Why a "DI", When Your Amp Already Has a "DI"?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    Hey all,

    i was reading Mix magazine recently, and inside there was a breakdown of Tori Amos' touring rig.

    there, they profiled the bassist's (who's name escapes me) setup, where he had an SWR head, but was also using an Avalon U5 for his direct to the board/house feed.

    is this necessary? what's wrong with just using the DI out on my Demeter or Aguilar?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Probably because nothing in the world sounds even 10 % as good as an AVALON DI.
    At least, definitively not a SWR.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Technically, nothing is "wrong" I guess. But the DI out of the Carvin R heads I have/have had tend to put out a signal that can be too "hot" for a lot of boards.

    Plus, the Avalon just puts out an amazingly good sound, at least when I've used one in the studio. No other preamp I've used sounds as good to me for bass DI in that application. Maybe it's the same, live.
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    but would i benefit at all getting an Avalon or a Demeter or an Aguilar DI for my preamps? or is that just overkill?
  5. I use a U5. Love it.
  6. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    unfortunately you can't really run to FOH and see how your bass sounds DI'd, so it's kind of a tough thing.

    in my experience, there are way too many factors involved in getting your sound thru the PA that the difference between the 'good' DI coming out of your amp and the 'killer' di box won't be noticeable in 90% of cases.
  7. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN

  8. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I suppose the DI on some preamps or heads are "post" only, meaning you can only get the signal after it has gone through the preamp. In this case it would make sense to have a DI box to get the signal striaght from your bass to the board.
  9. Cantstandsya


    Jul 27, 2001
    Fontana, CA
    IME the better the sound company is the less likely they will let you use the D.I. out on your amp.Most of the bigger sound companies like S.I.R. will pretty much insist that you use their direct box straight the board before it hits your amp.It kind of sucks(and sucks tone) but you can't really do much about it unless you want to piss them off and get a horrible mix.....
  10. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I use the DI on my Demeter and most soundmen compliment me on how good it sounds. The last time I recorded I used that same Demeter preamp and ran the DI to the board. I use mine in the post EQ position.

  11. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I believe its because then you can crank the bass through your amp and get what ever sound you want for yourself.

    The sound guy then has more control over the FOH mix IE they can add ass much bass as they feel is appropiate. Its 10 times harder to remove too much bass.

    Of corse if its PRE EQ.....

  12. Very few (and none that I've tried) amps have quality built-in DIs. On most amps the DI is simply a "feature" that has been included to give the amp an appearance of versatility. Typically they're noisy, weak, thin. I've heard that there are exceptions: Aguilar, and a very few others.

    With a dedicated unit (like the U5) one is removing "the unknown".

    I say give the FOH (if there is one) a good strong, clean signal (via dedicated DI) and just worry about your own stage sound. The FOH is gonna diddle with it (maybe even mute it!) to their liking. Regardless of which route you take, 9 times outta 10 your stage tone will differ from the FOH anyway.
  13. I saw John Evans, Tori's bass player,at her concert in Atlanta last October. He was playing a blue Lakland five string through an SWR head (Couldn't see which model. The amp was in a separate rack with his effects) and what appeared to be an Eden 4x10 XST; it definitely was NOT an XLT! Anyhow, his bass sound was awesome, one of the best I have heard at ANY concert. If I were uber-picky, I'd say he lacked low mid definition, but I can see why it was dialed out so as not to step on Tori's piano. If his sound is representative of Avalon, then I must say I'm sold.

    I used to have the stuff at Guitar Center when I worked there, but there was not a single signal path I trusted to show it accurately. The best stuff like the VT737 and VT747 was patched into the crappy-ass Pro-Tools rig which crashed every time it was played, so you never got to hear it.

    I have run several PA rigs with DI's straight out of SWR amps from some phenomenal players, but the DI left something to be desired tonally, and they had a tendency to be noisy. You'd be amazed at the tonal improvement to be gained from a Countryman, much less an Avalon! As PA gung-ho as this board is, I'm surprised more posters here DON'T carry high quality DI's

    I'm going to see Tori in Lexington, KY, this weekend and have much better seats than before, so I'll get a good look. I'm planning on wearing my Motorhead shirt just to mess with all the lesbians (although most of them are actaully pretty nice).
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Good question. I've actually considered going as far as an Avalon 737 or 747 as a front end to my EA iamp 800. If I could find one around locally and try it, I'd scrape the cash together if it got the sound I was after.
  15. Yep, you are Psycho! If this is your last post, we'll know why.
  16. :D

    Anyway, I've found that the DI outputs on most heads are not very nice sounding at all. The notable exceptions are Aguilar and Demeter which sound great. If I want a post eq signal from the bassist I'll mic his/her cab or take a 1/4" line to a real DI. I'd have to say that the U-5 is the best DI I've ever used. Period. Warm, fat but crystal clear as well... I'd say the Summit might give it a run for it's money but I haven't had the opportunity to try one yet...
  17. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Well, our sound guy is great, but I don't understand, or like his thinking on this subject. He had always bitched about my using the post setting on the DI of my head, and always requested it be set on pre, in other words direct signal from the bass. I switched it to post without him knowing for the last couple of gigs, but last week when I got there, there on of those cheap $19 direct boxes sitting on top of my rig. I didn't say anything about it, I just used it and left it at that. It sure doesn't make much sense to me, to have essentially a $3000 stage monitor. I like my amplified sound, but apparently he doesn't. For the record, I run a modulus fb5 with the lane poor setup, into an SWR bass 750, light compression, and a goliath senior cab. Bass is set pretty much flat....high end flat, and just a tad boost of low end, the head is also set dead flat, with the aural exciter at 12 o'clock.
  18. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    As a sometimes sound guy I can tell you what the problem is. Running your amp DI "post" stuffs up your signal to the desk. Every time you touch your EQ or volume control, it makes your signal to the desk either weaker or stronger.

    Imagine for a sec you turn your volume down. The signal to the desk weakens and we cant hear the bass through the PA. So we turn you up, maybe adjust the gain to reinstate the previous input level. 30 seconds later you realise you've turned yourself down too much so you turn up a bit. Suddenly the desk is peaking out and the amps are clipping. If I don't act fast something might blow.

    Now imaging playing this game all night while simultaneously dealing with all the other musicians, punters, venus managers, the bands friends and would-be-if-they-could-be sound guys.
  19. Most soundmen prefer a separate DI for some other reasons not mentioned yet. One is that they get less variation in the input signal, it's hard to set the board when someone is jacking the input signal all over the place. Another reason for a separate DI is that it protects your amp or pre-amp from unwanted phantom power, depends on amp, may or may not wreak havoc. If you are playing through a decent PA, what ever amp you have after the pre, is in fact an expensive stage monitor!

    Happy Rumblings, J
  20. What you're hearing coming out of your cab isn't necessarily the same thing as what's coming out of the preamp of the head. You set up your head so that the cab sounds good in the space it's in. The EQ settings etc. to get that may not make for a very nice signal to the house. I usually find that the post eq signal is extremely bottom heavy. I also find the on board DIs to be very noisy. Even on SWR and Eden heads. I often find that even a cheap passive DI sounds better.

    I like taking a direct signal straight from the bass and putting a mic on the bassist's cab. I find that technique effective for getting killer bass tone in the house.