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Active DI tough choice
Old 26th April 2020
  #1
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Active DI tough choice

Hi folks can anyone comment on the sound qualities for the below di boxes please?

Miktek DI2
Warm Audio Active DI
Bumblebee DI
Klark Teknik DN100

I bought a cheap Β£15 passive DI before doing any reading - it made the background hum disappear on my x0xb0x synthesizer and using it to record a 1980s stratocaster stopped it from buzzing into my interface (RME UCX). a little bit thin sounding on passive pickups but I heard it is not advised to set up this way.

I also have a couple of preamps - joe meek & warm audio so I was hoping for a few new tonal combinations or reamping options with a more expensive DI. Will there be much of a difference? I am wondering if there can be an improvement in tone going with something a bit more expensive.

I see JDI, REDDI, ZOD, Neve all out of my price range but hoping there could be something that offers a vibey, low noise, big sound for a more modest price.

Any help would be very much greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!
Old 26th April 2020
  #2
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlw123 View Post
Hi folks can anyone comment on the sound qualities for the below di boxes please?

Miktek DI2
Warm Audio Active DI
Bumblebee DI
Klark Teknik DN100

...I see JDI, REDDI, ZOD, Neve all out of my price range but hoping there could be something that offers a vibey, low noise, big sound for a more modest price.

I have not heard the Miktek, Warm Audio, Bumblebee or the DN100. I don't know the ZOD.

I had issues trying to get the JDI to work one time (probably my fault), and I dislike the REDDI, as I don't like the fact the gain is insufficient to use without another pre-amp. I prefer the Groove Tubes DITTO over the REDDI, as it is a stand alone direct box\pre-amp.


However, one of my most favorite active DI's is the Klark Teknik LLB100.

https://tcfurlong.com/rentals/rental...ct-box-rental/

Unfortunately, it has been discontinued.

I am also NOT a fan of the Countryman. It doesn't seem to keep the booty strong for bass.

I have a passive one built with the same Jensen transformer that Radial used to use. IMO, nothing to write home about. Noble Dual Vacuum Tube Preamp & Direct Box & Avalon U5 are both nice, though spendy choices.


What are your pre-amps? What would you use to amplify the DI signal?
Old 26th April 2020
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos147 View Post
I have not heard the Miktek, Warm Audio, Bumblebee or the DN100. I don't know the ZOD.

I had issues trying to get the JDI to work one time (probably my fault), and I dislike the REDDI, as I don't like the fact the gain is insufficient to use without another pre-amp. I prefer the Groove Tubes DITTO over the REDDI, as it is a stand alone direct box\pre-amp.


However, one of my most favorite active DI's is the Klark Teknik LLB100.

https://tcfurlong.com/rentals/rental...ct-box-rental/

Unfortunately, it has been discontinued.

I am also NOT a fan of the Countryman. It doesn't seem to keep the booty strong for bass.

I have a passive one built with the same Jensen transformer that Radial used to use. IMO, nothing to write home about. Noble Dual Vacuum Tube Preamp & Direct Box & Avalon U5 are both nice, though spendy choices.


What are your pre-amps? What would you use to amplify the DI signal?
Thanks for the reply I have seen the ditto and U5...unaffordable for me. As it will also be used on bass with passive pickups, an active design and able to reproduce a full sound maybe with an extra bit of mojo.
Old 26th April 2020
  #4
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlw123 View Post
As it will also be used on bass with passive pickups...
I don't own any active basses. I play Fender Jazz or Precision 90% of the time.
Old 26th April 2020
  #5
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You forgot the Neve RNDI.
That is what I use. I really like it on bass. $275
Old 27th April 2020
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by numero6 View Post
You forgot the Neve RNDI.
That is what I use. I really like it on bass. $275

Hello I found some demos online with the Neve no doubt it sounds good and the money not too sky high....I wondered if I wanted some tube vibe and came across notika electronics. Shame I wasn't educated at the time to take advantage of the groove tube mass clearout sale.
Old 27th April 2020
  #7
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radial di boxes are missing on your list...
Old 27th April 2020
  #8
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kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by numero6 View Post
You forgot the Neve RNDI.
That is what I use. I really like it on bass. $275
RNDI is great on bass into any preamp I've used so far, whether I'm going into a sim or not.
Old 27th April 2020
  #9
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Im going to try orchid electronics. I have read great things so far and worth far more than the asking price.
Old 29th April 2020
  #10
Gear Head
I've tried quite a few DI's and what I ended up with was the following:

Radial JDV Active DIs: Great super clean sound without color. I feel of all the DIs I've tried, these capture the instrument best without any additional color. Perfect for capturing a DI signal while recording guitar or bass amps, in case I need to reamp later. Useful features include ground lift switch and a very handy variable input impedance. Actually has quite a bit of clean gain on it's own and doesn't need much (if any) from the preamp.

