Aguilar Tonehammer 500 DI out vs stand-alone DI

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by punchdrunk, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Inactive

    Jun 22, 2013
    Hi gang, so I’ve done some looking around here and am still uncertain about this. I’m wondering if anyone has any insight into wether or not there would be any discernible improvement in using a standalone DI (possible a Radial J48 or Neve RNDI) over using the Tonehammers DI out? I typically send a pre EQ signal to the house, and run a 1970 Precision with worn labella flats. I’m wondering if there would be any improvement to my signal using either of the above DIs instead of the onboard. Has anyone found the onboard to be lacking in comparison to the above mentioned standalones? Thanks.
  2. dabis


    Mar 27, 2016
    I'm using a TH350, always pre like you. Never had any problem, the signal arrives to the desk very clean. I've been thinking like you to upgrade the DI path but realized that in the real world where I do play (hard rock) will not be any difference. Maybe headroom but don't know for sure, never AB'd.
    SteveHeissner and punchdrunk like this.
  3. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Inactive

    Jun 22, 2013
    Right on. Definitely haven’t had any complaints with the TH.
    dabis likes this.
  4. forrestlaw


    Jun 25, 2018
    I'm sure by some measurable metrics it's probably not as good as a standalone DI, but my TH500 is fine and I see no reason to upgrade. Just because it can be measure to have better stats doesn't mean you'll be able to hear a difference.
    lomo, punchdrunk and dabis like this.
  5. hbabels


    Jul 26, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yeah it’s hard to say. There probably be some difference transformers tend to color sound. Usually in a pleasing way if done right which both those DIs you mentioned do. But I doubt it would be night and day.

    You would get the added bonus of a backup if you amp died on a gig and they make a bigger difference when doing recording so there’s that.
    For live
    It’s the kind of they have that might be worth trying & see how much of an audible difference it makes for you. Buy somewhere with a good return policy and try on a gig or 2
    punchdrunk and dabis like this.
  6. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I've never had a complaint from the sound techs when using my TH500 DI. I always have my Countryman 85 with me and sometimes my JDI as well, and have never been tempted or needed to use them.
    punchdrunk, dabis and hbabels like this.
  7. hbabels


    Jul 26, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yeah I should add that when ever I’ve been mixing FOH and a band has any Aguilar amp if we’ve used the DI it always sounded good and also never any problems with them.
  8. I'll echo what most have said. Most sound people are thrilled when they see those blue lights.
  9. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    The TH500 DI should be just fine for most purposes. I'd guess you probably won't see much of a noticeable improvment with a J48.
    Maybe with RNDI (not overly familiar with this one).

    I think you'd have to get into the big money DIs like REDDI to really notice much of a difference at all.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
    Geri O, Al Kraft, dabis and 1 other person like this.
  10. Dragan


    Oct 5, 2009
    I have tone hammer di pedal. Not sure if thats exactly the same components inside as in tone hammer amps? However l use it on small, medium and big venues and always been complimented for my tone :)
    (I wanted to say, that pedal works really good!)
    Al Kraft, dabis and punchdrunk like this.
  11. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Try both, and stand back at the board and listen.
    Being a FOH sound professional, AND a bass player, I'm always amazed at the amount of players who have never heard their own front of house sound. You can spend hours, and $K's on your stage sound and blindly allow front of house to establish a psychic connection to your sound. Get proactive.
    n1as, Al Kraft, MarkA and 4 others like this.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The TH500 DI is one of the best onboard DI's I have used. You won't see any real improvement going to a Radial DI. I would say the RNDI will be a bit of a step up. It is my favorite DI of any I have used. The transformer just seems to impart a bit of tonal magic that lets the bass sit so nicely in a mix. I had a couple of them, but they are built like tanks so I ended up selling my backup.
  13. hennessybass

    hennessybass Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2008
    Bayou City
    Pretty sure they are the same. And pretty sure the TH (either version) is a super high quality DI.
    I'm not sure if there would be an noticeable improvement, or even difference, to the naked ear between the TH and a stand alone box (J48 or similar).

    I think if you were to get into something like a REDI with some baked in flavor, then sure.

    I'll echo @Al Kraft 's comment... I alway have had a Countryman DI in my bag for years, but have never really needed it, including many years when the TH350/500 was my man amp.
  14. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Inactive

    Jun 22, 2013
    Awesome report so far gang, I appreciate the insight. Not having the opportunity to a/b my signal at the front of house has always made me wonder if I’m missing out on some level of fidelity, but it’s looking as tho the TH out is on par with the J48 and Type 85 that I’ve been eying. I appreciate the input!
    NKBassman and Al Kraft like this.
  15. 10-15 years ago every soundperson gave me a DI-box. Now every soundperson is happy to use the DI out of any modern amp I have used (MarkBass, Genz-Benz, EBS, Fender, Headway preamp). I take this as a sign that the DI on most modern amps is good enough for most live situations.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
    dabis, JMarkD and punchdrunk like this.
  16. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Either that, or a sign that the venues are inclined to not use their own gear whenever possible. :p
    punchdrunk likes this.
  17. darwin-bass


    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    I wonder if the TH500 (and other non-transformer based DIs) are more linear where those with transformers can saturate and add some compression?
    punchdrunk likes this.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Possibly. But transformer saturation is awesome for bass ;) Its a good clean DI on the TH series, and there is nothing wrong with that at all.
    punchdrunk likes this.
  19. Possible, but I don't think so. :) Most of the time, they want to use their own gear. The gear they know, and the gear they know they can trust.
  20. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    Speaking of this, I'm considering selling my TH500 to get the TH pedal. I don't play live any more, so the amp is not getting as much love as it should.

    Is the pedal pretty similar to the head tonally, despite lacking the Drive control?