Radial JDV MK3 vs J48/Countryman

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by kucor, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. Hi TB, I'm thinking about getting a high class or high end pedal size DI box, and wondering is there really any noticeable difference between JDV MK3 and twice cheaper but still high class DI's like J48 or Countryman? Money isn't a issue if it's justified spending...I got few offers for JDV at half a price, but it's still much more than J48.

    ps, I don't care about JDV's extra features, sound quality all that matters to me.

  2. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I say yes, some may say no, or yes, but the difference isn't worth the higher price.

    Best to see if you can borrow the units in question and compare them for yourself.
    s0c9 likes this.
  3. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I own the JDV and JDI, and have previously owned other high end DIs such as the REDDI and Sonic Farm 2di4. To my ears, the JDV is a big step up from the lower end Radial DIs. It's especially useful for detailed recording such as with acoustic instruments. Let your own ears be the judge. A year and a half ago I did a side by side recording demonstration of several DIs. Reproduced below. I believe the links are still active so you can judge for yourself.

    Sonic Farm 2di4

    I received a Sonic Farm 2di4 just over a week ago. I've been having so much fun using it as a preamp through the line-in power amp section of my Puma 900 and into a Greenboy Audio Fearless 110 cab that I just got around to testing the DI function. General observations: My perceptions are similar to Mike Arnopol's and Cameron Hood's. Fantastic clarity and 3D presence to notes - especially in the upper register. In the triode mode, the 2di4 sounds similar to a REDDI (of which I've owned and gigged two, and sold both). The 2di4 is slightly clearer in tone, less colored than the REDDI. The pentode mode is a whole different animal. The sonic presence of notes seems turbocharged compared to triod mode and REDDI. The difference is startling and night-and-day. I prefer the pentode mode for bass. The ability to simultaneously use the 2di4 as a preamp and DI, coupled with its physical size and weight being about half those of a REDDI, makes the Sonic Farm 2di4 a hands down winner.

    With my Rob Allen Deep 4 fretless acoustic bass & black nylon tapewounds, the REDDI colored the tone too much to my ears. That's why I sold the REDDI and repurchased a Radial JDV Super Direct Box for its crystal clear clarity. After limited play, I really like the 2di4 with the Rob Allen Deep 4. The 2di4 sounds clearer and does not intrude on the acoustic's overtones. I have not had time to systematically test the 2di4 with the RA. This write-up focuses on use with my FrankenFender P-bass.

    The P-bass has a '95 MIA maple neck with rosewood fretboard and Hipshot Ultralight tuners, a '12 MIM '50s body with Lindy Fralin passive pickup and Babciz bridge, and is strung with Status Graphite HotWire half wounds.


    The signal chain was P-bass -> Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200 -> Sonic Farm 2di4 in Pentode mode only

    The 2di4 used its three outs:
    • Line Out -> Line In on the effects loop of a Tecamp Puma 900 -> Greenboy Audio Fearless 110 (tweeter on full) -> acoustically recorded via AKG Perception 400 large diaphragm condenser mic in cardiod mode -> Zoom H6 solid state recorder (sorry, not Neve-quality pres but they're decent) (all via XLR)
    • DI Out -> Zoom H6 solid state recorder (via XLR)
    • Amp Out -> Radial JDV direct box -> Radial JDI (via 1/4" jacks between DIs and from Radial DIs -> Zoom H6 via XLRs)
    DI Testbed (l to r): Radial JDV, Radial JDI, Sonic Farm 2di4

    Greenboy Audio Fearless 110 / mic'd with AKG Perception 400 (into Zoom H6 via XLR)

    I tracked three takes of a 3-minute surf/rock tune called Deprivation written by Andrew Robertson and played by our band, The Stormy Weathermen.

    The variations were with (1) pick, (2) pick and foam mute between the pickups and bridge (see photo), and (3) fingerstyle. The bass's tone and volume knobs were on full so all recordings were full range, albeit on the E and A strings only.

