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DI / Recording help!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by slapmachine, Jan 9, 2012.


  1. slapmachine

    slapmachine

    Oct 4, 2010
    PV, Kansas
    I know this is probably the 1000000000000th DI thread started in this subsection of TB, but I am really looking for some information on a couple different levels relating to DI and DI boxes.

    I'll give you a little background on my recording / live application. I've never had to bring my own DI to a gig, but when it comes recording myself, I try to use the direct out of my LMII head and get rather unsavory results with the signal quality through my computer interface and ultimately my computer. I'm currently recording with an Audix D6 through a M-Audio Fast Track Ultra and the recordings only come out panned to L or R depending on the input I choose. Never equally spread. Anyway, I've gone through PA systems at gigs and been plugged into DI with ease, but it's always the sound guy that does it, I don't have experience.

    What I'm trying to accomplish is ultimately a sound recording through my computer with a good signal etc. Many friends in the music scene here have told me DI DI DI DI!!! I have nothing against it, I just don't really know how it works, what I should look for in a DI to get the highest quality of a recording or signal at a live show, and ultimately which brands are go-to brands for quality DI.

    If my M-Audio Fast Track Ultra is the link that's the hiccup, I'm not sure, but I can't seem to change anything digitally with the program in order to pan it, because physically it's panning itself. In addition to the panning problem, the signal quality isn't very good coming through the computer. It could be my sound card, but I think DI clarification could help me out though.

    I'm basically trying to record solid, clear, bass tracks whilst not expending a ton of energy, and preferably not a lot of money.

    Pricepoint is never my concern though, I want quality for a price that matches the quality. And if the quality is amazing and the price reasonable I'd be pleasantly surprised, but I'd rather save the dough and get something solid than compromise and be upset in the long-run.

    Best regards,

    Brooks :bassist:
     
  2. ranjam

    ranjam

    Sep 4, 2008
    Canada
    I use the Fast Track Pro, and a Jazz bass 'straight' through to my PC actually sounds quite usable. Not the gnarly growl you might like, but a mild mannered 'Clark Kent' tone. It depends on the song. You need the interface, because you disable your PC's sound card and use the interface as a glorified sound card. The stock PC sound card likely yields a lot of latency, unless you have a $$$$ sound card.
    Sometimes, if I want that growl, I've used a Sans Amp RBI and then into the FTP. This also let's me use a compressor in the loop of the RBI. It records great, after careful juggling of the various levels.
    Using a DI box just gives you a low Z out, and it still needs to get to your computer, and not have latency. Use your Fast Track, but disable your internal sound card and use the Fast Track as the sound card.
     
  3. Crater

    Crater

    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    There's two kinds of DI boxes where bass players are concerned:

    1) "Amp Simulator" type DIs. Bass guitar signal goes in, low-impedance, balanced XLR signal comes out, but the signal is shaped to simulate the tone of a mic'd bass amp. The Tech21 SansAmp Bass DI is the most well known example of this type.

    2) "Clean" DIs. Just pass the signal with minimal coloration or distortion. There are both passive types that use a transformer and active types that use a small amplifier to boost the signal and match impedances. Of the acitve type of clean DI, the Countryman 85 is one of the best known.
     
  4. slapmachine

    slapmachine

    Oct 4, 2010
    PV, Kansas
    Thanks for the advice ranjam! So are you saying all the DI does is allow you to tonally shape your sound more manually than an on-screen module? Also, any advice as to why my recordings are just playing on the left or right speakers when they come back through? I can't figure out why I can't get a track to come through both sides. There are a ton of inputs that are labeled on the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra, but none have L or R or Mono or Stereo ins. Would the DI allow me to record the bass track stereo so it'd come through both speakers, and is that the only way?

    Best regards,

    Brooks
     
  5. slapmachine

    slapmachine

    Oct 4, 2010
    PV, Kansas
    Oh, ok!

    Yeah, I believe I can accomplish most of the tonal tweaking that I need to do on the bass I have itself. There's a 3-band active EQ on my 97 American Deluxe Jazz, and paired with the single-coil humbuckers allows for infinite tonal opportunities. Would there be reasons for me to want the Amp Simulator type of DI beyond just relaying my bass signal through the recording?

    Also, why constitutes the necessity of an active or passive DI?

    Best regards,

    Brooks
     
  6. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    You don't really need a DI with the M-Audio interface you are using. It already has that function.

    It sounds like your problems are really just that you need to spend a little time understanding how to use your interface with your system as well as some basics of the recording process. You might be better off checking out some recording forums or even see if M-Audio or the maker of your recording software has a forum as well.

    If you are hearing your sound either panned hard right or left you probably are recording a mono source (like your bass) to a stereo track.
     
  7. ranjam

    ranjam

    Sep 4, 2008
    Canada
    Yeah, it's not intuitive to record a mono bass signal (or any signal) as a stereo track. At least not for someone with my limited intelligence. But overall, and I could be wrong, a real DI is a low impedance output device, with a balanced XLR output, meant to go from your bass to the house system or any mixer. The interface will have a USB output, unless it is Firewire. That's it in a nutshell for me. To get stereo, I believe you have to pull down menus and let it know that the recording is a stereo recording with a mono source. You have to open the 'Devices' menu, and say the output is a L-R stereo. It may depend on the software, and I have Cubase, so take everything as a guide only. It may also be 'Input 1 L+R'.
    Hopefully that helps at least a little. I haven't recorded in months, but it is a New Year's resolution. Honest. Once you open the menus, it should make sense. Then, setting your levels before you actually record, you'll see both the left and right VU meters moving.
     
  8. If your using a DAW to record your bass, the track that your recording to has a "PAN" control. Set this to the middle position. After that you should hear the bass in both left and right.
    BTW, that Audix D6 mic your using is a good bass cab mic.
     

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