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Author Topic: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth  (Read 17867 times)

Mark Gensman

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2012, 03:06:30 am »

Audiopile.net or Radial Pro.  The Radial J do sound a little better, but will anyone notice?

That is my question too. I have five EWI passive DI's, a Countryman and a Radial..

I can't tell the difference in any of them except the Radial costs five times more than the EWI's..  Maybe if it was bigger so everyone could read the name on the box it would be worth that extra cash.

Maybe the OP can A/B the Radial with his other DI's after he gets it and let us know how much better the Radial sounds?
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eric lenasbunt

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Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2012, 09:09:15 am »

I am with Tim on the active Radial for 5 string bass. The J48 KILLS. I have A/B'd with an IMP and the poor IMP was limp, by comparison. The J48 was 3x as pricey, but on the bass it sounds a billion times ballsier.
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Greg_Cameron

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2012, 09:51:03 am »

For 90% of stuff the IMP will be fine. It has a cheaper transformer in it which will distort earlier on loud sources, and it won't pass the lowest notes on a bass guitar, but even this I doubt would be noticed by anyone.

The transformer in the IMP2 isn't as bad as you think for bass guitar. I was buying Whirlwind Directors because I thought it had a better transformer. It doesn't, it's the same one that's in the IMP. They both use the TRHL transformer which has a frequency response rating of 20-20kHz +/- 1dB with a max input of +16dBu at 100Hz on up. Below that it will saturate at a lower level, I believe it's at around +2dBu at 20Hz. That's the same spec as the transformers Whirlwind uses on their splitter snakes. For any instrument output though, that should not be an issue. Are the top end Jensen and Lundahl transformers better? Heck yeah, tighter freq. response and very high input levels down to 20Hz before saturation. But the raw transformer price is nearly 2x the cost of the IMP2 ;). Even Whirwind has those in some of their DIs and as an option for their snake systems. Great if you're not on a budget.
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Greg_Cameron

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2012, 09:59:06 am »

I am with Tim on the active Radial for 5 string bass. The J48 KILLS. I have A/B'd with an IMP and the poor IMP was limp, by comparison. The J48 was 3x as pricey, but on the bass it sounds a billion times ballsier.

I have to agree about going active DI with bass in general, especially with passive pickups. I suspect the main issue is pickup loading with passives, so the high impedance of the active DI presents almost no load at all. The passive DI loading is ratio based with the source impedance, 1:133 with the IMP I believe. Most active DIs are 1M or more.

With active pickups, you might not notice as much of a difference unless the output is hot enough to saturate the transformer in the passive.
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eric lenasbunt

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Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2012, 01:06:08 pm »

My bass has active pickups, but not crazy hot ones. The J48 cuts so clear and passes so much of the 5th string lows through it sounds great. I think an interesting test would be putting the active Radial vs passive on the same bass and see the differences.
But I digress from the OP.
 Bottom line, spend a little extra and get one of the decent DBX, BSS or Radial di's, you will be glad you did.
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Samuel Rees

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2012, 01:43:19 pm »

I could use some more DIs. I looked at EWI first, but their passive one looks a little flimsy. It actually says "light duty" switches on their website, and they poke out of the box just begging to be snapped off. The Active ones look better, heavy duty switches and recessed everything, but they still have plastic nuts on the 1/4" inputs. Everyone recommends them, but these things scare me off. Any thoughts on those aspects in particular? Is it the active, or the passive EWI that everyone likes so much?
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Greg_Cameron

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2012, 04:38:02 pm »

Is it the active, or the passive EWI that everyone likes so much?

It's best to have a mix of both. Actives are good to have for instrument requiring high impedance inputs, especially instruments with piezo pickups, to prevent loading them which can create frequency response anomalies and distortion. Passive DIs have relatively low input impedances comported to active DIs. The potential problems with active DIs are 1) potential inability completely decouple ground noise like a transformer can (unless you get a higher end active DI like Countryman, BSS, etc), 2) phantom power issues that can't easily be resolved under the gun. Passive DIs can quickly solve issues that can plague an active DI under stressful conditions.

I wouldn't skimp too much on either type of DI price wise. If you go passive, check the specs for frequency response and maximum input levels. If you can't find that info, chances are the transformer will saturate at lower input levels with low frequency information which is not a good thing with line level outputs. The passive EWI lists a 30-20kHz frequency response, but not the variance of that response (+/- ? dB) nor maximum level (dBu) specs - something to be aware of. The higher end Radial passives & the Whirlwinds with Jensen transformers would be ideal. Cheapy active DIs can work better than cheap passives fidelity wise, but I find they're more prone to picking up EMF from stuff they're placed on top of (bass head) and don't have the ability to totally isolate ground problems as I stated previously.
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Gary Creely

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2012, 04:58:16 pm »

Another guy then asked me if I would sing through a $50 mic.  I said no way, I always used good mics. He then asked me why anything else was less important than my voice.

This IMO this is an unfair comparison, because a microphone is a different cost point device. A high end mic is $600ish, and high end DI is $200ish. So apple to apples the question should be would you sing through a $150 mic (like a beta58), and most people would.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 05:05:54 pm by Gary Creely »
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Mark Gensman

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2012, 02:57:12 am »

I could use some more DIs. I looked at EWI first, but their passive one looks a little flimsy. It actually says "light duty" switches on their website, and they poke out of the box just begging to be snapped off. The Active ones look better, heavy duty switches and recessed everything, but they still have plastic nuts on the 1/4" inputs. Everyone recommends them, but these things scare me off. Any thoughts on those aspects in particular? Is it the active, or the passive EWI that everyone likes so much?

I have had my five EWI DI's for years now and never had any problem of any kind with them. They just work as advertised and the price can't be beat.

I use an active DI for bass in live sound situations. I have an LR Baggs Para DI and a Fishman Pro EQ. Both work great on electric bass and upright bass with pickups.
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Scott Wagner

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Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2012, 10:39:02 am »

This IMO this is an unfair comparison, because a microphone is a different cost point device. A high end mic is $600ish, and high end DI is $200ish. So apple to apples the question should be would you sing through a $150 mic (like a beta58), and most people would.
Actually, a high-end DI is much more than $200.

A Designs RedDI $750
Avalon U5 $550
Summit Audio TD-100 $450

I won't even get into high-end microphones.

Scott Wagner
Big Nickel Audio
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Scott Wagner
Big Nickel Audio

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Best inexpensive DI box for Keys/Synth
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2012, 10:39:02 am »


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