Taming the Alembic F-1X DI

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Lonnybass, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Lately my sound engineer and I have been conferring on how to solve an interesting dilemma at the FOH console. I use the DI on my Alembic F-1X (pre-EQ) to send the bass signal to the board.

    According to my engineer, it sounds amazing - warm, punchy and clean tone across the board. The only problem? It's so full and "swelled" that some of the notes - especially sub-E notes on my 5-strings, are forcing him to ride the bass channel faders very carefully because they become somewhat overwhelming in the mix.

    We're talking about putting a dedicated compressor/limiter on the bass channel in his effects rack, but I'm not sure if this is truly going to be a remedy for the situation. Any ideas/experiences on how to tame a particularly hot DI signal at the mixing board level? I do have the option of using the second input on the F-1X which has a 6 db pad in the circuit, but I don't want to have to do any more cranking to my stage volume to compensate. Let me know what you think!


    Chicago, IL


    Aug 13, 2003
    Sulphur LA
    A good dedicated comp should work fine. It does for me!
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    might as well use the compressor before it hits the F-1X, no? the RNC compressor is a fav. small, compact, and extremely hifi for its size. another cool one is the Demeter box.
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi Lonnybass, you could try using a step-down transformer. I'm not sure exactly what the DI on an F1-X looks like, electrically speaking, but if it's a "true DI" then it's supposed to be a 600 ohm line level signal. Depending on how tall your peaks are, you can try a 2:1 or 4:1 stepdown transformer, that'll give you an even lower input impedance to the board (so the channel strip will be perfectly happy). Check www.jensen-transformers.com for some of the best audio transformers in the world (or if you're in the UK, check Sowter, they're pretty good too).

    Another thought would be, a line pad. If you check the Audio Cyclopedia, you can find a gazillion ways to wire up three or four resistors so they cut your signal and leave all the impedances correct.

    That sounds a little odd, a DI output pegging a channel input. I assume your engineer is using the line level input? Have you tried putting a VU meter between your preamp and the board? Might be interesting, just to see how hot your signal really is. If it's really hot, then maybe the solution is to put the pad inside the preamp, or tweak the preamp circuitry a little to take down your DI line level.
  5. The problem isn't the DI, it is sending what you are playing. As others have said, a Compressor will most likely take care of this problem. Your sound person might considering inserting it inline at the board. That way he/she can adjust it for what is needed and you won't have to bother with it. I personally don't like playing through a compressor but I can appreciate what they can do for the FOH or in a recording situation.
  6. I owned an F1X, and it does not have a hot DI.

    I found mine to be rather anemic, when using it to drive a QSC power amp.

    Is your FOH guy trying to put the LINE level output from the F1X into a MIC level input? If so, that will really splatter it, as the MIC level input is much lower voltage.
  7. I think I know what you are saying. If I'm right it's not how hot/strong your DI signal is, rather (like GreyBeard said) it's what is in the signal.

    You need to tame the signal composition. Not the signal strength.

    A compressor is not the smartest item to utilize for the problem. You need to EQ out the lowest bass frequencies before they hit the board preamp. You can't do this at the F1X because then you'll not be happy with your stage sound. And depending on your settings, using the post-EQ DI out could make things even worse.

  8. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    It would be more correct to say that it's not how hot/strong the DI signal is, rather, it's what is in the signal (with particularly huge-sounding lows) that is causing the problem.

    I have to leave the F-1X in "pre" EQ mode, because the Post setting is much hotter, so my stage settings are pretty much to give me a good clean onstage sound. Therefore, I can't really do much adjusting from the stage except to keep my onstage setup from being muddy or uneven, which hasn't been a problem. J

    So it appears that the solution is to run the DI into its own equalizer (rather than a compressor) somewhere in the FOH chain?
  9. Yep. I should have elaborated on that detail in my earlier post.

    The sooner in the signal chain that you can get your bass EQ'd to be FOH friendly, the better. In reality, trying to use the F1X's DI is making life harder because you have it set to sound good on stage. Ideally, you would come out of your bass into a "standalone" DI (like a Countryman) and then run the "thru out" to your F1X/stage rig and the XLR out to a good EQ and then on to the board. This separates your stage and FOH signals (and optimizes them for each).

    So then what's the F1X's DI ideally suitable for? Recording. In which case you'd be tweaking the F1X's EQ differently than you do live to make it sound good on tape or whatever.

    But before buying another DI I would just put the EQ between the F1X and the board, kill everything under 80 hz and go from there. Experiment a lot.