    The drums and guitar tracks were played and recorded by Andrew a few weeks ago. He first recorded the drums track by placing an Apogee mic 3 feet in front of the drum kit and into an iPhone with the Harmonic Dog DAW. I then tracked bass with the Apogee close-micing my cab. He used those two tracks as backing for his guitar track. For this DI test, I played the three takes against Andrew's drum track through headphones. There was no lead-in count so you might hear a microsecond delay in me starting the bassline. It's also possible there was a flub here and there. Just remember: this ain't a Grammy performance or production with racks of exotic gear, it's just a demonstration of equipment capability with what's on hand! :) For the 2di4 DI tracks, I also included "with drums" and "with drums and guitar" mixes created with the Presonus Studio One DAW so you can hear the Sonic Farm DI in a mix.

    Solo bass tracks are are WAV 24 bit 48 kHz. All are in their raw format as recorded @ ~-6dB with no EQ or effects. Click on each track to play, or download the bass tracks from my Dropbox account and use your DAW to jump between tracks for easy comparison. All bass tracks are synched. For the mixes, I added 7:1 compression to bass to boost its presence but did not add any EQ or other effects.

    With Pick

    Pick MIX: 2di4 DI Bass and Drums
    Pick MIX: 2di4 DI Bass, Drums and Guitar

    DOWNLOAD ZIP file of all "With Pick" solo files from Dropbox (105MB)

    With Pick and Foam Mute

    Pick & Foam Mute MIX: 2di4 DI Bass and Drums
    Pick & Foam Mute MIX: 2di4 DI Bass, Drums and Guitar

    DOWNLOAD ZIP file of all "With Pick and Foam Mute" solo files from Dropbox (103MB)

    With Fingerstyle

    Fingerstyle MIX: 2di4 DI Bass and Drums
    Fingerstyle MIX: 2di4 DI Bass, Drums and Guitar

    DOWNLOAD ZIP file of all "With Fingerstyle" solo files from Dropbox (105MB)
  4. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    You might also want to check out the famous DI tests by Tony Levin.

    The ultimate comparative di shootout... Does anyone have the files ?

    DIs tested include:

    1- The Evil Twin
    2- The Retrospec Juice Box
    3- The A Designs REDDI
    4- The TAB V71
    5- The Avalon U5
    6- The Radial JDV (active)
    7- The Radial JDI (passive)
    8- The Radial "Firefly" Tube DI
    9- The Countryman 85
    10- The Whirlwind Director (with stock transformer in it)
    11- The Whrilwind Director (with Jensen transformer)
    12- The Ampeg SVT
    13- A Neve 33122 module (Tony wanted this in there as he sometimes uses it an
    michael_t likes this.
  5. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I've been using a Neve DI for the last month or so, soundman seems happy!;)
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    for studio direct, a good mic pre. for live a countryman type 85. IMO - in a live setting the muances are very difficult if not impossible to discern.
    seanm likes this.
  7. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I had my eye on trying the RNDI that the church just bought, but our Lead Worship Pastor snatched it up for the acoustic guitar (Okay, that's what it was bought for, but I intended to get my grubby little mitts on it before they put it to use.

    That's okay, I can still check it out.
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Oh yeah. In spite of my comments above, I'd be lying if I said I didn't read the description of the Neve at least twice in the Sweetwater rag...
    Geri O likes this.
  9. irbass


    Jun 16, 2011
    Charlotte - NC
    I had the JDV. Extremely clean and it has power supply. But big and heavy. I did downgrade to J48 phanton power only.
    The J48 is clean and live situation you won't notice anything as sound quality.
    Now i have the JDI ( still keeping my J48 )
    JDI has a low output i didn't test it much yet. I got it to use with my pedalboard. But it's not done yet.
    So JDI for pedalboard and J48 for bass direct.
    TonyP- likes this.
  10. I would put it to small pedalboard with Diamond comp and polytune tuner. It would be quite a portable setup compared to bulky/heavy Avalon U5 I use now.

    JDI doesn't work in live situation for me, but it's great for studio recording.
  11. irbass


    Jun 16, 2011
    Charlotte - NC
    Why it doen't work in live situation??
    Just curious because i need to use it on my pedalboard otherwise I'll go with J48.
    Is it the low output problem??
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  12. I play modern pop and disco and for my taste it sounds too much polite/mellow.

    We have high end PA system so low output isn't a issue.
    irbass likes this.