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Still Confused about DI Boxes???

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bmaker, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. bmaker


    Sep 25, 2005
    HD Country
    I play a passive jazz and am just getting into live sound. Our church just got a new PA system and the band is wanting me to go direct so we can mix the sound. However, we don't have a sub in the system. I have pretty much learned that I need an active DI box but I'm not exactly sure why? We have a passive DI box for the Keyboard and I can plug into that and can play though the system. With that being said, it is kind of shallow and is nowhere near the sound from my Ampeg rig. Will the active DI box make a noticable difference in the tone throught the system or is it more of a fuction of not having a sub in the sytem. Thanks for the help.
  2. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    all bass rigs color the frequencies running thru them, and Ampeg rigs will color it with the "ampeg tone". By using a passive DI your bass tone is just direct with no coloring, and it will certainly be nowhere near that. A clean jazz bass sounds quite different than a Jazz bass+ ampeg rig.

    You probably want something like a SansAmp, or Radial Bass Bone.
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    A passive DI will usually load down a passive bass, so you definitely will hear more highs with an active DI. If you like a bright sound, you want an active DI.

    But, as mambo4 said, the sound through a DI will be quite different than the sound through a bass rig.
  4. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    I mostly run direct, and have for years. I suggest listening to your Fender / DI set-up there at church in a full band context, not just the bass by itself. The tone may very well work with the entire band playing.

    Active or Passive?

    Plenty of players on both sides here. I will say you get what you pay for here. Don't expect much from any DI box that sells for like $50 new... active or passive.

    DI boxes do produce a closer tone to the natural sound of your bass, but to me, they do have some differences in the affect they have on your sound. I am using the DI I use now because I like the way my bass sounds through it into my PA.

    To get more of an Ampeg 'type' of sound you might consider using a DI like a Sansamp or similar. Not to push you towards that particulr brand.

    For me, DI boxes verge on the same process of choosing the amp you like. There are lots of choices out there, and the DI box I like may not suit you or your bass at all.

    Good luck, and keep praising Him!

  5. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    I don't really know it, but I imagine that an active one will be louder and have less noise in the signal, which I think that we all agree that is a good thing.
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Unfortunately, some active DI circuits are noisy. In fact, since a passive DI has no gain stage that would add or amplify noise, a properly-built passive DI is completely and utterly noiseless. Any noise you may have heard probably came from the mic preamp inside the mixing desk that the DI was connected to.

    To the OP, check out the "preamps" article in the FAQ linked in my sig, for an explanation of active, passive, DI, preamp, etc.
  7. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    I prefer an active DI for passive instruments (less pickup loading) and a passive DI for active instruments (better ground isolation on mains-powered stuff like keys).

    The Audiopile.net active DI sounds very good and is a bargain. The Radial Pro48 is close to as good as it gets and is relatively affordable.
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    if you want an ampeg sound direct, a di box by itself won't do it for you. however, a modeling pedal like the sansamp vt bass does a heck of a job. i own vintage ampegs and i even like it. it doesn't have a di out but you can still run it to the board with a 1/4" jack if the cable run isn't really long, like over 30 feet. but it's usually best to run it with a di or have it modded for a di. www.putnamguitars.com mods sansamp pedals and does a great job, and it won't cost you much more than the price of a good di like a countryman or radial. they make great stuff but it's the clean, clear and bright kind of tones as opposed to fat ampeg tones.
  9. BillyIVbass


    Sep 24, 2008
    Gear Reviews Guitar World Online
    A passive bass into a passive DI will work, but yes it sounds thin do to just around not enough signal. An active DI will send more juice to your board. A keyboard depending on the volume could send out more than double the power of your bass.

    Do you do any insane boosts or cuts with the EQ on your Ampeg? If so then I'd look for a fancier DI or bass pre with a DI out. If you like a relatively flat sound, then an active DI could do the trick.

    What DI to get? There are a ton. My pick is a Radial Pro48 or J48.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Keep an eye on the ads here or CL for a Radial J48 or a Countryman Type 85. These are about as good as it gets for active DIs, and you'll never have to buy another one. Like Jimmy says, if you want more control over your tone and you like the sound of Ampeg, go for something like the SansAmp VT Bass.
  11. 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.

    Mar 9, 2021

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