Why Why Why, DI......

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by scot_bass, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. scot_bass


    Nov 15, 2004
    Ok, interested in everyones opinion.

    Concerning trend recently that my bass is being D.I.'d by the sound tech at various "out of town" venues we're playing right now...

    Never had a problem before, as my Amp was always mic'd, but they're are insisting on the DI.

    My tone has basically gone to s**t since this has been happening.

    Any recommendations for a pre-amp/processor? Been looking at the Sansamp and the Aphex, but would like some opinions....

    thanks guys!
  2. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    I use the Jim Dunlop MXR M-80. I can control my tone that way. I usually do not use a Amp anymore at all.I usually wait til after sound check and when the soundman is away I turn
    up the Bass signal. Then i control the my Volume from the Bass.
  3. Yah, because the soundman probably won't notice the change and adjust the mix accordingly. :scowl:
  4. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    I hate being the "Victim" of a crappy soundman. When I had
    my own band I always had a really good soundman. I was
    always told the soundman was the most important musician
    in the group. So I would always hire a Guitar player to run sound. The guys I hired had a really good ear.
  5. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    Ahhh, the eternal conflict of musican and sound man...
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    How do you know you bass sounds like ****, since by definition you can't hear the PA ?
    Your amp's job is to please your ears. The audience is the soundguy's job.
  7. scot_bass


    Nov 15, 2004
    Thanks for the help guys!

    I know it sounds like **** because I tend to do a front-of-house walk during soundcheck, and I've been listening to the desk recordings recently: dats how!

    And the audience is MY job: it's what i'm there to do: a crappy sound-guy gets to be a rather lame excuse for a crappy sound....

    Anyone else got any recommendations?

  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Whether using a "dry" DI or a preamp/DI, a bad soundman can still ruin your sound. My suggestion, hire and bring your own competent soundman. Its the only way to be sure.

    I play in a weekend cover band, and its still important enough to use the same soundman whenever possible.
  9. scot_bass


    Nov 15, 2004
    i had the same thing a few years ago with the covers band: it's just not possible playing nights with 4 bands in a crowded venue though.......

    just the sound is really beginning to sicken me!
  10. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    If you dig your sound as it is and don't really want to drop the $$$ to get a new pre or something else with a DI. I would suggest just buying a DI for yourself. The "trend" of taking a DI off the bass is not going to fade anytime soon. Get yourself aCountryman Type 85 its a workhorse and its not going to color your sound, its going to give the soundman the same "tone" that you are putting into it. You won't have to worry about duct taped, sharpie marked boxes of questionable integrity, you will have consistant tone from nite to nite.

    My experiance has been that its the soundman not the DI that is the problem. Make sure you know you are giving the house a good sounding signal and if sounds bad out front then you know where the problem is. Unfortunately unless you want to hire your own FOH mixer then your option is to not play the venues that have questionable sound men or do like the rest of world does and deal with it. Rely on performance and good songs because no matter what you do the mixer dictates what the audiance hears.
  11. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Last gig I played at this place, the soundguy insisted I used a DI instead of mic'ing because he ran out of mics. I agreed, and he plugged into the front of my GK. (The GK's DI doesn't change volume with the controls on the amp so it's stable for the soundguy, but he didn't know that and crawled on stage during the performance because I was booming through the PA, and turned all the knobs down, got confused and left it that way. I played the rest of the gig without any sort of monitor and I was still boomy in the mix -- he was too dumb to turn me down at the board) Needless to say I haven't played there since.

    A Sansamp would do you nicely, especially the older ones I found to be a lot nice than the Bass Driver DI.
  12. Well there's your problem right there ;)

    But seriously, messing with your DI settings and levels after soundcheck is probably going to do a lot more harm than good for the FOH mix.

    All you can do is give them a good sound from the DI (or mic if you get lucky) and hope the guy running the board is doing a good job.
  13. scot_bass


    Nov 15, 2004
    thanks for the help guys....

    i've decided to try out the Hartke VXL Bass Attack Pre-amp/DI for the next couple of gigs to see how that goes....

