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Comparing the Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 DI to the Countryman Type 85 Direct Box

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ukiah Bass, Apr 13, 2009.


  1. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    The Countryman Type 85 Direct Box is an industry standard for conveying an instrument's signal to a PA system or direct input recording. At the gig or studio, pull out a Countryman and the sound man will breath a sigh of relief. The Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 is reputed to have a DI of quality that's nearly equivalent to a Countryman. If this is true, those of us who own a Shuttle can save a couple of pounds by leaving the Countryman at home - or not own one at all.

    To test the quality of each DI, I recorded arpeggios for a simple chordal scale in G with a Fender Aerodyne Jazz bass using a Countryman and a Shuttle DI. All Shuttle DI tests were set to pre-EQ, which is the default (and only) setting for the Countryman. The G chordal scale is G, Am, Bm, C, D7, Em, F#m7-5, and G. The bass has some extra goodies to improve sonic quality - Seymour Duncan pickups, BadAss bridge, HipShot Ultralight tuners, and Status Graphite Hot Wire half wound strings. The signals were routed through an ART Tube MP preamp and a dbx 266SL compressor (3:1). Recordings were made with Cubase LE4 onto a Dell laptop.

    The first test simultaneously recorded the Countryman and Shuttle with a split connection: an XLR mic cable from the Countryman to the preamp, and a connector from the Countryman to a Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner, another connector to the Shuttle amp, and an XLR mic cable from the Shuttle to the preamp. Here's what this looked like:

    [​IMG]

    Here is what each device sounded like:

    http://www.davebuerger.com/music/misc/Countryman DI.wav

    http://www.davebuerger.com/music/misc/Shuttle DI.wav

    To my ear, the Countryman recording sounded more fat and sweet. The wav forms confirmed this impression. As shown below, the Shuttle wav form is thinner and more spotty than the Countryman.

    [​IMG]

    On a hunch, I disconnected the instrument cable from the Countryman and inserted it directly into the Shuttle, then re-recorded the chordal scale. It sounded much better - virtually identical to the Countryman:

    http://www.davebuerger.com/music/misc/Shuttle DI - 2.wav

    The wav form also improved to nearly match the Countryman's:

    [​IMG]

    This test confirms that the quality of the Shuttle 6.0 DI is virtually identical to the Countryman Type 85 Direct Box. It also provides evidence that for the best signal quality, it's important to eliminate the Boss TU-2 tuner (and perhaps other stomp boxes) from the signal chain. I've switched my tuner to the Shuttle's tuner out jack. I'll miss being able to step on the tuner to activate muting, but will regain that capability with the Shuttle's front-panel mute button.
     
  2. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    This is pretty much the results you should have gotten.

    One reason why you may have gotten poor results with the devices in front of the amp is due to the additional loading of the inputs. Don't know for sure without more testing, but it's certainly a possibility.
     
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    The first thing I'd do is get that Boss Tuner out of the signal chain:smug: Talk about 'non true bypass':eek:

    I also find most amp DI's to have the same quality as most good quality active DI's. I prefer a high quality passive DI myself, since I use active electronics in my basses. However, in most live performance situations, it doesn't matter much.

    Edit: I see you came to this conclusion at the end of your post. As I've posted before in other threads, the new Sonic Turbo Tuner is truly a 'true bypass' unit, and is the only pedal that I've ever been comfortable with in my signal chain.
     
  4. synterx

    synterx

    Jan 24, 2005
    Illinois
    dead horse being beaten: Main reason I believe a tuner out + mute is essential on a quality bass amp. Without the mute button, you have to put the tuner inline. And many, many people use a TU-2 or similar in front to get the mute capability.

    Does it really matter though to many people live? Not really. It still sounds good either way when cranking up an amp on a stage.
     
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Again, with a true bypass tuner, this all becomes a moot point:bassist: I agree though, that TU-2 unit, as you can see on the frequency plots, is just awful. I tried one in-line once, and it sucked about 80% of the top end out of my tone. Simply horrible.
     
