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D.I box vs Preamp
Old 10th March 2009
  #1
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D.I box vs Preamp

When D.I'ing electric guitars and bass how many of you will still use a dedicated D.I box when an appropriate preamp is available? I know some people use a combination of both, going through a D.I box first and then the pre. Any thoughts on this?
Old 10th March 2009
  #2
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Just depends, one common method for Gtr is to take the Gtr direct in to both a DI box and the players pedal board.
Or the same with a DI Pre and pedal board.
For those who want minimum loading on the Gtr you could use a DI splitter..

It also depends on other varibles, such as the Gtr cabs are in another room(booth) and the cable runs are long, then a pre amp driving the long runs then a Reamp box close to the amp/cab. This is best for several reasons, grounding is one...

But NO rules...
Old 10th March 2009
  #3
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HTML Code:
It also depends on other varibles, such as the Gtr cabs are in another room(booth) and the cable runs are long, then a pre amp driving the long runs then a Reamp box close to the amp/cab. This is best for several reasons, grounding is one...
Good point!thumbsup

When recording direct i sometime use a D.I box but usually opt for a quality pre if one is available.

Anyone always opt for a dedicated D.I as opposed to a Pre?
Anyone just a straight-up pre kinda person?
Anyone always use their go-to D.I regardless or not of the pre amp used in the signal chain. If so, is this because of the additional colour that the D.I adds to the sound?
Old 10th March 2009
  #4
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A DI takes a high level/high impedance instrument signal and turns it into the low level/low impedance mic-level signal a microphone preamplifier needs.

A mic pre takes the low level/low impedance mic signal and brings it up to line level, to connect to a recorder (or the line input of a mixer, for example).

Some DIs have extra amplifier stages to bring their output to line level. Some mic pre's have DIs built in, usually labeled Instrument input.

Most DIs, and mic pres with instrument inputs, have instrument outputs meant to feed an instrument amplifier for monitoring (or recording with a mic).

Some DIs are passive, using just a transformer to feed the mic pre. Some are active, using an amplifier to feed the mic pre. A passive DI may interact with a passive instrument (typical guitar or bass pickups, for example) in a good or bad way. An active DI should sound the same whether the instrument is passive or active (active pickups, vintage synths, etc.). This is where you need to experiment, to figure out which DI helps you make the sound you want.
Old 10th March 2009
  #5
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

I would say MOST DI's add the least color, compared to a tube amp with a speaker...
The distortion would be ALOT higher.
Old 10th March 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seriousfun View Post
A DI takes a high level/high impedance instrument signal and turns it into the low level/low impedance mic-level signal a microphone preamplifier needs.

A mic pre takes the low level/low impedance mic signal and brings it up to line level, to connect to a recorder (or the line input of a mixer, for example).

Some DIs have extra amplifier stages to bring their output to line level. Some mic pre's have DIs built in, usually labeled Instrument input.

Most DIs, and mic pres with instrument inputs, have instrument outputs meant to feed an instrument amplifier for monitoring (or recording with a mic).

Some DIs are passive, using just a transformer to feed the mic pre. Some are active, using an amplifier to feed the mic pre. A passive DI may interact with a passive instrument (typical guitar or bass pickups, for example) in a good or bad way. An active DI should sound the same whether the instrument is passive or active (active pickups, vintage synths, etc.). This is where you need to experiment, to figure out which DI helps you make the sound you want.
So when tracking electric guitar/bass would you only bother using a DI unit if the pre amp that you had selected didnt have an instrument input and only offered mic inputs?

If however you were tracking bass guitar with say 'the brick' which has an instrument input, would you see no reason to include a DI unit in the signal path?
Old 10th March 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
So when tracking electric guitar/bass would you only bother using a DI unit if the pre amp that you had selected didnt have an instrument input and only offered mic inputs?

If however you were tracking bass guitar with say 'the brick' which has an instrument input, would you see no reason to include a DI unit in the signal path?
That is correct, sir!

A mic pre, like the Brick or any with an instrument input, already has a DI.

The original DIs were probably Jensen transformers strung up between a guitar cord and a console mic input.
Old 10th March 2009
  #8
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hazelmossobrien's Avatar
 

can you use those "instrument" inputs the same as line inputs on the preamp? or are they strictly instument level inputs.
Old 10th March 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelmossobrien View Post
can you use those "instrument" inputs the same as line inputs on the preamp? or are they strictly instument level inputs.
Every unit is different, but I think you can safely assume that an input labeled "instrument" will be a DI input. A line input will typically have much less gain available than a mic input (or no extra gain), and will typically be low impedance (although a high impedance -10 dBv RCA jack input can be a line input).
Old 10th March 2009
  #10
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Aisle 6's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelmossobrien View Post
can you use those "instrument" inputs the same as line inputs on the preamp? or are they strictly instument level inputs.
I believe you will find that instrument and line inputs on pre amps are set up to accept different impedances. That is an instrument input is optimized for the impedance of an instrument (guitar) whereas the line input is optimized for the impedance of line level devices (usually the other outboard, recorders etc that contain line amps in your studio).
Old 11th March 2009
  #11
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[quote=seriousfun;3986449]That is correct, sir!

