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Best Versatile Live Solutions...DI?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by minnichds, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. minnichds


    Oct 31, 2011
    So I play Upright and Electric in a variety of situations, obviously what works for one is way different than the other. I am in search of one size fits all solution here and am extremely picky of my sound. Lets forget I play electric for this, though for some situations I might run through my GK RB1001 w/410. My pickup is the Fishman Full Circle and I cannot be happier with it.

    Ideally I play with a jazz/Americana group looking to only mic for live situations, though I'm known to slap some rockabilly, and get on with that 5 finger bluegrass death grip. I have had numerous feedback issues running through my electric bass rigs, though not so much with the GK, which have been solved by installing a second sound post under my G String (think bass pervs). But to save time, and for simplicity sake I really don't like doing this and lugging my electric bass cabinet for every gig I play (really it works really well though, the feedback is gone standing right in front of an 800 watt cab at high volume).

    I have tried the Acoustic Image Ten2, and while it works well for quieter settings, though louder than acoustic only, it really can't carry the low ends well when turned up, and I have a hell of a time getting rid of the mids. It sounded fine through the PA though, in which case I didn't really need the amp all that much and it wasn't worth the hefty price tag for a DI and crappy monitor.

    The Ten2 is gone and I have asked around a little, but before jumping the gun I am wondering what the general consensus is on DI. It seems as if it might be the best most versatile route while maintaining a sane budget. What do you think of the Radial PZ-DI? The JDV MK5? The PZ-Pre ToneBone? What else should I look at? On the ToneBone I really like the option for a pedal mute for tuning, boost for soloing, and 2 channel mix in the options, anything similar to that?
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  2. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Several months ago I picked up a used Sansamp Acoustic DI mostly because it was super cheap and looked like it might be ok but the thing has turned out to be an incredibly useful piece of gear I wish I'd gotten years ago. A good sounding DI with a piezo buffering preamp. Balanced and unbalanced outputs so it works as a DI into a PA or as a preamp in front of a bass head or power amp. The semi-parametric EQ is sensitive and nicely voiced. There are other preamps that do all this (I own a couple) but the Sansamp's small size (about the same as Type 85 or Radial JDI) and the fact it runs on phantom, a battery or a wallwart are a huge reason it's what goes with me to restaurant gigs where I'm running through the PA with no bass amp these days.

    The Paracoustic DI is discontinued. The new version is called the Para Driver DI but the only difference seems to be an added (and to me useless) footswitch.
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  3. neddyrow

    neddyrow Captain of Team Orange Jacket

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    too bad the ten2 didn't work out.....i love mine! i'd have tried other cabs for that before letting it go....but it may be a taste thing

    as for DI, the countryman is the standard. i got rid of mine because i wanted a mute/DI in one without extra boxes and pedals. i now use the orchid mute/DI with my fDeck. to me, it's pretty much the same but now has a mute.

    but every time this comes up, i always say the same thing, "i wish francis would make an Fdeck DI"
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    The Countryman 85 is a great sounding and affordable DI. I find that many reputable sound technicans already use. It's encased in a metal box countryman_type_85_di_box.
    peterpalmieri and sevenyearsdown like this.
  5. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    It sounds like you are looking for a preamp with a good DI, and not just a DI box.

    Even though my preamps all have their own DI, I still use a Countryman 85. It just sounds better to me than using the DI's out the preamp. I couldn't tell you why, but I'm sure there are other tech nuts here who can. I put the CM85 last in my signal chain, sending to both my amp and FOH as it was designed. I can't imagine that even the more expensive preamps have a DI that compares to the Countryman soldered inside it. Just my two cents.

    It also works good as a straight DI/buffer for piezos without a preamp if the sound guy knows what he's doing.
    cdavisshannon and neddyrow like this.
  6. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Over the years I've done a whole lot of no-amp restaurant/small bar gigs with the acoustic bass straight into the PA and a plain jane DI like a Type 85 is a pain in the ass. In addition to getting signal to the board you need pickup buffering and EQ as the EQ on most small boards is inadequate. Sure you can carry the individual pieces to do all this but at some point for a $100-and-a-fish gig you just want it to be simple and compact. In my mind a preamp with everything you need built in is essential for an amplified double bassist to own especially if you don't have the luxury of being able to afford a bunch of gear. Don't get me wrong I have a couple of excellent DI's and always use the REDDI when there's a soundman but it just ain't always the most convenient way to deal with the variety of situations the OP seems to be asking for.

