DI for guitar question

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by sirlylos, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. sirlylos

    sirlylos Guest


    How's things?

    I've got an M-Audio 1814 which has 2 active inputs and about 8 non-active. I have 4 instruments in my band that I want to record - vocals, guitar, bass and v-drums. My v-drums and an active bass go through the non-active inputs and the vocals go through one of the active inputs - they all sound fine. The guitar usually gets recorded by micing up an amp and going through the second active input.

    However, I've been reading a bit about DI boxes and wondered if they would allow me to take away the need for micing up an amp. There are cases where I would like to keep everything as quite as possible and wondered if anyone could give me their pearls of wisdom on using a DI box and whether it goes:

    Guitar > DI Box > M Audio 1814 > computer
    Guitar > Amp > DI Box > M Audio 1814 > computer

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001

    DI guitar is no substitute for a good amp sound BUT it can be useful

    DI bass can be a very good sound

    Keeping things quiet can be very useful and for basic track laying as a band the DI Guitar is typical

    it will take some experimenting to get a reasonabe imitation of an amp sound
    things like a POD can be a quick fix

    Guitar > Overdrive pedal > amp simulator > DI Box > M Audio 1814 > computer

    Experiment and more Experimenting
    DI guitar can come in many forms

    and as I said before ... for keeping things quiet ... it's worth it
  3. sirlylos

    sirlylos Guest

    Hi Kev,

    Thanks for getting back to me - so what kind of DI box would you recommend if I take out the amp? is it active or passive?

    Would the POD amp simulator be just so that I can get that amplifier sound?

  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    *wonders what the hell active and passive means in the context of an interface*

    An active DI box vs. a passive DI box, sure. But inputs on an interface are either:

    XLR inputs, for mic levels, with or without switchable phantom power;
    1/4" balanced or unbalanced inputs, for a line level signal;
    1/4" inserts; or
    1/4" HI-z inputs which is essentially a DI input, for guitars etc.

    Passive and active when referring to electronics, as far as I'm aware, determines whether or not the device requires external power.

    Any kind of DI will work, the more you spend the better it sounds. Radial, JBL are on the good tier.

    Yes, the POD replaces the amp, but the results aren't 100% (some say 50%, some say 99%), but this is the tradeoff for the flexibility.
  5. sirlylos

    sirlylos Guest

    Oh right so there isn't really any need for me to look for a passive or active DI?

    I've ad a look at the Radial DI's and they're close to a ton, was hoping to send around £20!

    By the sounds of things I'd be better mi'cing up an amp but that doesn't really help with keeping things quiet.
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    FWIW Samson does a not bad DI (I have the stereo version) for about £25. I have issues with a certain guitar clipping on it though I'm not sure if it's just the guitar.
    This in fact. You can probably get it cheaper thogh.

    I'm not 100% on the POD input, it might be a Hi-z (which functions as a DI box would). But I dunno, I've never used one.
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    1) Micing the guitar amp should give you the best results, but may require some patience through trial and error while you're finding the perfect mic placement and position of the whole rig in the room. A guitar amp doesn't have to be super loud to sound huge on a recording. Some of the greatest guitar tracks ever recorded were played on tiny little amps.

    2) As an amp simulator a POD is a reasonable facsimile, it won't be a satisfying as a perfectly placed mic on a good sounding amp - but on the other hand it's nearly idiot-proof (or at least idiot-resistant). The input is a standard 1/4" instrument jack, the stereo Left/Right outputs are 1/4" TRS (which you can use balanced +4 if you have the proper cable, or unbalanced -10 with standard instrument cables). Purists will bash the whole notion of using a POD and it surely has some limitations, but it's certainly closer to a real amp sound than the V-Drums are to an acoustic drum kit (no offense - I'm not putting them down either). The POD and V-Drums are designed to sacrifice some degree authenticity for practicality.

    3) An electric guitar plugged into a DI recording directly to tape ( or computer ) is almost never going to sound the way you want it to. Unless you have another re-amp interface, that will allow you to re-record it later running the guitar amp of your choice. In either case, the guitar player will want to play through an amp, so they can feed off the interaction between the guitar and amp. The guitar player's performance will suffer if he/she doesn't have a tone that they like - regardless of whether that is the signal you record for your purposes.

    I hope that helps.
  8. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    Mar 27, 2007
    NY, USA
    Home Page:
    mike that amp baby.
  9. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    Codemonkey wrote *wonders what the hell active and passive means in the context of an interface*

    His M-A 1814 has 8 analog inputs either 8 line level or the option of using channel 1 & 2 as either mic or instrument level inputs going thru built in preamps. I guess he is sending the V-drums in thru a line level input also the active bass (which I don't think is truly line level but he says that he is getting good results so...)

    I believe what the OP is asking is a DI set up a good way to go to minimalize bleed. I think that that as has been said you'd be best off micing the amp and possibly doing so in another room. The guitarist could still work with headphones. In fact you all could with 4 sets and a headphone amp/splitter. The M-A unit has two headphone outputs split them to 4 or use something like this

    Since this recording set up only employs two mics you could also instead isolate the vocalist in another room but the basic idea is to seperate the two open mic sources. I don't think that a DI is what you are looking for in this application.
  10. sirlylos

    sirlylos Guest

    Well I just wanted to thank everyone for their input yesterday, the recording went better than it has in the whole 2 years I've been tinkering.

    I set the guitarist up on an amp in another room with my Sennheiser mic recording and going through the 2nd active input on the 1814. The bass and V-drums are going through the line level and it's all going in to the PC via the M-Aduio 1814 and recorded through Sonar 7.

    Really pleased with the results, again thanks for the responses - I've not had such good replies on other forums.

    ***Oh and yes we are all going from the 1814 output in to a headphone amp which splits the signal up in to 4.
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