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Author Topic: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's  (Read 17912 times)

Nate Armstrong

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Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« on: March 09, 2011, 11:17:54 am »

Hello All ,  First post on the forum.
I do bi monthly show's at a local bar, and have started to pick up some live sound gigs from the bar  for smaller applications. ( or emergencies when they have no PA )

I currently have
4 K 10's  ( 2 for monitors )
3 K Subs
DBX Driverack PA
Mackie 1402 mixer
shure 57's and 58's
( not mic ing any drums at this time )

I am more of a lighting guy than sound guy. I get a lot of sub contracts by the top sound guy in the area, and I am not trying to compete with him. I just want to be able to do small shows

I am in need of a snake and DI Box's  and in the future a upgraded mixing board.

For snake I was looking at the OSP Elite Core 12 x 4.    Is this an exceptable choice ?
 
For DI box's I was wondering if i could use a  Behringer Ultra DI DI100 Direct Box.   or do I need to fork out some dough i don't have for Radial or Countrymen box ?

How many DI box's would you recommend me purchase?
Do I also need to have Passive DI 's on hand ?

I know behringer has a reputation for being less than desirable but I like the fact that it has 1/4 & XLR input and the Price most of all..

also I am thinking of upgrading my mixer since my current one only has 6 xlr inputs     
would the Mackie CFX 16 be a good choice,  ( 12 xlr inputs and onboard effects )  since I have no effect units

Thank you for the help !
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George Dougherty

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2011, 12:23:13 pm »

16x4 would be my minimum snake size, with 16x8 or 20x8 preferred for some room to grow.  100ft minimum.

DI's depend on what you work with.  I have a pair of Audiopile stereo DI's, 2 audiopile mono Active's, 2 Type 85's and 3 Radial J48's.  IME, cheap DI's are something you buy over and over and they go out at the worst times.  I've had at least one person complain about the road worthiness of the J48's, but mine have held up for about 4 years now with no problems other than 1/4" retaining nuts working lose.  Little bit of loctite took care of that.  Passives tend to be less expensive but I haven't found anything that wouldn't work on an active.  Do kick the pad in on things that could handle a passive.  The Behringer's are better as a crummy active than a crummy passive would be, but they're still a cheap DI.  I've seen several with burned out components that no longer take phantom power.  My Countryman Type 85's are young at 7 years old and still bulletproof.

For a high quality passive DI you'll never have to worry about checkout http://www.lbpinc.com/DI.html.  If you're looking for a low cost but very well built DI, the Audiopile DI's are all workable.  Not Jensen's so I'd skip the passive versions personally, but I'm stridently Jensen only if you're going with a passive DI.

My minimum quantity would be 3 with 4-5 preferred.  These days it's good to be ready for a bass player, music tracks, 1-2 keyboards and maybe an acoustic guitar depending on the genre.

I'd go ahead and get something with 16 channels of mic input on the console.  It never hurts to have spares and it gives you room to grow without spending more again on the console.  Look for a used but well maintained Mixwizard if you want something small, quality and versatile.  I'd rather have a quality board and no effects than a low budget board with crappy effects built-in.  Adding an insert cable and a used Lexicon or tc reverb down the road won't cost too much and will sound far better.  The newer mixwizards even have a Lexicon fx unit builtin.

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Bennett Prescott

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 12:41:48 pm »

Nate,

You ask a lot of good questions that largely have simple answers.

The Radial Pro series DIs are a big step up from the Behringer, passive or active. A DI is a pretty important piece of gear, you don't need many of them but a cheap one can do a lot to malign the character of the instrument attached to it. Good DIs also help with hum and buzz.

I am going to let you in on an industry secret. Mark and Liz at http://www.audiopile.net make some of the best bang for your buck pro production gear on the planet. If I were buying a snake (and many other things) I would look there first. Their cases are also excellent, I see them in the inventory of a lot of regional sound companies and I own a few myself (and owned many more in the past).

As for snake size, always get another 50' more than you think you need and another 8 channels more than you think you need. 150' would be my opinion on a minimum length, that lets you get over to a wall, down it, and back out to your mix position while allowing you to get a reasonable distance from the mains.

Mixers, we could talk about all day. If you like analog (and I do) the Allen & Heath MixWizard 16:2 is excellent and will grow with you for a long time. If digital, someone else will know a lot more about small format digital than I do.

You may find this gear list to be helpful food for thought:
http://www.bennettprescott.com/downloads/QD_Bar_Rig.xls
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Aaron Lee

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2011, 12:48:18 pm »

I will have to agree with Bennett, I just purchased some EWI gear from audiopile and I am astounded by the quality.  I bought 2 cases a snake and a case to mount said snake all great gear.  I plan on buying some mic cables and more from them as time goes on.  Great people making top notch gear.
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Stuart Pendleton

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2011, 12:57:02 pm »

I used to buy cheap DIs because they seemed to get me by.  One day online, someone asked why would you buy a cheap DI?  Would you accept a Behringer mic instead of a Shure?  Tthe DI is all that instrument has to make it sound good.  If you wouldn't use a bottom of the barrel mic, then don't buy a bottom of the barrel DI.  I decided that if a good mic would cost $100+, then a good DI should be about the same ballpark.  Just a thought....

Bennett's snake advice is the same thing I always tell others. 

If you want to stay small, buy a decent digital mixer which will have all the toys you need in one box.  Analog sounds great but will need more support (ie: you will need to add racks of processing at some point.)
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Rob Spence

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2011, 02:40:10 pm »

Look for quality used gear rather than low cost new. The Marketplace here and at srforums.net are good places to show. The folks selling here are mostly going to be better to you than someone at eBay or Craigslist.

