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line out vs DI out

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ga_edwards, Apr 2, 2001.

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  1. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    How much of a difference in sound quality and tone is there between taking a line out from my amp (warwick CCL) and the DI out, in a live situation.

    Reason I ask, is I done the first gig with this amp and Thumb bass last week. The sound guy asked if I had a line out on the amp to go to the desk, I said I had a DI out as well, but he opted for the line. Also after the gig, one of the guys commented that the bass lacked punch, and didn't cut through, though surely this should have been spotted during the sound check, the word woolley springs to mind. Thing is, it sounded fine on stage, though they had to put loads of top end on at the desk. Would the DI out help this in future? (it does have a pre/post preamp button, bu I'm not sure if this affect the line out too.) The only other thing is, they are used to mixing for a guy who uses a Westone Stienberger copy, played with a pick, whereas I uses the afore mentioned Thumb, played fingerstyle. This would account for some (well...a lot) of difference in tone, but surely not as drastic as they seemed to make out.

    Anyway the gig went well, it was a battle of the bands, and we won. Not bad for the bands first gig.
  2. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Is the line out balanced or not? If it isn't that could account for a loss of high end, whereas the DI would be balanced and not lose much sound quality even on longer cable runs.
  3. Taking the signal from the amp, I assume would be the XLR out. That would be balanced. The difference in Amp out or DI out is Amp out would be taking the signal that has been processed through the Pre-amp of your amplifier. That would "Alter" the sound. If your preamp is tube(for example), then you'll get tube and etc. I would disregard what that sound guy or whoever told you that your bass sound lack of punch. Providing your sound coming out of the amp is "punchy" to you and to the guy who commented then it's most probably the sound guys fault. Or it could be the house PA is not capable of producing the "punchness" that the person is expecting. It could be the mix, and etc. I'm glad that I've been in both the engineer's and the bassist's shoe on stage. I prefer to go preamp out over DI out..and if I'm doing sound, before I do anything on the bass channel, I will listen to the bass sound coming out of the amp to know roughly what to do to the bass sound. There are lots of DIs out there that are really good; it makes your bass sounds great. There are even tube ones. Basically DI takes hi impedance signal and change it to low impedance. A knowledgable sound guy would know how to position your bass sound in the mix so that it's best for the song....especially when it's those kind of 15 min to 1 hr sound check. Even though that is really minimum for sound check, but if the sound guy know what he's doing, he should help you fix the problem in the house mix.
  4. In my experience VERY few sound guys know how to mix bass. Perhaps the sound guy here just didn't know what he was doing. A surprising number of people running sound seem to thing that you can't ru├Żn a bass into a low impedence balanced (XLR/ DI) input on the mixer, which they see as the 'Microphone' input. They look at the mixer, and see a jack socket with 'instrument' written on it, and think that's the one they have to use!

    what was said above about the lineout being higher impedence than the DI is true, but the treble loss won't be that much. Arvadgunardi's point about the line out (amp out) being post EQ is very important. Line out signals are taken either after the preamp stage, or after the power amp stage. In either case the signal carries whatever tone shaping you give it with the amps tone controls. DIs normally give you the opiton of taking the signal either pre or post EQ.

    The way you EQ your amp on stage, and the sound you need for the PA rig are two different things. I find it better to send the pre EQ sound (the natural sound of the bass) to the PA.

    The lack of punch would probably be more to do with lousy mixing. Tell the sound guy to start with the EQ settings flat, and change things from there. Tell him NOT to cut the low mids too much or turn up the bass too much. Many inexperienced sound guys seem to believe that bass should be midless. This is normally because bass sounds sweeter with slightly scooped mids. When played SOLO. When it has to cut through a mix, it needs to be middier and 'uglier'. When you sound check the bass, it has to be considered in the mix as a whole, not just checked on its own.

    There is another soundcheck factor...a room full of bodies soaks up sound. A soundcheck in an empty room gives you completely different characterstics.

    If the mid frequencies on the mixer can be set, try various settings between 250hz and 400hz and see what happens.

  5. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    If my memory's not failing (you know ... age ...) the CCL has a DI out with a pre/post EQ setting.
    I really think a DI out with post EQ on would get your sound to the mixing board but could the PA/engineer handle/like it ?
    It's always preferable to have your own sound engineer but those guys cost a lot ;)
  6. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Cheers for your help guys.

    Just for the record, the line out is post master, which I presume translates as post preamp. The DI does have a pre/post switch. We should be playing with the same band again sometime, so we'll just have to try out some various configurations.

