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Using a DI before your Pre When tracking?
Old 28th January 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
airexmusic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Using a DI before your Pre When tracking?

Hi All,
Watching Tony's L8 DEtox DVD again, and just wanted to ask a question about using a DI before your Preamps When tracking?

He says he always uses a DI when tracking keyboards, MPCs etc.
What are the reasons for this, besides what he said about pads?
I have always gone directly into the Preamps.
Thanks
Old 28th January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
DIs are generally used to manage impedance-matching issues. For example, the output of an electric guitar or bass is a very high impedance, while most audio equipment expects to see something much lower. Adding a DI between the instrument and the gear you're connecting it to changes the incoming impedance to something the audio gear wants to see.

How this relates to keyboards, samplers, etc when tracking out beats is probably different from unit-to-unit. As far as I know, a lot of those kinds of instruments have line-level outputs, operating at more standard impedances, thus not requiring the use of a DI (you should be able to verify this by reading the specifications of your gear in their respective manuals). If this is indeed the case, it's possible that those artists using DIs for tracking are doing so for some added flavor; DIs are built around transformers, which can impart some serious coloration that may be desirable. Or not...the best thing to do is try connecting each piece of your gear with and without a high quality DI and comparing the results.

I'm gonna preemptively answer the question I know you're gonna ask: "what's a good DI?" The cheapest-but-still-good active DI is the standard CountryMan. This is like the SM57 of DIs. Radial makes some really cool stuff; we have both their active and passive units at work, and they all sound great. My favorite is the Avalon U5, which is big money, but is HIGHLY flexible, and eliminates (or, perhaps more accurately, makes optional) the need for a mic pre. We've also got a mega high-end DW Fearn DI that sounds killer, but doesn't have the flexibility of the Avalon, and so consequently sees less use.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you have a pre with a button that says "Hi Z", you plug your axe in,push the button and away you go.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Led
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Led's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
On a lot of pres with an input transformer, the 'instrument' or 'direct in' or whatever they each choose to call it, (the 1/4" socket) bypasses the input transformer, so you don't get the coloration they add. At least in my case that's why I use di's for keys, guitar etc and go into the mic in on the pre rather than the direct in.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Keyflo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Led ➑️
On a lot of pres with an input transformer, the 'instrument' or 'direct in' or whatever they each choose to call it, (the 1/4" socket) bypasses the input transformer, so you don't get the coloration they add. At least in my case that's why I use di's for keys, guitar etc and go into the mic in on the pre rather than the direct in.
+
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
cpu
Gear Addict
 
cpu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Led ➑️
On a lot of pres with an input transformer, the 'instrument' or 'direct in' or whatever they each choose to call it, (the 1/4" socket) bypasses the input transformer, so you don't get the coloration they add. At least in my case that's why I use di's for keys, guitar etc and go into the mic in on the pre rather than the direct in.
+2
I've tried it both ways tracking synths or samplers through my Chandler Germ's, and i definitely prefer using a Radial JDI before it rather than going in the DI input on the Chandler.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Magic Theatre's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
i definitely prefer using a Radial JDI before it rather than going in the DI input on the Chandler.[/quote]


Same here.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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Eloheim's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Led ➑️
On a lot of pres with an input transformer, the 'instrument' or 'direct in' or whatever they each choose to call it, (the 1/4" socket) bypasses the input transformer, so you don't get the coloration they add. At least in my case that's why I use di's for keys, guitar etc and go into the mic in on the pre rather than the direct in.
Huh I never heard of this. Good to know! I looked at the signal flow diagram for my RNP though, and it looks like both the HI-z and Lo-z inputs go the same path into the "Preamp/Servos." The only difference being that the lo-z in plug goes through the "EMI & Over-V Protection." EMI's for keeping out RF (radio) interference I guess, and the Over-V like a surge protector of some kind (don't laugh if im way off..). This is NOT what you were talking about, right Led? I actually have a seperate DI box too but I haven't done side-by-side comparisons of the same instruments both ways.

