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21stcenturykid



Joined: 15/11/10
Posts: 39
Loc: Stockton-on-Tees, NE UK
Which DI box?
      #968401 - 05/02/12 12:41 PM
So now I've got my new mixer (Mackie 1640i) I need some DI boxes, probably 3 in total for now, maybe 4.

I don't want to spend loads due to needing 3 (and a whole bunch of other crap to get this setup running 100%)
so can't be looking at the Radial stuff however nice it is.

At the bottom of the pile there's Behringer, now I hear the odd good word about these DI boxes but only from people who've never used anything else it seems. Every other piece of B gear that i've used has been noisy... is that the case with these things? Numerous different types too.. what should i be looking at?
There's also Studiospares own brand (Studiospare DI Box ) which has good reviews on their own website. It looks like a rebranded Samson DI box. Which is probably exactly what it is right?

Theres also the Samson DI boxes which are a little more that the B boxes, i've used these when I was at college a few years back and they seem fine too.

Any other recommendations?


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UNMUTE



Joined: 01/02/12
Posts: 41
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968406 - 05/02/12 01:10 PM
The Behringer D120 is a versatile dual DI box. Many people find it a handy tool to carry around as you can combine the two together as well.

I bought a Samson S Direct Plus as it seemed like a reasonably priced DI. I have used it a few times and am not happy with its sonic performance:

Samson S-Direct Plus

In comparison, the Behringer DI-100 sounds better!


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Scramble
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: UNMUTE]
      #968410 - 05/02/12 01:25 PM
Behringer DI boxes are amongst their worst products. Go a little higher.


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Scramble]
      #968413 - 05/02/12 01:57 PM
Quote Scramble:

Behringer DI boxes are amongst their worst products. Go a little higher.




Simpler, cheaper, better.

www.zzounds.com/item--WHRIMP2

--------------------
Onward and outward


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21stcenturykid



Joined: 15/11/10
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Loc: Stockton-on-Tees, NE UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: shufflebeat]
      #968415 - 05/02/12 02:18 PM
Quote shufflebeat:

Quote Scramble:

Behringer DI boxes are amongst their worst products. Go a little higher.




Simpler, cheaper, better.

www.zzounds.com/item--WHRIMP2




All though not available in the UK...


My keys player uses a small behringer mixer for his two keyboards and I then take the main outs from there, I shouldn't need a DI for that kind of signal right?


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UNMUTE



Joined: 01/02/12
Posts: 41
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968419 - 05/02/12 02:55 PM
No, that's fine if you use the balanced main outputs.


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The Elf
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968425 - 05/02/12 03:27 PM
The only Behringer DI doxes I've used are unbelievably poor - very noisy.

I'd aim a little higher up the food chain. Remember, although a good DI may seem pricey now, the best of them will last you for the rest of your life - and will hold a decent return for you should you decide to sell them.

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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Joel Nichols



Joined: 04/01/12
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Loc: Yeovil, Somerset, United Kingd...
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: The Elf]
      #968431 - 05/02/12 04:02 PM
From experience I've been really happy with the LA Audio DI2, which is around £50 from Thomann. At the time I was also considering the BSS AR133, but at twice the price it just didn't make sense at the time. Mainly I use them on acoustic guitars where I've found them to have a warm yet smooth sound with excellent detail, especially compared to many other lower cost boxes which can be either harsh around the top end, or noisy, or in the case of the Behringer, both! It's also done very well on keyboards and basses.

They're also solidly built, can take battery in case your Phantom Power fails, and have sold rubber feet that keeps them nice and stable on stage. Overall, they've been a great buy! Highly recommended!


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21stcenturykid



Joined: 15/11/10
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968435 - 05/02/12 05:25 PM
Thanks Joel. Unfortunately I just don't think I can justify the cost of the LA Audio and BSS one is just waaay out of my price range. HAving just bought a mixer and the gig bag to match plus a rack for power amp and probably a 6U rack to allow me to take my macpro to gigs (fits in a 6U nicely with room for plenty of foam to pack it safely for transit). Also buying a set of PAR64cans at the same time. Along with other non-musical outgoings is limiting my spending right now.

It's looking like I might go for the studiospares DI for the time being and then upgrade to something better once I've topped the bank balance back up from the other gear. Thanks!


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Mike Stranks
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968440 - 05/02/12 06:19 PM
You haven't said what you want to use these DI boxes for... it does make a difference as to what to recommend. However,as you've flagged the Studiospares Active then I'll work on that basis that 'active' is what you need.

