Active or Passive DI for Elec. Guitar - Alnico Pickups ?

Baminated

Member
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6,494
Reading alot of conflicting stuff all over the map. Confused

I plan on recording to my laptop via an interface for reamping the direct signal later

The idea for me is this:

Record a clean DI signal into my interface>DAW, but have it split to the amp in order to get vibed on the tone while tracking, but the actual recorded signal be direct, unaffected by the amp to be fed into the reamp device for recording

Seems like the DI's with the thru are the only ones which can accommodate

So it would have to be active I take it, considering the pickups ?
 
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testing1two

Gold Supporting Member
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2,476
The active/passive thing really doesn't matter for your situation since you're not driving your signal over hundreds of feet. What matters is the input impedance. If you plan to plug a passive guitar straight into a DI box then the wrong impedance will load down your pickups which makes the guitar sound dull, quiet, and unresponsive. If you plan to use pedals which boost and buffer the output then the input impedance is less critical. That said, I think Radial makes a great Active DI (J48) that responds very nicely to guitar pickups and a passive DI (JDI) that has very smooth, warm sound thanks in part to a Jensen transformer.

For re-amping, impedance is also critical because your laptop is going to be sending out a lower impedance, line-level (+4) signal but your guitar amp is designed for a higher impedance, lower output guitar signal. This is why re-amping boxes were created. Since I think Radial makes great stuff, I will again recommend the Radial X-Amp.

Now there are some really cool boxes that can act as a DI and a reamp box like the Millennia TD1 (which is absolutely incredible) but expect to pay a tidy sum.
 

Rex Anderson

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5,031
So basically, your guitar needs to feed a DI which needs to feed a mic pre for gain unless your interface has a good mic pre.

I compared three DI's with guitars, bass and keyboards:

Countryman Type 85

BSS AR-133 (Roger Nichols used these for Steely Dan)

Custom made DI's with Jensen's best transformers

The Countryman won every time.

The 3 DI's above need to go to a mic pre for gain.

For 2 to 3 time the price, the Avalon U5 is very nice and has enough gain to give a line level output. Very good sounding and has some on board EQ options.
 
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testing1two

Gold Supporting Member
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2,476
I compared three DI's with guitars, bass and keyboards:

Countryman Type 85

BSS AR-133 (Roger Nichols used these for Steely Dan)

Custom made DI's with Jensen's best transformers

The Countryman won every time.

For 2 to 3 time the price, the Avalon U5 is very nice but has EQ features we never used. Not worth it to me.

That's really fascinating, I love my Type 85's for live work but they never quite agreed with my ears for recording...especially for bass. My ears like the Radial J48 and JDI but price notwithstanding I love the Avalon U5, A-Designs REDDI, and Millennia TD-1 depending on the source. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the special place in my heart I have for the Demeter tube DI. Before the U5, they were the tube DI of choice in practically every studio and rightfully so.
 

rokpunk

Member
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1,819
I think I have owned just about every DI in the market at one time or another, and aside from the Countryman Type 85, the Klark Teknik DN100 box, the BSS AR-133, and a couple of the Radial boxes are the only ones I would recommend. You can't go wrong with a Type 85, though. And always use active DI's for active or powered inputs (such as acoustic guitar/bass), and use passive DI's for keyboards/drum machines, DJ's, etc. Just my .02. ps. Haven't tried an Avalon U5, but I'd like to. I'm just afraid to use it on a live stage, considering the cost.
 

Baminated

Member
Messages
6,494
The idea for me is this:

Record a clean DI signal into my interface>DAW, but have it split to the amp in order to get vibed on the tone while tracking, but the actual recorded signal be direct, unaffected by the amp to be fed into the reamp device for recording

Seems like the DI's with the thru are the only ones which can accommodate

So it would have to be active I take it, considering the pickups ?
 

rokpunk

Member
Messages
1,819
i don't know a hell of a lot about reamping, but i know Radial is the company that has taken the lead on reamping products.
 

Somniferous

Member
Messages
1,207
I tend to like actives for reamp stuff, mostly because you aren't pushing the signal through a transformer and get a better representation of the signal. Sometimes I will use a passive, depends upon the source.

Other than that I don't really have a set rule for DIs, I tend to try both and see which one feels/sounds best (If I have the time). If I don't have the time to try both I will go with whatever is easiest to use at the time.
 

jodywa

Member
Messages
70
Great videos on the radial site about active, passive, re-amping and the like. This looks to be the video on their suggestion for a DI that might work for your plan. http://www.radialeng.com/videobox-j48-640.htm I'm sure there are a lot of other high quality high $$$ DIs that will also do the trick. I just got the Radial JDI passive for my keyboard live sound setup and love the quality and sound.
 

guitarjazz

Member
Messages
20,946
I carry active and passive rack mount DI's with me to sessions. The active one is by Tubeworks. The passive ones have the better ground isolation.
You might not even need a box if you run through an effect with a balanced out. My TC 2290 has lots of options for splitting a signal. Good luck!
 

guitarjazz

Member
Messages
20,946
For reference, the input impedance of a guitar amp is almost universally just @ 1M (1000k) ohms.

http://www.crownaudio.com/kb/entry/304/

http://www.emusician.com/news/0766/direct-results/146876

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/an/an002.pdf

If your audio interface does not have a proper "instrument" input (1 Mega Ohm) this box may help you get a better direct guitar tone: http://www.motu.com/products/guitar/zbox
I bit like the little knob on the back of the Radial gear that's supposed to add this amp-like feel. I had an interesting discussion about this with Sarge at Creation Audio in Nashville. He conjured up the Far Side cartoon where people are throwing things at the band. Remember the knob the soundman was turning?
 

Julia343

Member
Messages
7,612
For going from the output of your interface back into the input of your amp for reamping the Radial X-Amp is the way to go.
 




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