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Is a DI box necessary
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Is a DI box necessary

So lets say you're playing Guitar about 8 feet away from the mixer and there is plenty of line slack.

would it be better to use a DI box to match impedance? Or would you get a better sound by skipping the DI box and plugging directly into the mixer.

I guess the question is, since DI box's match impedance / change unbalanced to balanced, would they or would they not improve the sound in this case?

thanks
Old 10th November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Not all DIs were created equal.
There is a sound difference between passive (transformer balaced) DIs and active electronically balanced DIs.

Some mixer's DI sounds crappy and its better to run through an external DI and into the preamp.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
paulreed's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think it also depends on what you're pluging it into. I have a 002R and the line inputs, I believe, have less input than the XLR so it does sound better to use a DI. I also have an Avalon 737...I plug the guitar strait into it, no DI needed!!

If you want a really good DI check out the Countryman type 85
Type 85 Direct Box - Countryman Associates, Inc.

The Radial ones are good also, this one uses a Jensen transformer
Radial JDI | Sweetwater.com

I have a BBE one with a sonic maximizer built right in and 3 outputs
Old 11th November 2009
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Mikeren's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by this n00b again ➑️
So lets say you're playing Guitar about 8 feet away from the mixer and there is plenty of line slack.

would it be better to use a DI box to match impedance? Or would you get a better sound by skipping the DI box and plugging directly into the mixer.

I guess the question is, since DI box's match impedance / change unbalanced to balanced, would they or would they not improve the sound in this case?

thanks
DI would plug into the mixer's mic in. The line in's on a mixer are usually not instrument DI's, so yes a DI is your best bet for the reasons you stated.
They won't improve the sound--they will just allow you to record it direct with out messing it up with a mis-match.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
83dude's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
as a guideline, if your overall cable is longer than 6m / 18ft, you should consider using a DI-box. this will keep your signal quite clear and it won't be distorted by stepping on a cable, magnetic fields etc.

if you send a signal to the line input, it is considered to have "line level" (like e.g. +4dBu). sending it to a XLR input usually routes it through the preamp as well - when having line level already you should consider using the PAD switch (power attenuation) as well.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Mikeren's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I seriously don't know of any guitars with a +4 output--but there might be an exception.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
83dude's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Well, guitars themselves don't, unless they have a built-in amp (with a battery slot and stuff). But as soon as it is amped it normally gets to line level, most amps go with a line output or even a DI output.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
What if I'm recording a Warwick bass with an active pickup system. Do I plug straight into the mixer, or go through fair DI?
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
83dude's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Depends...

If the cable's longer than mentioned above you should use a DI. Otherwise, you can plug it into the mixer directly via the line input (since it has "active pickups").

A DI-box symmetrizes the signal (and lifts it from the ground a bit, apply ground lift if you get a humming sounds). Let's say, a lady with high heels steps onto a cable. If it's not symmetrized, the "disturbance" occurs and is transported directly to the next element in line. When the signal is symmetrized you have actually two signals, but phase-shifted by 180 degrees. Such disturbances always point to the same direction, so if those symmetrized signals get desymmetrized again, those erroneous parts get nullified.

The higher the impedance of the cable (i.e. the longer it is), the higher the probability of such unwanted effects. So: if your cable is longer than 6m / 18ft, symmetrize it with a DI-box!
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Mikeren's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you read the post, the OP is plugging a guitar directly to a mixer--no amp involved, but you talk about a pad. Just because a line input is rated +4 (or even -10) doesn't mean what you plug into it IS that level--just that it should be.

A +4 output is for sure not what a guitar amp needs at it's input, and that's generally what you plug a guitar into, isn't it? So, even active Pickups don't put out +4 without an accessory preamp (EMG, for instance can go to +20).

A DI box will allow you to use a balanced cable between the box and the mixer's preamp. The mixer preamp amplifies the low guitar signal to a line level.

A balanced cable can provide you with a longer run w/out interference--but to say that you need a DI for a guitar cable run of more than 18' is at best misleading.

I considered even not replying, but not being clear on the OP's question and following it up with bad info. isn't going to do anyone any good...
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