Countryman Type 85 vs Radial J48 vs Apogee Duet 2

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by izzy7, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. izzy7


    Sep 9, 2013
    I am looking for a DI box to use with Apogee Duet 2 to record bass (US Standard Precision) and guitars DI.

    I wonder which one would work better Countryman Type 85 or Radial J48 and would they be significantly better than Duet 2's DIs? I am looking to get as clean signal as possible and then further tweak it with IK Multimedia's Ampeg 2 plugin.

    I know both of these are very well regarded but I read one paper published by Radial that claims J48 outperforms Countryman.

    Anyone who has experience of both, do you find this bench test difference translates into something you can hear?

    Any other tips to get my bass recording as clean and clear as possible?
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  2. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    It all depends if you currently have noise issues with your signal. Adding a DI such as those mentioned can help with boosting signals on long cables with passive electronics (Usually, 20 foot or more). If you're recording a bass that has a preamp you can get by without one of those added DI boxes. Or if you use passive pickups and a instrument cable less than 15 feet.

    If you're experiencing noise, there could be an issue with your recording environment: like AC ground loop, bad cables, High Voltage near your location, or other frequency interference.
  3. verstft


    May 16, 2016
    Duet 2 D.I. is going to be hard to beat. I don't really see the need to use an external D.I.
    I have experience with Duet 2, Apollo, MXR81, Aguilar THDI, and GK Plex D.I.

    As a rule of thumb, best to use passive D.I. for active basses and active D.I. for passive passes.

    I use an external D.I. for convenience and EQ shaping mostly. I can tone shape a tiny bit and also Split the signal so I'm going into two inputs (one with toneshaping and one clean D.I. as a backup).

    Good luck.
    Ulf_Hansson likes this.
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Assuming there's no goofy impedance mismatch that needs to be corrected upstream of the Duet I completely agree. Apogee's front end, even on their entry level products like the Duet are really great. They sound good in that they don't seem to roll-off or hype things in any significant way, and they have plenty of headroom. An 85, JDI, etc. won't really provide much beyond this, again, assuming you don't need a step in between your bass and the Duet to correct for an impedance mismatch which seems very unlikely considering the Duet can handle a pretty wide impedance range.
  5. bafonso


    Oct 17, 2007
    I'm sorry but there is no way a duet 2 DI comes come to a DI with a decent transformer. I used to own a duet - I actually owned both versions - and little about that box could be classified as high end. A Nice DI will add some nice trafo sonics that will help anything recorded by the duet.

    I currently use a uln2 and while the DI is very nice, there is a reason why they sell a version with Jensen transformers..
    Bassist30 likes this.
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Already mentioned in the thread was how important it is to match impedance and that's all a transformer can contribute. Apogee and other interface makers know how to design a pre-amp that can match many instrument impedances.

    Transformers aren't used for inputs on bass heads because there's no magic sound in a transformer.
  7. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    What am I missing here? If you plug a DI box into the Apogee you're still going to get the sound of the preamp in the Apogee, no? There's no going around that. It seems like a waste to put a device between the bass and the Apogee if the goal is to record "direct' and then shape the sound in the computer.
  8. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    High end or not, for recording a bass directly into the Apogee A/D I see no reason at all to pass via a J48 (or Countryman). With proper levels and impedances I'd say that there is no way you'd hear any difference.
  9. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    Countryman have been used for many years as the go to DI...As of recent some favor the J48 and JDI. Either one will work well. Recently got the USEFUL ARTS BF-1 and have not looked back.
    bafonso likes this.
  10. bafonso


    Oct 17, 2007
    Actually, transformers are used for everything in studios because of their sonic qualities, not necessarily because of the need for impedance matching. I run all my audio through my wa76 just to get some trafo goodness, just like many others run their signal through gear with trafos.
  11. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Just impedance matching and isolation (ground loop/lift) if needed.
    Saturation sounds horrible and is not useful.

    It's rare just to add a transformer by itself. There are other devices in the circuit, some active, some other passive. If there is someting, it is probably other parts of the circuitry that is being attributed to the transformer.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I had a Radial but have since switched to a Countryman Type 85 for day to day use.

    I wouldn’t characterize the Countryman to be totally transparent. It adds a definite warmth to the signal. It’s subtle and rather pleasing as far as my ears are concerned. But I don’t know if it would qualify as “clean” depending on how you’re defining clean. It is, however, a good sounding DI.