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di electric guitar white noise
Old 18th November 2009
Gear Maniac
๐ŸŽง 10 years
di electric guitar white noise

I am getting noticable white noise (about 3000 kHz and up) when DI'ing my fender stratocaster through my Presonus Firebox into Cubase. I run the signal through Vintage Warm Amp and compress it moderately afterward. Without compression, it is noticeable. With compression, I can hear it somewhat well even in a busy mix. Boosting the top end with eq is out of the question (I would like to do this). I have a 6' monster cable plugged into the strat running into an IMP2 DI (this only has an impedance input of I believe 100 or 1000 ohms but this would only reduce high frequency content right?). The IMP 2 goes into a 10' XLR into the firebox.

Where is the white noise being introduced? Is it the crappy preamp? Is this much white noise normal (I doubt it)? Would a better DI fix it?

Please help me figure this out!
Old 18th November 2009
Registered User
1 Review written
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Passive single coils, or active pups? Some active pups have a noisy cheap preamp that will hiss ...

Most likely it's the Firebox - the preamps and converters can't compare with high end stuff. Ultra low noisefloor preamps aren't cheap. An active DI with a line output might be cheaper, because you don't actually need the mic preamp stage unless you want a better preamp for your mics as well. Something like an Avalon U5 for example.

If you are running on battery power, you might want to think twice before inserting an AC powered appliance. Guitars are prone to AC hum issues, and AC powered preamps can end up with residual hum ... guitars cables are unbalanced and the high gain and/or compression typically applied afterwards exposes all the annoying little noises.

You will get as many opinions on what to use as there are people reading this forum. Some people want the cleanest, transparent pickup signal they can get. Others want a bit of color. Others don't find reamping acceptable at all. Some people have a low tolerance for noise, while others seem to think guitars are supposed to be noisy.

I hate unwanted noise myself, and imo there is no cheap easy solution for this. Every link in the chain matters, and there is no limit to what you could spend on the ultimate short, clean path ...
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
Registered User
1 Review written
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Have you tried using the Firebox without the DI box? From memory that should have an instrument input, and a shorter chain could be better.

A guitar should ideally have a higher impedance input - some of the cleaner DI's are over 1 Megohm. Although you start to get more noise with higher Z.
Old 19th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
๐ŸŽง 10 years
I forgot to mention that...

My guitar is an American Fender Stratocaster with a humbucker in the bridge position and single coils in the other two. It has an S1 switch also. Even the humbucker (with and without S1) introduce an amount of noise I find unacceptable (cuts through a busy mix if you pay attention). I like my guitars CLEAN - no dirt.

I haven't tried bypassing the DI for a while, but as far as I recall, it made it slightly worse (probably b/c the DI is low impedance for electric guitar so it dulls the highs a bit).

I have no access to high quality equipment to test weak spots in my chain, but I am guessing it is the firebox. A second option could be the guitar. Maybe I should buy shielding for it or check for dirt or poor internal soldering? I'm not experienced with doing this though. Surely, I don't have to go out and buy an Apogee or some AD/DA converter though right? That wouldn't be it? And I sure can't afford it.

I am thinking about buying a single channel preamp anyway. One with a great sound (probably not colored as it will be my only preamp) and DI input for bass guitar (active and passive) and electric guitar. I suppose I could buy, try, and return if needed?
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