As you've said that £50 (x3) is too much for your budget then the choices are restricted. I've used the Studiospares DIs - OK for the money, but really no different to many DIs at that price-point.

I'm not a gear snob and have used and have still got a few bits of Behringer gear. BUT the DI120 from that stable is one of the worst bits of gear I've ever come across - and it wasn't that I had a duff one - I've tried three or four and all were appalling.

You could do a LOT worse than Orchid Electronics.:

Orchid Electronics

There's a good range of inexpensive DIs on their website.


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3284
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968441 - 05/02/12 06:19 PM
Quote 21stcenturykid:

Quote shufflebeat:

Quote Scramble:

Behringer DI boxes are amongst their worst products. Go a little higher.




Simpler, cheaper, better.

www.zzounds.com/item--WHRIMP2




All though not available in the UK...





Hokey Cokey, you might like to look at the ART stuff, Behringer did and it didn't do them any harm.

www.studiospares.com/mic-accessories/art-z-direct-interface/invt/325350/?s ource=215_74

--------------------
Onward and outward


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Joel Nichols



Joined: 04/01/12
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Loc: Yeovil, Somerset, United Kingd...
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: shufflebeat]
      #968457 - 05/02/12 10:12 PM
The Studiospares design is one that looks very much like one of those standard boxes where brands simply put their name on it, for example the Millennium one looks identical. I ended up with one, and while it isn't a noise machine, it has a pretty harsh top end. All depends what you're using it for really, if it;'s acoustic guitar you're definitely going to want to look at spending enoug money to get a rounded sound. As has been said already, a good DI should just keep on going pretty much forever, and unlike things like mixers, you don't exactly ever run out of features on them very much! Therefore you can look at them as something you'll keep around long term whatever you end up doing with your rig.


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UNMUTE



Joined: 01/02/12
Posts: 41
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Joel Nichols]
      #968458 - 05/02/12 10:27 PM
The BSS AR133 looks very similar to the Studiospares one too?

BSS ARR133


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Joel Nichols



Joined: 04/01/12
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Loc: Yeovil, Somerset, United Kingd...
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: UNMUTE]
      #968459 - 05/02/12 10:30 PM
Yes, the BSS design has become something copied more than a little frequently! However it is a practical design, allowing multiple boxes to be stacked easily and securely. As ever though, it's the inside that counts!

Also, having used a BSS AR133, I can tell you it's a lot more solidly built! Still too much for me, I stick with the LA as my go-to box!


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aekoi
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968466 - 06/02/12 04:46 AM
Hi Joel. I've used the S'spares boxes, they work fine for cover/wedding band type stuff.


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21stcenturykid



Joined: 15/11/10
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Loc: Stockton-on-Tees, NE UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Joel Nichols]
      #968475 - 06/02/12 08:56 AM
I need one for bass definitely. My bass players amp has a DI out that I normally use but everytime we go somewhere with a house PA the engineer struggles to get enough level from it. Maybe I'm too happy to push the gain on my mixer but I've never had a problem. But I'd very much like the option to take a DI from the bass itself and link out into the amp incase it ever became a problem.

I have 2 different keys players that I also potentially need them for. One uses a behringer mixer and I end up with L+R unbalanced line level signals.

Whereas my main keyboard player uses Mainstage 2 for all his sounds and comes out the main outs of a Focusrite Saffire Pro 26i/o which are balanced line level signals.

And then theres my acoustic, which I very rarely use but when I do it's through my Aphex Acoustic Xciter which is a DI anyway. I could probably use that for the bass right? but in bypass mode?


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Jumpeyspyder



Joined: 20/01/06
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968478 - 06/02/12 09:21 AM
The EMO range are good and very solidly built.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968487 - 06/02/12 10:03 AM
I'm another advocate of the 'buy well and buy once' approach. Cheap DIs are a waste of money in my view. Their inherent sonic (and often mechanical) limitations will eventually frustrate or embarass you enough to force the purchase of a better unit. Buy something decent now and it will last a lifetime without ever becoming the weak link in the chain.

I can recommend the Radial J48, the Klark Teknik DI100, the Canford Active DI box (which has some useful additional features that others lack), and the BSS Ar133 as being well worth the money.

I'm yet to find a disappointing ART product -- they aren't generally quite as capable as the high-end things I've listed, but they perform well for the money... although I haven't actually tried their active DI in person.

