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What are the qualities of a good direct box?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by growlngrind, Oct 31, 2004.


  1. If this is in the wrong forum, someone please redirect me.

    I am looking for a good quality direct box for those times when I don't need to break out my amp. I am not looking for something with all the bells and whistles like a Sansamp or a U5. I just want something that will give me a quality reproduction of my bass' sound.

    I'm not very savy when it comes to this area, as I have always had some form of direct out on my amps. Which is better, passive or active, tube or solid state? Are there any other features I should be on the lookout for. I really don't want to spend a small fortune either.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. My last trip into a real-life recording studio: they handed me a direct box. I looked to see if it was anything fancy or expensive...guess what, it was a Behringer. It sounded OK to my tin ears. So I bought one just like it for less than $30 at American Musical. Runs off either phantom power or an internal battery. I use it when I run sound, I give it to the acoustic guitar player, and it's worked fine in all the live settings I've put it in.

    I'm sure there are more expensive and perhaps better-sounding units, but this one seems Ok to me.

    edit: Let me add this is a pretty versatile little box, supposedly it can even attenuate speaker-level outputs.
     
  3. The Countryman is a studio and live sound standard.They are around $150 but worth every penny.They don't color your sound and will work with any kind of load,even speaker outputs like on old SVTs and Fender tube amps with no direct outs.Also they are built like a tank.
     
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Cheaper direct boxes always work "just fine", but after you've used one for awhile, perfectly satisfied, then you plug into a high-end DI, you'll be amazed at the difference. Look for one with a Jensen transformer, and you can't go wrong. Radial makes great DI's (Radial JDI passive is around $180 new), Countryman is an excellent standard. Can't go wrong with either.
     
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    this really belongs in effects
    but, a good di should not "color" your sound all that much
    the countryman and radial are faves here, as is the u5
     
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Countryman Type 85.
     
  7. Thanks for the replies you guys. Sorry if I stuck this in the wrong place.

    I have found a few of the Countryman boxes used on ebay, and that looks like a real good option. I did some more searching here on TB and found some comments about how the Countryman was not as good with active basses. Has anyone else had any problems with them?? I am using a Dingwall with the Aguilar OBP1 preamp.
     
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I've used my Countryman with my Lakland 55-94's and Fender Jazz Deluxe FMT. No problems whatsoever. Just the pure, clean tone of my bass.
     
  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    +1

    Visit www.jensen-transformers.com, and check out their "white papers" and "schematics" sections.

    Definitely stick with the passive transformer-coupled DI's, and stay away from the "active DI's".

    Anything with a tone control on it is probably not what you want.
     
  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I've been using a Pro-Co DB-1 for about 10 years now. It's just a simple passive box that works great for me.
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Unless, of course, it's an Avalon U5.