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Hi guys, I have questions those are making me crazy.

-I have to record an electric guitar (passive pups) and a bass with passive pups too, they are gonna use pedalboard effects.
-I don't want to use Amps and Mic Techniques, and I would like to experiment a little with these Direct Boxes.(learn something new)
-I want to invest in one DI Box that can works with those settings(pedalboard) and instruments(guitar and bass).

This is the scenario
(Dead Link Removed)
Jackson Bass >> BigMuff Pedal >> DI box > Recording Interface

The questions are
1-What kind of DI Box do I have to use ? Active or Passive ?
2-If the answer is Passive, I would like to hear suggestions ( Radial JDI ) ?
3-I know they are passive instruments and they should use active DIBoxes, but in this case there is a pedal effect before. does this reason change that rule?

Thank you guys!


Boswell Fri, 06/13/2014 - 09:27

Neither of the two pedals you mention really has high enough input impedance to work well with passive pickups, although this is what countless rockers have been doing for the last 40 years. The DS-1 is 220KOhm, and the Big Muff is only 130KOhm.

Since pedals of this sort have active outputs, they can be fed into either active or passive DI boxes. The thing that you have to be careful of is to make sure that whichever DI box you choose has a high enough transient handling capability. For this reason, I tend to prefer the Radial boxes such as the JDI you referenced, but any other good-quality DI box such as a Countryman should give you an adequate result if you are careful about the specifications. Avoid cheap boxes.

RemyRAD Fri, 06/13/2014 - 12:44

Here's the rule of thumb to remember that might make your decision making process, slightly better informed?

Most instruments with passive pickups, were designed, to inject into a tube, with an input impedance of around 1,000,000-2,000,000 ohm load. This high and impedance input is only available from tubes and FET (Field Effect Transistor, whose input impedance specifications more closely matched tubes than other bipolar transistors and bipolar people). So your information is quite accurate in knowing that it's best to have an active DI box than a passive, transformer type. When dealing with high impedance output, passive pickups.

When you plug into your stomp boxes/pedal box, those are designed for those passive, high output impedance, pickups. However, the circuitry within the stomp boxes, generally provides for what is known as an " emitter follower ", transistor output. This output is generally, quite low in its output impedance. And so, those do well into the transformer input DI boxes, which all averaged about only, 50,000 ohms. Which does not load down excessively a transistor emitter follower output. So instruments like electronic keyboards or even electric and bass guitar amplifiers, where some include, a 1/4 inch and/or XLR, unbalanced and balanced and buffered, outputs. One can use a transformer type DI box.

Back in the 1960s & 70s before there were any " active DI " boxes... we had no choice but to use, 50,000 ohm transformers. Which did load down those passive pickups. What that caused was nothing horrible. It was perfectly and 100% adequate. The sound of the instrument because of the loading down with the transformer, took a little bit of its openness away. It certainly didn't ruin it or make it sound bad. It just didn't quite sound as open because you are clamping down the impedance of the passive output pickup. So it sounds a bit more subdued and loses a bit of its brilliance. Still no less usable. Plenty of hits were made that way.

There was also another significant reason for using a transformer DI, even if you had an active DI. And that's because not a transformer, and the way that they are made, can electrically isolate the input source from the output. This provides electrical isolation that cannot be achieved with an active DI. This is very important in many different technical recording incidents. This can make the difference between life or death from electrocution. Because that has happened, too many times in the past. So sometimes it's better to take the safe way, then it is to take the active dangerous way to go. Which is generally not worth getting killed for a small difference in the sound that no one else will notice.

Furthermore... I have friends that whether I use an active DI or a passive transformer DI, their instrument just has the worst, lowest output, most muddy, awful pickups, that no manner of quality active DI boxes, would help LOL. Maybe these guys have put their guitars through too many TSA scanning machines at the airport that it has DE-magnetized, the permanent magnets in their pickups? Which then is the equivalent of trying to start your car with a dead battery. Since the pickups are now destroyed. Or maybe he's goofy and thinks that his old cassette head DE-magnetizer, Sounded cool when he put them near the pickups on his guitar? I do not know? You can't tell with people? Maybe somebody also told in to go right out into the street and play in traffic? And he did?

Your mileage may vary?
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Fri, 06/13/2014 - 17:06

Here's a little example of what you want your bass guitar recording to sound like. Along with your drums. Along with their guitars. Along with your keyboards.

In this particular recording I made, you are listening to pure all transistor, vintage Neve. Gained up slightly on the high side, on the bass guitar. A little 1176 with a relatively slow attack time and modest release time, was dialed in. A little high pass filtering. Very little rise in the midrange. And otherwise, that's it.