The Studiospares unit is an OEM thing that a lot of people brand as their own. I've got two here and they work adequately for PA use, but I wouldn't choose to use them for quality recordings.

For the keyboards, passive DI boxes are quite acceptable and are usually cheaper than active ones. EMO stuff is very good, but at lower cost I suspect the ART passive DIs would be good value too.

Lots of people have been recommending the Orchid products, but I've not tried any personally.

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Evo 1



Joined: 18/02/06
Posts: 1
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968493 - 06/02/12 10:29 AM
Hi There.

Just saw the post and thought I let you guys know that we have used Orchid Electronics di boxes for 7 years and they have always been brilliant (we currently have 16 in our hire stock!).

Over the years we have had loads of different 'budget' di boxes and inevitably they break inc. Studiospares, LA Audio, Behringer, LD systems (our boxes do get a hammering!)

If you can't afford BSS, KT etc, Orchid are unbeatable. John at Orchid is a legend and personally builds the di boxes in Exeter. He does loads of other cool stuff as well inc. pre amps, switched di's and splitters.


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Scramble
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #968494 - 06/02/12 10:32 AM
Palmer passive DIs are a good choice for keyboards. They're not that much more expensive than Behringer but are much better quality.


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21stcenturykid



Joined: 15/11/10
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Loc: Stockton-on-Tees, NE UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968513 - 06/02/12 12:12 PM
Those Orchid DI's look great for the price actually.

Should I definitely be using DI's for the signals I'm getting from my pianists?

I know I need one for bass if I don't use the amps DI out but I'll stick with that to save cost for the time being and maybe try my Aphex pedal in bypass.


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Dave Gate
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968529 - 06/02/12 01:32 PM
I'd give a +1 to the Emo passive units. I used to use three of them alongside some BSS active ones at my old venue and they worked a treat. The oldest of them even continued working happily with a jack plug snapped off inside one of its inputs (that's what you get for having drummers on your crew . . .)

--------------------
Gear List: reverse only.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968548 - 06/02/12 02:33 PM
I have arranged for some of Orchid's products to be sent to me for review... look out for them in the magazine in a month or two's time, and I'll report back here on my impressions before that.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Guy Johnson



Joined: 02/05/03
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Loc: North Pembrokeshire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968572 - 06/02/12 03:55 PM
+1 for the [url=http://www.studiospares.com/mic-accessories/art-z-direct-interface/invt%2


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Guy Johnson



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Loc: North Pembrokeshire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968573 - 06/02/12 03:55 PM
+ 1 on the Art DI passive box. Don't be put off by the price.

--------------------
Facebok Page for acoustic music PA-ing in smaller venues


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MattLTH



Joined: 18/08/11
Posts: 18
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968583 - 06/02/12 04:52 PM
Here in the States, the Whirlwind Director passive D.I. is very popular:

http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/black-boxes-effects-and-dis/direct-boxes/d irector

I have 8 Directors and 2 IMP-2s, most of which I've owned for over 20 years. I agree that if you buy something good once, you'll never have to replace it and should last your lifetime. They've never disappointed and saved my butt during countless connection conundrums.

MattLTH


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4014
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: MattLTH]
      #968592 - 06/02/12 05:35 PM
Quote MattLTH:

Here in the States, the Whirlwind Director passive D.I. is very popular:

http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/black-boxes-effects-and-dis/direct-boxes/d irector

I have 8 Directors and 2 IMP-2s, most of which I've owned for over 20 years. I agree that if you buy something good once, you'll never have to replace it and should last your lifetime. They've never disappointed and saved my butt during countless connection conundrums.

MattLTH




The Whirlwind DIs for the record are not what most people would consider 'good' so much as usable for live work in a pinch. They are hands down better than the Beringer for instance, but I would take a Radial any day of the week over them. They are popular primarily because they aren't horrible and are cheap.

Seablade


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MattLTH



Joined: 18/08/11
Posts: 18
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: seablade]
      #968601 - 06/02/12 06:07 PM
Not to be too nit-picky, but I do believe that most people would agree that the Whirlwind DIs do sound good, but those with a more refined ear will agree (myself included) the Radial does sound a bit better. However, the Radial (ProDI) does cost almost twice as much ($99.00) as the Whirlwind ($59.00). For some, the price will be justifiable. But the Whirlwind does have more robust switches (3 of 4 of my ProDIs have cracked plastic PAD switches, whereas my Whirlwind switches all remain intact) and the somewhat unique ability of converting speaker output to DI levels.

