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Going Direct when using OD/Fuzz/Distortion

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Phantasm, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    When you DI one of the flavors of overdrive, it usually doesn't sound very much like it does coming out of your cabinet. So, what do you do live when every soundman out there just wants to run a DI?

    Do you guys bring your own mic, or do you use some sort of speaker simulator (if so, which one?) or..... ______ (fill in the blank)
  2. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    I use an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro Head and tell the soundman to take the line out of my amp. The amp is more of a stage monitor but I like the way it sounds and it's enough to compete with the guitars (Budda Superdrive 18 watt amp) at the gigs at tiny bars.
  3. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    Since I found I was going through a nice PA system 99% of the time, I bought an Acme B2 cab, which sounds close to a PA speaker, so what I hear is what the audience hears. before that, I just got a friend to play through my rig while I went out to listen through the system and told him what settings to change.
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It's a tough one- I would agree with the approach of using a hi-fi cab so if you need to roll of the highs for a less-harsh sound, it will be more or less the same through your stage rig and the PA. Another approach would be to Y-split your dirt signal, and send one leg to your rig and the other leg into a speaker simulator or EQ, then into the DI. Or mic the cab.
  5. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I've always sent my fully effected signal straight to the DI for the soundman to use. I've never had any complaints yet (amazingly). This includes sound engineers in rock, pop and country genres. I always try to get my cab mic'ed, but if the engineer refuses or can't for some reason - then I expect them to be able to work with what I send them as long as I can work with them (compromise sometimes comes into play).

    It's important to set your levels so that the change between effect on/off isn't too obnoxious. I guess it's important that the tones you have set up are appropriate for the music as well!

    The only time I have taken extra steps to "sweeten" the DI signal is when in-ear monitoring is involved. It's hard enough getting bass to sound decent in these systems without effects. I've used a bass POD split off to the DI in these cases (using an ABY splitter). It works pretty well & gives the other musicians a more accurate representation of my actual amp sound that I've built.
  6. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    oh and i forgot, if you can get a signal into a pair of headphones somehow, you can listen to your tones through some half-decent headphones and tweak from there.

    bringing a mic is a good option too.
  7. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Thanks guys.
  8. I know lots of people DI straight out of overdrive/distortion pedals and like that sound, but its too harsh for me. If I have to DI I like to use some kind of speaker sim, in particular having a sharp rolloff of treble at around 3k. Most mixing consoles don't have a LPF with a controllable rolloff, just a high frequency shelving eq so you really can't get rid of the harshness while retaining the high end on most consoles.
  9. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    That's the route that I went - a JBL JRX Series PA cab - 2X15 + 1"-throat horn.

    Well - I sort of went your-way, thejohnkim; The B2 will have more and clearer highs than my waveguide horn, and your 2X10 will have considerably better low-bass extension than my 2X15. ...And - well - more focused mids because of the dedicated midrange driver.

    Mine'll go louder than yours, though! ..I mean at freqs higher than forty-some Hertz, anyway

    I have been honestly pleased with my a-little-too-bulky $400 JBL, but I think I maybe should have gotten an Acme, actually. That'd be some real hi-fi, from what I've read.

  10. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Getting a V-Bass in 2003 confirmed my choices for bass rig cabs that were closer in response to good PA. As I use OD/fuzz/distortion as well as other clear and old school type tones, I also realized I'd have to deal with distortion-derived content in the HF region if I was to follow through entirely and have approximately the same signal going to both my cab and FOH.

    Fortunately the V-Bass has multiple EQ sections, including bass treble and dry/wet at the OD/distortion section itself, so anytime I kick in that section or footsweep the pre- and post gain relationships I also have an EQ or speakersim that does the trick in keeping it optimum when grunged, and optimum when not.

    Current fave for some time now: Carvin LS1503 with Em Kappalite 3015LF and 18 Sound 6ND410 midrange swapped in, and a medium-format 90x60 horn with a neodymium compression driver.
  11. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    Split signal is my favorite way ...

