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Direct boxes...I have no clue.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by invader3k, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. Was chatting with a friend this morning and he suggested that when our band finally gets a new PA, I invest in a direct box for my bass, to send the bass signal directly to the PA, since I just use a combo amp right now, and I would like to have more volume for outdoor shows, etc. He gave me a link for this:

    Would the above item work, or would I need something else? Are there issues I'm probably not thinking of? Keep in mind I've always just played through my amp in the past, so this is all new territory for me. My understanding is that I'd still connect my bass to my pedal board to the combo amp, then send from the line out on the amp to the direct box, which would go into the PA. Thanks in advance.
  2. most people usually put the DI between their pedals and their amp, that way they send a signal to the desk direct via the xlr on the DI and then use their amp as an onstage monitor. or you can just use the Line out from your amp - that is effectively the same as a DI box, but it may send a signal that is affected by your tone controls on your amp(ie. a post eq signal)
  3. Piezoman


    Nov 29, 2002
    Bronx, New York
    If you get an in ear monitoring system, wouldnt that eliminate the need for an onstage monitor?
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    What combo amp do you have? Many of them have good DI's built in. If it has a pre/post switch (so you can send a none EQ'ed signal to the PA) you're set.

    As with any piece of gear, you can go crazy with a DI. The Radial JDI is an excellent passive (no power needed) DI with a Jensen transformer. The Countryman is a good active DI. Both are in the $150 range.

    You could also go with a simple $30 CBI or other brand of DI. They work just fine.

    Then there are the $500 type. Avalon, Demeter, and others. I think that for a live situation, they are probably overkill.
  5. Yes, but we have no plans for an in-ear monitoring system right now, so that wouldn't be an option.
  6. strummer


    Jul 27, 2005
    I like the Peterson strobostomp. Works fine as a DI, and makes tuning on stage quick too. :)
  7. not to try and hijack this thread, but do in ear monitors actually get a decent low end response?
  8. now thats a great Idea - a DI and Tuner in one! Awsome to the max!
  9. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    Whirlwind Imp II would be my recommendation in that price range. Costs a bit more ($40.00 at AMS) than the Rolls, but a great box. I've got 3 that are at least 15 years old and still going strong. Two of my three Rolls' broke within a couple of years.

    Rapco makes several good boxes as well. They make a knock-off of the Countryman that I use as well. Also a great box. Again, mine is 15-20 years old and was going strong until I dropped it and broke one of the battery wires because I didn't fasten the battery down properly. Quick solder repair and back in service.

    YMMV, of course.

  10. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I'll second the Imp II's - I've used them quite a bit and think that they sound great and are pretty robust in terms of construction. I have not had an opportunity to use a great deal number of other DI's on the market, though, so take that into account.

  11. Im just wondering...Why wouldnt you want your post eq'd signal to go to the mixing board? Dont you want "your" sound to be the one that is coming out of the PA system? I dont get it!!
  12. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Sometimes "your sound" won't come off well when sent through the PA mains. Rooms sometimes sound different out front than they do on stage. Assuming you have a competent soundtech, he'll be able to dial you into each specific room/circumstances. Sending a post EQ signal limits what he can do. Sending pre EQ bass signal is pretty much par for course.
  13. Monomer


    Jul 22, 2005
    why not just mic your combo amp.

    and I 2nd the suggestion on the IMP2, I love mine.
  14. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    "Your sound" is drastically altered by "your speaker", and won't sound the same through the board at all. You think you are sending "your sound", but you are not. Your EQ settings are compensating for your speaker and cabinet's tonal responses, as well as the room.

    It is almost always much, MUCH better to send a flat signal to the board and let the soundman EQ it for the front of the room.
  15. I have an old Countryman Type 85 that I picked up for cheap on eBay. It is very clear and transparent, on passive basses. It is less polite with active basses.

    This must be kind of an old design, as there are foibles that exist with this box. I understand it is wired backwards from most other DI boxes, which could be an issue. Mine isn't really happy using a 9v battery, but produces outstanding results from +48v phantom power. I don't know if this is a bug in mine, or common to the model.

    Link to Review of 7 DI boxes
  16. They are pretty impressive, but never as trouser-flappingly impressive as standing in front of a wall of speakers! :bassist:

    ...and often catastrophically altered by "your sound guy!"

    EQ is partly about achieving your sound, and partly about compensating for room acoustics. The sound guy likes to take control of that last bit as much as he can so he can make a clean sounding mix, so often (s)he'll want a clean, un-EQed sound.

    Also, there's no gaurantee that the EQ settings that sound great through your cabinet will sound great at the mixing desk - in fact, it usually always sounds like brontosaurus-doo-doo.

    Hence why many of us prefer to have the DI post pedals but pre amplifier... um, yeah, I think you know what I mean!
  17. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    I second the idea of the Strobostomp for a tuner and DI. A nice side benefit is that the pedal also acts as a signal mute if that's important to you, and since it's your DI it mutes to your amp and the board (PA).

    If you use effects pedals, the Strobostomp may not work that well since you want the DI to be last in the chain (assuming you would want the effects through the PA). That would depend on how many pedals you have, and how often you would tune up. You would want the pedals 'off' to tune if the tuner is last in the chain.

    If you go with a separate DI, I would recommend an active DI over a passive. For a less expensive option, I've used a Behringer DI100 Ultra (~$35). I'm currently using a Radial J48, which uses phantom power from the board. I always have a Whirlwind IMP 2 in my bag for a backup or to loan out.

    For those that can't decide whether to send a 'pre' or 'post' signal to the soundboard, here is a good activity to try. If you have the ability to listen to a live recording sending your signal to the board from your amp's DI both post and pre EQ (or if you have a wireless on your bass and can go out to hear the FOH), that will probably convince you to always use it 'pre' for the soundman. A good soundman will make you sound great with a dry signal. It's also a nice practice to run a dry signal from a DI, and a miked signal off your amp, but that can be asking too much sometimes.
  18. strummer


    Jul 27, 2005
    Except for the compressor, which actually makes the strobostomp work even better (at least for me).
  19. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 in a big way.
  20. N*Joy


    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    So lets look at the pre/post eq DI another way - on gigs where you are all going through the PA (so everything but the smallest gigs and basement punk shows!), your rig that you spent $000's on after so much deliberation on the Talkbass Amp forum is actually just a glorified stage monitor ;)