Making recordings better? Preamp/DI box question.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Langley, Feb 4, 2018.


  1. DI box

    5 vote(s)
    8.9%
  2. Preamp

    6 vote(s)
    10.7%
  3. Preamp with DI box output

    37 vote(s)
    66.1%
  4. Nothing above will help (write a comment then pls)

    8 vote(s)
    14.3%
  1. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    Hello!
    The story: I use Fender Jazz Bass passive directly to M-audio Fast Track, which goes to PC or MacBook with Reaper/Logic, but I don't like the quality of the sound, it is kinda plastic and cheap. Even with VST plugins. I see many youtubers get really clean and rich sound, using preamps and DI boxes (I don't speak about those guys using big amps and mics), and I'd like to make my sound better.
    The question: what should I get to be able to record at home with good quality? A DI box, or a preamp such as tech 21 sansamp bass driver di programmable, or shiftline olympic mk2/mk3?
    And 21 sansamp can be used as DI box, so is it best from both worlds?
    Also I have a fuzz pedal bigmuff deluxe, which also can be used as DI box, can it help me improve my overall sound quality when recording?
    And yes, I don't use old strings.

    Hope you can give me good advice, I'm quite new to this and really need help. Thanks!
     
  2. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    A passive DI is just an impedance matcher that balances the signal. It's primary benefit is to allow long signal paths without introducing noise. If you want to change the sound, you need some sort of preamp.

    This can be a preamp built into an amp, something like the SansAmp BDDI, a mic preamp, or even an active DI with few controls like the REDDI.

    I have, and use, a SansAmp, a Focusrite ISA, a Retrospect Juice box, and a variety of amps (either DI or miced). Each one sounds different, so each one gets used when it is the best sound. I usually use the Juice box when tracking, then reamp as necessary.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with old strings. Sometimes they are the right thing to get the right sound.
     
    pudgychef and Son of Wobble like this.
  3. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    Thanks!
    About the old strings — anywhere I asked the first answer was like "dude just put some new strings" which of course wasn't that helpful.
    RJB and REDDI are out of my budget for now. I just want a simple home set for playing. In fact I AM playing, but I really want to make sound better, without sacrificing a lot of money.
    What if I change M-audio Fast Track to Focusrite 2i2, for example? I don't think it gives me more clear sound, but I just wonder.
    Also I heard a lot that SansAmp BDDI is worse choice than sansamp bass driver di programmable.
    I can record what I'm getting now if you're interested and give some examples of what I want to reach.
     
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I prefer the sound of Focusrite interfaces over those made by M-Audio. YMMV.

    Note: If you can swing the price difference and get one of their new Claret interfaces rather than one from their Scarlett series it’s money well spent. IMO.
     
  5. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    That's the amount of money I may spent. But will it make difference? I really think that without better pre-amplification the better sound card won't make any sense (maybe just a little).

    Also a very stupid question: on that picture there is a top "head" amp — the SansAmp and ShiftLine preamp pedals do the same job but in much compact pedal form?
     

    Attached Files:

  6. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Curious - what plugins are you using ?
     
  7. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    Mark Studio 2, by Overloud.
     
  8. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    You should be able to get good results with the Mark Studio.
     
  9. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    I'll record something for you to listen. Maybe I'm too picky.
     
  10. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Sure. Send a track. With and without the plugin.
     
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I’ve put two different passive PBs and a JB straight into a Scarlett with no issues and good results. But since I now own a couple of active DIs (Countryman Type 85 and an Ampeg SCR/DI) I mostly go through one of those so I can mic an amp too if I want to.
     
  12. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    That is with mark studio:
    This is the same, but without any effects, absolutely clean:
    First of all: sorry for mistakes, I usually do better, but right now I'm little bit sick with temperature (I know it is sounds like justification, but who cares?). Think it is enough to check the sound.
    Second: I know I could get better if I use mic input on my card and use bass amp to record it. But usually I play late at night, so I can't make much noise and my only option is to get better sound quality without recording an amp. Only bass to sound card (maybe with preamp, I still not sure).
    The settings of MarkBass are those:
     

    Attached Files:

    dbsfgyd1 and Mili like this.
  13. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    The input on Fast Track is almost maxed out. A little bit more and I get clipping.
    In reaper and markbass there's optimal settings, but the sound still quiet.
     
  14. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    IFAIK you should be using the INST setting on the input - not the LINE setting.
     
  15. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    I didn't quite understand. What do you mean, can you explain?
     
  16. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    I think I misunderstood.

    You are using the guitar setting (button) on the input right?
     
  17. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    I still don't get it. What "guitar button". It is in Reaper, or in VST? I haven't seen such setting.
     
  18. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    On the interface. At the input you can select between Instrument and Line Level.

    Also do you have an example of the sound you're shooting for?
     
    pudgychef likes this.
  19. Langley

    Langley

    Feb 4, 2018
    Ah. No, I don't have options there. As I mentioned earlier I use M-Audio Fast Track.
    For the sound reference I can use this video
    As I see they use bass guitar to Markbass Little Mark Tube 800 to Apogee Sound Card to MacBook with no VST plugins.
    So what if I stay with Fast Track sound card (I really don't think that the sound card makes that much sense. other than loudness and noise amount) and use markbass preamp, or any other (shiftline for example)? Should I get better sound quality? Also preamp can be helpful on stage, so I get x2 benefits.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    I owned a Radial JDI for quite a while and recorded with it a lot. I’d take it to the studio and with me to gigs since I usually liked it better than whatever thing (the ProCo deal or Countryman 85 or whatever) the soundguy has. It was as good a passive DI as I’ve ever used.

    That was fine until I bought a Tech21 SansAmp then my life changed forever. Now it’s an integral part of my live rig. I don’t even rehearse without it. I use it to shape my sound and only adjust the tone on the amp to itself.

    That carries over to the studio. Because I’m familiar with it, I get consistently excellent results with it. I know I’ve gotten a couple gigs because of how polished my sound comes across. You know: “sits in the mix.”

    The SansAmp is one piece of gear I regret not having bought sooner. I think every bass guitarist should have something that level. The Dark Glass one looks and sounds badass as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    ThinCrappyTone, Mili and pudgychef like this.
  21. 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.

     
    Aug 1, 2021

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