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DI Box or Direct Out?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Bemo, May 2, 2019.

  1. Bemo


    Feb 17, 2019
    Lincoln, NE
    Would it be better to use a DI Box between the bass and the amp or use the direct out on the amp which is post-EQ?

    I have seen some TBers express "concerns" about sending post-EQ signal to FOH as opposed to letting letting the sound guy EQ what the house "hears". But is there a right or wrong way to do this?
  2. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I have found that the sound on the stage is not the sound the house hears. Throw that in the mix with varying talent at the mixing console and it’s just one of those components of playing live.
    Best scenario is to have someone on the mixing board that know how to eq a bass and give them an un-altered signal to work with. You make your amp sound good for you for monitor. Sound person makes the foh sound good. If that doesn’t work out, it’s time to negotiate.
  3. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Ask the sound guy which they prefer. They might even provide a DI box for you.

    9 out of 10 in my experience would rather use a familiar, trusted DI box than the DI from my amp head.
    JPaulGeddy and Zbysek like this.
  4. Spectre1966

    Spectre1966 Striving For Mediocrity Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Wallingford, CT
    I use the DI out on my Sansamp VTDI.
  5. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    As a sound guy, I'll take a DI over mic - any day - be that from the amp, pedal, or a straight DI box.
    It give me more control over how it sits in the mix.
    Getting bass to sit properly in the mix is not easy.. it's butchered mostly.. and I'm a guilty party when I'm doing festival gigs.. Not much time to do anything other than a line check and go. The band gets mixed during the first song, or two and then I start working on the fine tuning. That's process is a fact that most folks seem to be unaware of.

    This is even harder to do if one is moving from Reggae to Country, to Rock to folk/bluegrass acts/genres (or other genre in any order). Ask @4Mal and @Wasnex about it :)
    jon mccumber, ak56 and Wasnex like this.
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    There is no right or wrong answer in absolute terms. Most audio techs will prefer that you plug your bass into their DI so they have a more consistent and predictable signal to work with. An advantage of this approach is the signal is typically free of noise and has not had any processing applied that the audio tech may need to reverse engineer to get a good sound to the audience. If you are using effects generated from a pedal board, plug the output of your pedals into the DI and run the Thru from the DI to your amp.

    Using a pre-EQ DI on an amp would be my second choice.

    Now there may be valid reasons to use post-EQ or a mic on one of the speakers. For example, if you are using your amp to generate distortion, then one of these choices may be preferred. If the distortion is coming from the amp's output section and you are running a highly voiced cab like an Ampeg 810E I would go with a mic. If the distortion is coming from your preamp and you're running a cab that is more of full range flat response design, then post-EQ can give a fairly accurate representation of the sound.

    Another possibility is to use a preamp output with a speaker simulator like an OmniCabSim. Some DI's have built in cab simulators as well. For example the Radial JDI can be used at speaker level and can be set up to emulate a 12" guitar speaker...some bassists report good results. Caution. A speaker level DI should not be used with an amp running in bridge mode, which includes many class D amps.

    Regardless of the choice, you should learn and be mindful of how your adjustments on stage change the signal being sent to the mixer. This varies with where the DI signal is generated in your signal chain. If you make a change that impacts the DI signal, it impacts every mix derived from it. So the tone and balance in monitor mixes and as well as the main mix are affected.
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
    Wisebass, jon mccumber and s0c9 like this.
  7. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Most sound techs will probably favour pre-EQ DI.

    That being said, they usually have no major problem working with post-EQ DI under the following two conditions:
    • the EQing is not extreme; and
    • the bass player doesn't change it during the gig.
    jon mccumber and Wasnex like this.
  8. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Bemo :)

    When you choose the wrong way, you will sound like crap.

    When you choose the right way, you still can sound like crap. :D

    A keyborder using all of his 152 sounds in one song => No problem.

    A guitarist playing distored, clean, with flanger, chorus, delay…. => No problem.

    A bassplayer who uses more than one sound (or who does not play a P- bass :D) => The planet stops turning!

    A drummer… => Gets fired anyway! (poor guy gets a 10 minutes soundcheck for his $5000 kit,

    just to sound like hitting a plastic bucket with a hammer :()

    This is absolutely right! :laugh:

    The good guys have more than just one tool in their box! Bassplayers as well as sound techs!

    Be flexible and make the best out of the situation!

    may the bass be with you

  9. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Trust your sound guy and use his DI box.
    Zbysek likes this.
  10. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic

    Let me add: "and do as you're told"
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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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