I have not heard any good about OSP. I think I have seen 16x4 snakes for sale in the Marketplaces. 100ft is certainly the shortest you should consider and 150 is better. Nothing smaller than 16x4 also though soon you will want 16x8.

The Audiopile DIs are a good choice if you can't go with Radial or Countryman. I have one Type 85 and all the rest are Radials.
The Radial ProDI is pretty good and a reasonable price.

+1 on getting a better mixer than a 1604 for your first big upgrade. The EQs on it leave much to be desired and it is tough to do more than 2 monitor mixes. Other's will have more opinions on this.

Oh, and good questions. Welcome to the forums. Good that you ask before buying unlike some folk you come here.
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Nate Armstrong

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2011, 03:10:56 pm »

First of all thank you for such a rapid response of good knowledge.

I have a full time job, repair small business networks at night, and Dj and or stage lighting almost every weekend.  I am kinda getting sucked into running sound by one of the bars I work at.  First it was just vocal's and it keeps escalating. Having the small amounts of inputs keeps me from doing anything to big.  It is kind of  catch 22, I' am already so busy but I have all this gear, I might as well get the few extras and be able to do a full show.

OSP was one of the cheapest snakes i saw on ebay. I watched a video and it was all field replaceable hand soldered and looked of decent quality.   I was also going to only go with 50 ft b/c it would be so much more manageable. but after I thought about it, I am sure you guys are right.

I much rather buy the correct product once. Instead of having headaches with junk that I will replace later.


At the most entry level,  what other major components would I need.

Drum mic's, with additional mic stands, effects unit. Am I missing something ?
I have a dbx dual 15 graphic eq, but I do not use it, I let the Driverack handle all of that.

Thanks for all the insights
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Rob Spence

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2011, 03:44:05 pm »

At the most entry level,  what other major components would I need.

Drum mic's, with additional mic stands, effects unit. Am I missing something ?
I have a dbx dual 15 graphic eq, but I do not use it, I let the Driverack handle all of that.

Thanks for all the insights
If you need short stands I can recommend the ones from Audiopile. I have 4 and love em. One thing to do with any stand that comes with those metric to 5/8-27 threaded adapters is to put some thread locker on them right away. I didn't do that and showed up at a gig unable to use one stand. Sigh...

I would sell the 15 band EQ and get a dual 31 for monitors. I do not find that the speaker processor interfaces are useful for real time changes during a show.

Make sure you have a bunch of SM57s and 58s and then read the Kick Drum threads to pick your poison. Twenty sound guys will make 20 different suggestions when asked.
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rob at lynxaudioservices dot com

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John Neil

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2011, 03:56:30 pm »

Perhaps I'm off base to suggest specific products...

The behringer box isn't likely to be a part of your rig years from now unless as a wheelchock.  QC lacking.  Just haven't seen them hold up.

If I had to buy DIs on a budget, I'd look hard at:

Whirlwind Director (passive) - an upgraded transformer from the IMP.
DBX DB10 (passive) and DB12) active - a solid product with one drawback - size.

Both of these products I've used/owned.  Each can be had for pennies on the MSRP dollar if you look around.  Neither is so "pricey" that they're likely to run away with musicians, and the size of the DBX box may even discourage such.

The CBI products are pretty good snakes for the money when WW isn't in the budgetary cards.  If you have nice snakes and you're working with other small providers, you may find a higher capacity snake is something you can rent/trade to them on a regular basis.  I know of several mid grade club/company owned snakes locally that have been outgrown and need to find new homes.  Surely you can do better than a bottom barrel product from ebay that uses ID connectors.

I'll stay away from the drum mic thread, but for entry level the e604 can be used anywhere, and the built in stand is worth the cost of entry alone.
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Dave Dermont

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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2011, 06:21:46 pm »

Hello All ,  First post on the forum.
I do bi monthly show's at a local bar, and have started to pick up some live sound gigs from the bar  for smaller applications. ( or emergencies when they have no PA )

I currently have
4 K 10's  ( 2 for monitors )
3 K Subs
DBX Driverack PA
Mackie 1402 mixer
shure 57's and 58's
( not mic ing any drums at this time )

I am more of a lighting guy than sound guy. I get a lot of sub contracts by the top sound guy in the area, and I am not trying to compete with him. I just want to be able to do small shows

I am in need of a snake and DI Box's  and in the future a upgraded mixing board.

For snake I was looking at the OSP Elite Core 12 x 4.    Is this an exceptable choice ?
 
For DI box's I was wondering if i could use a  Behringer Ultra DI DI100 Direct Box.   or do I need to fork out some dough i don't have for Radial or Countrymen box ?

How many DI box's would you recommend me purchase?
Do I also need to have Passive DI 's on hand ?

I know behringer has a reputation for being less than desirable but I like the fact that it has 1/4 & XLR input and the Price most of all..

also I am thinking of upgrading my mixer since my current one only has 6 xlr inputs     
would the Mackie CFX 16 be a good choice,  ( 12 xlr inputs and onboard effects )  since I have no effect units

Thank you for the help !

The lower priced Whirlwind IMP 2 is a decent passive DI box.

Get that, or just grab a couple of the EWI passive DI boxes when you get the EWI snake. Three DI boxes should be enough to start out.

As far as upgrading you mixer, I have an Allen & Heath ZED 24, and really like it. If you want built-in  effects, they make the ZED 22FX. At about $800, does not cost a whole lot more than the CFX you are looking at, and IMO, is an order of magnitude better.
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Re: Advise on Snakes and DI Box's
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2011, 06:21:46 pm »


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