    A clean signal to the board through a DI and a mic on the cab.
    I think most sound guys are not really set up to mic a bass, so as mentioned yes I bring my own, including a mini stand that attaches to the cab. I use either an AKG D112 as the standard mic or a Shure 57 or AKG D190 in a boomy room.


    :) ... Bringing your own system is a big help to sound guys bring my own Radial JDI too.
  12. crapusername


    Sep 26, 2005
    North Kent.UK
    endorsing artist: Dean guitars, Marshall , Rotosound strings
    you could always use a di like the MXR or Hartke at the end of your chain. I've been using this system for about 4 or 5 years with only compliments from every sound man i've come into contact with!
  13. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    I just finished a gig a few hours ago...

    I decided to use my amp's DI (GK 2001RB) and set it to Post-Pre. That way, my preamp still colors the effects.

    Honestly, I would have prefered to mic my cab (I even brought my own mic and stand!), but the soundguy was a bit reluctant. I'm surprised I convinced him to let me use my amp's DI.
  14. Alaska Bass

    Alaska Bass

    Dec 31, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Get a better overdrive, and a better cabinet, and a better DI box. Then the sound coming out of the overdrive is better (fuller, more tone than hiss), your bass signal is more accurately and more musically balanced, and your cabinet sounds more like a professional sound system which means your tone adjustments will be more accurately reflected in the house system.

    Oh, and buy a phenomenal bass while you are at it (I didn't look to see what you play, this statement is just in general) and the sound guy will do anything from thank you to kiss your feet, to interrupt the set to tell the audience what a really great guy you are.

    BTW, a lot of pros show up with just a Sadowsky DI, a professional bass with new strings, a professional effects pedal/board and a tuner.
  15. bluevoodoo


    Dec 15, 2007
    The best sound I have ever got was DI output of my ampeg 450he with a miced cab. When the sound man has two channels to work with even better. Too bad most sound guys are lazy when it comes to bass guitar. I would say try to get anything that is your sound coming from your amp because thats what your hear. I am not a sound guy but I know if your micing my cab and using the direct out from the amp your going to be able to get a very good blend of your amp and your bass. That will probably be the most versital sound you can get from your equipment. That being said which ever you think effects your sound more, DI bass or amp, is what you want to come through the PA.
  16. ihateusernames


    Jun 26, 2006

    When a player doesn't go hogwild with the bass control or contour, the GK post out is no different than a bass with onboard eq straight to the board through a decent direct box. The boost is pre direct out in the circuitry. I'm curious what the result was MB - when you have more energy could you elaborate on the FOH sound? IME it sounds really nice out front, just a little less grumble than my stage sound. The engineer I work with regularly actually prefers it to a DI from the bass/mic'd cab combo.
  17. Let me jump in here as a sound guy rather than a bass player. This is something that really varies from venue to venue, and show to show. Ideally I would love for bass players with effects to have two amps. One clean and one for effects. I would have a mic on each amp, and I would also want a clean DI signal. Thats clean mic, effected mic, and clean DI (before your amps EQ!). Finally a nice lengthy sound check to blend these three signals and of course have time to deal with all the other instruments would be great.

    This never happens, at least not for me. Most of the time have I have one DI and I'm doing the entire mix during the first song because the promoter only put 15 min between each band. I have a few main concerns because I want to make the promoter and the audience happy. Here are the main priorities, honestly...

    Bump'n Kick Drum sound
    Guitar solo's are clear and sound good

    If you get these three things right I find that the average audience member (uneducated ear) will think it sounds great. It really sucks but that's way it is when you have the kind of show with three to six bands in a small club with short changer over time between bands.

    So why am I telling you this? Well because I want you to understand the sound persons position. The bass is not always a high priority, even when the sound guy is a bass player who feels your pain and wants you to sound awesome. It's a tough situation. I recommend preparing a single DI bass signal that sounds as good as possible. I'm a big fan of micing cabs but not all sound people are and a lot of times it might not be possible. Bringing a mic (and stand!) is a good idea, but be prepared for the sound person to say no. There are all kinds of reasons that they might do this.

