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direct box?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by robert.o, Jun 13, 2007.


  1. robert.o

    robert.o

    Jul 19, 2005
    Manchester NH
    can anyone recommend one?

    i play at this one restaurant in particular where the owner insists on using a p.a. system w/ microphones... i think a direct box would work better for me in this situation
     
  2. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    robert, howdy. I guess your amp does not have an XLR out that could be routed to the PA, eh?

    Or (maybe better) how about using one of the house mics on a mic stand in front of your bass? The mic signal could go to the PA, and you could still send your pickup signal to your amp as a stage monitor.
     
  3. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    robert, here are some good threads if you haven't seen them yet re: mics (not direct boxes ... sorry).

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=334466

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=294655

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=332929

    But when I think "direct box" for amplified DB, I tend to transpose that to "preamp." Like the Fishman Platinum unit for one. Gives you an XLR output to route to the PA, plus other useful features (e.g. EQ, high pass filter, phase reversal).
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    The ART Tube MP preamp is designed to work as a direct box. (I occasionally use the V3, which has the spiffy-lookin' meter.) It's about the size of a sandwich and there are boatloads of them on EBay for cheap.
     
  5. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Sam, how does the ART sound? They certainly are affordable (and ubiquitous). Often thought about them myself for both DB and EB.
     
  6. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
  7. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    Radial JDI. Fairly inexpensive ($150), passive, indistructable, versitile, Jensen transormer, great sound, looks cool, too.
     
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Tell the truth, I have no idea. It sounds "fine." I use it with the compressor off and the tube real low and it sounds clean and un-compressed. I wouldn't know the difference between "fine" and "outstanding" in a direct box. I'm just looking to get the job done (and usually, that job is to record my son's high-school band exams direct-to-disc).

    IMR people who say they know spiffy audio gear sneer at them but I suspect that many people who say they know couldn't pass a blindfold test on this item. Those who DO know spend more and doubtless benefit to the degree they desire.

    Short money. Functional device. There are a bunch on EBay for less than $50. If you sink it in the bathtub by accident you're out less than one gig. Worth a try at that rate.
     
  10. bloodyjack

    bloodyjack

    Oct 10, 2006
    Seattle
    Fishman platinum pro eq hands down
    why?
    1. Is designed for upright bass
    2. has a variable hi-pass filter
    3. has a variable compressor
    4. Had a graphic eq tailored to bass
    5. powered from 18volts so high headroom (power doubler circuit)
    6. can be powered from phanton power battery or PSU
    7. has a direct out with ground lift
    8. Has a 10 meg input impedance
     
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    +1 on a Radial JDI.

    When I was looking for a mic recently and hemming and hawing over spending the money on an EV PR20 some advise I got was you can never go wrong buying any well known, tried and true audio equipment. The money you spend will be justified by its sounding good, techs rarely not wanting to use it and that it holds its resale value. The JDI is an industry standard DI; it sounds great and it's reliable. Something to keep in mind when using a line out of your amp or an active DI or preamp is that if an audio tech doesn't know you and your gear he might want to use his own DI anyway (often a JDI) because if it craps out it can cause major damage to PA speakers.
     
  12. According to the Radial JDI spec sheet the input impedance is only 130kOhm. I've always thought that 1 Meg was sort of the minimum for a high-impedance input appropriate for piezo pickups. Obviously you've not had a problem in this area. What pickup are you using with it?

    Thanks,
    Phil
     
  13. I've had very good luck with this product as well. It's much more than a bare-bones DI box. Maybe not as hi-fi as the JDI though.
     
  14. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Straight into the DI is a bad impedance mismatch. I've been using the custom four piezo bridge Steve Azola built me with a Raven Labs preamp to match impedance. Even thought the JDI is great looking back at the original post (which I shoulda done in the fist place) a DI isn't the solution....although I did just hear Steve Gilmore using an old Underwood straight into a GK and sounding really, really good....kinda made me cringe at all the time and money I've spent on gear. Most of the time for most players an impedance mismatch sounds like crap though.