Radial JDI Stereo Passive DI: A little bit more of a classic transformer sound DI. Doesn't get used a whole lot, but nice to have around as there is always that time when you need one more DI.

Rupert Neve RNDI: Great on bass. Probably my go to DI for passive electric basses when I am going for a straight DI, no amp sound.

Groove Tubes Brick and Ditto: Essentially both have the same circuit for DI inputs (brick just has extra gain circuitry for the mic input). Sits on my synths, great for a little extra tube warmth and harmonics. Don't expect audible overdrive or distortion, though.
Old 29th April 2020
  #11
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Id love a groove tube. the radial certainly getting some loving too. Im going to set record (passive bass and stratocaster) on the rme ucx di vs orchid micro see what a difference new di makes. also ot a couple of outboard pres wa12 and joe meek too so hopefully some tone options there too.
Old 29th April 2020
  #12
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kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlw123 View Post
Id love a groove tube. the radial certainly getting some loving too. Im going to set record (passive bass and stratocaster) on the rme ucx di vs orchid micro see what a difference new di makes. also ot a couple of outboard pres wa12 and joe meek too so hopefully some tone options there too.
I had a GT Brick for a number of years. I liked it on guitar a lot. Reminded me of a hi-fi Champ amp.
Old 30th April 2020
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I had a GT Brick for a number of years. I liked it on guitar a lot. Reminded me of a hi-fi Champ amp.
an amp sound from a DI would be amazing to have. The feeling of playing in front of an amp through studio monitors must be so inspiring
Old 30th April 2020
  #14
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Little Labs have a cool DI/Reamp solution.

https://littlelabs.com/redeye.html
Old 30th April 2020
  #15
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I really like my Summit 2BA-221 as a DI; lets you dial in how much tube you want, and also doubles as a mic pre. They also have their TD-100 which is just a tube direct preamp, with variable impedance. Can be found used and are built well.
Old 30th April 2020
  #16
DI's will do a lot of gain staging, attenuation then a lot of mic preamp make up gain. That causes losses. I much prefer a mic preamp with a 1/4" high impedance input, take only the gain you need and go. AC powered units tend to have much better low end punch as they are not dependent on 10 ma of 48 volt current to survive on.
Old 30th April 2020
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenderboy View Post
Little Labs have a cool DI/Reamp solution.

https://littlelabs.com/redeye.html
Bookmarked!! thank you for headsup
Old 30th April 2020
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
DI's will do a lot of gain staging, attenuation then a lot of mic preamp make up gain. That causes losses. I much prefer a mic preamp with a 1/4" high impedance input, take only the gain you need and go. AC powered units tend to have much better low end punch as they are not dependent on 10 ma of 48 volt current to survive on.
Crazy. did some tests today. my hiz to wa12 pre sounds better than di to pre...more noise. At first I was upset (first time trying to record passive pickups im hi def). orchid micro di to interface is good but the wa12 is fuller.
Old 30th April 2020
  #19
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kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlw123 View Post
an amp sound from a DI would be amazing to have. The feeling of playing in front of an amp through studio monitors must be so inspiring
Well, it wasn't that exciting. But it was a nice DI, and closer to an amp - at least, a really clean one - than most.

Last edited by kafka; 1st May 2020 at 11:07 PM..
Old 1st May 2020
  #20
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by reelbigs***** View Post
I've tried quite a few DI's and what I ended up with was the following:

...Groove Tubes Brick and Ditto: Essentially both have the same circuit for DI inputs (brick just has extra gain circuitry for the mic input). Sits on my synths, great for a little extra tube warmth and harmonics. Don't expect audible overdrive or distortion, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlw123 View Post
Id love a groove tube...
I have a DITTO that was customized. I found another DITTO on eBay last week and purchased it. I finally was able to A/B the custom one to a stock one.

The stock one has a nice round mid-range presence. I was surprised at the lack of gain; it hits the converters quite soft even when wide open. The one that was customized has tons more gain (and more frequency response - it goes lower).

I like the custom one much better.

I am on the fence as to re-sell the DITTO or find someone to mod it like my custom one, but try a different output transformer.

