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DI box and Ampeg V4b

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Groovy_Gravy, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    I have a 70's ampeg v4b that I use at live gigs. we run the bass through the PA and have done it through the line out on the back of the amp. Does this mean I dont need a DI box?

    Would a DI box give me a better sound? If so what would be a good one to get. I hear Radial and Countryman recommended a lot but I have no knowledge about these and how they hook up...active/passive..

    PLease can someone give me a crash course on these things. I would greatly appreciate it!
  2. You could use a DI box from the line out to the PA. Advantage would be less noise and signal degradation on the balanced low impedance line of the DI to the mixer and less loading of the amp head. You also gain a ground lift.
    Good quality passive or active is you choice.
  3. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012

    I see a lot of bass setups that use an amp and PA send just a straight signal from the bass to the PA and it doesnt even touch the bass amp.

    however i also see DI boxes that take a signal from the speaker output of the bass head and then you run a line from the DI to the speaker cab and PA

    what would be the differences between the setup you described and the two that i described?

  4. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    DI boxes come in different flavors, but are one way for you to go. I've never used the line out to a board from my V4, so I don't know how to compare it to a DI, but here are a few thoughts: The simplest DI's take your bass' signal before the amp and give the sound person a completely clean signal to work with. Other DI's also go ahead of the amp and have features, typically EQ, and sometimes effects. If the EQ affects the 1/4" out to your amp, you may or may not like the impact on your signal going to the V4. The sound person may also ask you for a clean signal; different players react differently to that. I'm fine with it, as long as they know what they're doing. A simple active or passive DI avoids that discussion. I've used both and am not sure it matters much for live situations; the studio is different. If you'd really like to send the sound of your head to the board, you might like a DI that goes between the head and your speaker. Only a few do that, Radial makes one. There's some basic info to get your thread started. Ask away!
  5. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
    I have got a 70s SVT and the DI (Palmer 01) is plugged parallel to the power amp out.
    Linking the DI serial between amp and cab is also possible.
  6. The advantage to a DI before preamp is the tone you set may be good for your cab but cause big trouble for the house system. This why most amps with a DI have the pre or post selection. DI's that get the signal from the speaker line are good for sampling the amps character like distortion or compression but the FOH still may need to deal with a difficult EQ to the room/band mix. This is why FOH people usually push to have you plug your instrument into their DI before the amp.
  7. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    OK good info guys.

    another question. how much of a sound improvement is there? is it a lot? i need details please! :)

    Also we dont have a soundman, we do our own, so no worries in that dept.
  8. I do my own FOH as well and it is a lot more demanding to try and fix the bass eq on the fly. Lucky the amp I have has a good post sound and the cab is pretty neutral.
    With a pre DI signal you loose some of the flavor you aim for and tend to rely more on technique but gain a sweeter low end and more natural sounding mid and highs.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There is absolutely no comparison between a plain vanilla DI going straight to the board and a DI plugged into the speaker out of a tube head. The speaker DI will kick its ass every time. The only problem is what B-string said about different EQ's needed between house and bass cab. But boards always have their own EQ for each channel so it shouldn't be too difficult to deal with unless you have insane tonal settings ;)
  10. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Do live sound a few hundred times with local bands and tell me that the amp output is ALWAYS better for FoH.:rollno:
    Same goes for miking a speaker.
    An opener usually gets 1 channel for bass; same with a small PA/small club. A tough room or a poorly designed bass cabinet can lead to a decent stage tone with an unfixable FoH obvious problem.

    I do agree that professional players with pro equipment can often times insure their tone gets through assuming the PA system and the room are decent, and, the sound man doesn't re-EQ to his liking regardless of what is sent.

    I've seen top notch guys in NY sabotage a band because they were treated poorly.
    Of course, most decent bands that are willing to spend some cash (be they local or touring) often times have a sound man who is part of the team and working towards a common goal.
    I've seen bands w/o sound men get treated like royalty when they are treated with respect; sometimes a small bribe also gets the job done.

    Agreed that there are sound men that have their own agenda and try to make every band sound like their favorites. In this area the bands have forced the good clubs to re-hire.
  11. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Which one do you like Jimmy? And I have also read before that you like to mic as well. So, is the speaker level DI your favorite, or a mic? Which DI? Which mic?

    (Sorry for bombarding you with questions. I just recently got a V4 and I'm working on a cab. I'm totally hijacking the OP's thread, but I think this information would be something he's interested in as well. Thanks.)

