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What the purpose of the DI?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bloodshot sun, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. bloodshot sun

    bloodshot sun

    Nov 21, 2011
    Nowadays we can send the signal out of our amps , so if you amp has a XLR line out, do DIs have any use ?
  2. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Are you asking what is the point of a standalone DI?

    Generally speaking, better quality.
  3. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Since my amps have such high quality DIs, I use my Countryman 85 as a backup, and for acoustic guitar...

    - georgestrings
  4. will33


    May 22, 2006
    They're designed to make your bass sound as bland and sterile as possible out front. :D
  5. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Audio engineers like the symmetrical signal lines, like microphones use. They aren't really necessary with the strong signals from instruments, much less with what went through the preamp already. But still, for the engineer the DI is a known quantity on the other side of a long cable and there are less surprises. What does he know whether your line out is actually good enough for the snake?
  6. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Have you ever played in a studio and DI'd your bass into a neve or similar 100k board?
    You might drop the bass amp all together.

    Sometimes less stuff between your pickup and the tape recorder the better.
  7. will33


    May 22, 2006
    You should know I'm just joking with this post, OP. ^^

    The DI (Direct Inject, or Direct Insert), converts the signal from your bass or preamp into a form that is suitable for running into a mixing board, to get your sound into the PA system with the other instruments and voices. It's another way of doing it instead of putting a microphone in front of the speaker. There are many different qualities of DI's and a few different ways to use them. Some can sound fantastic, others very bland, and many inbetween.
  8. Direct Instrument box, as in it takes the instrument signal direct to the mixer.
  9. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013
    Well in that case, the Neve pre-amp between your pickup and the recorder is the real magic.

    You can find an EQ setting on those old Neve pre-amps that'll make any bass sound godlike. If they had larger input jacks I'd try to marry one.
  10. The purpose of a DI is to convert your high impedance, unbalanced signal from your instrument to a low impedance balanced one suitable for the input of the mixer.

    The XLR line out on your amp is a DI. It often has a pre or post eq option. A live soundman will almost always want the pre eq. One possible drawback to the DI on your amp may be the lack of a ground lift. Your amp and the FOH may be on different power lines, which can result in hum.

    Generally speaking, stand alone DI's may be of a higher quality than the ones included in your amp. They will also usually have a lot less signal path between your bass and their output, which can mean they are cleaner and less coloured. (Or in some cases, like the Reddi, for example, very pleasantly coloured.)

    I've used both amp and standalone DI's live many times. I'm not sure I've ever been able to hear a significant difference, especially with a decent soundman. In the studio, it's a whole different issue. I've typically only used the amp DI when I wanted to go post eq for a particular amp sound, and I haven't done that often. High quality DI's or mic pre's are much more common.
  11. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    When I'm using my amp I use the built in DI. It's about as good as a Countryman so that's good enough for me. When I am using IEM's/PA I use a Radial JDI.
  12. will33


    May 22, 2006
    DI boxes can range from $20 to over $700. How much ya wanna bet the ones the put in amps aren't the $700 ones.

    Although many are OK/useable. Many soundguys will still want to use their cheap little box, just because they're familiar with it and/or so your amp adjustments don't show up at their board. You can use them on more than just bass too, like acoustic guitars for example.

    A soundman without some DI's is like a carpenter that has no hammer or saw......you gonna hire him?
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Remember, we're not the only players on stage using DI's. Our keyboardist is good for 1 to 3 DI depending on his setup for the night. A good quality DI component has become one of the top things I look for when I buy a piece of gear, something with a good transformer and hopefully tube driven.

    When I tell a soundman that I've got a high quality studio DI on board, I'm not lying...as opposed to what I'd consider 'decent' quality of any production integrated amp heads.
  14. Woodstockz


    Sep 23, 2011
    San Diego, Ca
    Now there is a quote.
  15. We've seen three definitions of the term "DI" so far and here's another one : direct input.
  16. 4StringsEnough


    Mar 9, 2008
    One of the best things I've seen written on Talkbass! :D
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The vast majority of DI's suck out loud if you like tube amps, as I do. A very small handful don't. I use one of them. And a tube amp.
  18. Dan55


    Apr 26, 2006
    The Fender 100T head can go post power tube DI. Me like.

  19. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    Really, can't be that much bigger :D
  20. Given OP's scenario, an outboard DI is only for backup, or to handle an engineer who doesn't like/trust the amp's DI.

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