    Raven Labs PMB front. Raven Labs PMB back left.
    A Raven Labs PMB saved me infinite grief over the years and although it's long out of production there are LOTS of similar and even more versatile options these days.
    Gollihur Music has some good ones. For build quality and reliably decent sound it's hard to go wrong with a Radial product.
    The Headway EDB-2 is definitely top contender.
  7. minnichds


    Oct 31, 2011
    Yes correct, a good preamp is essential, and I am definitely interested in mute/boost options as well. Live sound has always been a huge struggle for me as I am picky as hell with my sound. So it sounds like people are mostly sold on the countryman. I would be ok with maybe a preamp and a DI separately, so what do you all got for preamps then?
  8. minnichds


    Oct 31, 2011
    I would have if it wasn't stolen from my car on monday! Really looking for a whole package deal though.
  9. minnichds


    Oct 31, 2011
  10. They tend to sell for under $100 US when I see them.
  11. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Most of the Radial preamps have a boost and mute feature. I have the ToneBone PZ Deluxe 1 Channel Preamplifier that I use occasionally. It's loaded with all of the features that you are talking about.

    Radial Engineering ToneBone PZ Deluxe 1 Channel Preamplifier at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists

    cdavisshannon likes this.
  12. neddyrow

    neddyrow Captain of Team Orange Jacket

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    for a pre-amp DI with mute and boost, I'd check out the LR Baggs Venue DI - i have 3 of them though i don't use them. each of our soloists use them. its great for our mando, banjo, guitar player to have the boost for solos when you play in bars and can't use mics.

    i don't use one because i don't need all the bells and whistles for what i do. i do prefer the "color" it adds over the fishman and radial - i've own them all. my choice is the L.R. Baggs.
  13. cdavisshannon


    Jun 11, 2014
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    employee Gollihur Music
    I'll second this radial, it's all I've been using for a few years now for FOH as well as through a powered speaker for smaller gigs. Clean DI, Mute, Boost, HPF(I only wish this was fully adjustable as on the PZDI...which coincidently could be another good option) and built like a tank.
    minnichds likes this.
  14. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I like the Countryman and the Sansamp Acoustic di as well as the Ravens lab. I've just started using an Acoustic Image Clarus S4+ head with whatever box is needed. Great eq for upright or electric bass. It also has phase reversal, mute, high pass filter, and tons of power. DONE! ......sort of. (I'm a gear head)
  15. cdavisshannon likes this.
  16. Went through the same search and ended up with the new fishman play pro. Sounds great, has everything you need in one box. I was using a pedalboard full of stuff and now just bring the fishman. Tuner is decent, boost and mute pedals are great. Battery lasts a long time too.
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  17. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I have more questions then answers, I like having the f deck velco'd to my tail piece, it acts as a volume knob and the HPF is my at the ready tone shaping, I run into a sonic research true bypass tuner that is also the functional mute switch. I also like the countryman. I actually prefer it to the Reddi, Jule Monique is great but if I didn't already use it for electric I wouldnt have it only for DB. Perfectly content with countryman.

    I personally don't need the tone shaping if I'm going to a board. But if you are dumping the amp how are you gonna hear yourself? Are you relying on the PA monitor? Are you mostly in situations with someone running the board or does the band set it and forget it?

    If I was starting fresh I'd probably look at the Grace Felix as the #1 option with the tone bone as a more budget friendly alternative.

    The overriding question is how will you hear yourself on stage and how do you separate tone shaping on stage from what is being heard out front.
  18. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    All good points to take into consideration. Since I own and use the Grace Felix, for me it's a game changer. It gives you the flexibility
    of using it alone, in concert halls or using it combined with a power amp or powered speaker for small venues. It's tone shaping is so sensitive and intuitive that dialing in your sound is a joy. Grace is relasing the ALiX single channel version in May.

  19. The Diaper Geni

    The Diaper Geni Submissive. And loving it. Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2005
    Central Ohio
    I just got a Felix about a month ago. Been using it for EB and URB. It kills with both.

    This is going to sound stupid, and prolly won't help, but the Felix has very powerful controls but yet I never seem to stray from my "original" tone no matter how much I turn the knobs. I'll be EQing and think "That didn't do much" and then go back to my flat signal and be surprised, and delighted, that yes, my knob turning DID do quite a lot. And for the better! If you like the inherent tone of your bass(es) you'll love the Felix. Or the Alix. It's your sound. But better.

    A grand is a chunk-o'change. But you get two very high quality channel strips with some nice bells and whistles for that price. Not bad, IMO.

    All that being said, I also just LOVE the old Fishman Pro Platinum Bass EQ/DI/Preamps. Super easy to use. 9 v battery, 49 v phantom power or wall wart. HPF and phase switch. AND a one knob compressor that works really well when used within reason. They pop up for under $100 from time to time. Great value, IMO.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016

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