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DI from a tube head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by slobake, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Lately I have been going DI from my Zoom B3 into our board without out an amp. I started thinking (uh oh:p) why not get a new tube head with a balanced DI and send that to the board? If I did that without plugging into a cab would it blow the transformers? Is this even worth thinking about?
    I was looking at the Jule Amps Monique but for that price I might as well get an amp that I can play through a nice cab as well.
    I may be just looking for an excuse to buy a new
    Ampeg V4B.
    Any suggestions?
  2. The smaller Fenders have built in dummy load, don't know about the Ampeg.
  3. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Unless your tube amp manual very specifically says otherwise, under no circumstances should you turn it on without a speaker or properly rated dummy load plugged in.

    That said, you could use a countryman DI between the head and speaker.
  4. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    the fender bassman 100T and the super bassman have a silent record DI out but that's one hell of an expensive DI. If you're only wanting DI why spend $'s on an amp? There are several great sounding tube and solid state DI's available.
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Correct, it's not going to be the same thing, as the DI out is pre power section.
  6. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Have you considered the Reddi tube DI? A less expensive option would be an ART Tube channel strip...
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Check out this comparison of an SVT, a new V4B both miced and lined out of the back and a REDDI. Having both the REDDI and the V4B myself right now and having owned an SVT this test is pretty accurate.
  8. Sfx RedDragon micro cops some nice tubey squish. The number of gigs I am willing to lump my tube amp got halved when I got mine.
  9. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147

    Even VT bass or ParaDriver DI might do it. But then I am suggesting just another emulation. Why not run an amp and speakers?
  10. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. When run my amp on stage I set the volume where I can barely hear it. If I go louder than that it is too loud in the overall mix. When I do that it doesn't run through the house at all. We play in a small narrow movie theater. My amp is a GK MB115 that put in a stand that gets it off the floor and angles it towards the ceiling. I also point the amp towards me.
    I am getting a pretty good tone now coming out of the Zoom B3 but I am always looking to do better. We are also looking into IEMs for me.
    So it sounds like I will need to try out the drivers that have been mentioned to see if that sounds any better than what I have now.
    The other option I have considered is a small tube amp running through a 1X10 cab. I don't need too much volume and the 10" speaker might be more directional.
  11. You need a Mesa d180 like nobody else.
  12. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I have a RBI rack preamp, VT Bass v2 pedal (similar to the VT Bass DI just no XLR), got a V4B 2 days ago, and just picked up a Para Driver DI today (great deal on CL). I also just sold a Zoom B3.

    The digital modeling in the Zoom is good - but any of the Tech 21 products are better IMHO - probably because they aren't digital modeling. Both the VT Bass and the Para Driver *really* make my TC BG250 combo sound awesome.

    The V-4B is great, but a 41 lb, $1300 DI box is kinda silly, dontcha think? :D

    I really think your best solution from a tone/size/cost standpoint would be one of the Tech 21 products, either a pedal or rack mount unit.
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Meanwhile, you just got one ;)

    But seriously, slobake, for a DI only, the V4B isn't a great choice because as mentioned before, you need a cab with it or it will blow the power section. It's a great choice if you want to use a DI AND power a cab...despite being a preamp only DI, the DI in it is really good. But it's not made to be a standalone DI.

    So what are you looking for in a tubey sounding DI? If you're looking for a clean tubey sounding DI, the REDDI is awesomeness. The Monique is quite good as well, but I went with the REDDI because I only needed a DI and not a full-on preamp, and the REDDI tone is bulletproof. But if you're looking for a DI that does a dirty tubey sound, I might agree with Tbirdsp that a VTDI or VT Deluxe might be more up your alley. Obviously it's not quite at the level of the REDDI or the V4B's XLR out, but it's really good for the money when it comes to clean tones, and for dirt, it does really well for a SS device, definitely better than any digital modeling that I've tried. These days I go into the board using the REDDI with a little Joyo Ultimate Drive pedal for when I want dirt (amazing sounding pedal for less than $35) but I still really dig the VT for that kind of thing as well.
  14. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    If your thinking DI, how about the Khan tube DI. JimmyM mentioned that one in a post some weeks ago. Apparently it's modeled after the discontinued Ampeg SVT DI.
  15. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    At $600 I think I'd rather just buy a speaker-level DI and a dummy load/attenuator.
  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Just because it has tubes, or takes the signal post power tubes doesn't mean its going to sound awesome. My Mesa 400+ was a great argument for using an external DI.
  17. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Silly question, but won't the 'drive' of a tube amp sound buzzy and nasty through a DI without a cab sim of some sort?
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Not necessarily buzzy or nasty, the DI will take whatever it is given and convert it to a balanced output to go to a board. The signal that is fed into the DI can be your instrument, the preamp output, or with some products you can use it in conjunction with the pre and power amp, in this case you tap some of the speaker out signal. The advantage of the latter is that you are using the preamp and power amp tone. If you want the contribution of the speakers, you need to mic the cab. Many prefer to blend the DI with the mic'ed signal.
  19. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Did anyone actually listen to the link I posted of Jimmy's comparison of what lining out of the back of a V4B RI sounds like vs micing vs a REDDI? Lining out sounds ok but it's not the big tubey sound you get from the amp through speakers or with the REDDI. You'd get just as good a sound with a $200 Radial DI as you would coming outta the back of the V4B.

    slobake, what you've described you need is a REDDI plain and simple. Notice more than one person has brought it up? Try to borrow or rent one. The results for most of us have been so immediately staggering that there really wasn't any question as to its value. To be perfectly honest the V4B/ SVT-212AV rig I just bought was because I wanted an amp that sounds as good on stage as the REDDI does recorded and through a PA. The Ampeg is close but for me the REDDI is still the benchmark. That's a helluva DI, no?

    Someone always sneers when you suggest a $700 DI and it is a real lot of money for a DI. But it's still the cheapest and by far easiest way to get a miced tube amp sound through a PA.
  20. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    God forbid we spend money on sounding good in FOH, right? ;) I mean, who cares what the audience hears, as long as our on stage tone is good.
    taylor16 likes this.