telefunken td-2 passive di box (initial impressions)

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by feet, Jan 2, 2018.


  1. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    (i was going to post this in the acoustic forum, but i guess that technically, it belongs here)

    pros
    -small, pedal board friendly
    -appears sturdy and well made, looks really cool
    -15 db input pad works well
    -sounds good?

    cons
    -not all that cheap
    -pretty subtle change in sound (and yet, not)
    -1/4 ins, xlr outs; would have like to see more options (but wouldn't work with form factor)

    not much out there on this line of di's, but i felt lucky and rolled the dice. i unboxed to give it a quick run through with a couple of my acoustics with active pickups into my carvin line array amp thing. comes with a little felt crown royal kind of baggie, a neat sticker and what i suppose are stick-on strips of rubber backing feet type things.

    my first thought was that it is kinda like a compressor, in that the sound magically lept forth from the amp. it was more clear and present and in your face, though the volume didn't actually change, i don't think. it is just sort of focused now.

    i wasn't sure what to expect in terms of coloration- i was hoping for some and went back and forth between the models before playing it safe with the passive one. it does seem a bit less harsh, but not warmer. smoother, perhaps. less clanky. it didn't erase the piezo clank, but it does make it more tolerable without clogging the low mids to mask it. cranking the volume of my pedals didn't seem to bother it that much, but at higher guitar treble settings, i think i made it break up just a little when strummed hard. couldn't get break up at normal settings, but it does feel a little more... analog, i suppose you could say. i guess i can mess with the gain staging and the 15 db pad and look for a sweet spot, but that would move depending one what i plugged into it.

    the big surprise came when, on a whim, i plugged in my om with the sorry ass lr baggs lyric internal mic. it was still a boxy, nasally mess, but when i hit that 15 db pad, it magically stopped sounding dumb. it sounded like a guitar. it sounded like the demos that tricked me into buying it. i was dumbfounded. i tried cranking to volume on some boosts to see what was going on and i did get a little of that boxy honk back but now there is hope. maybe the lyric is salvageable with this box and a decent eq. we'll see.

    i'll try to run some vocals through it and maybe do some direct recordings and look and some graphs and stuff, but so far, so good. wish it had a gain knob to dial in some coloration and grit, but that may be unrealistic. so far, i'm not displeased.
     
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  2. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

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    The Telefunken gear is like this. Appears innocuous at first - then a switch here or there
    and you start hearing what people have been saying for years.
     
  3. ronzie

    ronzie Supporting Member

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    Anybody know if Fishman is still in control of this company? I was under the impression Oliver Archut r.i.p. had most of the rights to Telefunken through his TabFunkenwerk brand out of Kansas.

    Not to Derail of course.....
     
  4. jmoose

    jmoose Supporting Member

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    Oliver & Tab Funkenwerk have/had no affiliation with Telefunken USA. Unless somethings changed the mics & other stuff from Telefunken USA are coming out of Connecticut and IIRC licensed by some sort of German holding company which owns the name and all rights to "Telefunken"

    FWIW - in other parts of the world you can still buy brand new Telefunken toaster ovens and 60" LED TV sets...
     
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  5. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    honestly, the Lyric is a ridiculously awesome guitar pickup. Work that EQ hard, once you dial out the sound of the mic being trapped inside a box, it sounds really natural and great. It needs a big wide mid scoop centred at the resonant frequency of your guitar' body.
     
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  6. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    I can't really tell you who owns it, or who made it. but it is made in the US, which was a plus for me. and made to a high standard, I might add. the housing isn't flush on top- there is a few hairs gap but I assume that was done for ventilation.

    tried it with a couple more of my guitars through my pa. need to figure out the gain staging so I can boost it to that sweet spot without clipping, but it's going well so far. the 15db input pad seems to be the magic switch. things sounds better boosted, then padded. not sure why that is, maybe there is more to it.

    it fits really well on my nano pedalboard, too.

    one thing I need to investigate is the 1/4 pass-through. not sure if it goes through the entire circuit yet. if it does, that's awesome. would be great to send the signal to an amp and a desk or recorder.

    no need for the ground lift yet so I can't speak on that.

    heh, I tried the lyric again, I know it has its partisans. I got a couple new eq's in and I'll be playing with those more, but early returns suggest it'll work out. though it is unreasonable to expect people to go through this much effort to salvage their crappy pick up, even if the end result is starting to sound pretty sweet.
     
