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best Speaker DI Box

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by top028, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    Sorry if this has been beat to death, but I had no luck with searches. I would like to pick up a good DI box so I can give the kind gentleman at the back of the room "my" sound in the package of a a tidy little XLR that he so desperatly needs. I have a fender bassman 100, so amp break up is a part of my sound. Last week the soundman had one one, and we both were very pleased. I got into a discussion with another soundman friend, whether a DI or a mic and a stand would be best for me to cary along. We concluded that a DI takes up less room in my case. SO

    I am wondering is the cheep rapco Rapco DB-101SL with speaker level the best bang for the buck?

    Sometimes I add another speaker cab and use the second tap in my transformer. DO I run a risk of damaging my output transformer by plugging it into my with my speaker cabs parallel jack?
  2. I've tried and heard several speaker level DIs and in my opinion none of them really come close to sounding like a bass cab. Almost all of them are voiced for guitar abd sound very boxy and unpleasant with bass especially if you have some distortion in your tone. I've never tried the Rapco though but I think the safest bet is to get a microphone. They really aren't that big and will sound a lot more like your amp and cab combination than a speaker DI. The AKG P2 has been getting very good reviees and it's not very expensive at all.
  3. I've used a Countryman Type 85 with my old Hiwatt DR-103 (100W) and i had great results. It does not have cab emulation, so it send to FOH all you have inside your Amp. And just that. Cristal clear.
  4. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    yea it really comes down to what you need/want/can reasonably expect to work out with the soundman...

    --- the countryman is really solid; Itll be good for getting tubey goodness from an amp, or even your solid state if you like its eq and cant 'preamp out' for whatever reason. as stated above, you will not get the sound of your cab, but youll get your nice eq'd driven sound and the soundman will get to [have to] work with it, probably eq'ing it a bit anyway, and in a perfect world he eq's it to sound like your cab

    ---the mic'ing option can be a little dicey, because many soundmen for whatever reason just do not want to do it for basses... but that's usually easy enough to convince away.. you will get your cab's sound to the soundman, and he will hopefully only affect it enough to where it sounds like itself... lol... Its nice is youre into the tubey/classic cab sound, though sometimes I find it loses a little bass when youre mic'd... but that's usually with sub-par soundguys..

    for what its worth, if youre into super-transparent rigs (lets say Jule Monique -> Demeter power -> fearful), youd maybe be better served going direct- it hurts to not get to feature your sweet gear, but if the goal is transparency, its hard to argue..

    as far as cab emulation- I say do not bother... I have yet to hear one that sounds great (though I hear good things about line6) .. at least great enough to be worth not doing it the hard way, which is to learn what the frequency response tendencies of the cab you love, communicate with your soundguy your needs and desires, ask him to tweak as needed on soundcheck, and enjoy. I regularly tip sound guys; I do it out of good will the first gig with them, either because they nailed it, or because I'd like to be on better terms next time. If you develop a relationship with soundguys you encounter a lot, you wont have to invest in a lot of gear and convoluted tricks to force them to accept what you want them to reproduce- they'll usually change it, for better or worse, unless you can relate to them what you desire in an amicable, informed, respectful way.

    edit- to clarify a point I danced around--
    If you want to give them direct from your post-amplified signal, GREAT, but don't use ******** cab emulation- let the soundguy and the FOH be your cab emulation- they can do it better, and if they cant, theyd ruin your meticulous attempts to give it to them
  5. get a sans amp...well worth the cash...this way you can run your amp EQ flat...get a great sound, and the sound guy can do the same!!
  6. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    There ARE good, pro sounding Cabinet emulators out there, but of course, they cost pro money. Two Notes Torpedo C.A.B. has a lot of bass cabs to choose from, as well as mics and Power amp tube options, and software that allows you to create your own custom mixes. This isn't a direct box, per se (no XLR out, though you may be ok with a 1/4" to XLR adapter), but it most certainly will allow you to get a very high quality studio caliber mic'd representation of your sound via direct out.

    Also, for most bassists, leaping headlong into high end modeling processors like the Kemper and AxeFx is just too daunting and expensive, but I can guarantee you that they offer pro caliber cabinet emulations.

    if you really only want the sound of your cabinet mic'd, then the only way to do it without a quality emulator is to mic your cab with your mic of choice, and roll the dice.

