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Recording DI Guitars - Clipping Issues, Attenuation Pad Tests
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Recording DI Guitars - Clipping Issues, Attenuation Pad Tests

Hi, I'm having clipping issues while recording DI guitars. It may be confusing but I'll do the best that I can to explain.

I have a Steinberg UR22 interface, which has a known issue of clipping on instrument/Hi-Z mode with any of the passive humbuckers I've tested, even with the gain on zero. With single coils it's fine, as the pickups have a lower output. When using it on the normal/mic mode, it doesn't clip with humbuckers, but the issue is the obvious high-frequency loss due to the impedance mismatch.

To solve that I've bought an active DI Box. Unfortunately, both DI Boxes I've tested required the -20dB pad to be engaged, as the interface pres would clip even with my single coils and on normal/mic mode with the gain at zero.

The issue is the pad also introduces high-frequency losses - I've done a back-to-back test using single coils with the DI Box and the pad engaged against the interface on Hi-Z mode. The difference is clearly audible, and looking at the graphs confirmed that there's an average 2-3dB loss from 2K and up, which I would like to avoid.

The weird thing is that if the guitar is plugged straight into the interface with the Hi-Z mode disengaged, it doesn't clip, but with the DI Box connected it does. I'm sure such a sensitive mic pre is not normal, or both DI Boxes I've tested are not doing their job.

Will I need to upgrade my interface or keep looking for another DI Box?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Is the DI box passive?
If so & IF its a Jensen you shouldn't have any issue..
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio ➡️
Is the DI box passive?
If so & IF its a Jensen you shouldn't have any issue..
It's an active DI Box, a Nux PDI-1G. Forgot to mention that, I'll edit the OP.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Just looked up the Nux and it's a cheap DI. get rid of it or return it.

Spend the money on a good passive DI like a Radial JDI or the PRO DI - both have Jensen transformers and will work. Heck even a Whirlwind passive dI will work better than the NUX, but it doesn't have a pad on it like the Radial ones do.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama ➡️
Just looked up the Nux and it's a cheap DI. get rid of it or return it.

Spend the money on a good passive DI like a Radial JDI or the PRO DI - both have Jensen transformers and will work. Heck even a Whirlwind passive dI will work better than the NUX, but it doesn't have a pad on it like the Radial ones do.
A Radial or similar DI Box costs almost as much as my interface. Cheap or not, plenty of people using Behringer stuff without any issues. I just want to know if this behavior is normal, as spending more on a Radial or one costing a million bucks wouldn't matter as I would be forced to use the input pad, and it will suck high end nonetheless. I've considered the Whirlwind, but a passive DI wouldn't be ideal for passive pickups as their input impedance is usually on the low side, and the transformer colors the tone.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoisesmith ➡️
A Radial or similar DI Box costs almost as much as my interface. Cheap or not, plenty of people using Behringer stuff without any issues. I just want to know if this behavior is normal, as spending more on a Radial or one costing a million bucks wouldn't matter as I would be forced to use the input pad, and it will suck high end nonetheless. I've considered the Whirlwind, but a passive DI wouldn't be ideal for passive pickups as their input impedance is usually on the low side, and the transformer colors the tone.
Good DI boxes don't suck the high end. Cheap ones do. You get what you pay for. Not sure where you read that passive DI's don't work for passive pickups - I use a JDI and PRO DI on passive guitars (acoustic and electric) and basses and they sound great, either into a PA or into a recording interface. I've used it into a Scarlett 2i2, so I'm familiar with the lower end interface products, and the passive DI works great. A cheap active DI is problematic because of all the electronics; a passive DI is pretty much a transformer. Go for the best passive DI you can afford.

I understand $100 may be a lot for you, but think of it as the cost of a mic - you wouldn't want to spend less for a decent vocal/instrument mic like a 58/57... with music gear, you do tend to get what you pay for.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Does your guitar have a volume knob?

If so, plug direct to the UR22, set to inst mode, turn gain to zero then turn down the guitar volume knob until it stops clipping. Then you're good to go. And it's cheap.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 
How are you connecting the DI box to the interface? I'm guessing XLR to XLR, and it sounds like line level into mic input.

You could try an XLR to TRS cable, then the UR22 will see the TRS as balanced line in.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoisesmith ➡️
Hi, I'm having clipping issues while recording DI guitars. It may be confusing but I'll do the best that I can to explain.

I have a Steinberg UR22 interface, which has a known issue of clipping on instrument/Hi-Z mode with any of the passive humbuckers I've tested, even with the gain on zero. With single coils it's fine, as the pickups have a lower output. When using it on the normal/mic mode, it doesn't clip with humbuckers, but the issue is the obvious high-frequency loss due to the impedance mismatch.

To solve that I've bought an active DI Box. Unfortunately, both DI Boxes I've tested required the -20dB pad to be engaged, as the interface pres would clip even with my single coils and on normal/mic mode with the gain at zero.

The issue is the pad also introduces high-frequency losses - I've done a back-to-back test using single coils with the DI Box and the pad engaged against the interface on Hi-Z mode. The difference is clearly audible, and looking at the graphs confirmed that there's an average 2-3dB loss from 2K and up, which I would like to avoid.

The weird thing is that if the guitar is plugged straight into the interface with the Hi-Z mode disengaged, it doesn't clip, but with the DI Box connected it does. I'm sure such a sensitive mic pre is not normal, or both DI Boxes I've tested are not doing their job.

Will I need to upgrade my interface or keep looking for another DI Box?
Can the interface.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoisesmith ➡️
A Radial or similar DI Box costs almost as much as my interface.
A sure sign that you need a better interface.

Quote:
Cheap or not, plenty of people using Behringer stuff without any issues.
Lots of people wouldn't know if they were.

If you turn the guitar down it will almost certainly solve your problem. It will, however, probably affect your tone somewhat.

Oddly enough, The Behringer interface has a somewhat better rep than the cheap offerings from some companies with a "better" name.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoisesmith ➡️
It's an active DI Box, a Nux PDI-1G. Forgot to mention that, I'll edit the OP.
$21.99 at Walmart. You've GOT to be kidding.

You can not buy a decent DI for less than about $100, and if you want a good active the price goes up to around $150 for a Countryman.

DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR DIRECT BOX. It's a sure recipe for grief.

And FYI, a real expensive DI can run $1,500.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I think those interfaces are known to run hot.

maybe try comparing it against a pedal with a buffered bypass, or one designed to have some spot where there is supposed to be fidelity to the original tone. e.g. go into that first. some of those could have a lower output stage, and a gain stage so you can be increasing or attenuating the output gain. and see how that can compare with the other variables you found.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
noah330's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lower your pickups?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
I am running guitars direct into a Behringer UMC404HD on my desk right now. It is pristine and low latency. It has per-input instrument impedance switches AND a per-input pad. It is very cheap given the IO it has, yet it hasn't let me down.

Minor downsides: Small fiddly knobs. While pres do clip in analogue before digital they don't sound good over-driven so keep it clean. Output levels aren't quite the full pro standard +4dBu so I did have to tweak in level on my monitors up a few dB. Headphone amp is mediocre but fine for tracking and works well enough with medium impedance headphones. Doesn't have the mixing, routing and DSP software that a lot of other interfaces offer - you just get a direct monitor mix knob instead.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
Back in the day we used to run guitars though things called amplifiers and speakers.

The speakers would roll off the high frequencies pretty heavily at like 5-6k.

Maybe you could think of your cheap DI sound as more a feature than a problem?
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