  7. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    I wouldn't personally call one single band of parametric EQ an unreasonable amount of effort. It took me at most 2 seconds to find an EQ setting that works.
     
  8. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    no, dude. i went direct into my daw, had two instances of parametric eqs snipping out weirdness and it still sounded like straight ass. it was completely unusable, even after slathering it in plugins. there's a difference between enhancing and managing and a rescue mission. i've had it over a year now and this is literally the first time it sounded remotely usable or even vaguely resembled the product i thought i was buying.

    this is my first attempt at cobbling an acoustic board but i've ran it through every amp, pedal and plugin i have since i got it and it was trash the whole time. even the new improved tone isn't super blowing me away, though it is a billion times better. now it is at a manageable point where it is worth exploring further with a little eq and compression and such. it only took a year and a magical box to get here.
     
  9. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    one cool thing i figured out about the di- using both the thru and the output, you can send one signal to two different amps. sounded pretty neat. but i'm not sure if the signal that leaves via the thru passes through the entire circuit- i wasn't affected by the pad or lift, so far as i could tell. wasn't sure where to find this info so i shot them an email. couldn't find a manual online and nothing was included.

    my brand new monoprice cable didn't work so i have to send that back, which prevents further exploration for the time being. those cables are great, though. when you don't get a dud. which happens like half the time. but they are cheap, they ship quickly and finding an xlrf to 1/4 cable at a decent length is kinda hard.

    still haven't recorded with it, but it is butt simple, sounds great, the pad is magic apparently and it looks really cool on your pedal board. the pakaging is fantastic, too- its just larger version the di printed on all around the box. so you could fool people into thinking you were cool because you had two sweet di's instead of one.

    updates to come sooner or later. so far, so good :)
     
  10. jmoose

    jmoose Supporting Member

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    The "through" on any DI box never touches the rest of the circuit. Even on active DI's... think of it as "true bypass" maybe?

    Also pads don't "boost" signal, they only cut.
     
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  11. Chrome Dinette

    Chrome Dinette Silver Supporting Member

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    FWIW, a passsive DI is little more than a transformer and connectors, plus resistors if it has a pad, so any mojo, if it exists, is coming from the transformer.

    Here is a typical passive DI schematic, C1&C2 aren't necessarily even needed.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    i see. it is as i had suspected. the proper cables will have to be ordered (again), then.

    no, but therein lies the magic- because the lyric and element don't sound very good on their own, making them more quiet somehow makes them sound better o_O pad + a little more volume from the amp and pedals sounds better than no pad + no volume boost, even if the end result is about the same, db wise. past a certain point, the louder you get, the worse they sound. until i can address that with better pickups, the pad trick will have to suffice.

    i'm happy with the passive one, but i wish i was able to a/b the two. not having phantom power on my little amp forced my hand, but i use active pickups on my acoustics, so it seemed like the right choice. i use passive pickups with my electrics and love a little of that transformer magic and grit but i can get that elsewhere.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    this is still into your electric guitar amp, right? :rolleyes:

    you're probably just clipping the amp input; you might get the same benefit from turning the pickup volumes down a bit.
     
  14. ronzie

    ronzie Supporting Member

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    Yup, I knew that those to companies were wholly separated and had nothing to do with each other. Ever. I was just being nosy, wondering if some how Tony got a hold of Tab Funk's work legally and is now
    popping out tried and true Oliver stuff. I'm playing Desperate Housewive. Haaaa.

    :rolleyes:;).... pickup volumes down a bit ; especially in today's modern game of a "everyman, catch all interfaces". Faced with this sort of scene, I turn the GTR program Inputs way down, then start beating on the Outputs (normally need to be hotter) and tweak towards Daw Gtr Nirvana inward. Just keep your monitors levels reasonable while you tweak. Then crush/kill/destroy volume if that's what called for.
     
  15. ronzie

    ronzie Supporting Member

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    And a little 'Tuning Network" can be put in place on the output XLR to fine tune the P.U./DI.'s load to the "X" load that it will interface towards, being a pre, line, "universal input" (like most Daw inputs). You're custom balancing/weight distributing the luggage on the plane!!!
     
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