    Otherwise, the tried and true DI / preamp boxes being mentioned are what is left. I will say that for short money, the ZOOM MS-60B has some pretty fair amp/cab models. You might be able to find something that is close to your sound there, and even if not, it is a worthy fx processor and could get you out of a jam in a pinch if you amp ditches at a gig.
  7. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I don't mean this to be a flaming or anything, but this seems like the worst option possible- the sansamp has a big, irremovable mid-scoop eq, and its never completely 'clean' even with the distortion all the way 'down' .. and again, from my earlier post, amp emulation in pedal form is never even close! Plus, given yhe OP's desire and the myriad of options out there, it'd be much better to mic the cab, or direct out post-pre or post-amp.

    I like(d) the sansamp for worst-case-scenario-sound gigs , and its a great pedal as a booster or a great 'fat button', but i think as a preamp and emulator, its not even the best from Tech21 and/or in that price range
  8. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Radial JDI
  9. Totally destroys the low end. I initially thought it was ok but after doing some tests at home I found it too be way to boxy sounding. Like playing bass through a guitar cab.
  10. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    Thanks for the info! This is a bit winded, but I had no idea how much all this pro stuff costs. I guess maybe I will continue with my dice rolling....
    Just to give you a picture of why I don't want a straight from my bass DI, is that 90% of the time (regardless of how nicely I ask the engineer) I get a smiley face EQ and get dumped into the subs. My sound gets lost if I play above A (well depending on where the subs are crossed over, I may get C, but usually not). I have also showed up to a show, and watched a young kid digging around my amp with his flashlight. "uh, dude, where is your mic jack? ALL real amps have mic jacks." I just want to help the situation when I suspect a soundman who has no clue. I use flats wounds with a mudbucker, so my highs pretty much come from my amp and my overdrive pedal. I have been told by a sound man to get a real bass too and to ditch my "guitar amp"!
    I have tried the sans amp, but never really liked the tone of it enough to justify the price. The price of the radial seems high, too. I guess its the jensen brand transformer. Modeling doesn't appeal to me at all. I could just trade my tubes in for a class d 300 watt amp and save some gas money. I may check out that AKG mic. I can swing $100. I will check the double bass pages to see if it would work for it.

    I was thinking about adding a line out tap, but I really don't want to molest this amp, since it is all but cherry. I have a bassman 135 that needs rebuilt; someday. I have read about running an XLR jack from the inverter tubes, someday I will install that, but I would like to have a transformer in between. then I will have a "real amp" with a mic jack :smug:
  11. If you really want to capture the cab you must mic the cab - period!!! So either mic the cab, or just get a regular good (not cheap) DI box (I use a Radial J48 active box with my passive basses).
  12. TIP: Unless the FOH soundman is on your payroll - no matter what you give him/her they will still make it sound the way they want it to sound in the FOH - so, don’t even bother wasting time or money on cheep crap thinking otherwise.
  13. Dude. Get a Countryman Type 85. There's one listed on EBay right now for u$100. You won't regret. Your amp is great and you don't have to sell it just to shut those a**holes soundmen up. The countryman accepts Speaker level signal and it'll put your amp's sound right where it has to be. No emulations or weird stuff.
    Trust me.
  14. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    I did get good results with my B15.

    Have you hooked it like Radial suggests ?
  15. Yes I did. I had recorded clips at some point, I may still have them somewhere
  16. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Im a countryman man myself, regardless of any my advice above.
  17. shoulda been more specific i guess...sansamp Bass Driver...i personally have this one and i love it...
  18. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I do the same thing with my vintage Ampeg V4. Sounds amazing out front.
  19. Just get a sans amp. The thing with speaker simulator type stuff is its really just a eq/filter that basically cuts out frequencies that a common speaker wouldn't put out. For example most bass speakers dont put a lot below 60hz but the sans amp xlr will go much lower, higher, and have a more even frequency response than a speaker. If you want a little break up check out the BDDI, RBI, PSA, or RPM. Not to say those one can't get really broken up but If you want a bit more breakup look into the VT line of sans amps. Just make sure you get one with a xlr out. When i play i bring a 8 space rack and an ampeg classic cab. My foh sound is just my bass, my effects, and my my sans amp RBI. Everything else is just a stage monitor so i can hear myself onstage. I would sound identical through the pa even without my head and cab. Using a sans amp as a DI is nice because you can sound good through the PA or in the studio without having to spend tons of money on more expensive gear.

    Most of the folks that like the sound of an amp pushed or even run dirty, don't like using an xlr because a dirty tone can sound harsh. This is because of all the high frequencies present that a bass cab wouldn't reproduce. Same reason some folks dont like cabs with horns. But the sans amps xlr signal does a pretty good job of it. Much better than all the amp heads I've had.
  20. mbrain


    Feb 20, 2006
    All this talk about running speaker level signals through a d.i. reminded me of an old thread, available here:


    In it, agedhorse (who knows a thing or two about electronics) explained that bridged amps can damage sound boards.

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