    Here is the most important and overlooked tip of all. Make sure the rest of your band comes correct! Nothing will distract the sound person from sweetening your bass in the PA better than you're guitar player screeching away with an awful tone.

    Finally, if you can, talk to the sound person about your setup before hand. Warn them about any weird stuff. Sound guys may seem a little obtuse sometimes but we've got a lot going on. We do care though! (at least some of us, I promise)

    Sorry for the slightly OT rant.
  18. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    In a four/six whatever number band showcase I see where you may be coming from ... still can sound like crap in the house.

    For the most part I don't do those.

    If it is a one band gig different story ... If your gonna put 4 mics on the drums (and most drummers I know don't have their own mics) and drape a 57 over the guitar cab (not the proper setup) and hand the singer a 58 ... then to me it shows something of a lack of professionalism from someone "calling" themself a soundman.

    It is the reason I hear so many on TB say "Just DI me to the sound guy and call it a day" who needs an amp.

    If your just gonna DI me then you get that signal directly out of the last effect on my pedal board, rather than the split signal solution I offered.

    :eyebrow: ... Sound harsh? ... no more than someone telling me "It's ONLY bass" just let me handle it!
  19. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Mingus really has great points here. I tried to allude to this with my earlier post. The key is making sure your tone (effects on or off) is really appropriate for what you're playing. Sometimes this may mean making adjustments (compromises) to achieve the best sound in the house & onstage. I believe both are equally important! The house needs a good solid signal, but the performer needs an inspiring tone (this may not mean ultra-clean Steely Dan tone).

    If you're worried that your tone will be too whatever (raspy, fuzzy, etc) then it probably is! Even if your amp is set drastically to compensate for it, the fact that your sending a sub-par sound to the di is a problem in & of itself. I love an all-out wall of sound coming from my bass - but it's pretty rare that is really called for!

    Sure, sometimes the engineer doesn't "get it".... You have 2 choices: a) fight with the engineer & probably end up low in the mix or b) cooperate with him/her (in 11 years of professional playing I've only seen 2 female engineers...weird) to get the best results.

    Now back to the op's original question: Yes, something like a speaker simulator or pod can help even out your tones. I have found that using a Bass POD really helps in in-ear-monitoring situations. I don't send that signal to front-of-house, but use a split to the monitor board (if your band has gone far enough to utilize in-ears, this extra step shouldn't be a problem).

    I use a lot of effects (at least a lot more than the average hired-gun professional that I "compete" with). I almost always employ some sort of overdrive. By making sure that my tone is serving the music & by fostering a good relationship with the sound engineer, I think I get good results not only on stage - but in the house as well.
  20. For the most part I agree with you on this stuff, not harsh at all. I use effects live, and I usually give the sound person the signal out of my last pedal. What I do first though is talk to the sound person about this. In some cases the sound person and I come to the conclusion that taking the DI before the effects will be better because people will hear the effects from my amp and I will have the benefit of clean bass through the PA at the same time. Whether this will work depends on the size of the venue and the power of the PA and the engineer knows this stuff (or should). Could I be doing better as a musician for the sound when I go to gigs? Yes, but it would require me to invest in some equipment I don't have the money for right now. I do make the best of what I have though.

    I'd like to mention that I don't agree with your comments about micing. Some albums have been recorded with the mic draped over the guitar cabinet (Room On Fire by the Strokes comes to mind). In a live situation I have mic'd drums with everything from one to ten mics. You do what's appropriate to the situation and the space. I do understand that sometimes the sound person actually is lazy, but sometimes what looks or seems like lazy may be more thought out than you think. On a side note, I often find myself setting up mics that I know I'm not going to need or use just to make the band feel better.

    Edit: Kenny, I noticed you are the same poster who has the D112 with the stand on your amp. In my opinion, that's great and I can hardly imagine a situation where I wouldn't agree to use your mic for my one and only bass track. If I can only have one bass channel I do prefer it to be a mic. Times when I will refuse a mic over a DI are those when I strongly expect the bass players amp to sound like a turd or when I've worked with the band before hand and I know better.

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