Need help tweaking my D.I. box

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by alessandroarzilli, Nov 8, 2018 at 4:36 PM.

  1. alessandroarzilli

    alessandroarzilli SS.org Regular

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    Hello everybody!
    I've just got a Behringer Ultra DI-100 active D.I. BOX, and I've just done a quick recording test with it, but I'm a bit disappointed since I could not find any difference between the DI input and the INST input.
    Here's how I connected it to my M Audio M Track II audio card:
    Guitar (Jackson JS22-7 with Seymour Duncan Invader SH -8B) -> 1/4" jack into the DI.
    1) DI LINK 1/4" output -> soundcard INST input
    2) DI "OUTPUT" XLR -> soundcard MIC input
    Created two dedicated recording tracks in Cubase, one for each input, each track mono, no effects, just a Spectrum Analyser on the master output.
    So, apparently there was NO difference in the two waveforms, apart from the gain/volume.
    I tried with another guitar (Samick KR-660), same results.
    Am I doing anything wrong?
    I guess I should get a much better tone using an active DI than using just my old jack cable. Obviously the phantom power is on.
     
  2. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    It sounds like the DI box is doing it's job of lowering the volume without affecting the frequency response. Even the high end DI boxes which promise "improved" tone simply roll off extreme low end.

    1. No offence, but a Behringer isn't exactly a high-end piece of kit. I wouldn't be expecting a dramatic improvement in tone. Even the high end DI boxes

    2. The Behringer website praises the "flat frequency response". If it really is flat, then the sound wouldn't change.

    3. The DI box main job is to lower the signal to a level your interface can handle. Some guitars with high output pickups will clip interfaces which don't have enough headroom. In your case it seems that your guitar/interface combo is fine.

    4. The second job of the DI box is to reduce noise. Of course, the degree of improvement depends how noisy your environment was beforehand.

    5. In my experience, any improvement is more apparent with bass, or guitar with extremely high output pickups.
     
  3. alessandroarzilli

    alessandroarzilli SS.org Regular

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  4. alessandroarzilli

    alessandroarzilli SS.org Regular

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    So apparently there's no difference in the recorded tracks.
    My only last question is:
    is there any difference in sound quality between using this DI box or not?
    In details: recording my guitar plugged directly to the INST input of my audio device would give better, worse or equal results compared to recording my guitar plugged to the Ultra-DI 100 plugged through a good XLR cable to the MIC input of my audio device?
     
  5. BearOnGuitar

    BearOnGuitar SS.org Regular

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    First of all, you are recording too hot, the first riff in your guitar DIs is clearly clipping at several points, so turn down the gain at the input or try to pad down the signal if the instrument input is clipping. Also keep in mind that cheap recording equipment can already start to distort even before the point of clipping and one way of getting better sounds out of it is to record with plenty of headroom, say having the peaks at around -12dbfs at the max.

    I told you in the last thread already that there is no point in purchasing a cheap Behringer DI and using it with a cheap M-Audio interface and expecting great results. You need to look at it as a chain, where the whole is only as good as the worst performing part. In my opinion using the Behringer DI made it sound worse.

    I quickly loaded the DIs into Reaper and used them with TSE X50 and the Behringer DI has less bass and a more distant sound to it, in this case going directly into your audio interface sounds a lot better imo. You might want to re-think upgrading to a better audio interface first. The preamp and converter quality are the basis of everything you are going to record, so that's the first point to improve upon.
     

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