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How necessary are DIs on hardware synths/samplers? DAW Software
Old 15th June 2003
  #1
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

How necessary are DIs on hardware synths/samplers?

Hi,

I have noticed several people comment on using high quality DIs on their hardware synth/samper outputs. How necessary is this? Do all the big commercial studios wire their modules this way?

I have 4 MIDI machines which I rely on heavily. Each has 8 outputs which I have hard wired to the desk. My Soundcraft Ghost has enough I/O to allow to me run my studio without a patchbay. As only one of my synths/samplers has balanced outputs, all of them are connected with high quality unbalanced looms. The longest is 9m, the rest are all 6m. In each of my mixes, about half of the MIDI parts are recorded into PT|24 MIX (with balanced cable from the Ghost to a 888/24) for processing and the other half will be running live into the desk.

Is this a ridiculously lo-fi way to record my synths/sampers?
Old 16th June 2003
  #2
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I've found many synths and modules often don't send out enough clean gain to get a reasonably hot signal when plugged directly into a Pro Tools interface. You aren't doing that, but by going through the Ghost, you are essentially using it instead of a dedicated DI.

Active DI boxes often have a "sound" - essentially they are alltering (or distorting) the original synth signal in a way that is considered pleasing. Each will do it somewhat differently, which is why different people have different favorite active DI's.

The only way to tell if running through the Ghost is giving you a less desireable result than running through a DI is to borrow or rent one or two and try it out. I suspect that most of the time it won't matter a whole lot. The exceptions might be sounds (like synth bass lines or kicks) with a lot of bottom end content.
Old 16th June 2003
  #3
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I think it helps a lot. As littledog said, there's many different tones available in dinjection. Synth/sampler outputs usually sound pretty crappy so they take well to a sugaring by a good circuit.

There's other pieces of gear that will color your sound more though. Like EQ and compression.

Your current setup does not seem "ridiculously low fi" to me. You might benifit from a higher-fi converter though.

Do you have any high bitrate MP3s online?
Old 16th June 2003
  #4
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

What next?

Thanks for the replies, guys!

I already have a BSS active DI box. Does the job, but I doubt it's anything like the high end stuff . Even so, I might try it on kick sometime.

Quote:
Originally posted by faeflora
You might benifit from a higher-fi converter though.
Your comment about benefiting from a higher-fi converter leads me to the question of my next purchase. It's possible I'd be better off starting a new thread about this. However, I've been considering getting a Nanosync/Big Ben or a PCM91/M3000. I can't decide whats more important, a better reverb (I've got Mega Reverb, Ren Reverb, an old SPX90, and my G4 can't handle Altiverb) or a better sounding 888/24. Then there's the issue of which reverb or clock. I would really like a great reverb for hip hop, electro and house style drums. I would also like to be able to add richness and depth to the everything else in my mixes, but vocals don't feature often. Any comments?
Old 17th June 2003
  #5
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faeflora's Avatar
 

Got any online samples of your work? Hearing how you mix might help me advise.
Old 17th June 2003
  #6
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

Online mixes

I'm afraid I don't have anything online at the moment. I'll be working hard over the next few months to complete 3 or 4 new tracks with which to promote myself. When I've finished one of them I see if I can find a way to post it somewhere. Any suggestions?
Old 17th June 2003
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Are you satisfied with the present gain on the ghost? If you are, you don't need any DIs. Besides, you'd need a minimum of (8) or more DI's for your rig.
Old 17th June 2003
  #8
Gear Head
 

I would have to agree with Fross. If you get enough gain with the Ghost, stick with that for awhile. Let us know when you have some tunes online.
Old 17th June 2003
  #9
Gear Addict
 

If you feel you require more gain, you may want to consider a multi channel preamp as opposed to many seperate DIs.
I have many keyboards and I use:
API 3124
Vintech 473
Phoenix
Manley
I got a 8ch CLM DB8000s recently and it sounds outstanding on keyboards, just a suggestion.
Old 18th June 2003
  #10
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faeflora's Avatar
 

Won't you get impedance fuggeration if you use a mic pre for amplification?
Old 18th June 2003
  #11
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littledog's Avatar
 

Fae: the mic pres he mentioned all come with DI's on the front panel, which I'm assuming is what he is using...

Fross: you're the first person I've seen with the Vintech 473. How do you like it?
Old 18th June 2003
  #12
Gear Addict
 

I use the DIs mostly. I use the Mic inputs on the CLM (more gain).

I love the 473, just ordered another one this week. It's amazingly detailed on my keyboards. I haven't tried it on Vox or other instruments yet. I'll probably use it on Ac Gtr soon.
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