The drums had my favorite microphones on them which were mostly Sennheiser 421 on the tom-toms. 57 on snare. 112 on kick. AKG C-451, with pads screwed on to the capsule, on hat, SM-81 on overheads. Snare and kick both have a dose of EQ, limiting from 1176's and followed by the KEPEX-1, noise gate on all the drums. But not the overheads. And very little EQ was used other than plenty of high pass filtering.

While this was a multitrack live for video & FM production, this is the live, fly by the seat of your pants, never engineering the group before, mix. I had only played Earl KLUGH, on the radio. So I was rather happy to find out, hours earlier, that he was part of this all day, 20,000+ attendee, jazz festival. His guitar is on a wireless. So was the saxophone. There are two keyboard players with four keyboards. All of which feeds were mono. So they're getting copious amounts of Yamaha SPX 90 & ALESIS Quadra Verb effects processor, to spread them out a bit. And while I have the 24 track digital master safety backups, I have felt no need to remix nothin'. I like my own engineering just the way it is.

There is something very special about this type of live engineering. In a sense, you are a member of the band. You're playing your console, with the band. The mental hook up and synergy, can't be beat. And you can't repeat it on a mix down. This is what it is, the way it's supposed to be. Just like this. Just that easy. Just that fast. Just that fun.

So enjoy this:

[[url=http://[/URL]="https://soundcloud…"]View: https://soundcloud…]="https://soundcloud…"]View: https://soundcloud…]

And any others you find under RemyRAD and only RemyRAD. Not to be confused with "RemyRedd" . Who's someone else not me. There is a description of the production of each cut. Which might be of some value to you? And which most of the time I will generally include a little light 1176, limiting, on the bass guitar. And not much else. High pass filtering is important unless you like a lot of mud?

I think you'll also find the bass guitar sounds equally good, whether it's coming out of a pair of 1 inch diameter laptop speakers, compact near field monitors, or, big JBL's. And when you can hear that instrument on all of those speakers both large and small? You know you're in the pocket. And it doesn't take much to get that. The less you do, the better it is. And of course this guy is playing one hell of an incredible 6 string bass of which I know not what brand? But what an awesome sound! This is from the DI and only the DI, whatever which, the PA company plugged in. Or maybe it was just from the XLR output on the back of his amplifier head? I had no way of knowing? I simply had a rundown that indicated bass guitar would be on input 12. As was the other microphones and input sources.

This was an outdoor concert with a fairly stiff breeze. So lots of high pass filter was used. Whatever acoustics you hear? Are all fake. All from inexpensive affordable digital effects processors like Lexicon PCM-60, ALESIS Quadra Verb, Yamaha SPX 90 and a couple of Delta Labs EffectTron 2 1024's. All of this is in real time. All of this is old refurbished vintage equipment. No software was used in the production. It was merely transferred to the computer via a cheap USB digital audio interface, via STDIF from the DAT. There is no mastering. No mastering at all. This is how it's done. This is what real audio engineering is all about. It's not about software nor plug-ins. It's also not about necessarily what DI box you use? Sometimes you just take what you can get and roll with it. That's what this is. This is not the PA. This is simply a split of the microphones on stage to be able to go to me, the stage monitor mixer and the front of house system and mixer engineers. So each microphone is going to three separate places, each and every one of them. Kind of like an old-fashioned telephone partyline only better.

Don't over think recording bass guitar.
Mx. Remy Ann David

dvdhawk Sat, 06/14/2014 - 09:25

Remy, I enjoyed the Earl Klugh very much, masterfully done straight to 2-track live mix. There's no arguing with your results, but I'm not sure how it's relevant to the OP (no wonder the poor guy is going crazy). I doubt that what we're hearing in your beautiful recording is this world-class bass player playing through a low-class BigMuff into a DI. Unless your point to the guy posting in the Affordable Recording Forum is, 'you should run out and get yourself a vintage Neve - transistors is transistors... right?' It's nice to have something to aspire to, but in Affordable home recording, you have to learn how to make the most of what you have to work with.

He's got a pair of in-line guitar stomp boxes, and he may not even need a DI if his (unspecified) recording interface is of the variety with ¼" instrument inputs.

Jorge, could you tell us what Recording Interface you are using?

KurtFoster Mon, 06/16/2014 - 13:52

hey! nice clip Remy.

personally myself i don't care for di only bass. i like the sound of a speaker moving air through a mic (of choice) and hardware. i do record with di's but more as a safety to re amp or blend in. if i can't get the bass through an amp at tracking, i will re amp it or even play it back soloed through the monitors and mic that. good bass needs that air moving element ... of course imo.