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Dirt + DI (seems to)= ****. Why?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SwamiRob, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Do you tell them to stop using parallel processing or do you help them understand the problem so they can get better results?
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  2. Blind owl bass

    Blind owl bass Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2018
    I have gigged with abm 500 rackmount(3of them over the years) for prob 700 shows. the di broke on literally all 3 of them. and when they worked, didnt sound the greatest. I've heard the di on the little bastard sounds good tho.
  3. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    Yeah, I don't know where you're getting that from. Just put your LPF after your fuzz. To start, I would try just bass into fuzz into LPF into amp into DI and see what you get. Then you can try the more elaborate multiband thing. I would concur with 5k being a good starting point (but don't be afraid to go up or down quite a bit and see what you get with it). You may need to bump up the LPF frequency and tame the tone knob on the fuzz, or vice versa, to get what you're looking for. But I would expect you'll end up somewhere between 3 and 8k most likely (although it depends on the slope of the LPF).

    You may also need to either swap the LPF for a proper speaker emulator, or augment it with one.

    Also, this is basically an effects question, not really amp related.
    Wasnex likes this.
  4. Love the sansamp VTDI. With low gain, "bite" off and "speaker sim" on, you can make it transparent except that it rolls off hard at about 5-6k - just like a fridge would.

    This gets me a great sound straight out of the pedal board to the board, and I can tweek the amp on stage without affecting the PA.
    There's other DI's that will do this too but I haven't tried them.
  5. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Speaker IRs as a insert at the end of your track chain is a good why to go. Or just EQ the bejeezus out of it.
    Drive without speakers is tricky but not impossible. However I always use an amp DI or use Amp sims.
  6. EMoneySC2

    EMoneySC2 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Minneapolis, MN
    Can sim is the way to go, 100%. Stick it at the end of your signal chain. I'm am OmniCabSim user, and fan, so I'll recommend you check that out. I'm using a OmniCabSim Mini in my DI signal chain and it does a great job of smoothing out the high end hardhess of distortion.
    Wasnex likes this.
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    It depends. Often it involves a DSP based effect along with a parallel clean path, there really isn't any practical solution unless the pedal's internal algorithms include a clean path that tracks the dirty (or effect path's) latency. This was a huge problem earlier on, but because of these issues most DSP based effects pedals now include this.

    Sometimes, it's more practical and ends up with (much) better results when an overly complicated signal path is simplified. I find that most players don't particularly care to learn about this sort of thing, which is why the more practical solution is often suggested.
  8. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    That makes sense. But if someone has a few analog pedals they are probably okay setting up parallel processing and having a bit of fun creating their own sounds. They just need to know they may encounter a few problems that can degrade the signal. For example digital pedals have latency, which basically means it takes a bit of time for the signal to pass through the pedal. If you use a pedal with latency in parallel with another pedal that does not have latency, you're going to get some comb filtering from the delay. Another problem is some pedals invert the polarity of the signal. If you use this sort of pedal in parallel processing, the in phase and out of phase signals cancel out.

    IMHO a pedal with latency is not a very good candidate for parallel processing, but on average, AFAIK, most pedals are still analog and don't have this problem. A pedal with a polarity inversion is a bit of a hassle, but there are effects blenders with polarity switches designed to deal with this problem.

