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Radial J48 vs Countryman Type85 vs VT Bass DI

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by jumblemind, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Sort of a potential mix of forum topics here, but there's at least one "effect pedal" involved so...

    I recently sold my Genz Benz, and along with it the awesome DI from the amp. So I'm considering an external DI to augment my GK MB200. The GK's DI seems fine messing around at home, but I've had at least one sound guy complain about the weak signal strength and want to just nip all that (while avoiding the beatup passive boxes they throw my way). $200 would be max budget, and I play all passive basses, so I'm looking at the three boxes in the thread title. I'm just playing bars and smaller weddings.

    I've never tried a Countryman. I've recorded with the J48, and it sounded great. I have briefly owned the VT Bass DI…didn't record with it or play it through a sound system, but I have full confidence in its DI based on the BDDI I had before. A VT Bass DI wouldn't be used on my pedal board, as I have no need for the tone shaping. I would use it more as its designed purpose of sending a tone-shaped signal to the PA. Would be nice to have the option of going amp less if I ever needed. I may have answered my own question there, but figured I'd toss it up for some feedback.
  2. The option of going ampless (or in case my amp dies mid set) is exactly why I decided on a VT bass deluxe. I actually really dig the "rig in a box" thing they have going. Sounds really good to my ears. So, I vote VT Bass DI.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    VT. I hate plain SS DI's...no balls. VT's not as good as a REDDI, but it is $500 less and you can dial in some balls with it.
  4. adamsmatthewj


    May 4, 2013
    I use a J48 three times a week every week and I really like it!

    I also play passive basses so I liked the idea of the 48v phantom power.

    I can't use something like a BDDI anymore without it bumming me out, even set flat it just changes my tone in a way that I don't really like and I'm not interested in trying to dial in all the knobs on a BDDI or a VTDI (although the concept of an svt in a pedal is very intriguing! I've only used the BDDI, I've never fiddled with a VT).
    The thing I like about the J48 is that it's signal is really strong, but really transparent. I don't really want my di to change my tone I just want it to deliver a good signal.

    The Reddi is pretty much out of my $$ reach but I'd LOVE to try one to see if it lives up to the hype
  5. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    Another option would be to buy an XLR attenuator to tame the output of the amp's DI.
  6. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    The complaint was that the signal was too weak, not too strong. I edited my OP to clarify. I also gig occasionally with a Micro VR, and the DI on that head (mine, at least) just sounds really bad. I definitely need a stand alone box.

    I like that the Radial has the 80hz hpf built in; that's about the setting I run my Fdeck HPF3. As for dialing tone, I have a very nice Ginger pedal that gets me SVT-ish tones from my pedal board; I don't necessarily need that kind of thing in a DI, but it might come in handy. I could of course bypass that in the VT if I don't want it.
  7. jacoby75


    Mar 11, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    I thought I might resurrect this old thread because this is EXACTLY the question I am asking myself right now. I have all three DI's in my amazon wish list right now, just waiting to pull the trigger.

    What did you wind up deciding on? Were you happy with your decision? I use a tech 21 blonde, darkglass vmt, and phat phuk b in my ampless pedalboard, and am considering getting either the countryman or j48 to boost my signal with my passive basses. I don't necessarily need the tone shaping of the vtbass due to the blonde and vmt, though I have considered trying it to see if I like the tones I get out of it any better than the blonde. I know the vtbass is well respected around here.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    The Type 85 and J48 will be very similar to each other and similar to the Genz Benz DI when set to pre EQ.

    Both are great boxes. The Type 85 has been around longer and can run on phantom power or a battery. I believe the J48 is phantom only. I personally carry a Type 85.

    The VT has the added benefit of being a preamp and has built in tone shaping. It can drive a power amp, get plugged into the FX return of an amp, be used as a dirt pedal, or an amp simulator (Ampeg). It runs on batteries or a power supply. I don't believe it can run on phantom power but I may be wrong. If you like the Ampeg sound it's a great box. I also have a VT in my tool box.
    bassbrad likes this.
  9. 1kinal


    Jan 18, 2006
    Montreal, Qc. Canada
    Endorsing Artist: SIT strings
    Both the Countryman and J48 will be of similar quality. I would personnally choose the J48 because of how incredible I sounded when playing or recording thru it. I also found it match perfectly with passive basses and give the sound guy plenty of gain.

    The VT DI, IMO, is not in the same range of quality, except if you have some use for the tone shaping section. As a straight DI, the J48 wins for me.
  10. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    If you are already using pedals, I suggest the Countryman.
    Clean accurate signal, no noise, and reliable as a brick.
    Also easy to EQ for FoH.
    bassbrad likes this.
  11. jacoby75


    Mar 11, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    I just got a VTDI in the mail on Friday. It's okay, but honestly not that different than the Tech 21 Blonde that I've been using. When they're dialed in to exactly the same settings on all knobs, the difference is almost indistinguishable. I a/b'd the two back and forth over and over, and just can't justify the expense of the VTDI when funds are limited and it sounds so close to the Blonde. Of course if you want the SVT sound, the Blonde won't give it to you. It's more like a Fender Bassman, as designed. But I didn't really want something that would make the tone of my bass indistinguishable. Just make it sounds like it's playing through an amp, which the Blonde does just fine.

    I have a J48 on the way next week to try out. I will say the one thing I did like about the VTDI is the +10db option on the 1/4" output. It makes the signal hotter (duh), and just makes the whole thing sound fuller, even when the other controls of the VTDI are bypassed. For that reason, I think I'm going to really like that added level/headroom of the J48. I decided on that over the Countryman only because I didn't get as much money as I had hoped for my birthday, and the J48 was $67 less.
  12. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    I ended up with a Radial JDI and am very happy. I tried the VT Bass DI for a bit, but the controls ended up being more in the way. I realized after one gig that the gain knob had been bumped and that I had been sending a super overdriven signal to FOH the whole night.

    I like the JDI because it doesn't require any power, sounds good with anything I put into it, and sound guys never bat an eye. The J48 and Countryman both require at least phantom power. I thought I would need the J48 or Type85 for a passive setup, but it turns out I was just misinformed. The JDI is perfectly fine. It rolls just a touch off the top end, but I like that.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  13. jacoby75


    Mar 11, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    That's a good way to put it. I feel like the VT bass is just too much. The controls make things more complicated than they should (same for the blonde, but once I get it dialed in I set it and forget it). I heard the same about needing an active direct box for a passive bass, which is why I went with the Pro48 (I misspoke earlier. I didn't get the J48). I read through Radial that the Pro48 and J48 had the same signal path, but that the Pro48 did not have a lot of the features of the J48 that I didn't need anyway. For half the price I decided to give the Pro48 a whirl. Figured you can't go wrong with either of them.
  14. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    True, esp for live use. The main thing you're probably saving on besides features is the Jensen transformer. Guessing you won't notice that live.
  15. jacoby75


    Mar 11, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    FWIW, I messed with the Pro48 DI over the past few days. It's definitely a good DI. Built like a tank, and makes everything a lot louder, as intended. Doesn't do anything to the sound at all. However, I decided that I liked the sound I was getting out of some other preamp pedals (Sadowsky and Aguilar in particular) better than the sound I was getting out of the Blonde into the Pro48. But it's definitely a good direct box.

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