A mic pre, like the Brick or any with an instrument input, already has a DI. quote] thumbsup

So, returning back to my original post (which maybe i could have worded better?).

If the Preamp has the option of an instrument input/DI, do any of you prefer to use a dedicated D.I unit such as a Radial and then go straight into the pre via the Mic input?

Do any of you slutz out there insist on using your go-to D.I unit rather than use the intrument input on the pre?
Old 11th March 2009
  #12
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apadua's Avatar
 

I am interested in this as well.. Apparently, depending on the caliber of the DI box and tone you are going for would determine if you need to introduce a DI box in addition to your mic pre..

The REDDI for example sounds like something that I would like to Try..

I have FMR RNP, GR 500 NV, and a Sans Amp RBI... and I still find myself tweaking in cubase via plugs (Ampeg SVX) to get the tone I am happy with..

I have a feeling if I use the REDDI I would spend less time with plugs.. Check the thread below..


A-Designs REDDI Tube DI anyone used it?
Old 12th March 2009
  #13
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Halexx's Avatar
 

I am also interested in the question.

I have been suggested the mic input has an additional stage of 'color' than the instrument input.

I tried to put an ART MP as a DI before my Grooves Tubes The Brick, it did sound more colored, but at the expense of too much noise. Also, note that that the added color(distortion, in fact)may not come from the mic input...

Surely someone here tried it with a real DI?
Old 14th March 2009
  #14
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So...

Anyone insist on using their go-to D.I of choice and then into the mic inputs of the preamp regardless of the preamp having a dedicated instrument input?

As i mentioned in an earlier post, i tend to use the instument input on the pre (Joemeeks, RNP, Brick) but just wondered if others took a different approach?
Old 14th March 2009
  #15
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An instrument input on a pre may not go through the same internal chain as the mic input. If you like the sound of the transformer on the mic input, you can use a DI to access that input if the instrument input does not go through it. If you prefer the sound of the instrument input, or there is no difference, use the built in instrument input.
Old 14th March 2009
  #16
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

It still depends on several things...
I would go a GOOD DI pre any day; it's more direct, quieter and cleaner. But don't confuse "clean" with "warm", can be both...

From a tech's standpoint a DI pre takes the place of both a DI box and Mic pre, this is the main reason it CAN be quieter, cleaner...

But you seem to be looking for the ultimate answer, don't see it...
It's up to you and what SOUND you're after..
Old 14th March 2009
  #17
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I recently picked up a Little Labs Multi Z PIP. Very clean transparent DI sound, not at all harsh or sterile, very quiet, and it has its own amplification (so no preamp required).
Old 24th March 2009
  #18
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SANDS's Avatar
 

I usually use a neve portico 5016 which has both a d.i and a mic pre. Usually I'm lazy and plug into the d.i. then into my converters. Sometimes I run out of the d.i. into the mic pre on the neve then to the converters because of the coloring, shelving I get from the neve mic pre side. This of course is for direct recording.

If I mic up the cab, I usually go straight to a pre.
Old 8th April 2009
  #19
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Barney1981's Avatar
 

Has anyone used the SCA D11 DI module from seventh circle audio?

I have just ordered the N72 and I have a cheap DI box to run bass into the N72. Would it be more beneficial to get the D11 module? I know its a matter of taste, but does a cheap DI have a negative effect on your tone?
Old 8th April 2009
  #20
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riffster's Avatar
 

I am in the camp of using the preamps DI rather than using a separate DI (when available and appropriate) Units like the REDDI are IMO radically overpriced - for 715 clams I'll be happy with a preamp AND a DI.
Old 8th April 2009
  #21
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Obitheincredible's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barney1981 View Post
Has anyone used the SCA D11 DI module from seventh circle audio?

I have just ordered the N72 and I have a cheap DI box to run bass into the N72. Would it be more beneficial to get the D11 module? I know its a matter of taste, but does a cheap DI have a negative effect on your tone?
Curious myself.
Old 9th April 2009
  #22
Gear Head
 

My Chandler Germ pres have DI inputs...but with my guitars - I like the sound allot better going into a Countryman 85 DI --> Chandler Germ pre.

I believe the biggest factor being input inpedances. In my case, the DI > preamp DI.
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