Bass into a cheap DI doesn’t sound great?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by C_corie, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. C_corie


    Dec 26, 2020
    My playing isn’t great, but it seems like a cheap DI makes it worse. I think it’s time to buy a specific bass cabinet for my 64’ Bassman and just mic that up. Here is an example. Is this normal, when using my Phil Jones Session 77 (which isn’t amazing) it sounds way better and more balanced.

    Any thoughts? Is this just how basic DI stuff sounds?
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  2. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    I don't think it sounds bad over a phone speaker, sounds like a P bass through a DI to me.

    Have you tried any other DI's? Does your Phil Jones have a switch for the DI signal to be pre or post eq?
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  3. C_corie


    Dec 26, 2020
    So that was into the Shure MVI, it doesn’t have a line level switch so that wasn’t even using the Phil Jones- the output from that I think is too hot or mismatched for the high Z input on the Shure interface. I was also getting a little hiss, maybe it’s the cheap interface.
  4. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    I'm not familiar with that interface, I suppose it could have a lackluster DI. Have you recorded that bass before and liked it how sounded in general?
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    It sounds like a typical P-thru-SS-DI sound to me. Correct but kind of meh :D I'd certainly give the Bassman a shot. What kind of cab do you have for it now? Might work great. I've also tried running a DI between the speaker out and cab of a tube amp, and that usually sounds great, too. You just need a DI that will work at speaker level.
  6. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    If you have money to spend and want to explore what Jimmy just mentioned, the Avalon U5 is a great sounding DI. I ran one of those for my live rig for years and it sounded killer.
    DrMole and Ric Vice like this.
  7. C_corie


    Dec 26, 2020
    The cab I have for the Bassman now is actually a 2x12 Fender guitar cab from 2014 or so. It has Vintage 30 speakers in it and actually sounds ok for bass, but has a grind to it- with any sort of volume.

    I’m usually more of a guitar player- the Bassman was a gift of sorts from my dads co-worker in 2002 or 2003 when I was young and had no idea what to do with it- it needed a new fuse and eventually service for new caps and a 3 prong plug. It has worked great since the 2011-12 service, but again mostly as a guitar amp.
    JimmyM likes this.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That, to me, is the classic picked P bass tone. I would simply learn your EQ section in your DAW to dial in what you're looking for. But I find nothing wrong with that tone.
    Mili, Reedt2000, Selios and 11 others like this.
  9. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello. What you describe implies three different questions. Answering any one of them will not answer the others:

    1. Does a cheap DI sound worse than a not cheap DI?

    2. Does a cheap amp/cabinet/mic sound worse than a not cheap amp/cabinet/mic?

    3. Does an amp/cabinet/mic of any given quality sound better or worse than a DI of equal quality?​

    That is, if your only solution to improving the result you get when recording with a cheap DI is to use an amp/cabinet/mic instead, then A. you will not know whether a not cheap DI might have gotten a better result (a blind spot and unresolved question), and B. you will invoke the question of what results you can get using amp/cabinet/mic combinations of varying quality (additional complexity and a slippery slope).
    equill likes this.
  10. XLunacy


    Nov 28, 2013
    If it's tone you're looking for, and not dBs, you might want to try a cab simulator before thinking of mic'ing a cab.
    It has lots of benefits IMO, consistency and convenience being the most prevalent to me. Some of them even have tube power amp simulations that really add thickness and sweet warmth to the tone, a must when going 100% DI.
    Check the Torpedo CAB M+.
    equill, Relayer71 and seedokebass like this.
  11. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    Sounds fine. Nothing wrong with the DI. Color the tone with and EQ to suit. As a matter of fact, in the full context of a band, that tone should break thru just fine.
  12. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    Post processing makes all the difference, as mentioned above. Whether it's eq, compression, saturation, speaker impulses... That's going to take your basic DI tone further no matter the bass.
  13. C_corie


    Dec 26, 2020
    I guess it’s more for making clips/personal enjoyment than anything else.

    I mostly play guitar and go guitar -> amp -> microphone, for YouTube.

    I was going to start making some bass clips and thought I’d try the DI but it just doesn’t really do it for me, playing through an amp gives a different feel and honestly I’m not sure people go to YouTube to watch videos of Bass using a cheap DI.

    I think since I already have nice amp I should get a “nice” cab, for home use and just because at least then people would be getting to see more demos of a tube bass amp on YouTube.

    FYI all my YouTube stuff is unprocessed- I want it to be as close to what I hear in my room, so that’s why I’m thinking microphone and cabinet.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  14. equill


    Nov 25, 2010
    I'll just leave this here:
    seedokebass likes this.
  15. C_corie


    Dec 26, 2020
    Short of getting a new interface with an actual “line in” I’m stuck with either the basic DI or using a mic and cabinet.

    Edit: I’m wondering if it’s possible to send a line out into a “high Z” level instrument input on my little interface thing? Could I try the Phil Jones line out into the “instrument level” input of the Shure interface or is that asking for trouble.
  16. I use a Samson Active DI. Works great.
  17. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    It’s totally accurate. Now copy the track and run it through a AmpliTube or some such and blend the tracks.
    smogg likes this.
  18. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    If I understood correctly the Shure MVI is a usb / audio interface not strictly a passive or active DI though it does have a mic / instrument level input. Also saw no mention of what software OP using to record although the MVI comes with an app and the Pbass sounded like the tone was full on and sounded about like you'd expect under those conditions. I'd be curious to hear something with the tone at or just below 1/2 and perhaps some basic EQ / plugin help for the recorded track that would likely yield a decent recorded track. A passive DI input into this device might also yield different / better results, but at first pass this seems workable. Then again, da hell do I know?
    seedokebass likes this.
  19. andrus108


    Mar 11, 2018
    If you want to play your '64 Bassman without volume at home then what you need is a load box in place of a speaker cab; most of them nowadays also come with at least a line out, sometimes also cab simulations. I use Two Notes Captor, and then you can use either built in analog sims, or through their own plugin into DAW for full digital shebang; or for a bit more get a Captor+ / Live and have the device run the digital sims as well.
    seedokebass likes this.
  20. A DI'd P bass is not a great sound. Studios have various combinations of eq, compression, etc that they use on such a signal.

    A P bass really does sound far far better through an amp sim. Hence why I haven't used a straight DI is years (unless absolutely required by someone else)... worst case I'll use a behringer bdi21 for the output, which will make a p bass sound amazing imho. And it costs like $40 or so depending on where you live etc.
    seedokebass likes this.
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