    Under the circumstances the 1st advice Bolo gave to mic the bass for FOH and use the PUp to the amp only as required by far make the most sense. I'd take this as an opportunity to get more experience miking and maybe even rent some different mics to try and even to try going without a pickup. The threads he pointed to have a lot of good mic recommendations. Lots of players once they find a mic that works never want to go back to just the pickup...and in this case sounds like it'll make the boss happy.

    To directly answer the original question which was probably asking about a preamp with a line level out even though he said DI the only one I've liked well enough to keep is the Raven Labs PMB. Works great with piezos and if you can find one (it's no longer in production) it's worth a listen. My only complaint with it at this point is there's no low impedance mic XLR input. Adding a small mic preamp has solved this. To tell the truth I don't play much with a drummer lately and most of the time now I bring just a mic and go straight into the PA.

    The perfect preamp for me would have a low impedance XLR input, a high impedance piezo input with separate line level pre EQ sends to FOH, a single post EQ send to the amp and parametric EQing for both channels. Basically a Portico 5032 with a high impedance channel added. Even if such a thing did exist it'd prob'ly cost around $3K and nobody would buy one. :)
     
  15. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    jbonny, the feature set of the D-TAR Solstice is close to what you outlined. Plus it has phase reversal on each channel. No parametric EQ though. And the bass EQ is voiced up around 160 Hz, which is a little high for DB and slab some would say. It is not a shelving type control either. Not sure what the Q is.

    IMO it is a nice, flexible and quiet unit. Certainly gives you lots of output routing options when you are blending a p/u and a mic.
     
  16. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Not bad. If I didn't own preamps and was on a budget I'd definitely check one out, looks very usable.

    I paid $475 for an FMR Audio mic preamp with just a gain control and that's about as cheap as a stand alone mic preamp gets. The Portico and the Great River units I've checked out and really, really like are both over $1500 and that's an average price for a single channel mic preamp with EQ...and you can spend a lot more. I wonder how something like the D-TAR is under $350? I'm not saying for a second that there's anything wrong with it (and since I haven't tried one if I did I'd be talking straight outta my ass). It might well sound very good. More and more though when I compare specific application gear aimed at the pro audio market to "do it all" type gear aimed at musicians I really hear and see a difference in terms of sound and design quality that justifies the price difference.

    A huge part of it for me up to this point has been dependency on a piezo pickup and the preamp required to buffer it. I almost never use the pickup anymore though. I have a mic I like and I should just go with that and a mic preamp/EQ and have done with the quest for the holy grail. I'd really like to stop thinking about gear and spend this time thinking about music.
     
  17. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Yeah, well said. I too have been wondering what a higher end mic preamp might do for my sound. And also striving to lessen my reliance on a p/u and lean more heavily on just my mic(s).

    I could be wrong, but I think the Solstice has become kind of the de facto blender for DB p/u's and mics since the older Raven Labs unit was discontinued. At least among TB users. Probably still some Fishman's out there too. I don't use my Solstice as much anymore since I got a Focus 2R, but I like the sound and features of the D-TAR.

    [ Edit - Interesting Neumann mic thread goin' on over here if you haven't seen it. ]
     
  18. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Hey Robert is the gig you are talking about Cafe Claude? I know that cat. He has the band play in this little alcove kinda for themselves but then mics them and sends the PA throughout the other rooms. When I have played there I use the direct out of my amp into the PA.
     
  19. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Interesting note regarding the Radial JDI. I ran into a pal today who's the soundman for blues guitarist Colin James and we got onto the subject of dealing with the acoustic bass on stage. He said he had consistently good results on the last tour putting an Underwood straight into a JDI and making up for the impedance mismatch and corresponding signal drop by cheating some gain back out of a Focusrite mic preamp before going into the console. There certainly is more than one way to skin a cat.
     
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jan 21, 2021

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