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Direct Box:Comparisons, suggestions.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by raymondl3, Apr 19, 2010.


  1. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    Hey all. I've been recording and adding to my studio gear for years and finally have a decent setup. I want to start on some recording projects but feel like I need a really good direct box first. I have a SansAmp Bass Driver which is OK, but feel like I need to upgrade to something that will provide a fatter, cleaner signal. The bass will be upfront for many of the tunes.

    I've read all the threads on DIs on TB and am aware of the top condenders in the DI world. Right now I am considering Radial JDV, A-Designs REDDI, Avalon U5, Demeter VTDB-2b, Manley Mono, Summit Audio TD-100, and Groove Tubes Brick. I've also heard good things about the Retropec Juicebox and the Aguilar Tone Hammer.

    If any of you have experience with one or more of these, please comment. At the moment I am leaning toward the Radial JDV.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. I use a Countryman DI. You may wanna check it out as well. Very clean true signal sent to the board.
     
  3. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    Thanks. Will consider. I read a review that compared the JDV to the CM and a few others. I think the JDV won overall. I've never tried either, but I like the little extras the JDV has, like variable impedence and lots of outs.
     
  4. There's nothing wrong with the Sansamp BDDI
    The 'blend' knob is your friend
    turn the blend knob all the way off / EQ straight up and it's pretty close to a transparent DI
    IME, I back the bass EQ off slightly (11:30) - then I A/B the signal, completely transparent
     
  5. stflbn

    stflbn

    May 10, 2007
    Nashville
    Not to further cloud things... but...

    pre_di_750x400.
     
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OP:
    Just a semantic point, but fatter =/= cleaner. "Fatness" implies coloration of the signal. That said, we all have different frames of reference.

    If you have in fact read so many threads about the various DI's, then you should already know that the tonal effect/qualities of some of the ones you listed are VERY VERY different from some of the other ones you listed. So in order to get any useful recommendations, you need to sort out exactly what kind of tonal effect you want.
     
  7. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    I suppose by fat I mean detailed and present. I'm going for a clean, uncolored sound, very little EQ needed.
     
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OK, so that rules out the REDDI, Demeter, Retrospec, and GT Brick. Possibly also the Manley and Summit, though to less of an obvious degree. The Radial, Avalon, Aguilar, and Sadowsky are more likely to be described as "clean and uncolored".

    OTOH it's exactly the coloration of the REDDI that makes it not need much (if any) EQ.
     
  9. bunkaroo

    bunkaroo Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I'm kind of uneducated when it comes to DI's - is there any reason to have one for live performance if I've got an Eden head? I've always assumed the DI on an amp like an Eden is fairly high quality.
     
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Basically, if your amp craps out at a gig, then it's good to have a spare DI box in your gig bag, to save the show. I wouldn't assume the amp's DI is good quality, either--it might indeed be great, but you can't assume that just on the basis of it being a popular brand of amp.
     
  11. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    There are a couple advantages. The DI on the Eden is post gain and EQ, so the soundman will have a tougher time EQing your signal and the house volume will go up or down if you make adjustments to the gain on the amp. You can adjust the stage volume with the master knob and that will not affect the DI.
    I have a couple Eden heads. One of them has an OK DI but the other head's DI has a hiss that makes it problematic for live use.
    I usually place the DI on the stage at the end of my pedal chain. That way the house gets the dry signal (with FX) and no amp coloration.
     
  12. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    Thanks. Re: REDDI, that's a little confusing because I thought the tube imparted a color or character rather than an EQ curve (?)
     
  13. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    Thanks. Have you used this to record bass?
     
  14. I own a Radial JDI and a Sadowsky. Twice this year I've just missed out on buying a GrooveTubes DITTO. Over the years I've run through too many boxes to count, and I usually bow to the engineer and/or producer on the session. Quite often they have their own preferences and favorites. And even if they don't, they still often like using their stuff so there's one fewer variable tossed into the equation.

    At that, if given a preference, I really like using the Radial JDI. It's the most "transparent" box I've used - meaning that the full character of the instrument passes through the box and into the board. However, sometimes it's nice to have some color, especially if you know what that color can do for the material. The GrooveTubes DITTO, for example, adds tons of gooey greasy tube fatness to the sound. I love it. The Sadowsky...surprise surprise, it makes it sound like you're playing a Sadowsky. :D I'd certainly add Countryman to the list of brands to try - the Type 85 is an absolute classic, and I've heard (but not used personally) great things about the Type 10.

    Good luck...I hope this helped a bit.
     
  15. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    Thanks. This is the kind of feedback I've been looking for. I do have a couple of tracks with that Jazz Bass on 'roids sound in mind. I also have a tune where I'm going for a Rocco Prestia kind of sound. Then there will be many tunes with my fretless 5 that has a nice mid-range punch.
     
  16. svtb15

    svtb15 Banned

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    I have used the REDDI on many sessions.. And it is out on a few major tours right now.. I have played all the ones that you have listed up top/ and even more.. and even owned then and then sold them to stay with what i have now.... and nothing compares to the REDDI for thickness and character with tones that you wont forget .... If you really want something that is special. get the REDDI..
    The Avalon is also great but i can get the same sound with a $125 Countryman and the countryman is 10 times smaller. IMO
     
  17. You know, I was trying to do two things at once during my last post (my mind is a terrible thing) and I totally spaced commenting on this. I'd really recommend test-driving an Avalon U5. Detailed, present, clean...definitely words I'd use in describing a U5. I kind of think of it as being the Cadillac of DI's. :D It's also on my wishlist of gear to buy - and they do occasionally come up on the used market at very fair prices.
     
  18. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    Thanks. I was seriously considering that one at one point. It sounds the best IMO on the basstasters website, which is my only audio reference for the box.
     
  19. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It's all tied together. There is some mild EQ curve, and the voicing of the character (harmonic content) presents your tone in such a way that it fits in the mix without further EQ. It does that better than a true "flat" or "transparent" DI can.

    The subject becomes very cloudy because everyone has a different idea of what sounds good in a mix, and everyone has a different range of interpretation for the word "transparent". For example, I like the sound of my bass through a very transparent DI and mixer channel, but I like it much better if I add a nice FET "clean boost" gain stage in there. The gain stage would be described as "totally transparent" when compared against the REDDI or Sansamp, but obviously in reality it provides some coloration, or I wouldn't be able to hear any difference with it on. This is your dilemma to meditate on.
     
  20. raymondl3

    raymondl3

    Dec 10, 2007
    USA
    Thanks to all.
     

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