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DI or Preamp for Live

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by OHBandit, Apr 10, 2014.


  1. OHBandit

    OHBandit Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Maineville, OH
    OK here goes. I'm not the most technical guy but I'm learning. I currently play in a praise and worship band. Current rig is Stingray 5 thru Eden Navigator direct to PA. We have a nice PA and run subs and use IEM's. I also am looking to pick up another P bass at some time.
    Question is would you stick with the Navigator or go with a good DI box (radial, countryman) for playing direct? Also since I may be playing both active and passive basses, if DI box is the answer then do I use active or passive box?
    I just can't seem to get the sound I want in the FOH. Actually to complicate things more, I can control the tone very well in my IEM's by tweaking the Eden but it doesn't have much effect in the house. I guess that's a complete different issue.:crying: So all that aside, back to the original question, D.I. box or the Eden?
     
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    You have 3 different options (pre & post) when configuring the Eden's DI out. Which are you using?

    Riis
     
  3. OHBandit

    OHBandit Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Maineville, OH
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    That may be part of the problem. In my experience (yes, I owned a Navigator), the pre has a lot of tonal character which may work against you when sending a post comp / post EQ DI signal to the board...IOW, what sounds good via IEM's may not translate well when supported via FOH. Try a post compressor / pre EQ setting and let the desk / mixer do the rest. May not be perfect but you'll be headed in the right direction.

    Riis
     
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  6. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    This is probably where Riis is heading, but if you are getting a good tone through your IEMs but not FOH, I'd postulate that changing the signal you send isn't going to change much. You are at the mercy of the PA, the sound guy/gal, and the limitations of both. You're already doing all you can do to control the feed by sending it post-EQ.
    What is it about the FOH sound you don't like? If you can't communicate your needs to the front (and it could be that the FOH sound is actually just right for the room--I don't want to just say that the sound guy isn't really doing a good job--occasionally we don't know from the stage), you might be able to reduce the opportunity of the FOH to muck the final signal up by putting a HPF in line before it goes there...
    Sometimes I have to tweak my on-stage (or IE) sound to a point I'm not entirely happy with so that the sound guy isn't able to make as much mud out of the feed he gets.
    Jeff
     
  7. ITucker_034I

    ITucker_034I

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Location:
    Yorkshire, UK
    Sounds like the problem is with the pa mix. If so have a word with whoevers running sound.
     
  8. bluesdogblues

    bluesdogblues

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    I never try Eden Navigator, but I have tried many enough other preamp, micpre (!) and DI.
    The Best are the expensive micpres (Avalon, Millennia, Manley etc), but they are..well..very expensive and not practical..
    But also The Best for me is A Design REDDI Tube DI. Not to tweak much our sound, but It's very very good, excellent sound that I never found in any other device.
    I never found any Venue have good dedicated DI Box esp for bassist. So for me, REDDI is very valuable.
     
  9. OHBandit

    OHBandit Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Maineville, OH
    The sound in the house is just muddy and lost in the mix. Keep in mind this is worship and the sound guys are volunteers that pretty much just know how to run volume levels period. I'm no expert but I do have a good ear. I play with wireless so I'm able to go out front while playing and here what's going on. Have actually threatened to just bring a cabinet and be cut from the pa.
     
  10. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    :)
    It's a VERY familiar story! And kudos to the volunteers for volunteering. I'd recommend to keep working with them. Get your worship leader on your side.
    Good luck!
     
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    If they're cooperative, I think your plan is a good one. A simple manipulation of the channel EQ settings (...and a few other parameters) can do wonders. I would still start with a pre-EQ send and then A/B with post-EQ.

    Hate to see you spend money on extra hardware when the problem may reside elsewhere. FWIW, the pros throw a Countryman (or similar) in front of their amps and let the soundguys work their magic. It's almost an art form.

    Riis
     
  12. wicksy

    wicksy

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Just because you bring a cab, doesn't mean you have to be cut from the PA. If you can get the sound you want through a cab you are already helping to push sound out front. Go out front with your wireless and see how they have your channel eq'd. If the guy is a volunteer, I'm sure he won't mind you eq'ing your own channel. Start by flattening it out and work from there.
     
