instrument DI box bang-for-buck

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FNM
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instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by FNM » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:04 pm

I'd like a DI mostly for getting a direct track when tracking mic'd guitars. I've always used my interface for non-thru DI (which is good) or a sansamp bass driver for bass. I've done some research, but it seems to be mostly marketing talk. Basically I would love to have someone tell me to get a simple passive box like a behringer Ultra-DI DI400P, or a maybe Radial proDI and be happy, but I would also not mind getting something more expensive if the jump in quality is there. Is active really that much better for passive guitars? I'm talking classic Les-Paul or Strat straight in (other stuff too, but mainly guitar). Money is an issue, so bang-for-buck is key, not to mention it's a bit of a luxury item (I don't usually NEED a reamp option, and I'm pretty happy with my interface DI when I don't need the thru), but if a Neve beats the utter crap out of a passive Radial, then let me know. If the jump in quality is gonna barely be apparent on a mixed reamp, then let me know.

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:11 pm

Get yourself a Radial JDI and be done with it. You'll have and use it forever.

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by FNM » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:49 pm

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:11 pm
Get yourself a Radial JDI and be done with it. You'll have and use it forever.
Hmm, that one wasn't really even on my radar yet. My thought was instead of anything around $200 I might just go all out for the Neve. Or, a Warm Audio, something more eccentric.. Used around $100-130 though... a used Countryman 85 is pretty high on the list for a similar price. Is the sound quality really gonna be a jump from just a regular ProDI? I don't need the features. I'm not huge on the Radial layout either, I do like a desktop layout better.

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:45 am

Just keep using your audio interface.
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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by coplinger » Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:27 am

Even the cheaper radial passive di sounds great. I love their stuff.

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by digitaldrummer » Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:37 am

I second the JDI. The Jensen transformers don't ever disappoint. I have 2. Excellent for bass guitar DI too. But if I needed more DI options I have a couple of the old "IMP-2"s and have used those on keyboards. nothing special but did the job. the JDI is much nicer.
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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by kslight » Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:01 am

I haven’t used every di known to man, but a range from $10 ones to $500 ones to those built in to $2000 preamps...and I’ve never been convinced by any of them that much mojo was gained by the direct box itself. Used Most of the standards. A lot of it sure seems like marketing, whatever I grabbed didn’t seem to make a huge difference.

For the purpose of running a direct guitar, which is often either a throwaway track (imho) or something you’re going to process significantly later (with an amp modeler or whatever)...I don’t think spending extra money on something fancy is going to produce appreciable results.

With a lot of live music venues closing, before settling for the cheapest thing you can buy, I would see if I could find a good deal on a used standard...like an IMP or a countryman or radial.

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by vvv » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:28 am

I agree with the above, only noting that, to paraphrase Joe J., it's different for bass.
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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by The Scum » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:41 am

If "Bang for the buck" means "inexpensive but still useful", then I'd say the basic passive Whirlwind/Rapco/Proco offerings.

I've got a pair of Rapco DB-100's that were $30 each in 1991 dollars, that still get regular use. The DB-1 appears to be the newer version of it.
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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by CraigS63 » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:49 am

What does going through a DI into your interface buy you, vs. straight in?

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by The Scum » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:59 am

If your interface has an "instrument" input, it's got the DI built in.

A DI does 2 or 3 or 4 useful things.
  1. Converts unbalanced to balanced.
  2. Steps up the input impedance, so it doesn't load a guitar pickup.
  3. (possibly) offers a ground lift, to break ground loops.
  4. (possibly) attenuates the signal, so it can run into a mic preamp without clipping it.
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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by Scodiddly » Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:17 am

CraigS63 wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:49 am
What does going through a DI into your interface buy you, vs. straight in?
It lets you do it at the end of a long mic cable instead of needing to be close to the interface.

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by digitaldrummer » Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:48 am

or let's you go direct into a mic pre that doesn't have a built-in DI jack (I have a few like that). btw, I do often use the built-in DI jack if the preamp has it (make sure it is a DI and not just a 1/4" line-in which some mic pres do have - impedance would not be ideal in that case)
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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by Scodiddly » Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:47 pm

By the way, the "through" jack on a DI is just a passive split. A Y-cable would do the same thing if you don't want to spend money.

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Re: instrument DI box bang-for-buck

Post by losthighway » Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:49 pm

I bought the fancy Avalon DI years ago when I started trying to use more DI as a backup, or even the go-to sound on bass years ago. It just seemed to be the most ubiquitous, highly regarded DI and why not capture the very best DI signal possible?

It works. It's good and all.

That said, when I'm in the control room I usually just plug straight into a pre (API, Great River, or Chandler) because it's fast. I don't ever feel like I'm missing out on anything.

I've used Radial stuff a bunch with other people. Totally solid choice.

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