    The Xotic X-Blender is an example of a pedal that is designed to blend a clean signal with OD or distortion pedal. X-Blender - Xotic California Notice it has a switch labeled "efx phase" which is actually a polarity switch. This is not necessarily an endorsement of the X-Blender. I think it's a decent pedal, but it may or may not do what you want it to do.
  9. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    There are quite a few popular DSP based pedals, that's why I mentioned this particular issue.
    Wasnex likes this.
  10. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    I hear you. This reminded me of an event early in my career, when I was working in the engineering department of a PBS television affiliate. The director of engineering, my boss, was totally old school, having learned his electronics in the radio era, but there wasn't much he didn't know about engineering. He dropped in to an audio control room where I was working, noticed a distortion pedal that some guitar player had left behind, and asked what it was. I will never forget the look on his face when I explained that it added distortion products to a guitar sound; he was dismayed. He said that he had worked his entire life to eliminate distortion from the signal path and was shocked and saddened that now we were adding it back in...he left shaking his head. I felt the same way years later when alt-rock acts insisted on patching cheap guitar pedals into the lead vocal channel...I'd spent my whole life trying to get clean vocals heard over a band, and now that effort was being trashed by turning the clean sound to garbage.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
  11. A cheap cabsim will be a bass preamp with the treble kbob turn down between your pedals and the DI. The MXR M80 in the effects loop if your amp using the by pass. You can buy one cheap used. I play in churches with IEM and that's what i use in the past now i use a digitech Cabdriver.
  12. Cheers again for the replies. Just for a bit of clarification this is the pedal I'm using for signal splitting.


    I don't think there's too many phase problems going on, if there are they're ones ones that are having more of a positive then negative impact. The clean blend seems to have a decent phase coherency anyway. I use a sort of complicated setup, with a multiband comp at the start and splitting that for the really low end to get fairly well tamed. So I've got a thinner sounding clean sound; then with the pedal I use a tiny bit of very distorted low end, for a bit of a quiet but dirty sound without the FX loops; and my main sound is just clean signal with a fuzz going through the midrange FX loop, and the low end mixing back into the signal with the low end FX return.

    In essence though I can get a really decent signal out of my cab with all those sounds, that I'm very happy with. I'd absolutely rather use a mic, and I've been able to record without a DI with no issues and got some sounds I'm really happy with even just in my spare bedroom 'studio'.

    One thing I have noticed that is around 6k where I like a bit of pick attack, there's still some nasty fizzy artifacts, so perhaps it still needs a little more filtering. I think all in all it seems like a cab sim of some description is gonna be the way to go. I quite like the relative simplicity of the Radial JDX48, but the DSM pedals look cool too.

    In a really ideal world I'd have a guitar amp for dirt. I use the same pedal for another band I'm in, and go out of the midrange FX loop into one and it sounds amazing. Can't imagine my band or a soundguy at a small gig will wanna mic 3 amps though!
    Wasnex likes this.
  13. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    This song must driver you nuts!
  14. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    To clarify, the problems will likely relate to the pedals you put in the loops of your RUP For example if you use a digital pedal, the latency will most likely cause a noticeable artifact in the sound. Also if you use a pedal with a polarity shift, it's going to cause noticeable signal loss. Unfortunately, I don't think the RUP has any built in polarity correction.

    IMHO, a 6K boost is pretty high for pick sounds. Most speakers will are going to roll of way before 6K unless you cab has a mid driver or tweeter. I suggest trying a lower frequency boost, and less of it. Try somewhere between 1-3K, depending upon the texture you are trying to emphasize.
    Gearhead17 likes this.
  15. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    This is exactly what I was trying to get at, in general terms.
    Wasnex and RudyTardy like this.
  16. I think you should buy a mic. I like the RE20. I own one and it is my first go to when micing a bass amp. There are others.

    You have an involved and very specific thing going on, are using overdrive, are happy with the sound coming out of your amp, and would prefer a mic.

    This is when the sound guy mics your cab.

    When sound guys go to sound guy school there is a picture of you in the sound guy text book labeled "This is when you should use a mic on the bass amp." Especially if you are providing the mic. Get a Z bar to go with it.

    For real.

    Somebody that is presented with your rig, and a request for a mic, and who straight up refuses or can't figure it out is a douchebag or an idiot (or both). He will probably fail to mix an especially good sounding show for you anyway, no matter how things are done.

    If he thinks he might also want a clean DI to blend in some heft or clarity it couldn't hurt.