The bottom line for me is that no one has ever returned a CD or demanded their money back at a club because the keyboards were brought to +4 with what they opined to be an inferior DI box. If that were the case, I'd need to replace all my DIs with Avalon U5s. :-)

MattLTH


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BluesWest
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968602 - 06/02/12 06:10 PM
I have both the Behringer DI-100 and the Countryman Type 85 DI boxes. To my ear, there is no discernable sonic difference between the two. Both are very quiet and are solid performers with six-string electric and four-string bass guitar. The Countryman costs 5X the Behringer, but the quality difference is nowhere near 5X.

John


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3284
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: BluesWest]
      #968620 - 06/02/12 08:13 PM
Quote BluesWest:

I have both the Behringer DI-100 and the Countryman Type 85 DI boxes. To my ear, there is no discernable sonic difference between the two. Both are very quiet and are solid performers with six-string electric and four-string bass guitar. The Countryman costs 5X the Behringer, but the quality difference is nowhere near 5X.

John




A-ha! you got the good one. (/:-D

Congratulations.

On a serious(er) note:
I've got the 2 channel version on a high shelf somewhere. It seemed good value at the time and worked well for a while. Eventually one of the switches proved iffy and was retired before the huge audio spike it was producing took out one of my £100 high end drivers. I could have fixed it but had no faith in it.

--------------------
Onward and outward


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: MattLTH]
      #968634 - 06/02/12 09:39 PM
Quote MattLTH:

Not to be too nit-picky, but I do believe that most people would agree that the Whirlwind DIs do sound good, but those with a more refined ear will agree (myself included) the Radial does sound a bit better. However, the Radial (ProDI) does cost almost twice as much ($99.00) as the Whirlwind ($59.00). For some, the price will be justifiable. But the Whirlwind does have more robust switches (3 of 4 of my ProDIs have cracked plastic PAD switches, whereas my Whirlwind switches all remain intact) and the somewhat unique ability of converting speaker output to DI levels.

The bottom line for me is that no one has ever returned a CD or demanded their money back at a club because the keyboards were brought to +4 with what they opined to be an inferior DI box. If that were the case, I'd need to replace all my DIs with Avalon U5s. :-)

MattLTH




Well a couple of things...

Out of my 6 Radial DIs now, none have even a single problem. Out of my 8-10 Whirlwind DIs, a variety of the IMP series and the directors IIRC, I have at least 2 down(Though I think I already threw out one batch of dead ones here so that would only make the ratio worse). In whirlwind's defence, these boxes are a bit older than the Radial's the I bought when I got here several years back to replace them. So if you want to mention personal experience, yes I have some to back me up, and that doesn't count other jobs, this is just my full time work. Whirlwinds make a nice workhorse, but aren't what I would consider high quality, as I already said. I have no problem reaching for them when I run out of Radials however.

I also already mentioned that the Whirlwind was good enough for a fair amount of live work. But especially when getting into it, most people will go to the J48 and JDI as better examples of quality Radial, which cost even more than you quoted, and do have a sound difference as well. Enough to justify the cost? I suppose that depends on the person and the needs/usage of course, but again not really much of a comparison.

Finally, since I operate with the belief, and I can back this up in a nice hour long lecture sometime if you really want, that a sound system is as good as the sum of it's weakest components, while noone will ask for money back for using a whirlwind, (Or most other DIs including crappy behringer as they won't even see it most of the time) that doesn't give me an excuse to settle in the quality of work I produce. The difference between a good show and a great show might be how many little things I can address. Not only that but addressing things at the source means I spend less time worrying about them as a mixer and my job is thus easier.

All this being said, for a cheap workhorse DI the whirlwind can be acceptable, as I said above. For a good quality DI go with Radial IMO. Stay away from behringer like the plague (MUCH worse lifespan than either Radial or Whirlwind examples above, and of course some of the boxes sound like crap anyways).

Seablade


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21stcenturykid



Joined: 15/11/10
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Loc: Stockton-on-Tees, NE UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968724 - 07/02/12 11:13 AM
I've decided to go with the Dual Mini DI from Orchid. They look very rugged and straightforward. The fact that it's one guy building the things and in England is also a big plus for me.Very fast communication and happy to help straight away. That's the kind of business I like buying from!

Will report back when it arrives later this week!


