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Zoom B3 DI question

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by topper, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. Hey all,

    I've got a Zoom B3 that I love, but I just used the DI on it for the first time while doing a little recording at a local studio. The engineer said the level coming off the DI was crazy hot and nothing we did could get it to come down. My volume coming out the regular 1/4 out was pretty normal.

    I tried looking through the "global" settings and couldn't find a volume control specific to the DI. Didn't see anything in the manual either.

    Has anyone else run into this with the B3?

  2. The signal is hot coming out of the 1/4 inch jacks is way too hot too. Turn the Global volume down to around 70 or 80.
  3. The signal out the 1/4 jack was fine. It's the DI (XLR) out that was too hot. Turning down the global volume didn't seem to change that.
  4. Well you're the first person I've heard say the 1/4's were not too hot. Good luck.
  5. Teijo K.

    Teijo K. Commercial User

    Sep 8, 2014
    Jyväskylä, Finland
    Endorsing Artist: CCP

    Well there is no separate DI volume. The global volume should change all the outputs, including DI. Try turning the global volume to zero, the DI should be silent, then start turning it louder.

    What I would have asked from the studio owner, is to turn on the pad on his desk. If thats not enough, all the studios in the world should have something like this What does “-20dB Pad” Really Mean? around.
  6. That's a great suggestion. I'll try to remember that next time. It was the first time I'd worked with him, but he seemed pretty competent. I'd be surprised if he hadn't already tried all he could at the board.

    I was hoping I'd missed something in the global settings. I guess not. I'll have to do some more experimentation on my own before I need to use that DI again.
  7. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I've found that the output of the B3 can be made really hot if desired. This is needed if you require a "line level" output to drive the front end of a power amplifier, for example. As mentioned above, you only need to adjust the Global output to a low number (below 50 or so) to make the output level more manageable. I work with different mixers, some with and some without input Pad on the channel strip. The B3 can be made to work fine with either as long as you know where to go to fix the output level.
  8. Hmmm... yeah we had the global output down around 5 and it was still clipping like crazy. I'm getting more and more convinced there was something going on in the control room.

    We recorded that really hot line on it's own track but also ran a separate clean DI right off my bass. That one wasn't clipping and we'll just add the few effects I need in post.

    This is the first time I've used the B3 DI. Live I use the DI built into my amp so the sound guy gets my effected signal.
  9. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Hmmm is right! You have a lot of places where you can trim back volume on this thing: at the last effect in the virtual stomp chain (most, if not all effect blocks, have an output level knob), then there is the level of the preset patch itself (by activating the TOTAL menu button), and then finally the Master Level on the GLOBAL menu. I use a Mackie 1608 digital mixer most of the time for small gigs, and these have no input pad. Sure, my level is on the "hot" side, so the input trim on my channel is backed-down quite a bit, but I can easily pull back more output from the B3 to give me more range if desired.

    A lot of recording engineers have their favorite approaches to basic tracks when recording. B3 is known as a budget (non-glamorous) piece of gear. Could be that he really just didn't want to offend you and sand-bagged the input from the processed B3 so he wouldn't have to use it. You could also make an argument that the B3 as an analog I/O is not a very high quality interface for recording (if this is a really high-level project, and not a lower level demo). I could understand a good engineer wanting to use something else, like a RED DI or other means.

    Questions: what was the console (how old), did it have an input pad, and if you were recording to a DAW, why not use the USB digital output to get the signal into the DAW? Just curious...
    Teijo K. likes this.
  10. I didn't think about the USB. This was a demo project in a professional local studio. Here's a shot of the board. They were just tracking for us (not mixing) and we were already planning to record both dry and wet tracks. So I don't think he was turning his nose up at my gear. I think he genuinely couldn't get a good level from the DI.

    Attached Files:

  11. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)

    Yeah, their most likely going to a DAW since they have all of those Mackie HUI Universal DAW Controllers lined up. That's just a sophisticated mixing surface, with no audio in/out on the mixing hardware, unlike a traditional mixer. That being the case, it really is a matter of what was being used as the actual analog-to-digital interface, and it may not have had the proper input padding, but I'd be really surprised by this if it were a pro studio. Well, we may never get to the bottom if it, but something sure doesn't add up IMHO. Dunno.
  12. The xlr output on Zoom units is line level 1 volt at 200 ohm significantly hotter than a Mic or usual DI output, for that reason you might want to use the 20db pad as has been mentioned or use a passive DI box to use with most mixers. Some mixers and devices have a mic/line switch that will attenuate the signal to the proper level. This xlr output is intended to be used with pro level line inputs or to drive a power amp.
    topper likes this.
  13. That sounds like it could be the ticket!
  14. Does the Active/Passive switch on the back of the Zoom alter the DI?
  15. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yes. Of course.

    However just because it CAN be hotter doesn't mean that it necessarily must be hotter. I've interfaced XLR-to-console successfully routinely, live, plugging into a channel strip, making the needed adjustments I described. Perhaps others have different experiences. ??? Across all levels and feature sets of mixing consoles, I've never had a problem getting a clean, workable signal to a mixing console. I've used mixers that have trim pots that are widely variable, and labeled as such from "line" (most padding) to "Mic". I'd fully be on board with @bassbrad if not for the fact that I've been gigging this pedal for over 2 years, with no interface issues.

    I've been scouring the owner's manual, and unfortunately it doesn't explicitly describe or recommend a usage for the XLR, other than "balanced" output. Maybe I need to look harder. LOL

    no. Passive/Active is at the input.

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