DI for bass guitar

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Anton Lawrence, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Anton Lawrence

    Anton Lawrence Guest

    Apr 26, 2015
    I recently bought an Ibanez acoustic bass guitar.

    I use it for recording purposes. However, a bass plugged into a DAW sounds very dull.

    My son-in-law said I had to plug it into a DI and then into my Focusrite interface.

    So I suppose what I need is a DI and a short XLR cable to plug into my Focusrite interface. Is that correct?
    If so what (cheap)DI would you recommend for a complete amateur musician just making home recordings for his own amusement?

    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Which Ibanez bass and which Focusrite interface are you using?
  3. Anton Lawrence

    Anton Lawrence Guest

    Apr 26, 2015
    Thanks for your prompt reply Garp.
    Ibanez PCBE12MH Open Pore Natural acoustic bass.
    Scarlett 214
  4. flatwound62p


    Apr 24, 2017
    I use a Scarlet interface, but with an electric bass so I don’t have first hand experience of your setup. One thing that occurs to me is the input impedance on the Scarlet is only about 50k ohms. I stand to be corrected but I think a piezo pickup like you have wants to see a load closer to 1meg ohm. That could be a reason for your dull sound.
    If you go looking for a DI you want something with a high input impedance.
    NKBassman and Max Bogosity like this.
  5. Anton Lawrence

    Anton Lawrence Guest

    Apr 26, 2015
    Thanks. Any suggestions about makes of DI
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    for you setup: your interface is a DI. if the recordings sound "dull" you might consider adding some gain to the wav/track, some compression, and some EQ. you don't need a DI. good luck with your in-laws! :thumbsup:
    geof_ and Bodeanly like this.
  7. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    A Countryman DI is the old standard, but my go to is the Radial DI with a Jensen transformer. It's a but pricy, but it's worth it, in my opinion, and it's built to last forever.
  8. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Radial DI's get the bang for the buck award, they start at around $100.
    Your piezo p/u's will have a very high impedance but the Scarlett should be fine with it.
    Lack of sparkle in your bass tracks could be your monitors, your EQ, or numerous other causes. Keep trying things, and A/B ing with the original track. When you say 'recently' remember that studio cats spend years perfecting their craft. If you get a golden track, it's more by accident that great management. Just keep trying. The magic is in there.
    Ewo likes this.
  9. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    The focusrite has an instrument level input so you don't need a separate DI. You might want a bass preamp though... or you might want an electric bass for recording.
  10. bench

    bench Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    shouldn´t a piezo equipped bass have an internal preamp that already sends a low impedance signal...?!?
    Wasnex likes this.
  11. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    With all the modeling and shaping available in most DAWs, I would plug the bass directly into the interface with an instrument cable and find a good tone inside of the software. There is no need to add another piece to an already simple puzzle.
  12. Just make sure that you use the correct input and the correct setting on the focusrite (Hi-Z and TSR-cable). Most interfaces switch automatically into mic-level input if you use a XLR-cable.
  13. geof_


    Apr 25, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    I haven’t tried it, but maybe look into a TC Electronic Bodyrez pedal to enhance the acoustic properties of the bass.

    I agree with the other posts — you don’t need a DI. Perhaps just a little EQ/compression.

    That being said, for a great read (and listen) on bass DI, check this out:

    Andy L and elkkid2 like this.
  14. Drucifer

    Drucifer Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Endorsements: your name could be here, Mr. Sadowsky!
    I don't think you need another DI, I agree with @And I, I think you need a pre-amp. Many pre-amps have DIs built-in as well. There's a lot of discussion about DIs and pre-amps for acoustic bass guitars on this site, here's an example: Acoustic Bass Guitar preamps, rigs and sound tips
  15. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Don't think it's focusrite problem there, check your guitar detailed.
  16. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    You need this.

    Beltclip Preamps | LR Baggs

    Not a DI, it would go into any DI. This goes between your bass and the board/DI but it will do what you want.

    The Gigpro is an all-discrete Class A single channel beltclip preamp that eliminates the need for active electronics on your prized instrument. It makes any acoustic pickup sound better and provides fingertip control right at your side.


    Adjustable gain

    Passive 2-band EQ

    Bass trim control

    Phase inversion

    9V phantom power

    Battery type: Single 9V

  17. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    Wait, that bass has a preamp...have you tried turning up the treble?
  18. Anton Lawrence

    Anton Lawrence Guest

    Apr 26, 2015
    Thank you for all your tips and suggestions. I don't really know anything about DI, preamps and so on. My son-in-law and I were watching a really amateur group outdooors last Saturday and I was struck by the high energy of the bass even though the girl playing the instrument was no better player than I. But she obtained that lovely visceral sound when you hear a bass being played through an amp. So I asked the said relation how I could get a sound like that using Reaper. He said I needed to plug it into a DI and then have a short XLr cable leading from the DI into my interface.

    There is also a video on the Reaper site showing how to record a bass. Either using an amp or a DI or both. And he shows the guitar being plugged into DI and then a cable going to the back of Scarlett (I don't have those inputs on my Focusrite, so would have to plug into the front).

    You talk about a preamp, I thought Focusrite was a preamp!

    Before asking my question here I e-mailed a music shop to ask if they had they had DIs and Xlr cables.

    The answer was "To plug your bass into a Di or a tiny but effective preamp/multieffet for bass will be interesting indeed.
    The purpose here is to change the impedance of your instrument into Line Level - Low Imp
    then you will enjoy full details of your bass without worrying about the lenght of the cables.

    ART Xdirect
    Boss GT-1B
    https://www.keymusic.com/fr-be/produit/dr.-j-d53-sparrow/ "

    The person in question is a French speaker (I live in Belgium) so that might be one reason he left me bemused but you are all English speakers, I presume, but I am still confused by the terms you use.

    As I say, I thought Focusrite was a preamp. I am not sure what "impedance" refers to in this case

    As for the shop's answer ""To plug your bass into a Di or a tiny but effective preamp/multieffet for bass will be interesting indeed." , what is a preamp/multieffet for bass? And what does he mean by "
    change the impedance of your instrument into Line Level - Low Imp
    then you will enjoy full details of your bass without worrying about the length of the cables."
    Thanks for all you ideas so far.

  19. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Yes, and OP's bass has one.
    NKBassman likes this.
  20. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    Don't you have virtual amps, cabs, pedals and rack effects in your DAW?
    If you use the tools in the software. It cannot sound dull.
    It looks like you are about to acquire hardware to fix a software problem.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
    Bodeanly likes this.