    I say this as someone who mixes all sorts of live bands for living.

    Incidentally: I am solely using a DI (of some kind) the vast majority of the time.

    See, what I do, and this is just because I am simple folk, is I ask bass dude what has been working for him, and then I do that. Earth shattering notion, I know.

    Sometimes it's the amp DI, sometimes it's a Sansamp or similar thing ahead of the amp, sometimes it's a DI right off the bass, pretty darn rarely it's a mic. Most often for local-ish sorts of bands it's the amp DI, followed closely by a Sansamp or the MXR. In my experience good bass players can be made to sound pretty good.

    I can count on one hand the times I have pushed up the fader and been presented with something I couldn't whip in to shape, to the point where I had to go have a conversation with the guy and figure something out. and it's always been for things being noisy or broken sounding, never because I couldn't get with dude's "tone".
  17. Don't have anything digital in the chain, just using the comp, fuzz and the RUP.

    I'll try dial back on the higher stuff, but to be honest 2k just sounds mega harsh to me, and not boosting the top end I don't get any pick noise at all which I find really hard to live with. 2k just seems to be in a noise war with the guitars on top of that, as both of them use quite bright tones. The shelving control just seems to cut nicely, I'm not after sound like fieldy from Korn or Flea or anything, just a hint of something higher. There's a bit of a gap in the EQ of the ABM between 2k and the shelving control however so can't try anything in-between on that front. I said 6k before because that seems to be a little pocket of presence I've found when recording my rig, that seems quite nice when it's used very sparingly. I know there's a roll off around 5k on most drivers but don't some respond well a little higher then that anyway? Either way it doesn't seem like I have to force it too much, to get the little hint of treble that cuts above the guitars a bit. I know what you're getting at, but it just sounds incredibly dull to not have a little subtle amount of those higher frequencies to me.

    That's all related to the sound that's coming out the cab though isn't it? Which (to me at least) sounds pretty spot on, not the DI as I'm using pre-EQ? I'll try reversing the fuzz pedals polarity, and try filter it a bit differently too like you previously recommended to maybe have a tad less noise, but the whole tone from the DI is pretty terrible. Post-EQ it's got some more life to it, but the fizz on top just ruins it.

    Again, if I had the money for an RE20 or a PR40 at the moment I'd happily argue with soundguys every gig, but unfortunately I can't particularly afford anything worthwhile to put Infront of my amp at the moment!
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I get what your saying with the frequency slotting idea, but if you're boosting 6k and it is coming through the DI, your asking for fizz in the PA IMHO.

    I have a GK 700RB/112 amp. This is a biamp rig with a tweeter crossed over at 5khz. There is really no tone from the bass that high, but you do get a bit of string noise which can be nice. I believe that's actually an unusually high crossover for a bass cab as many apply an HPF to the tweeter at around 3-3.5khz. Most people who run distortion hate tweeters and turn them off. This is not a problem because the woofers in many 2-way bass cabs are run full range.

    Given your unique problem, perhaps you need a cab with tweeter :confused:. This would allow you to brighten up your stage sound without introducing more gank or fizz into the DI.
  19. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    You really should just take some pictures and diagram or list everything you have in your signal chain, in order, including bass, all pedals, amp/s and cab/s. Also settings of anything having to do with gain, volume, eq, or dynamics (on any piece in the signal chain). That will give people the tools to help you. Recordings would help too (with clear, detailed descriptions of what they are).

    Because it really sounds like either your signal chain, settings, or both, or more than that even is going wrong and that's what's causing issues. I think it's very likely that a cab sim after the amp DI would do the trick, BUT you still need to have everything else dialed in and optimized for that to sound as good as possible.
    agedhorse and ThisBass like this.
  20. Balog


    Mar 19, 2009
    Mukilteo, WA
    A Superlux PRA 628 is like $40 and would sound better than what you're doing. Having a sound guy throw a 57 on it would be free.

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