Recent bass track with custom DITTO (into a Buzz DBC-20, Lynx Aurora interface into Pro Tools, Buzz DBC-20 on the insert again on playback).


Last edited by Kronos147; 1st May 2020 at 01:59 PM.. Reason: speeeelllling
Old 1st May 2020
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
DI's will do a lot of gain staging, attenuation then a lot of mic preamp make up gain. That causes losses. I much prefer a mic preamp with a 1/4" high impedance input, take only the gain you need and go. AC powered units tend to have much better low end punch as they are not dependent on 10 ma of 48 volt current to survive on.
Funny you say that, I just realize that recently myself.
Old 1st May 2020
  #22
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos147 View Post
I have a DITTO that was customized. I found another DITTO on eBay last week and purchased it. I finally was able to A/B the custom one to a stock one.

The stock one has a nice round mid-range presence. I was surprised at the lack of gain; it hits the converters quite soft even when wide open. The one that was customized has tons more gain (and more frequency response - it goes lower).

I like the custom one much better.

I am on the fence as to re-sell the DITTO or find someone to mod it like my custom one, but try a different output transformer.

Recent bass track with custom DITTO (into a Buzz DBC-20, Lynx Aurora interface into Pro Tools, Buzz DBC-20 on the insert again on playback).

Do you know if the mod was the "Fabulous Fred" modification? Aspen Pittman (founder of Groove Tubes) was offering that modification before he passed away recently. I've been trying to track down someone who could perform the modification for me, or at least had a schematic of it.
Old 1st May 2020
  #23
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by reelbigs***** View Post
Do you know if the mod was the "Fabulous Fred" modification?
It was not, sorry.
Old 7th May 2020
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlw123 View Post
Hi folks can anyone comment on the sound qualities for the below di boxes please?

Miktek DI2
Warm Audio Active DI
Bumblebee DI
Klark Teknik DN100

I bought a cheap Β£15 passive DI before doing any reading - it made the background hum disappear on my x0xb0x synthesizer and using it to record a 1980s stratocaster stopped it from buzzing into my interface (RME UCX). a little bit thin sounding on passive pickups but I heard it is not advised to set up this way.

I also have a couple of preamps - joe meek & warm audio so I was hoping for a few new tonal combinations or reamping options with a more expensive DI. Will there be much of a difference? I am wondering if there can be an improvement in tone going with something a bit more expensive.

I see JDI, REDDI, ZOD, Neve all out of my price range but hoping there could be something that offers a vibey, low noise, big sound for a more modest price.

Any help would be very much greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!
Anything I would suggest is way past your budget.
Old 7th May 2020
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
DI's will do a lot of gain staging, attenuation then a lot of mic preamp make up gain. That causes losses. I much prefer a mic preamp with a 1/4" high impedance input, take only the gain you need and go. AC powered units tend to have much better low end punch as they are not dependent on 10 ma of 48 volt current to survive on.
Jim, have you checked out the A-Designs KGB-1 and KGB-2? Not cheap - $750 each. The 2 is 2 channel, the 1 is one channel with 3 band Baxandall EQ. You might know the guy who designed them. They're actually instrument preamps with DI features.
Old 7th May 2020
  #26
$750 for a DI is out of my league. I have a few passive Jensens but most stuff feeds a line input. I tend to avoid DI's here.
Old 8th May 2020
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
$750 for a DI is out of my league. I have a few passive Jensens but most stuff feeds a line input. I tend to avoid DI's here.
The KGB "DIs" ARE preamps, but without the mic input. They have more than enough output to drive any recording device or power amp.

They were designed by Carl Johnson and feature his discrete opamps.
Old 8th May 2020
  #28
Other than the Jensen 990, I've not found a discrete opamp with enough open loop gain, low THD+noise and good FFT results to use here other than as an effect.
Old 8th May 2020
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Other than the Jensen 990, I've not found a discrete opamp with enough open loop gain, low THD+noise and good FFT results to use here other than as an effect.
Have you tried Carl's? He originally developed it as an upgrade for the Quad-Eight consoles. They're not the same lineage as the usual ones you see on the DIY boards.

Is 90 dB gain on a .775V source enough for you?

CineMag output transformers.
Old 9th May 2020
  #30
Lives for gear
I love my GAP Pre73 DLX for bass DI - turning up the pad and driving the output transformer does some wonderful things. Works nicely for mono synths as well. I rarely use it as a mic pre!
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