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Best Bass DI, where can I find shootouts?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by ethm1, Apr 9, 2003.

  1. ethm1

    ethm1 Guest

    Jul 4, 2000
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Greetings folks. I'm looking to buy a DI for church, and need info. I've already done some looking, Harmony Central, etc... but I'd really like to find a shoutout article. BassPlayer had one in Nov. 98, but it's not in their archives. They emailed me back and said I could purchase the whole back issue, but I only need the article. Can anyone help?
    My first choice so far is the Sansamp Bass DI, but I'm open for other recommendations.

  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    What do you want the DI to achieve? At church we use some relatively cheap active DI boxes that get their juice via phantom power. They're nothing special but they get the signal to the back of the church via a balanced line - I think they're worth about £40 but I can't remember the brand.

    I recently purchased a Sansamp Bass Driver DI for myself, which I use at church among other places. However, that's as much about tone-shaping as simply taking the output from my bass and converting it to a balanced signal. It's worth the extra money to me but may be overkill for you.

    Depends what you're after...

  3. King David

    King David

    Dec 13, 1999
    Get the Sansamp! The price hurts, but you will not regret it. I use mine at church. It works great!
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Best of the best is the Avalon. Very pricey.
    The SanSamp is really great, aminly because it does so much more than a simple DI box.
    I'd recommend the Hugues & Kettner Red Box for a budget DI.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Jim - BP's annual "Bass Gear" edition did a DI shootout in 2001. Awards are below, but note: the superb, pricey, DI's like the Avalon U5, Aguilar DB 900, and and Raven Labs APD-1 were included in the magazine but not in the shootout because they came on the market after the shootout was conducted. Even so, those units are in a distinctly higher price range than the award winners.

    - Countryman Type 85 got a Top Tone and a Best Built award
    - Tech 21 SansAmp got a Top Tone and Most Innovative award ("Innovative" for its tube emulation circuit)
    - Radial Engineering JDV got a Top Tone, Best Built, and a Most Innovative award ("Innovative" for it's rechargeable battery pack...in case voltage drops when using phantom power).
    - Best Buy Awards went to the BBE DI-10 and the Whirlwind IMP 2.
  6. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I ordered a Behringer Ultra DI from American Musical Supply for 29.95. It is active(uses 9v or phantom power.) I have only used it once but it did not "color" the sound any. If I had the money, I would go with the SansAmp, but this works just fine.
  7. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Let me qualify the statement about coloring the sound. It didn't make any difference to my ears which have been worked over pretty good by guitars for the last couple of decades.
  8. ethm1

    ethm1 Guest

    Jul 4, 2000
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Thanks folks. I'm gettin' there. I'd still like to a side by side test though. I'll keep digging.
  9. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    I know it is primarily a preamp, however the DI in it can't be beat. Even if you have an active bass, you can run your onboard flat and use the Sadowsky to shape your tone. It is a bit pricey but well worth the $, IMO. I never leave home without mine! :D
  10. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I'll second that Sadowsky preamp/DI.
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I really like my Countryman. Some think it's too screechy with active basses. I don't.
  12. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I use a cheap Behringer DI for $45, for simple recording and gigs, if the soundman doesn't want to use his own DI's, and it works fine... I let the soundguy do most of the tone shaping anyway, so I really don't need anything fancy.. It has a built in switchable 4x12 cab simulation, that I've never used, and don't really trust, but I've never really tried it out.
  13. I'll "third" the Sadowsky!
  14. chengann


    Apr 22, 2003
    i, too, am looking for a bass di for church.

    i am presently using a sansamp bddi.
    it sounds great but i still think it colors the tone. nothing bad about that since it's "good color". just that i find the sansamp rounds off the edges and removes some of the clarity.

    i didn't believe it until i heard the preamp shootout by todd and josh (www.basstasters.com). just compare the sansamp with the avalon u5.

    i can't afford the avalon. anyone knows a cheaper alternative????

    i don't want too much tone shaping.
    my onboard bart preamp could do that.

  15. The issue of Bass Guitar Magazine with Geddy Lee on the cover has an article comparing a bunch of different DI's in it. It's from the UK but you can get it in Border's or Barnes & Noble. Here's their website: www.bassguitarmagazine.com
  16. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    There are several great comparisons of DI's in various mix and recording magazines which are linked from the "review" area at Radial's web site: www.radialeng.com

    I recently went with the Radial JDI, and it runs circles around my old Countryman 85 for clean, crystal clear tone.

    Also, beware of the difference between a preamp and a DI, some serve a dual purpose. The Sansamp and the Avalon U5 are preamps, which focus more on their ability to color and affect the sound. A good DI strives to avoid coloration and rather to send a crystal clear, pure sound to the board.
  17. chengann


    Apr 22, 2003
    i agree that a good di should be transparent. however, the avalon seems to bring out some of the nuances and brilliance of the bass, without coloring it. it sounds like an oxymoron (the fact that it amplfies some frequencies, it's in fact affecting the tone). but i feel that it adds clarity, and not color.

    those mp3 at this site proves this point pretty well


    yea, i heard good things about radial's direct boxes.
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I would argue that in a typical church application **any** DI would do the job. The subtleties of DIs in live situations are mostly lost. It matters a lot more when you're in a recording studio and you can actually HEAR the differences. Buying an Avalon and running it into a Peavey PA system would be a waste of money.

    My preference would be a PASSIVE box, no power supply issues. Whirlwind IMP2, Whirlwind Director, the ProCo box or (if you have the $$$$) the passive Radial box.
  19. I have a SansAmp. It's very good. But, I finally got to use an Avalon in a recording studio. It's unbelieveable. I know it's expensive, but probably worth every penny. Fantastic tone!
  20. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    If you haven't done anything yet, check out the Radial. I just bought the J48, and could not be happier.