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REDDI (or similar) still needed in a digital age?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CaptainWally, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. I've been doing a lot of recording these days.

    I'm using a mixture of my GK MB800 Fusion preamp and various digital enhancements and tools. I'm not entirely happy with my sounds, but I'm in the ball park.

    I've heard great things about the REDDI and other DI products. But I wonder if I'm better off just focusing on new digital plug-ins, etc.

    Frankly, I do not hear anything too special about the recordings and comparisons I've heard here on TalkBass made through the REDDI et al. But I don't doubt the testimonials of working pros and studio engineers either.

    Your thoughts are most welcome.
  2. hbabels

    hbabels Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    It depends on the sounds /tone your after. I'd first start with bass / strings / pickups / preamp (if active ) & as do you really love the tone coming from you bass to start.
    I can't state enough the difference strings can make.

    I agree that the REDDI while it sounds very good I don't find it to sound sooo much better over the Radial DI or other DIs I have to justify the price for me.
    I think it helps to run several lines for recording. 1 raw DI from bass
    1 through a preamp / sansamp /dark glass b7k/Omnicab sim / amp di etc that has a more colored tone. Sometimes 2 different ones with complimentry tones in addition to clean DI

    And then maybe some digital processing of clean di copied to a new track with amp sims and/or cab ir's.
    the UAD ampeg and GK amp plugins are quite good and there are many others to choose from. Guitar sims often sound surprisingly good when combined with a DI so experimenting is key.

    What type of tone are you after ? Can you post clips of what you have so far ?
    CaptainWally likes this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What kind of music?
    What instrumentation?
    Is the bass out front or somewhat buried?
    CaptainWally likes this.
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    It is worth experimnting to see if you can get the sound that you are looking for. On the plus side, plugins are relatively inexpensive if you get them on sale. Waves has many available for $29 right now. You can also find a -10% promo code if you google, so $26.10. Buy more than one at a time and get better deals. A good way to go before you spend money on an expensive piece of hardware.

    You don’t have to have a tube based pre-amp to sound good. I use plugins that can add harmonic richness. I find that they can make a good track sound even better, but you have to start with a good track.

    Unfortunately, getting a good track can be expensive. Using a good digital IO box properly is also important.

    This is a nice sounding DI, Class A amp and a good transformer: RNDI: Rupert Neve DI

    Here is another but it is expensive:
    BAE 1073 DMP Desktop Mic Pre - Vintage King Pro Audio Outfitter

    Here’s a demo:

    Worth checking BAE out if you want to go on a road trip to North Hollywood.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    CaptainWally and Red Planet like this.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you can't get a good sound out of anything you use, I ain't blaming the gear. Speaking in the royal "you," not you personally. But the REDDI has become a standard in bass DI's for a reason...it sounds like a tube amp. It's made like a tube amp, albeit a simpler one than your standard tube amp. I'll take that over digital any day. Digital effects can be a good supplement to tube amps, but while it's getting better at imitating the tube amp sounds (and so are analog tube amp simulations), it still hasn't matched them. If some of the test demos of it may not sound impressive to you, that's cool. Stick with what you're doing. But they sure impressed me!
    CaptainWally and Agosix like this.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    What Jimmy said.

    I still prefer tubes over anything else. There is an organic quality that hasn't been matched, and a touch sensitivity that rivals all.
    CaptainWally likes this.
  7. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    We had a music director at our church that has played with Vertical and other big touring CCM bands, just an incredible guitarist and producer.

    We took my basses into his home studio to play with several plug-ins he had just bought and I gotta say, there some VERY impressive plug-ins for bass. No doubt, he has an outstanding ear for tones, but these plugs-ins were simply awesome. At the time, we used my American Elite Jazz with the Nord 70s-wind pups and Nord pre as well as my 100% stock MM SR5. Both basses sounded good through the obligatory Countryman and Radial J48, but these plug-ins really brought out amazing characteristics in both basses. One would be great for warmth and body, another one would be great to clear-bright tones good for jazz and slap-style, and they went on in varying degrees of greatness. I wish I could remember what the plug-ins were, he has since moved on to another church with a more senior position.

    All this to say, yeah, there are great plug-ins for bass out there. However, I don't do much studio stuff around here (one guy, an outstanding bassist, does nearly all the studio work to be done while the rest of it is virtual studio stuff), so I keep my REDDI with me nearly all the time. Sound guys are always complimentary of it.
    CaptainWally likes this.
  8. Thanks!

    Those responses have been quite helpful. I guess I'm just looking for a bass tone that is audible in mix, but not overbearing and boomy. I use a pick sometimes, so I like to get the boingy/picky sound without being too clicky or aggressive.

