The Vast World of Bass DI’s

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Gringo Starr
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The Vast World of Bass DI’s

Post by Gringo Starr » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:03 pm

I am absolutely baffled by which one I should get. I’m thinking the REDDI but...

The music I do is classic rock/psychedelic experimental but structured kind of music. Any suggestions on which DI would be best for this? I don’t need funk or R&B type sounds. And I don’t need eq’s or anything else on my DI. I have all that elsewhere.

Radial J48
SansAmp Bass Driver
Sonic Farms 2di

And so many more to choose from. Anyone?
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Post by Just me » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:21 pm

I use the B-word Ultra DI's. They do one thing. Make levels work. I have several mounted inside amplifiers and tied to the speaker. They reduce the 40v to line level and I get the amp character. (Not the speaker character, of course.)
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Post by FraMauro » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:52 am

I've had a Tech 21 Sansamp for years and I love it, it makes everything sound better to me.

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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:25 am

(I'm not subscribed to this thread - if you wish to discuss something with me or have questions for me please feel free to send me a PM and I'll be happy to talk with you!)

Been playing bass since 1990. My latest bass is a 4 pickup Jazz. Each pickup has it's own dedicated output jack. As preamps go, I've gone all the way from Avalon preamps down to Tech 21 (probably every single bass processor they've ever offered) all the way down to passive DIs and everything in between.

After nearly three decades of fiddle dickin' around with all of this various bass gear, I went "modular". Each pickup is routed to a separate dedicated ART Tube MP Studio mic preamp (the Behringer clone of this preamp is the MIC100 if I recall). Each mic pre sends it's signal to a Mackie 1202VLZ3 mixer, with each preamp having it's own mixer channel. Each channel is routed to it's own 31 band EQ, then back into the Mackie (using the channel "insert" send/return jacks).

The Mackie's L/R outs are sent to individual PA power amp channels (a Mackie 1,400 watt). The "L" channel of the power amp is sent to a 2x6" floor wedge cabinet (400 watts total power) and the "R" channel of the power amp is sent to a Carvin front ported 2x10" bass cab.

So to simplify this ....

*** Pickup out to ART Tube MP Studio mic preamp.
*** Preamp to mixer channel input.
*** Mixer outs to two cabs, a 2x6" and a 2x10".

Times 4.

Those little ART Tube MP Studio mic pres work EXCELLENTLY. They have their own compressor/limiter (which I use in "limiter mode" exclusively). and since they have very high input impedance levels they work with the passive "Duncan Design" pickups super duper well. I could use ANY brand/model of mic preamp as the front end for the bass pickup signal processors, and yet I elect to use four $35.00 preamps.

Why? Because they sound THE SHIT! Keep in mind I've been through Avalons, I had a full-on Ampeg SVT 300 watt all tube head with a 6x10" front ported HLF cab that I toured all over the entire Southwestern USA with, I've had modelling rigs, digital rigs, solid state rigs, tube rigs. I've owned over two dozen basses (4, 5, 6 stringers, active/passive, short scale, long scale, bolt on neck, neck-through). Basses from Squires to Warwicks to Ricks.

And after all of that ... I went full-on modular using a live mixer, a 1,400 watt PA power amp, two differently voiced front ported bass cabs, and per-pickup mic preamps as the basic signal chain. EQ, distort, compress to taste.

Short answer? ART Tube MP Studio mic pres. I'm definitely going to test out the Behringer clone of that same mic preamp as well. The ART is low noise, has shit tons of gain, excellent high impedance input stage, a VU meter, built-in limiter, and uses a 12AX7 tube. May be powered by wall wart or 48v phantom power (I use phantom power for each of the 4 mic pres).

ART TUBE MP STUDIO LINK = ... mic-preamp

Note that this is NOT the "V3" ... so make sure you look specifically at the ART Tube MP Studio ... no other version.

BEHRINGER MIC100 LINK = ... ain-mic100

If you go "modular" with your bass rig, you have the freedom to chose your preamp stage, EQ stage, compression stage, power amp stage, and speaker cabs. By using a great quality mixer such as a Mackie VLZPro, VLZ3, or VLZ4 series mixer you have tons of options regarding signal routings, where you can insert various FX/OD/Distortion/EQ/Compression. (I have three Mackie 1202VLZ3 mixers (they're 12ch). They are really small (1 foot by 1 foot), and the last one I bought I paid $67.00 shipped for it! The VLZ(x) series is high quality stuff, not the "FX included" crap Mackie offers. Solid steel construction, well made, good parts. The "VLZPro" are the oldest, the "VLZ3" is next, and the "VLZ4" is the current model.) By using a two channel PA power amp you have options for each channel available (EQ/Comp/FX etc ..). So with a modular bass rig you have all of these options available to you that you do not get with a regular "bass amp" style rig. If you use a regular bass amp, and you don't like the EQ, or Comp, or the order various processors are in ... you're stuck with it.