  13. Rocksolid

    Rocksolid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    There aren't too many options better than an Eden Nav! What setting are you running with it? I only ask as I know when I run enhance on my Eden rig it sounds amazing solo, but loses definition in the mix. I would make sure the enhance is pretty much off if you want to cut thru the mix.

    I would go out the front and hear yourself solo also. If it sounds great solo, but not so good in the mix it is def an eq issue.

    It's also the little things. I was getting annoyed at my tone recently - started changing things, wasn't happy etc. I then put a fresh set of strings on and BAM! Sometimes we forget the little things, or forget how long since we have put a fresh set on. That may not be your issue - I'm just sharing my experiences.
     
  14. jswigal

    jswigal

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    In response to the original question: An active DI is basically a preamp. It just (in most cases) won't have level or eq controls like many preamps do. As far as passive or active... It really comes down to a matter of preference. Sounds to me like you like having a bunch of eq settings and things to work with, so what you have might be your best bet. If you're looking for higher quality sound though (probably in the realm of "who will even notice?") I would recommend a high quality DI (Radial, Avalon, REDDI, etc...) Do some research though, as they are not all created equal. They do all have different sound characteristics, but something like the Radial J48, JDI, or JDV will be the most transparent you're going to find. Ok, actually, you most likely would notice a positive change in sound... Most of the built in DIs in commercial amps aren't very good. I loved my Eden, but the DI always sounded terrible to me...
    As far as eq: http://www.empresseffects.com/paraeq.html
    It doesn't get much more tweakable than that.
    Best of luck!
     
  15. OHBandit

    OHBandit Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Maineville, OH
    Jswigal I really don't use all the EQ settings and would really prefer something more simple. Heck I could sell the Navigator and get a good DI box and come out ahead. Now a days my thinking is less is more. Radial seems to get a lot of praise here.
     
  16. frnjplayer

    frnjplayer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2014
    The Radial J series and Pro series both work very well. if you are running both passive and active basses I would suggest an active DI. Some basses just don't like the passive DI's and the sound goes south in a hurry. A Pro48 will give nice consistent results across all your bass options. that said your Eden is effectively an Active DI. So saving your money is never a bad thing.
    As for sound in the house there are 2 issues. At least.

    1st. When you are on stage you CANNOT properly hear what the sound is like in the house. It's like looking in a circus mirror. You recognize the person but it's not an accurate likeness.
    2nd. How much stage volume are you pushing. When I'm mixing 1 certain band the bass player is pushing enough volume off the stage that he is cut out of the PA in the FOH. I end up mixing everything else to match his level and I can guarantee that the tone out front is not one he'd be happy with but he leaves me very little control over that. Although it sounds decent on stage it is that muddy, mushy tone that you initially describe out front. Different speakers for different purposes.
    3rd. Your sound guys are volunteers and may not be terribly skilled. Bless them and see if you can arrange some solo time with them and cooperatively work on the bass tone out front. They get practice eq'ing. You get practice describing what you want in soundguyspeak. Win win.
     
  17. jswigal

    jswigal

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Yes, Radial makes great products. I can't recommend them enough! They provide graphs of the frequency response, harmonic distortion, and pretty much every other spec for pretty much all of their products, which makes it easy to compare. They also have a nice "how to pick the right DI" section that can be helpful. Like I said, I have no eq other than the pickup volumes and the tone knob on my jazz bass... Just direct in with nothing in between. (Except a buffer, in my case a pedal tuner...do some research into this if you're really interested in going direct...impedance can make a big difference with the passive bass).

    As frnjplayer stated: The sound you hear from your amp is not what's coming through the mains. I use only a powered monitor, which gives me a better idea (monitor mix from the board rather than running it like an amp) of what's going on out front. If you get a chance to mess with the FOH eq though, try scooping the kick drum above 80hz and the bass below and see how it sits then. There are some great articles on this site and elsewhere that give valuable insights into mixing the bass with the band... Do some searching!

    I will also say that when I switched from a MarkBass amp (using the DI out post eq, and pre eq on different occasions) to the Radial J48, I noticed a great improvement in FOH tone. Even high end amps tend to skimp on the direct out...at least in comparison to a company and device devoted primarily or solely to producing a good direct signal.

    Good luck!
     

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