Do I need a Active D.I. Box?



Over the past year I have been collecting recording gear from all over and, just about to start recording my 5 piece band DIY. The bass player in the band is not one that likes to part with any money nor does he have that much, so I have been buying pretty much every piece of equipment we need, just so if things fall apart I can walk out the door with it. Anyways he is using a fender bassman 100 for his bass amp (not the best but it serves the purpose) anyways how should I record his bass?
1. He has a Direct out on the back of his amp
2. Bass straight into Mackie CFX-20 mixer (hence the D.I. box question)
3. Straight into ART pre-amp then Motu828
4. Straight into Motu828 (using on board pre-amp)
5. Mic Bass amp


Here is our equipment
(1) Studio Projects C1
(2) SM-57
(2) Sennheiser E835
(2) SM58
(1) Nady small condenser Mic (cheap)
and AUDIX Drum Mic package
Mixer: Mackie CFX-20
DBX 48pt Patchbay
Behringer Headphone amp w/ various AKG headphones
Interface: Motu828 Firewire
Micpre: 2 channel ART w/ digital out
PC running Sonar 3.1 pro
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Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2001
Silicon Valley
Record and/or listen to all of your options and see what you got. If you find them all to be unacceptable, then you go from there. A passive DI may not buy you much if you don't have something decent to send the output to like a great preamp. An active DI may or may not provide the tone you are looking for that is missing. I would try to work with what you got now and see where that gets you. With the gear that you have, I don't see how a DI is going to make much of a difference unless you willing to spend to get a really great one.


Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2003
My guess would be that the direct out on the bassman would be noisy. I would suggest buying a Whirlwind DI for $20 and using that direct and also throwing a bass drum mic infront of the cab if you like.

I am a bass player and I always wanted my cab mic'ed, but with one exception, the mixer always used the DI.

I also think that passive basses sound much better DI... the one time my cab mic was used it was when I was playing my stingray... the DI was noisy but the cab sounded OK.


I have a Countryman Type 85 and really like it.

However, I notice it sounds better on phantom power than it does using a fresh 9V internal battery.

Mine is used, and my first Countryman, so your mileage may vary.


I ended up going straight into the board with the bass (after a bass processor). It sounds ok for now. The out on the back of the amp was way to noisy (like you guys said it would be).
Thanks Guys