Thanks
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
TheMIXIMAL's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Some mic preamps have input transformers, which 'thicken' the sound. I've done this same trick in the past (use DI's into micpreamps instead of line-amps) to thicken the sound.

This trick really only works when your mic preamps have input transformers.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
airexmusic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Led ➑️
On a lot of pres with an input transformer, the 'instrument' or 'direct in' or whatever they each choose to call it, (the 1/4" socket) bypasses the input transformer, so you don't get the coloration they add. At least in my case that's why I use di's for keys, guitar etc and go into the mic in on the pre rather than the direct in.
This is good info... I didn't know this angle on it.
I have Brent Avrill & UA6176, and have always gone in thru the front when tracking guitars & keys etc.
I will have to give this a try.
Anyone know if either of these bypass the input transformers?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
hey grotto

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
I.

I'm gonna preemptively answer the question I know you're gonna ask: "what's a good DI?" The cheapest-but-still-good active DI is the standard CountryMan. This is like the SM57 of DIs. Radial makes some really cool stuff; we have both their active and passive units at work, and they all sound great. My favorite is the Avalon U5, which is big money, but is HIGHLY flexible, and eliminates (or, perhaps more accurately, makes optional) the need for a mic pre. We've also got a mega high-end DW Fearn DI that sounds killer, but doesn't have the flexibility of the Avalon, and so consequently sees less use.
how would i use the u5 as a (mic) preamp
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airexmusic ➑️
This is good info... I didn't know this angle on it.
I have Brent Avrill & UA6176, and have always gone in thru the front when tracking guitars & keys etc.
I will have to give this a try.
Anyone know if either of these bypass the input transformers?
That was one of the main reasons why I like to use external DI's into the preamp... for the extra transformer coloration. When you use a Jensen based DI, you are actually passing through TWO transformers (the Jensen and the input transformer at MIC level), which makes for a different sound (and more often then not a more pleasing sound).

95% of the preamps on the market including those BAE's bypass the input transformer, and directly inject the signal to the amplifier section.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
ninjasoards's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have an MPC, Triton, Mopho, and a SM7B going into a small 8-channel mixer. This mixer is fed to my API A2D. Could I benefit from placing a stereo DI between the mixer and pre?

Also, am I hurting my sound by having the SM7B going into the mixer first instead of straight into the API? I have it like this to avoid constantly having to plug and unplug things...I only have 2 channels of pre.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjasoards ➑️
I have an MPC, Triton, Mopho, and a SM7B going into a small 8-channel mixer. This mixer is fed to my API A2D. Could I benefit from placing a stereo DI between the mixer and pre?
Probably not, because it's most likely putting out a balanced +4 db signal.
Quote:
Also, am I hurting my sound by having the SM7B going into the mixer first instead of straight into the API? I have it like this to avoid constantly having to plug and unplug things...I only have 2 channels of pre.
Yes.... Definitely not getting the benefit of the A2D's mic pre in this scenario.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Addict
 
ninjasoards's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
That's what I was afraid of.

So what do you suggest Tony? Plug the SM7B into the back, and the mixer outputs into the Line inputs on the front?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjasoards ➑️
That's what I was afraid of.

So what do you suggest Tony? Plug the SM7B into the back, and the mixer outputs into the Line inputs on the front?
Yes, that would work.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont ➑️
95% of the preamps on the market including those BAE's bypass the input transformer, and directly inject the signal to the amplifier section.
Some that do hit the input transformer are the Great River ME-1NV (though some say it's not great with line level sources), A-Designs Pacifica & Purple "Pants" 500 series pres.

Personally, I'm hoping that Phoenix Audio gets up and running in the US soon and starts manufacturing the NiceDI here. I've heard good things about it, though never tried it myself. It's a 2-channel unit too.
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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halfguard's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
anyone use the avalon u5 on keys/mpcs?
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfguard ➑️
anyone use the avalon u5 on keys/mpcs?
U5 is the ****.
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
MarkJ's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I really like the u5 for the mpc. It can make a weak drum hit pretty nice. That with a transient designer was one of my favorite set ups for drums..I miss it. Now I think I may have to head over to ebay and investigate getting this chain up again.
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