the most popular DI was the Countryman. (Though arguably, the URIE was better, at 3x the price and a significantly larger package.) BSS (NOT BBE!) offered a better product I guess about 5 or 6 years ago, which became the go-to box for many pro sound companies. About the same time, Radial started putting out their boxes. I never directly compared them to the BSS, but I think in this case there would be no loser, as both make superior products.

 

Now in terms of which one you should use from the Radial line.... my 'keep it simple' way of thinking would pull me towards the straightup no frills DI. That would be the J48 or the JDI. Sure the JDV probably is tits, but how many people want to spend $400 on a DI? (Possibly the same among us who would buy Korby mics, Mytek converters, Peterson tuners, etc... so I guiltily raise my hand as a possible candidate for such an extravagance; while at the same time NOT recommending such an expense to you.)

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Active will always trump passive in frequency response of DI's.

 

That said, most musicians would be happy with a robust, passive DI.

 

For acoustic, I'd never use a passive if an active is available.

 

I own a BSS which I'm very happy with, but Countryman and Radial make excellent active DI's and a host of guitar effects and amp makers, along with high end, pro-recording gear makers manufacture solid state and tube DI's that impart character to your instrument signal.

 

Mercenary Audio sells boutique, vintage-recreation gear from TAB/Funkenworks which includes a DI derived from the back end of a vintage clone, tube compressor that costs $550. The Radial and Countryman active DI's should be between $100 and $200.

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

 

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The Imp2 will generally work fine, but you do lose noticable clarity and high end with the inexpensive, passive DI.

 

Piezo p'ups certainly focus on the fundamental frequency. Add to that a passive DI and you lose most of the harmonic content of your guitar's acoustic sound.

 

Try comparing the Imp2 to any active DI and I believe you'll hear exactly what I mean.

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Thanks everyone for the comments/ recommendations. I just talked to the bandleader and apparently it won't be necessary for our first gig next Friday--he knows the club and says they'll have box of their own.

 

However, I'd still need to get one soon. I'll look into the Radial actives, and hopefully also I'll be able to find an Ultrasound to try to compare them.

 

I'll be using a classical fitted w/ a B-Band A6 preamp w/ both UST and AST pickups. These are not piezos.

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

The Imp2 will generally work fine, but you do lose noticable clarity and high end with the inexpensive, passive DI.

 

Piezo p'ups certainly focus on the fundamental frequency. Add to that a passive DI and you lose most of the harmonic content of your guitar's acoustic sound.

 

Try comparing the Imp2 to any active DI and I believe you'll hear exactly what I mean.

Wow ok Neil... hummm ok I think I can get into one of the inputs on the active rack my acoutstic uses the Fishman transducer with the graphic eq. Thanks for the tip!!!
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I used the countryman a lot they are very good. I think the Radial have the most clarity these days. The Imps are a waste of money IMHO you're better off saving your money and getting a better DI. The JDI is the recomendation for an active preamp system on a GTR.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/JDI/

Have any of you GTR cats out there seen this beauty? I love this thing from Radial the JD7.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/JD7/

I had the oportunity to test drive this with a Gibson JImmy Page Custom Shop LP. Now I wish I had a better amp collection. That is I wish I had any amp collection. I wish I could have kept the Guitar too.

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  • 2 months later...
Originally posted by bpark@prorec.com:

Now in terms of which one you should use from the Radial line.... my 'keep it simple' way of thinking would pull me towards the straightup no frills DI. That would be the J48 or the JDI.

Hey man, or anyone else....

 

So do most people agree that for use w/ an actice preamp system fitted on a guitar, the way to go is a PASSIVE DI BOX? Would an active box introduce hiss?

 

If so, I'm leaning towards the RADIAL JDI, judging from their ratings on harmonic distrotion, etc.

Thanks.

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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I have no clue. I guess your question can be interpreted as an answer... "no".

 

Again, which you think would be best or logical choice: active or passive?

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Originally posted by MILLO:

I have no clue. I guess your question can be interpreted as an answer... "no".

 

Again, which you think would be best or logical choice: active or passive?

I like passive devices generally, because there is less to go wrong. But there are differences in the sound of an active circuit, and it's not a 'which is best' scenario, any more than a Strat is better than a Les Paul. You're in 'personal preference' land. You really need to hear them, or just take a leap of faith and pick one. It might be cool to get the opinions of some Radial users. I've got a fair amount if experience in using them in PAs, but NOT in using them on my guitar rig, and that is what we're talking about here.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I see. Thanks, man.

