Do I need a 'DI' box?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Zolef, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Zolef

    Zolef Member

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    Hi. I'm using a Behringer UMC204HD audio interface which I plug my Schecter Damien Elite 8 into for recording. The guitar has active EMG 808 pickups and while using the "Instrument' setting on my audio interface I have to turn the gain knob on the interface very low so that it doesn't start clipping. However, when I have it dialed in low, it doesnt clip but sounds thin and hollow.

    Would a DI box make it so that I can turn the gain knob up a little bit to get an overall better sound without clipping like crazy?

    Link to the audio interface:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UMC204HD
     
  2. jerm

    jerm SS.org Regular

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    Yes a DI box will help you in this case. You will also get a higher quality DI.
     
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  3. Zolef

    Zolef Member

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    Does it matter which box I get or do they generally do the same thing? Any brands that you can recommend? :)
     
  4. Furyof

    Furyof SS.org Regular

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    I know your problem too well lol. I use a Behringer Guitar Link (basically a much cheaper and novice version of what you have), and it clips sometimes. I never thought about upgrading and I also don't have the money to do so. I just sacrificed the clips rather than cutting the gain. I like meaty tones but as I'm getting deeper into production I need perfection. I can't offer any advice but since we are in similar shoes, I'm curious to see how big it an improvement this is for you. Keep me posted if you don't mind
     
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  5. 7 Strings of Hate

    7 Strings of Hate Mid-Level Asshole Contributor

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    Didn't read the thread or OP, but yes. You need a DI box for countless things. The answer is yes.

    I'v always had excellent luck with Radial products for DI and Reamping.
     
  6. Zolef

    Zolef Member

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    I'll post here after I get one, dunno exactly when but should be in the near future atleast :)
     
  7. Zolef

    Zolef Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, now I have another question.

    I see there are active and passive DI Boxes, does it matter which I choose? I read somewhere that if u have passive pickups, u should use an Active box and if u have active pickups u should use a passive box?
     
  8. Elric

    Elric SS.org Regular

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    I'll play devil's advocate: the inst switch on that unit does *exactly* what a DI is supposed to do. I get it that, this is a cheap interface and therefore may not be as good as an external DI but in that case: get a better interface.
     
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  9. Zolef

    Zolef Member

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    So using this interface wont give me a decent tone even tho I try it with an external DI box? I like this interface because from what else I've tried this has the most stable drivers and don't cause any weird problems unlike the focusrite I had which gave me headaches with its problems.
    If I decide to buy an external DI box, should I use the 'Line' input on the card while using the di box?
     
  10. jerm

    jerm SS.org Regular

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    No, the DI box will convert the signal to a balance low impedance signal. Most interfaces do this automatically when you plug in using XLR.
     
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  11. 7 Strings of Hate

    7 Strings of Hate Mid-Level Asshole Contributor

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    Plugging into my passive Radial DI into my interface sounds better than just plugging into the interface.
     
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  12. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    I ran into this recently recording bass for a friends bands new album (Empyrean Plague). The bass has active pickups that were super hot. Even on the lowest gain, my presonus interface would clip. So I used my cheap-ass pyle-pro DI in between the bass and the interface and it worked awesome.
     
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  13. Takk

    Takk SS.org Regular

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    I have a same audio interface and same problem. My passive bass is super hot and clips easily.
    So I bought a used Countryman Type 85 DI (modded to pin 2 hot) and the problem is solved.
    Basically, if your instrument has active electronics, get a passive DI and vice versa.
     
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  14. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    Bumping because I am curious about this also. I use a Presonus 22VSL, and typically plug my guitar straight into it. It is listed as the instrument input. I have never had an issue with clipping and typically keep the gain knob about 40%-60%. I am wondering if a DI would have any benefit over straight into the input of the interface.
     
  15. Zolef

    Zolef Member

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    Did you notice an improvement on the sound itself, like did you get a more clear and thick tone?
     
  16. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    Absolutely. It's been discussed over and over again here.
     
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  17. Takk

    Takk SS.org Regular

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    It sounds slightly clearer to my ears but the tonal difference is subtle.
    Because most of DIs are made to balancing the signal without coloring it.
    So if you want to "improve" your sound, buy a DI with mic preamp like Avalon U5 or Focusrite ISA One.

    This video is worth watching.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  18. Mike

    Mike The Traveler

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    Passive DI box for Active pickup guitars
    Active DI box for Passive pickup guitars.

    I have a Saffire Pro 40 and a Radial J48. I've gone back and fourth between direct into the interface and direct into the DI box. I honestly do believe the DI box sounds and feels better. Playing just feels more amp like and the tone does have a slighty more hi-fi, focused sound. It's not a night and day difference, but it's enough that I just go with the DI box for everything, and I've been very happy with the results.
     
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