Amp Direct Out vs DI box?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by grifff, Aug 13, 2009.


  1. grifff

    grifff

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    What are the differences between having an amp with a direct output, and a DI box? I'd love to be able to show up to the place that we play pretty regularly with just a DI box; they have a great PA system.

    What are the pros and cons of each?

    Could you recommend me some DI boxes that are pretty good quality so I can just look around?

    Thanks.

    If this is the wrong forum, could a mod please move it?
     
  2. bk2mono

    bk2mono

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    The direct output from an amp serves the same function as a DI box. I have found that many sound guys prefer to use a DI box over the amps built in DI because the output from the amps built in DI can be unpredictable.

    My choice for a DI box is the Countryman 85.
    http://www.countryman.com/store/product.asp?id=52&catid=10
     
  3. TheMutt

    TheMutt

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    Most of the time, amp-based DI's are a thing of confusion for sound techs. I'll echo the Countryman Type 85 as I know of some other musicians who use them and they are just awesome.
     
  4. grifff

    grifff

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    Just to get my facts straight, I would only need to carry my DI box and my bass to a show? I would plug my bass into the DI and the DI into the PA?
     
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  6. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    The AMP DI out can be your best weapon to get the tone of the amp head post EQ (after you make tone changes) straight to the house guy. Otherwise, the AMP DI tone can be pre-EQ (basically whatever you plugged into the input of the amp). Most amp heads have a decent direct out sound and the signal is more than loud enough at the mixer board.

    I have had some trouble with my SVT 4 PRO's and the direct out signal - the signal was too low and several soundmen complained about it. So instead of using the amp DI out, I use a Radial JDI (which just has my bass guitar's signal in it) and send that signal to the soundman.

    Radial JDI is an excellent piece of gear and runs passive (no power needed). Allows you to run your signal straight into it and straight into your amp head. Works best with Active Instruments. Check Radial's site for the active DI if you have a Passive bass.

    Be careful though, plugging straight into the DI box and unplugging your bass during the show will result in a loud pop over the PA system. Very bad!
     
  7. TheMutt

    TheMutt

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    Pretty much.
    The only thing you would lose is if they don't have wedges with good bass response, you won't hear yourself very well. Sadly for me, the sound techs I work with all seem to think that the bass is going to blow up their systems. :rollno:
    So instead, I turn my amp down until they have everything set, and then turn it up to where I wanted it to be. 9 times out of ten, they can't tell the difference other than to say that they could hear the bass clearly. :D
     
  8. TheMutt

    TheMutt

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    One cool thing to note about the Countryman. It can be placed between the bass and the amp, or between the amp and the cab. Works fine either way. It runs on battery or phantom power, which may be a bit of a burden every now and again, but works great.
     
  9. grifff

    grifff

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    Thanks for the tip! I was looking at the Radial products, so I would need the active JDI for a passive bass and the passive JDI for an active bass?
     
  10. grifff

    grifff

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    So instead of running from the Countryman straight into the PA I could run it into a bass cabinet first?
     
  11. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    Wedges are wonderful for shooting sound in a short throw pattern. You will have to be glued to the monitor for the majority of the show to hear yourself well. Honestly though, some of the good venues will not have the monitors as loud as you really need them. I have been in too many clubs where the monitors can barely handle the guitars and vocals - case in point - always have your rig with you! You never know! Unless you have an in-ear monitoring system or know 100% the venue has good enough wedges - don't chance it.
     
  12. TheMutt

    TheMutt

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    The Countryman has dual input/output 1/4" jacks and an XLR jack for a mic. You can run it in two ways:
    1. Bass -> Countryman 85 (1/4" out to an amp if you like) -> PA via XLR
    2. Bass -> Amp -> Regular speaker out to Countryman 85 using a 1/4" converter if you need to for speakon/etc (1/4" out to bass cab) -> PA via XLR

    It's able to handle up to 1,700 watts before it begins to distort according to the manual. (obviously, I want to get one in the near future)
     
  13. TheMutt

    TheMutt

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    Definitely +1 on that! I've had too many times where I've been at the mercy of the sound tech's mix and volume level. Take your amp, or get a smaller lighter one to use as your monitor.
     
  14. grifff

    grifff

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    It sounds really versatile, do you have any opinions on using them for recording bass? I've been using my direct out on my Acoustic B200 and its suitable for the kind of stuff I'm doing, but its a real pain to carry around a bulky 75lb combo just for the direct out. I'd love to substitute a DI for my amp.
     
  15. TheMutt

    TheMutt

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    I don't own one personally, but AFAIK it's been used on a lot of classic recordings over the years, and is considered an industry standard.
     
  16. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    I suggest you e-mail Radial about it and they will give you the answer you need. From my experience, the Active JDI worked great for active or passive basses. If you have two basses to switch live - Radial has a instrument selector pedal and switch the basses live without unplugging and using some cheap switcher box. Radial makes great stuff and your tone does not get compromised one bit when using their gear.
     
  17. grifff

    grifff

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    Does it color the sound at all?
     
  18. grifff

    grifff

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    I'm hoping to spend around $200 for a DI and if I can get away with using the passive one with a passive bass that would fit right in my budget. I'll email them for sure and ask. Do you happen to have an email address or a website I can use to contact them?
     
  19. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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  20. grifff

    grifff

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    If I was to use the Radial JDI for recording, I would need a preamp after it to boost the signal going into the interface right?

    Bass > JDI > Some sort of preamp > Interface > Computer

    Is that correct? I'm trying to get all my facts straight as I would be using the DI for recording as well as using it live.
     
  21. N.F.A.

    N.F.A. Supporting Member

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    I use my Phil Jones Bass Buddy as follows.. Direct out to PA, speaker out to a Bag End 12 cabinet for on stage monitoring.. The Buddy has EQ so I set that there as well. Best of both worlds.
     

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