    BTW, the sound huy in question was attached to the other band, so he was really used to mixing the afore mentioned picked plywood stienberger copy.
  7. Speaking as a pro sound engineer, I would go for the line out as most bass amps have crappy DIs in them. Taking the 1/4" out to a good DI is the best bet in that situation. Personally (if the guy's got a decent sound on stage) I like to take a direct signal straight from the bass and mic the cab too. That gives me two signals to play with. A lot of times I just turn the DI off and go with the mic. There's something about a miked signal.... Of course this all depends on the signal quality. A lot of sound guys don't know how to get a good bass sound, that's why it's buried in a lot of mixes(kinda unfortunate, really). My basic formula is to roll off a bit of low end (because that often gets magnified in the PA) and dial in a bit of midrange (if needed). I always compress it. Adding some mids really helps give the bass some definition in the mix. Of course all this is situation dependent. There's an art to getting all the instruments to sit in a mix, especially bass. Bass players love me mixing them because they know the bass will be in the mix! Soundcheck for an hour? If it takes more than 20 minutes there's something wrong......It's either gonna sound good or it ain't. If the sounds from stage are horrible or someone's way too loud ( guitar players and vocalists are the usual suspects:D), no amount of knob twiddling is going to make it sound good. To put it bluntly: you can't polish a turd.
    Blackjac97 likes this.
  8. In most scenario, yes, 15-20 min is enough. But when you're talking about a bass player, 3 guitarists, drummer, 2 keyboardists, 2 percusionists, horn section, 5 vocalists, and choir....I can't work with 20 min sound check dude. :)I mean even in a club gig, sometimes if there's time, I'll make use all the time there is. If it is the same band, in the same club with the same gear, the same PA....then I agree. :) Compressor will help you get the punch out. But despite all the hardwork you do on your bass sounod, all it takes is the sound guy to seriously screw up the bass. That's why, the rule of thumb is to schmooze the sound guy, make friend with him(or her), get him a free boost or somethin'......then most probably he's gonna do his very best to get your bass sounds good.
  9. The best thing to do is hire a competent soundman:D By soundcheck, I mean the actual soundcheck, not the setup too. Big bands do take longer, given, but I still do an 8 piece funk band in 15 min. The thing that hangs things up is monitors of course. Souncheck can only progress as fast as that progresses. I bet the longest thing with your band is getting monitors right, that's a different story. I totally stand by my philosophy that if the source doesn't sound any good, there's not much I can do....
    Bah, who needs soundchecks anyway?:p I started a 12 piece jump swing band with 40 inputs without even a line check. In front of 10000 people. Talk about a man scrambling!:D I did have the mix together by the second song though. On second thought, that's too stressful, I'll take a soundcheck!
    I think you may have misunderstood me a little last time. The EQ and compression stuf is what I do when I'm mixng a band, not when I'm playing;).
  10. Certainly the DI on a Trace Elliot I used to have was crap. I used the line. And Marshal DIs leave something to be desired. The DI on my current amp, Fender bassman 100, is pretty useful. But I DI out of a box before the amp. Sadowsky preamp/DI, which is excellent in every respect.

    I like miking, and have an AKG D112 to that end. But I got lazy and...welll...setting up a mike is a hassle...

    Specegoat, how do you rate the Fishman dual parametric preamp/DI box? I have been thinking of getting one for my acoustic guitar...
  11. Sadowsky preamp....drooool. Not all amps have crappy DI's, but even the good ones are crap compared to the Sadowsky! I'm gonna get one of those myself. D112s are great for bass guitar, but I hate them in kick drums. think that the upper mid bump they have sounds great on a bass but knocky in a kick...Go figure. Most of the Fishman stuff I've encountered is pretty decent. I seem to recall that one sounding pretty good. The stuff seems to have good bang for the buck.
  12. marconaz


    Feb 27, 2008
    Hi everyone, I have a sadowsky MV5 with a Mark Bass Little Mark II and a Bergantino HS210 - I tried my DI out and it had some hissing. Should I mic it or should I use a DI to send my bass directly to the PA. I read above that the Sadowsky preamps are awesome BUT I love the tone of my mark bass and would like to send that to the PA.

    What do you think?
  13. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    My soundcheck for bass has never lasted more than a few quarter notes on the E string, and about another minute or so of playing the range of dynamics I'll be using (from hard hits on the B string to a quick slap and pop on the E and G). Of course, then there is another 10 or 15 minutes for the other instruments and a quick vocal with band run through of a few measures... so your 20 minute time is spot on.

    +1 on a line out to a high quality DI. That's my favorite method. However, not all amps have high quality line outs (i.e., a pre EQ buffered 1/4" output). I love that, since I can use a good quality DI like a Radial JDI, and not have it sitting between my bass and bass tone, which always slightly changed things.

    Since the amps I use currently have DI's and no line out, I've been using the DI's from the amp with no problems at all... but I'm lucky enough to work with pretty good sound professionals.

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