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500 series DI module ?
Old 12th August 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
500 series DI module ?

I'm looking into finding a great 500 series DI for recording pedalsteel.

My current signal chain is a
Sarno Solutions V8 octal tube pre > R. Neve 5012> UA 1176

I like the sound of tubes as I'm going in but I'm not religious about it.

Some sort of 500 series module I can plug straight into. Usually pre amps/DI's that work for bass are well suited for steel.

Thanks in advance, Bob
Old 12th August 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 

maybe you wanna check out crane song's syren - highly recommended (as any of dave hill's gear)...
Old 13th August 2020
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Atlas pro audio juggernaut nickel
Old 13th August 2020
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Why specifically do you want a DI module? You could just get a Radial JDI box (Jensen transformer) and use your pre?
Old 13th August 2020
  #5
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
The Great River pre has a really killer DI. I like the API 512 for bass and guitar a lot, but they do also make a 505 module that is just a DI, which has some cool features not found on the 512, like a tone dial, a high boost and an impendance switch. It also has a thru jack. The only other 500-series module I can think of that has a notable DI is the Brent Averill 312A.
Old 13th August 2020
  #6
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagogo View Post
Why specifically do you want a DI module? You could just get a Radial JDI box (Jensen transformer) and use your pre?
When I plug into the Sarno V8 I get the tactile response, feel and sound of a great amp. Straight into a pre doesn’t give me as much physical control of my dynamics and tone for some reason.

Thanks for the help so far you guys !
Old 13th August 2020
  #7
Gear Nut
 

The Hairball Lola has a super DI. Also, since you play steel you're probably aware of it, but putting a Steel Guitar Black Box tube buffer inline before whatever DI you use is a secret weapon no matter what instrument you plug into it (despite the name). On the more esoteric front, Crucial Audio makes a stellar tube DI.
Old 13th August 2020
  #8
Here for the gear
Retro ?

Anybody tried the Retro Instruments 500PRE ? Looks good on paper.
Old 13th August 2020
  #9
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobhoffnar View Post
When I plug into the Sarno V8 I get the tactile response, feel and sound of a great amp.
That’s what recording into my A-Designs REDDI gets me.
Old 13th August 2020
  #10
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bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobhoffnar View Post
Anybody tried the Retro Instruments 500PRE ? Looks good on paper.
Very little discussion but would like to know more on that one myself. I think it's relatively new. In general, it's hard to cram tube circuits into 500 series space constraints. That one apparently crams THREE 12AT7's... pretty bonkers.

Still, I think in most designs I'm aware of the transformer is doing the heavy lifting regarding converting high impedance to low, and thats going affect tone the most. Tubes can convert impedance like as in tube mics, but not aware of a DI based on that concept, or if it's possible/feasible. Maybe that is what the Sarno Black Box is doing?

Many preamps with a DI input use a FET transistor instead of a transformer, and personally I'm not looking for that, so it's something I try to check. Although those designs can certainly sound good. I think the RNDI uses a FET and not an input transformer, and some people adore that DI.

Some other companies that have attempted 500 tube pre's with seemingly popular results: Crane Song Syren, Rolls Tubule, LaChapelle 583, and I think Fredenstein and SoundSkulptor may have one, too.

My friend has a REDDI and loves it. Theres also the Zod ID DI in a similar footprint. Both those are brick style DI's that have transformers and one or two tubes inside.

One advantage of a dedicated DI is you can run the low-z, mic-level output into a preamp of your choice. On the other hand, something like the Great River preamp's DI is excellent (one of my top favs), better in my subjective opinion than Radial/Jensen DI's, but of course you're running it through the rest of the Great River pre as well, outputting line level.

If desired, you could then run that line-level signal into another unit that accepts line-level inputs, like an LTL Chroma for example which has a lot of tone-shaping options.

A lot of times I'll run DI (Little Labs Red Eye currently) guitar or bass through a transformer preamp, then a Rolls Vac Bax and Klark Teknik EQP which adds 4 more transformers and 3 more tubes to the signal path, usually barely using EQ or leaving it flat. Although lately, I get even better results simply running through a high quality tube amp (which is what I'm trying to mimic anyway), into a Suhr Reactive Load, and then into whatever preamp. Still silent like using a DI, but the tube amp effortlessly sounds "tubey" and using IR's in the box to fake a speaker cab sounds great to me, and allows tons of flexible tone shaping (can easily audition a 4x12 closed back for example...). A Reactive Load box is basically a DI for your tube amp.

Generally I lean toward modular approaches, others really want all-in-one solutions where a preamp with a DI built in might be more convenient. Sorry for long post, d'oh.
Old 14th August 2020
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Bob, I am not sure I would discount the JDI direct box.

At one point about 18 months ago or so I did a simple DI "shootout" with electric guitar. I played country, jazzy, soul licks and surf guitar parts. I had a lot of tube amps and needed to sell a few, so my goal was to see if I could replicate the sound of guitar recorded through a tube amp, but direct through preamp, to get me motivated to sell a few. As I was assembling and wiring my studio, I was also auditioning several preamps at the time.

I had a pair of V77's preamps, API 7600, Phoenix Nice DI, JDI direct box, and several 500 mods: Capi VP28, Daking 500 pre, Electrodyne 501 pre, & AML ez1073.

The Phoenix, Daking, APi, & Edyne all have a DI, the others I used with a JDI. I routed the tracks through a Demeter or Sound Workshop spring reverb. I did not record any of this unfortunately.

I remember putting on and playing Al Green's "gets next to you" guitar parts. By far, the closest thing to an actual tube amp was the V77's with the JDI box. Playing surf guitar, I could replicate the tone of my '65 bassman and Fender reverb unit. It was uncanny.

EQ did play a part too...I had a few, API, Capi, & Electrodyne, these were the best IMO.

While I could get very nice sounds with the other units, it wasn't night and day between the Daking, Edyne, & Phoenix Di's, they all sounded great.

I think my main point is, if you have a nice tube preamp with a JDI, you might 99% there. If you are still curious about a 500 mod, anything I mentioned also sounded great and would probably work for you, along with the other suggestions which I'm sure are fine too.

Good luck, I love steel guitar so I'm rooting for you. Keep us posted.
Old 14th August 2020
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Some other companies that have attempted 500 tube pre's with seemingly popular results: Crane Song Syren, Rolls Tubule, LaChapelle 583, and I think Fredenstein and SoundSkulptor may have one, too.
LaChapelle 583 to me just sounds great whatever mic i record with, had it for years and still love it - they also have a tube DI so that may be worth checking out.
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