    I'll update with my findings

  14. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i can't imagine using a mic (maybe for a particular sound, but even then with a DI) rather than a DI of some sort. A DI or mic level out from your preamp is the way to go. If your sound sucks it's the soundman, not because using a DI is inferior to using a mic your amp.
  15. scot_bass


    Nov 15, 2004
    i've got no argument at all that it's all down to the soundman! The problem is that at these gigs, where there are 4-5 bands playing 30 minutes sets, the soundman really isn't paying any attention to the sound of the bass, concentrating, as ever, on the guitar and vocals: what I wanted to do was provide him with as strong and accurate a tone and level as possible, so that even when he paid no attention to my sound, it would still sound good...

    In the past, i've always been an advocate of a mic/DI mix, but that's only possible playing a decent length of set with your own soundman, i thinks....

    Took delivery of the Hartke yesterday: "at home" try-outs with it are sounding extremely promising: harmonics producing a warm tube-driven sound, right up to a nice clear crunchy distortion. And the "shape" control gives a real good range of possibilities..

    Anyone else used this? (Hartke VXT Bass Attack)
  16. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Using that argument, its best to send the soundman a FLAT signal. If he's got the other 4-5 bands using a flat signal from a regular DI, and you come along halfway through the showand run a hot, EQ'd signal, guess how it sounds out front!
  17. scot_bass


    Nov 15, 2004
    that's what gave me the problem: the flat signal i'm sending him came out just that: flat: completely: they tend not to mess too much with the tone of what i'm sending them.

    I reckon as long as it's noted at sound-check that i'm sending him a decently EQ'd signal, then as long as he keeps his own desk flat, there'll be no problem....

    i hope....

    or am i being a little too simplistic?

  18. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    So are you saying carry 2 DI boxes one active and one passive
    for situations like this?
  19. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    Those gigs with 4 to 5 bands suck for soundmen. Thats 4x as much ego to deal with (bass players included) as normal and you have no time to set up between sets. So yeah, as you said guitar and vocals tend to get immidiate attention because that is what 90% of the audiance wants to hear, especially in the rock scene. They are also the hardest to get a good sound, most vocalists don't have good mic technique and tend to be all over the place and guitar cuts right through the mix and needs to sound as good as possible. Soundman has to get a mix dialed as quick as possible. I take pride in the fact that I get the least attention. The soundman gets the DI out of my amp, sets up my monitor and I concentrate on the songs. If my "tone" is killed in the FOH, that sucks but you know what? Were not going to loose any fans, its not going keep us from other gigs. Fortunately bass tone in a crappy bar does'nt make the band.

    I really think the best thing you can do is make sure your end is covered and you are getting a good signal up front. I don't care if you listen to board tapes or walk out front during soundcheck or whatever. Unless you are standing in the audiance or at FOH during your own show you really have know idea how its sounds. The mixer, mixes, unless you are doing a solo bass perfomance, your sound, along with drums, guitar, vox, keys or whatever gets blened into the best mix possible. Most bars and small rooms suck acoustically and may not have the best PA, made sound is just a fact of life sometimes.

    The problem with sending an eq'ed signal to FOH is although it may sound great in front of the cab, it may sound like ass in the mains with the rest of the instruments. Sometimes drastic eq is part of the tone, but same thing apply's what sounds good 2 feet from your rig, may not sound good 20 feet from the stage coming through the PA. The sound man has to make it fit as good as possible.

    Sorry to be so defensive. Its just really annoying (not pointing any fingers) when I go to a show and the guitar and bass player are tone freaks and then they can't play their instrument for s*** and the performance sucks. I'll take a great song/performance through a Peavey practice amp than a crap song/performance through some huge Aggy/Eden setup.
  20. The less you leave to the sound man the better. For example, if you or the guitarist has a solo, have a boost channel and don't rely on the sound man to change the volume for you.

    I've tried all sorts of different things with mic, D.I., EQd D.I., and I think that if you give the sound man a good clean and clear signal he will be able to do his job better. I personally would love a mic, but because most D.I. boxes are cheaper than mics that's usually what I get, in which case I suggest a flat tube D.I. out of the amp instead. Not always the greatest sound in all places but I think it works best for the places with the good PA and works good for the places with bad PA.

    Are there any sound men in the Talkbass forum? I would take their 2cents and learn from them.