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Tube DI or Tube Pre-Amp? Advice needed...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ihs, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. ihs


    Feb 4, 2003
    Hi everyone,

    Long-time lurker with a question. I usually just read through the threads here to find any answers I need; I would post more, but usually by the time I see a post the question's already been answered, or it's over my head.

    A bit about my situation...I play bass for two praise team's at my church. I actually grew up playing acoustic guitar and switched to bass three years ago to help out at church, and have been playing that ever since.

    I'm looking for a good tube sound without using a tube amp. :meh: I can't haul a full rig in to church, so I'm looking for a DI-box or pedal solution. I've used the Sansamp BDDI for 2.5 years, but it died on me last week. I thought it sounded good, but wanted to dig around and see if there was something better out there before I spent $200 on a new one.

    It should be noted that I don't need the distortion of the BDDI any longer as I have an HBE Hematoma on the way that will handle that for me. I also already have EQ and chorus pedals.

    Basically, I've read through the forums and am ridiculously confused as to which way to turn. I *think* I just need a tube DI box like the Ampeg SVTDI, but I'm not sure. Will this give me a tube sound similar to the Sansamp (without the drive)? Or do I need to get a full preamp and use the DI to feed the house?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Well, I'm not too familiar with the Ampeg box, but I do use the Sansamp in addition to a traditional tube preamp (Alembic F-1X). Based on how you've described your needs, it doesn't appear that you need to spring for the big bucks to get a full preamp setup - if you're happy with your tone and are looking to simply give it some tubey warmth, there are plenty of DI boxes on the marketplace which should suit your needs just fine, and likely at a lower cost than springing for a rack unit.

    Let me know what you find.

  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Interesting. I play in a similar situation and have similar gear. I play at church where I plug into a Pod that i sat the church. It does the job fine and less for me to haul.

    I also play in a rock/pop band and use a Boss TU-2, Boss CEB-3 Chorus and a Programmable BDDI for a preamp/DI. I don't use distortion much either. I run into a Focus SA power amp and a Bergantino HT112 for stage monitoring and DI to the PA.

    If you liked the BDDI, it's a failry inexpensive and versitile option - especially the new programmable one. It isn't a "real" tube DI, but it sounds pretty good and does have some "preamp" qualities with the bass, treble, presence, etc. For the gigs I play, no one would know if I was using a $50 Art or a $500 Avalon U5, so I went with the BDDI.

    For a "real" tube DI, you could go with a GT Brick, the Ampeg, Demeter or Avalon U5. They are a bit more expensive. I debated this myself and went with the BDDI because it was versitile, sounded pretty good and was chaeper. If I was doing big time live gigs I'd have an Avalon U5 or a Demeter Tube DI. If I was recording a lot, I'd have an Avalon U5.
  4. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think an avalon U5 is a tube DI/preamp is it?
  5. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    The Avalon doesn't use a tube.

    I think choice depends on what sort of tube sound you want. The nice thing about the Sansamp (besides price) is that you can tune it for a wide range of tube effects, from warmth to extreme overdrive. It's about 80% of the way there; good enough. Most of the tube preamps have their own fixed personality. I have a DB659, which you can overdrive a bit, but which is primarily for a warm clean sound. The Brick is similar. And if you use a real tube, buy a number of different tubes from, say, The Tube Store, and see which one gives you the sound you want. The V1 tube is 75% of the sound of a tube preamp.