    P.S. I'm a sound man too so I know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em when it comes to DI in front/behind the amp depending on the room, band, tone etc. And, yes, it is all about what works out front. I get it.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually my favorite is the REDDI these days ;) With micing and speaker level DIing, I kept running into nimrods who had a problem with it because it was actually possible for me to change the sound in the house if I didn't like what I was hearing. Those soundmen were 100% incompetent without exception, BTW. But with the REDDI, I love it just as much as micing and speaker DIing, and I never get into arguments because you'd have to be the biggest moron on earth to reject the REDDI in favor of the Whirlwind DI these incompetents always try to force on you.

    So Countryman and Radial make DI's that will work great speaker level, and my favorite cab mics are the EV RE20, Heil PR40, Sennheiser MD421, and Beyer M88. The AKG P6 also looks like it would be an decent cab mic and only costs $100, but I never tried it.

    Two caveats for the speaker DI:

    1. Never operate it without a speaker load as it doesn't take the place of one

    2. Any sort of change to your sound will be magnified more in the PA than your cab so make any changes small ones

    3. It's useless with SS and hybrid amps (people have tried, believe it or not).

    And as an aside to Jim, you're obviously talking to the kids out there ;) If a soundman has a problem with the sound I'm giving him, he should tell me and let me fix it, not sneak a hidden DI line onto my rig when we go to dinner.
  13. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Thanks for the info! If you were going to suggest ONE mic to try, what's your go to? I'm sure they all have their strong points, but most of us aren't mic collectors. ;)

    Also, great point about talking things out. I think a lot of bass player/sound man relationships get off on the wrong foot. Egos get in the way (which is better than Eggos getting in the way, but I'm gonna leggo that one). But that's a story for another day and getting close to sound guy bashing (even though I am one).

    So let's not cross any lines, ey? :D
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This is the Amps forum. Bad soundman bashing has only been knocked out in the Live Sound forum ;)

    Anyway, if money was no object, I'd say the EV. Relatively flat response, almost zero proximity effect, the best sounding one I've used. But the others come quite close, and the Heil will pretty much sound like an RE20 if you back it off the grill a couple inches. And I'm no mic collector...just had the fortune to have some nice mics supplied on gigs and I have an RE20 and PR40.
  15. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA

    Those are my two favorite mics for a bass cab. Can't go wrong with either one of those IMO.
  16. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    Ok, so with what you said its pretty much up in the air whether or not to use speaker level or bass level for the input.

    The countryman 85 looks nice and it can do both...correct?

    Now it is an active DI and runs on phantom power.
    I have never used anything with phantom power... there is a button on our board that turns it on. does this mean that it does it for all channels? and if so will it hurt a mic that does not need phantom power?

    Sorry guys DI boxes and phantom power are totally new to me. Thanks for all your help.
  17. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Most small boards provide phantom power to all inputs. Most devices that don't need phantom power can accept that without problem, though I've heard of exceptions. I have a DI (Baggs) that runs on either battery or phantom power just fine. I expect the Countryman will work the same way, whether before or after the V4. I'll bet plenty of folks on this forum can speak from actual experience since the Countryman is pretty common.

    I am curious about B-String's earlier suggestion about running the line-out from the V4 (preamp signal) into a DI. I've never tried that, but I would think it would give a nice "post" signal to the house, and if you're doing your own sound, you don't have to argue with anyone about it. If you try it, post a report, please. I would, but I almost never take the V4 out any more.
  18. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    we just use SM58's for vocal mics and some sort of akg for the bass drum. will these take phantom power?

    if/when i get this i will try different configs and report back!

    thanks again
  19. Note that the line out on a V4 is post-pre/post EQ.
  20. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    "And as an aside to Jim, you're obviously talking to the kids out there If a soundman has a problem with the sound I'm giving him, he should tell me and let me fix it, not sneak a hidden DI line onto my rig when we go to dinner."

    I agree Jimmy. I figured since you guys play big rooms, you didn't deal with amateurish sound man behavior. Sorry to hear that my assumption is wrong :eek:

    I had to pay the road manager for The Jam $50 so we could use more than 4 par cans at The Savoy 25 years ago; we still only used about 1/2 of what they did.

    Regarding a V4B line out, to a DI, to the console:
    I used this a few times in the studio and bought a large 4 Ohm, 300 watt ballast resistor. I can't remember which DI but it was either a Countryman or a passive Jenson transformer.
    The sound was huge; 3-D, full range, warm and punchy.
    I never used much EQ with that amp and usually had volume at 10:00 - 11:00.
    It made my old Alembic tube pre sound horrible.