 

I called the local GC and they don't have them in stock, and the rep I talked to said they wouldn't order if I don't put down the money first, which sucks 'cuz I wanted to test them w/ the store's PA.

 

I'll call GC again tomorrow and bitch, and then hope the bitching gets some nice results. In the meantime, I'll see if the Radial site has a user's forum or something...

 

And yes, I like in theory the idea of passive devices over active, but since my theory is not based on fact, I really don't know what to do. I have this idea in my head that passive devices are less 'invasive', therefore they may be sound and respond (what some players would call 'feel') more naturally.... but again, this is an idea founded on assumptions of mine that may actually be wrong.

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Your assumptions about passive DI's are, in fact, false, but I understand the logic.

 

Passive DI's are, by design, less accurate in translating input to output without changing the timbre of the signal. They are, however, easy to build like a tank, so breaking one should be near impossible.

 

They are far simpler designs than active DI's, but I disagree that an active vs. a passive DI is akin to changing instruments. The intended purpose of a DI is to allow direct input of an instrument output into a live/recording console. It is not to change that output in any way. Of course this has changed over the years, as DI's have been melded into pre-amps and eq's, whose stated purpose is to effect change to a signal, in addition to impedance matching the signal for a mixer input.

 

I know of no passive DI produced that is designed to adequately provide a balanced, impedance matched signal that is identical in frequency response to the input. If it's possible, it's too expensive to be done right because no one seems to make one.

 

Active DI's, however, are very good at approximating an equivalent signal at input and output. Not perfect, but very close. But it does this at a price, both in intial cost and in fragility. (though most expensive, active DI's should be able to take their licks. I can't say how a Behringer Ultra-DI will stand up to my BSS, from which it was copied.) And, of course, as an active circuit, you must provide power to them. Either battery or an AC adapter or phantom power, depending on the DI in question.

 

The difference in sound quality is night and day, but you have to decide if that's important to you and if the inconveniences of an active DI are worth it to you. Most pro stages I've worked have a combination of the two, so though active DI's are generally the way concert stages are wired, don't assume they never use passives, or that passives aren't worth owning. They just don't do what an active DI, with or without additional features, can do.

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

 

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

The difference in sound quality is night and day, ....

But specifically between the two Radial boxes? I don't think it is so much "night and day" as orange or banana.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Your assumptions about passive DI's are, in fact, false

:D Not surprisingly so....

 

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Active DI's, however, are very good at approximating an equivalent signal at input and output. Not perfect, but very close. But it does this at a price, both in intial cost and in fragility. (though most expensive, active DI's should be able to take their licks. I can't say how a Behringer Ultra-DI will stand up to my BSS, from which it was copied.) And, of course, as an active circuit, you must provide power to them. Either battery or an AC adapter or phantom power, depending on the DI in question.

 

The difference in sound quality is night and day, but you have to decide if that's important to you and if the inconveniences of an active DI are worth it to you. Most pro stages I've worked have a combination of the two, so though active DI's are generally the way concert stages are wired, don't assume they never use passives, or that passives aren't worth owning. They just don't do what an active DI, with or without additional features, can do.

Sound QUALITY and QUANTITY (volume) are the most important things here. If the only inconveniences you talk about are the ones regarding powering up the unit, I'm up for it. Are there any other inconveniences? Do you know of anyone that can compare these Radial models (JDI vs. J48) in terms of sound quality?

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Well, not being totally familiar with the Radial products, I'd say it's time for a field trip. ;)

 

I was reading information from their website. Their products seem to go way over and above most, if not all others in the market.

 

The JDI may very well approach an unbuffered, full range output. I'd say it's the passive DI to check out.

 

The J48 has a polarity reverse that isn't mentioned on the JDI page, and it can also merge two signals to one. This could be useful for keyboard players whose outputs are stereo and don't want to lose part of various sounds, but it may be possible to use it with two instruments so long as both and stay plugged in simulateously. Interesting. It also has a low cut filter to reduce low frequency rumble. (Sometimes when you use fine equipment you realize there's undesirable freq's that have been eliminated by less than stellar equipment in the signal path. ;) )

 

Otherwise, you need to hear them to determine if there is any hf rolloff, as is inherent in cheaper passive designs.

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

 

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