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Need help choosing a DI for bass guitar (budget minded...)

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bassmeknik, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. So, my praise band welcomed a new member this week. Yay! This also means however that I had to surrender the passive DI box that I had been borrowing for the last 5 years... :bag:

    So I need a new DI box for my bass guitar. I play a wide range of styles from blues to Christian Contemporary, with a lot of classic rock and modern alternative rock, and some modern country. I own a club sized PA so I have PA support every gig and use a smallish stage rig for most of these gigs. The church has several Whirlwind Director DI's one of which has been my primary DI (until today...).

    I also have a DIY DI box (haven't been using...) made for me by a local amp wizard back in the 70's (anyone remember fast Eddie from Detroit's east side a few decades ago?) that uses a Peerless Electrical Products manufactured Altec Lansing line transformer model 15095. Here is the only link to info on it I have found to date: http://pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/STARINMANUALS/Bosch - EV/Archive/Altec/15335A, 15356A, 15095A.pdf

    My question, for those who may have experience with my Peerless/Altec Lansing transformer (DIY DI box), is How does that line transformer compare to a basic passive DI made today (in the $50 to $100 dollar range) can I get anything better than that? Or is my old Peerless/Altec transformer equipt DI decent?

    If the Peerless/Altec transformer is NG then what is recommended for a passive DI for bass on the cheap?
  2. Bump. What's your favorite cheap passive DI box?
  3. Matt B

    Matt B

    Mar 31, 2012
    New Zealand
    How does you DIY one sound compared I what you were using? That would answer your question to some extent.
  4. I never sat down and A/B'd them, so I'm not sure. Back in the 70's it sounded good so it will be used for the time being, just trying to get the TB opinion on budget DI's now as no one has experience with my Peerless/Altec unit.
  5. I'm going to take my DIY DI to church next week and A/B test it. If it passes ok I will be done for now. If it sounds inferior then I will be shopping for a new DI, hence my question about favorite cheaper DI's.
  6. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
  7. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    I can't answer your question about your old DI/Altec, and I'm not so tech knowledge.
    But IMHO DI Boxes is very important if we depend on it on stage. I'd be so picky about it.
    I have many bad and not so bad experience with DI Boxes :D before I have somebody supply me with the very expensive one (you know..that red thing LOL), I never comeback...but to answer your question:
    Last Passive DI Box that I did like before is Radial JDI. bit above $100 tho...

    Good Luck
  8. adamaarts

    adamaarts Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Corona, CA
    Beta tester Source Audio, demos/reviews of many others
    Our church has a crap ton of radial pro DI's and they are a good workhorse. We recently switched the bass to a j48 to add some gain to the passive bass guys. Get radial, good solid stuff that you won't have to question.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I got most of my Radial DIs (J48s and JDIs) for around $100 used. World class.
  10. +1 for Radial

    Alternatively... Aphex Punch Factory and Aphex Bass Xciter both have a built-in DI...
  11. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    What do you consider "budget?" To me, a $200 Countryman Type 85 is inexpensive (sounds great, though). You can get them for $100 used, too. My main DI is a $700 REDDI, though. Other people might consider a $120 Radial expensive and only be willing to pay $40 for a Rolls...
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    A word of caution on the Bass Xciter: The DI output can be set to be either effected or not effected, but it's not controlled by the stomp pedal. If you set it to be effected, the DI out will always have the effect. If not, then no.

    (And yes, I know the difference between "effect" and "affect." I use the term "effected" here to indicate that the DI's output signal has the Xciter's effect on it.)
  13. You can get the very good Akgp2 mic for $100. :bag:
  14. jswigal


    Mar 20, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I second the notion that you want to be picky here... I also cannot speak for your DIY box, but I've tried the lower end Whirlwind boxes and they sound terrible. Same with Livewire, and most of the stuff under $200.00. The Radial "Pro" boxes are "alright," but if you want to sound great you should go for at least a JDI or J48. I've heard good things about the Countryman, but the comparison graphs offered on Radials website turned me away from them. So... passive box: Radial JDI, active: Radial J48, amazing: Radial JDV, ridiculously amazing: REDDI, or Radial Firefly.
    Best of luck in making your decision!
    (I'm using a J48 for everything right now and it's doing a wonderful job.)
  15. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
  16. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    The two relatively cheap DI's I'm familiar with are the Radial Stagebug and the Whirlwind Imp2. They both get the job done, although I felt that the high end was a bit brittle on the Whirlwind.
  17. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    One I made myself with a Jensen JT-DB-E and a Bud box. There are a couple of different schematics on the Jensen website if you want to add features like ground lift or padding.
  18. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Hit up ebay for a Countryman Type 85 if you want a 'proper' di box. Or try a Sansamp for something more bass-specific. Both standards, both brilliant.

    Disclaimer: I don't actually like the Sansamp, but my personal preferences are not important. It's still brilliant.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    But neither is passive, as the OP asked for. ;)
  20. Thanks Passinwind, I ran into this today while researching. This is me... looks like I can own the same circuitry as the big boys have for a lot less, very cool. I found the JT-DB-E for about $70, making a good quality DI available for about $100 that has exactly the same components as the several of the $200 passive units. :hyper:

    The specs on my old Peerless/Altec transformer are decent compared to the Jensen but the Jensen is clearly better on paper, so I am saving up for a new DI project.

    Thank you to all who replied I now have what I was looking for.