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Am I cheating myself? (D.I. ?uestion)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by carl-anton, Jan 13, 2004.


  1. When I'm playing gigs I allways get the soundman to take a line out from my amp (SWR Bass750), and I have the switch set, so it includes the preamp tube. I thought this would be the best solution, But after reading several threads on DI's it seems that amp lineouts aren't regarded the best solution. Am I cheating myself for a better sound through the stock DI's they have at the venues we play, or is this solution good enough. I've never had any complains over noise, and the soundguys seem happy enough.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it's working for you, then keep on keeping on. Try it the other way to compare though, you may find you like the DI.
     
  3. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    You'll be sending an 'amp coloured' sound to the board - that's not necessarily a bad thing as otherwise a lot of the bass the audience hears will be just from the house system and your amp will only be for onstage monitoring (depending, of course, on the size of the venue).

    Personally, I like to take my Sans Amp Bass Driver DI along. That way, I provide a good DI sending a sound I'm happy with but I can often get away with using what ever bass amp the venue possesses - very handy when your gigs are in Central London and your choices for getting there (and back) are either trying to drive in and find somewhere to park or taking public transport...

    Wulf
     
  4. Thanks Rev and Wulf :)

    ...the problem is that it's very hard to hear the difference, when you are on the stage, and the 'difference' is coming out of the PA. And it's very hard to persuate a tight sceduled soundman, to help me experiment. So I need a little backup theory, before I go into the field. But in theory, should my line out from the amp, be just as good as an avarage/cheap DI.? Would it even compare to a real tube DI.? Forgive me for these ignorant question, but I'm pretty blank in this area. It just seems stupid to me, to have done a lot to achieve your ultimate sound (for me!) and then loose it all on the very link to the public. Lastly, would a high-quality DI even matter, if the mixer / PA system is crap? I guess not?!

    If it's of any good, I'm looking for a very clear transparent sound, one that just let's my bass through as it is.

    Thanks for reading on...
     
  5. As an engineer myself I can tell you that we prefer to take a signal from as close to the bass as possible - many, many players set their amps with crap EQ settings that we don't like to get through the desk, so we stick a D.I. before your amp and work with what we got. However, if you turn up with an SWR we're much less likely to object - you either know what's good, or you spent a lot of money on an amp that will sound at least decent pretty much all the time. I'd say keep on with the SWR, unless you've received any complaints or can get out front on a few gigs and listen to what your bass normally sounds like. If you'd like to change the FOH sound enough to warrant the expense, look into a good D.I. box. But like has been posted before, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
     
  6. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    If you want to reach 'tonal nirvana' where the sound the audience hears is the sound you've spent hours (and $$$) crafting the solution is not 'buy more gear' but get to know the soundman at that particular venue.

    If you play some regular venues, then that's relatively easy. If your band has it's own sound engineer that also helps (although that's easier if you also then bring the entire PA). If you're just playing from place to place... all you can really do is accept a certain level of compromise.

    Certainly at the gigs I've played recently, I don't think most people are too bothered about the nuances of audio quality - otherwise I wouldn't be the only one in the place wearing earplugs to preserve my hearing and prevent loosing all the details of the song under the aural assualt of all that noise :D !

    My conclusion is that it's as much about the situations you work in as the gear you bring along - what kind of situations are you playing in?

    Wulf
     
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Most SWR amps have a pre-post switch for the DI.

    You can route through JUST the first tube gain stage (which is unity gain). Essentially a tube DI.

    I have never had any complaints about the DI on my Baby Blue but will always use a (provided) DI box if the engineer prefers.
     
  8. Thanks guys. It's been really helpfull reading these posts. :)


    I differs from time to time. Sometimes tiny venues where PA is used mostly for vocals and keyboards, and sometimes bigger places where everything is PA'ed (if that's a word). The next big thing for the band is definitly getting our own sound engineer, but we don't wanna end uppaying for playing.
    Thats the setting I use. Since my EQ is allmost flat, it wouldn't matter that much if it was in. Gonna experiment with the three different settings of the lineout (pre eq without the tube / pre eq with the tube / pre tube and eq)

    Just one last question: If I were to invest in a DI, would it have to be a high quality one, to have something that's better than the SWR lineout or would any DI be better?
     
  9. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Because I'm often called upon to trouble shoot the sound system (church/gigs/etc.) I'm now using a Samson Airline wireless system for bass. This way, I can hear how I sound in the audience; if I need to adjust my rig, then fine, if I need to adjust the board, then I can work with the sound guy to get things where they need to be.

    If you can't (or don't wish to) go wireless, then do as Wulf says and get in good with the sound guys...either way, it's a good idea to be on their good side! Bring them presents, donuts, coffee...:D
     
  10. It rocks doesn't it? :D Being able to stand next to the sound guy and tell him what you want, and make sure he's not moving a DFA fader.


    *DFA = "Does F*ck All"
     
  11. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Actually, I'm sure I remember hearing rumours that at least some SWR DIs were prone to damage from a system with Phantom power - although I never had any problems using the DI on the Workingman's 12" combo I used to have. It might be worth doing some searching to find if that has ever been recognised as an issue for the model you have.

    Next time you play a venue where you can get an early sound check why not chat with the soundman and see if you can use a long lead to stand in the audience area and get an idea of the difference between the two options (even better if you can find an opportunity to do this without having the pressure of everyone else wanting to get on with the soundcheck). Find out what the options with your gear and your playing sound like to your ears...

    Wulf
     
  12. Yeah, I think that's what I'm going to do. Thanks :)