  6. just buy the pedal from genz benz. Plus I love being able to activate the high boost with just the tap of my foot
     
  7. svtb15

    svtb15

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    I think i may have been the one that started that way back about a year ago when i got my shuttle6 and said the DI out was just as fine as my Countryman 85... Ooops sorry. But i still stand behind what i said then.. The DI to me is just as good.. And one less thing for me to carry to a gig.
    Now if you go POST EQ it wil be different as to be expected... But my shuttle DI has been flawless in every way since i began using it.. Im not saying the Countryman is bad in any way.. it is a world class DI.. but the shuttle DI is waaaaay nicer than other amp DIs that i have used over the years and goes head to head with a dedicated FET style Active DI-- The countryman...
    I must ad the countryman is able to do one thing and that is it can take speaker level out to Di....But i may have used that feature one time in 30 years.. and that was an experiment not a gig..
     
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member


    Hey Kirk,

    If you read all the way through, the issue he heard was with that tone sucking Boss tuner pedal. Once he took that out of his signal path, the Shuttle DI, like with virtually every other head I've owned, performed about as well as a good quality active DI box like the Countryman.
     
  9. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    Absolutely true. My interest is recording as good a bass tone as I can without spending a lot of money. (That I'm learning Cubase LE4 should tell all.) I listened to these clips through headqphones. I have no reservations using the Shuttle DI for recording provided the bass is plugged directly into the amp. I suppose you could use an Avalon or some other expensive box but that's something a professional studio would buy.

    Besides, to tell the difference you'd need the aural perceptiopn of KJung.
     
  10. synterx

    synterx

    Jan 24, 2005
    Illinois
    I've never had one problem with a bass amps DI output. They have all been fantastic. Have I compared them to an Avalon? No. But I get a clean, clear signal coming out of a D.I. Why would you expect anything less on a modern bass head?
     
  11. svtb15

    svtb15

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    yeah.. i jumped the gun.. im on my second 4 shot latte today...."Double time:bassist:" sorry.:)

    no giging under the influence of that much coffee.. talk about being on top of it... but im off today:)



     
  12. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Ouch... just a little too close for comfort ;)
     
  13. svtb15

    svtb15

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    I use a peterson Strobostomp2 tuner... I have it set in tru bypass.. if it really is or not i do not know... it does the job fairly well though.. and i dont notice any tine sucking...
     
  14. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member


    That works very well also.
     
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I use a TU-2 inline. I "think" I hear tone suck as compared to when I use the tuner out. Although the Shuttle has a Tuner mute, I miss being able to mute and turn on my tuner in one step and keep my hands free. I seem to check my tuning often so it is fairly important to me. I guess I live with the tone suck for the convenience.

    Maybe I need to find a true bypass mute/tuner.
     
  16. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006

    I don't think this is a major issue for playing live, but it definitely affects recording quality.

    However, I'm like you - I prefer to mute via the tuner pedal. I ended up buying a Sonic Research Turbo Tuner-ST200, which provides true bypass. It works great!
     
  17. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    You *could* run your tuner out of the tuner out, leave it on all the time, and still mute to tune with one motion - without having the dreaded TU-2 in your signal chain...


    - georgestrings
     
  18. DAcat

    DAcat

    Jun 14, 2005
    Iowa
    Agree 100% with those above who feel the Shuttle 6.0 has a GREAT DI...I can tell no difference between it and my Countryman...and use the Tuner out/effects send-return on the back of the amp to ensure best tone incase your tuner/other pedals are'nt true bypass...Peace...DAcat :cool:
     
  19. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Just to put a different spin on this, can anyone point out specific bass amps (combo or head) that have really dismal DI outs? The DI out built into my Tubeworks amps sound just as good as any of the passive dedicated boxes I've tried, if not better.
     
  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I'm sure some are better than others. The great DI on my Shuttle is what keeps me from buying an Avalon or some other "superior" DI. If it ain't broke...

    Honestly, I used a CBI DI box one day with a pretty nice FOH/monitor system at church and it sounded as good as anything else I have used for less than 1/10 the price.
     

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