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DI Box + Power Amp, will it work for a bass rig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by windchillbass, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. windchillbass


    Jan 24, 2009
    I am curious to know:

    I am attempting to build a bass rig, slowly over time (small budget). My venue would be small clubs/ funk/ jazz, with a 4 string fender precision bass.
    will a DI Box + a power amp run through a bass cabinet work for a bass rig?
  2. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    Do a search on preamps and impedence matching. The short answer is yes, but you may have to put a booster or line driver pedal between your DI and the power amp. Cheers!
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Also, DI's don't have tone shaping knobs so you're stuck with what it gives you. May be fine, but you're taking a chance.
  4. davio


    Nov 2, 2006
    Boston, MA
    What he said.^^ You might also consider throwing something in there for EQ. I was considering something similar to this a while back but abandoned the effort.

    *spammy plug alert!*
    If you check my sig I have a Presonus EQ3B for sale that I was planning to use for that setup. It's a fantastic 3-band fully parametric EQ and it's very small and light.

    Actually what I was planning was to use that and the Presonus TubePre with a lightweight power amp. Something like that might work for you. They're both very small, lightweight units that fit in a backpack/cable bag/gig bag or you can Velcro them to a 1U rack shelf (there's one for $12 OVER HERE).

    Dang...there I go giving away all my secrets. ;)
  5. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    No. A DI puts out microphone level. A power amp expects a much higher line level.

    You'll get output, but nowhere near the full power of the amp.
  6. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    A preamp with tone controls is the best option. Even some stompbox preamps would work, but you'd have to check to be sure the levels matched up.
  7. By the time you buy the DI, get some kind of EQ, even a good pedal with power supply, you could keep your eyes open here for less than a week and I bet you could pick up a pre amp and be much happier. Just my oppinion.
  8. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    The acronym DI really mean Direct Injection. Typically this refers to converting the bass or preamp's impedance to 600 Ohm microphone level as many boards had mic inputs only.

    The truth is the acronym today also quite commonly refers to some kind of XLR out from an electronic device processing your bass signal, that may put out mic and/or line level signals.

    Several dedicated "DI's" put out a line level signal enough to drive a power amp; e.g. Avalon's U5. Such devices are both DIs/Preamps

    In contrast, the Countryman 85 is merely an impedance converter, and will work driving a power amp, but it will not work satisfactorily - it will not have enough level to be properly useful.
  9. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Aguilar tone hammer will work and it has enough juice and tone shaping to do it for not a ton of scratch.
  10. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Buy a preamp. There's a number of those that can be had for the price of a suitable DI and many venues will have a Countryman if they want you to plug direct.
  11. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Actually there are a number of rack pre's you can get for less than the tone hammer.

    Peavey, Ashley, BBE, older ampeg and Yamaha can all be had for not much and sound surprisingly good.

    I had a a Peavey max that was beat up but sounded great for about a $100.
  12. Tenma4


    Jan 26, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    I'll second the PreSonus Tubepre + EQ. The thing is, if you want to run the TubePre hot (like I do), you'll need to pull that signal back down a bit for some FOH boards without a pad on the input. In that case, I use a Behringer active DI.

    Another option that can do both DI and preamp with EQ, and allows you to switch independently between line and instrument level output on 2 outputs is the Sansamp Bass Driver DI.

    FWIW, in my experience the TubePre tends to have a punchier output for a clean tone. The SansAmp has a dip in the upper mid response, but with the built in drive, it will sit very nicely in a mix (read: traditional). It's not quite as punchy due to the nature of the preamp drive.

    SansAmp + Tubepre + DI + power amp + cab FTW!

    If you want to have some real fun, put a pedal tuner in front of the SansAmp for muted tuning. Then use the parallel output (it's instrument level) to run an effects chain. Mix the two on a small mixer and you can skip the DI. Send an output to the power amp, and one to FOH.

    Wow, that was long. I should get paid for that!

  13. got a question similar to this, so rather than open another thread, here it is.
    i'm planning on running two amps, one clean, one with distortion/effects.

    i'm using an active bass and a boss me 50 B, and i'm purchasing a power amp off of a fellow TBer.

    if i enjoy the sound quality i get with this pedal and bass combination, will i lose something by not having a preamp in between the pedal and power amp?
  14. Tenma4


    Jan 26, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm not really sure on this unit. I'm thinking the output might be a bit too low to drive a power amp well. As in the previous description, I'd use a TubePre or other preamp.

    Anyone on here use the Boss ME 50B that can chime in?
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    That's the issue. It's not that you'd be "missing anything" like tone or features or things like that; it's just that some power amps need a higher input signal than many effects boxes and DI boxes can provide. I don't know about the output of the ME50B though. Maybe read up on it over in the fx forum, I know there have been threads about that unit there.

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