So go modular. And go ART Tube MP Studio.

(I'm not subscribed to this thread - if you wish to discuss something with me or have questions for me please feel free to send me a PM and I'll be happy to talk with you!)

Last edited by Rex Coil 7 on Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by blt » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:15 am

Countryman Type 85. No frills, transparent, and built like a brick shit-house.

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Post by Chevron87 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:52 am

I spent may years trying different DIs in the studio as an engineer, and I have found a few that seem to work on a variety of basses and capture the real tone of the instrument, with both passive and active pick ups.

For a good low cost allrounder the Radial J48 is excellent. It has a very large amount of headroom and captures bass guitars very cleanly without any of that nasty honky distortion of other DI boxes. It's also built like a small tank and will last for years. You do have to have a good mic preamp to use with it though.

The Audio Kitchen Big Trees is a small little guitar amp/pedal that also has a clean channel that you can use as a DI. This little box is simple stunning and captures all the juicy tones of your bass with a little extra added fatness. It's expensive but so worth it.

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Post by Zerstorte Zelle » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:30 am

I love my JDIs also have a stereo Pro DI. Both units sound different.

I’ve used j48 and Played some live gigs with the Neve RND di and I thought it sounded good but wasn’t in a studio setting so hard to judge.

I was however shocked in the difference in depth between going JDI > Apollo pre vs JDI > PRE > Apollo line

...Point is everywhere in the chain can effect negatively or positively. I thought the uad was great until I heard the isa two (a fairly budget pre) into it.

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Post by Kent » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:16 am

See if you can find one of the SVT DI boxes. Hard to beat.

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Post by levelhead3 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:39 pm

Definitely a personal preference issue, and one impacted especially by your bass, but for me - second vote for the Radial JDI - and I too have tried most of the active & tube models.

For me it just works everywhere - no fuss, no muss, always sounds great.

I've even done gigs with just the JDI > PA - no amp, no problem. :tu:

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Post by Technologear? » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:38 am

-1 for the Sansamp bass driver. Heaps of bass guys in my town use and like them, I didn't like it. Eq couldn't shape like I wanted it to, and it never seemed to growl just grate.

For a cheap one, the mxr bass di plus is strangely great! Just don't use the overdrive. Eq works, sounds full, goes deep. Good platform for pedals.

The DI out of my 5w matamp head is my favourite. Tubes just starting to overdrive when you dig in is something every bassist deserves to experience.

I'll try my Orchid DI and compare it with my JDI when I get a chance.

Anyone tried the DI out of Darkglass stuff? Worth the hype?

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Post by BailyDread » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:49 pm

I have a rupert neve RNDI... really terrific. if you're familiar with the sound of overdriving a neve 33609 limiter section, it's really similar to that. kind of a tubey sound but not quite. I have NOT been able to replicate the tone on other DI's and I have a few. it has a "3 dimensionality" that makes it sit soooooo well in the mix... really one of my fav pieces of equipment in my studio. it's also absolutely fantastic for using on synths too and gives them a very pleasing fullness.

the best thing i've found with basses and DI's is to put a boost before the DI (if it's a passive DI) and crank the hell out of it until youre obviously clipping. When you roll back on the volume on the bass, you get a terrific sustaining tone that responds super well to playing dynamics (harder you pick/pluck the "warmer" the tone). I think it's saturating the transformers. If you dont pull back on the volume, you can get a gnarly motorhead tone too haha :nana:


you might want to check out an EHX bass metaphors. I've been able to get some rhythm and sound type tones from that, and the limiter and drive sounds great. it has both an unbalanced and balanced out as well. these go for like 80$ used

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Post by Deepwave33 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:48 am

As has been said, the instrument will definitely sound different through various di’s. In my experience most are more than usable. I have various radials, countrymen, and an ampeg. For work we use radial pro di’s and they take a beating and sound good with everything I’ve put through them.

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Post by pianoscope » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:09 am

Zod id di

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