    I like the idea of tube warmth. I've had mixed results with my MB800 Fusion Preamp. Sometimes it sounds pretty good, but other times the warmth just sounds like distortion/clipping/fuzz in the mix to me....even when ensuring gain isn't overly aggressive.

    I do agree with Jimmy. I've got plenty of stuff at my finger tips that should/will get me a good sound.

    The basic "DI" and "Big Stack" bass inputs for Garage Band sound pretty good. I feel a bit cheezy/sheepish using such a non-boutique solution, but I guess I shouldn't.

    Still....if there is a way to be happier with my recording sound, I'm interested.

    This is a cool video, but it gives me ear fatigue really quickly and they all just sound start to blend.

    I'll post some of my recordings when I get a chance.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    You said “in the mix”, that’s an important point. The bass track that is processed to sound great on it’s own does not necessarily sound best in the mix.

    It should fill a hole in the frequency landscape, not walk over space occupied by other instruments. Otherwise it can get muddy. This can be a problem with active basses for example, which have a wider bandwidth. It depends on the song.
    ddnidd1 and Wasnex like this.
  10. So true.

    "In the mix" has soooo many other variables than the character of the DI. I suppose even if I found the holy grail of bass tones for my own listening pleasure, it doesn't necessarily translate to a good bass tone in the mix.

    I reckon there are bigger fish for me to fry here. As was pointed out, even the strings are probably more impacting of the bass sound in the mix than the particular character of the DI.

    I'll just stick with my Focusrite and Garage Band tones for now. :)

    I also have a Zoom B3N, but I haven't found much I liked for recording with it.

    The GK Fusion seems cool, but I need to work with it a bit more. Since I have an active bass, I don't really need the tone controls on it.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Push the pre/post EQ button on the back.
  12. Thanks...will do.
  13. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    *insert comment about how the tube pre/DI I use is objectively the best. :)

    IMO/IME they DO make a significant difference. I used a Radial for years and when I stepped up to a tube DI, it made great sounds on recording or live (FOH) a breeze.
  14. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016
    If I buy a REDDI today I'll still have a REDDI 20 years from now.

    If I buy a plugin today....

    The only time I've used a REDDI was on a studio session, and the results were so good I had to force myself to not run out and buy one immediately. The real stand out was how my pick'd bass tone sounded... it had some real chunk to it with a lot of clarity..
    JimmyM, CaptainWally and hbabels like this.
  15. Agosix

    Agosix Supporting Member

    May 7, 2013
    Woodhaven NY
    While plug ins might be a great tool it may also be a pain because to many variables are presented thus leaving ones ears spinning. The simplicity of using a great di such as Reddi or Monique or Countryman, etc. is the beauty of simplicity and great sound.
  16. Darn you, Action Jake.

    I will point out that you are light years ahead of me in terms of your talent and experience, and your performances are way more refined and upscale, no doubt.

    When I am in a live situation, it sounds like a freaking jet engine up there, and I'm happy if I can just hear myself at all.

    I played The Great American Music Hall in SF once, and I was so excited to use my Aguilar DB900 for FOH. The sound guy couldn't have cared less, and by the time we got going with a drummer blasting a way and people yelling, you probably could have swapped it out for a $20 Behringer DI and I wouldn't have noticed a difference. This was rock, mind you, but not metal or anything crazy.

    Not surprisingly, I sold the 900 soon after that. I never tried recording with it, unfortunately. I wasn't doing much of that back in those days.

    As much as I love a new gadget, I'm not convinced.

    J.Wolf likes this.
  17. hbabels

    hbabels Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ

    As much as I am fan of plugins / software etc
    That is a very valid point about hardware and the longevity of well maintained quality pieces of it. They sound good today. Take care of them they'll sound great for decades.
  18. I do LOVE simple stuff. But my GK MB Fusion is already pretty simple, so something like a REDDI or Monique would have to be appreciably better in some way.
    Agosix likes this.
  19. I really appreciate the thinking there. But there is plenty of top class, master crafted audio and recording equipment lining the land fills of the world. Technology just overtook the function of what the beautifully crafted piece of gear was designed to do.

    I'm not saying that's the case with a REDDI. But I'm asking. :)
  20. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    I had a hard time justifying a piece of gear that was solely usable for recording, as I dont do too much these days, so when I found that I could the SF as a preamp as well, offering great sound in my live rig, FOH send, and recording channel, it was a much easier pill to swallow.

    I hear you about the context. In certain rooms/mixes it doesnt matter how choice the gear is, its gonna sound like doo doo on stage.
    Ukiah Bass likes this.

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