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nathanscribe



Joined: 19/01/07
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Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968726 - 07/02/12 11:17 AM
I use a Radial JDI (passive bass and synths) and it certainly is a very nice unit, but if you need more than one your wallet will feel it. They do make a slightly cheaper passive DI which has the same solid, weighty housing but uses a custom transformer rather than the Jensen, and lacks a couple of features the JDI has that may or may not be useful anyway.

I did used to have an ART Z-Direct passive DI, and there's simply no comparison, either physically or sonically, in my view. The ART is much cheaper, and multiples will still cost less than one JDI, but it's lightweight (so may need strapping down, whereas the JDI just stays where it's put), the plastic buttons stick out and don't inspire confidence (the Radial has an overhang and the switches are more solid) and the jacks are not secured to the panel, only to the PCB. Also, despite what a glance at the specs might say, there is a noticable difference in sound quality - I'm not saying the ART is useless, because I did get some decent reults from it, but I get more decent results more easily with the Radial. The ART showed more distortion, the very bottom end was lacking - I'm talking about thunderous Moog stuff though, so that might not be an issue - and the top was harsher.

Given the price I thought the ART sounded OK, so I'd not hesitate to say try one to see if it does the job - but over time I suspect better units would creep in to replace them.

--------------------
my nerdy synth tech blog


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Guy Johnson



Joined: 02/05/03
Posts: 4400
Loc: North Pembrokeshire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968804 - 07/02/12 03:16 PM
Yes Radials are fab, but ... for a start ... those Arts are brilliant. Worth getting a goody such as a Radial or two though, in the end. Or if you're using only one DI, then there's a good case for buying a very good DI.

There are those occasions when an instrument pickup sounds poo on one DI, and a lot less poo on another DI ... and it's often surprising which one sounds better, and which one *should* sound better! So having a nice variety is good.
And yes, the B* word jobbies work, but are noisy and un-reliable. However, they make great monitor-wedges!

--------------------
Facebok Page for acoustic music PA-ing in smaller venues


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3284
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Guy Johnson]
      #968876 - 07/02/12 07:57 PM
Quote Guy Johnson:


...However, they make great monitor-wedges!




V cleverly designed in that respect, choice of three settings in a handy, lightweight unit.

--------------------
Onward and outward


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MattLTH



Joined: 18/08/11
Posts: 18
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: seablade]
      #968894 - 07/02/12 10:17 PM
@seablade: Very, very good points. Thanks for your thoughtful input. (No pun intended, or perhaps there was.) :-)

As far as some of the non-Radial, non-Whirlwind DI boxes being discussed, while I haven't tried many of them, the huge blocks of molded plastic that are screwed onto some of their chassis (or in some cases used as full chassis components) look bad and are certainly more prone to breakage than an all-metal Radial, Whirlwind, etc. For studio uses, that's not such a big deal. But plastic construction is tantamount to easy-to-break, therefore the sound quality and character would have to be at least on-par with a Radial for me to consider buying a plastic or plasticky box.

MattLTH


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Guy Johnson



Joined: 02/05/03
Posts: 4400
Loc: North Pembrokeshire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #968930 - 08/02/12 12:23 AM
Lorks! I've never seen a plastic cased DI, ever! RFI here we come ...

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Facebok Page for acoustic music PA-ing in smaller venues


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turbodave



Joined: 25/04/08
Posts: 2392
Loc: derbyshire uk
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #969149 - 08/02/12 10:20 PM
A big thanks to John from Orchid for promptly sending me 2 of his micro DI s. Firstly , how cute, secondly , nicely solid and thirdly... sounding good!! Long may they last! Dave

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Joel Nichols



Joined: 04/01/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Yeovil, Somerset, United Kingd...
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: turbodave]
      #969154 - 08/02/12 10:38 PM
Looks like I'll be giving them a try next time I'm needing more DIs


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22041
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #969478 - 10/02/12 01:19 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

I have arranged for some of Orchid's products to be sent to me for review...




Have now received various boxes from Orchid. Initial impressions are extremely favourable and the bench tests confirm the impressive specs.

It is worth noting, though, that the DI boxes rely on an active balanced output stage, rather than the more conventional transformer. I think this accounts, in part, for the extremely attractive pricing relative to the performance. A transformer of a similar quality would be very expensive! In the majority of situations the balanced active line driver is perfectly acceptable and allows Orchid to achieve very impressive bandwidth, noise and distortion figures.

However, it does also mean that it is not possible to achieve the same kind of galvanic isolation as can be obtained with a transformer, and so in some cases ground loop noise might not be eradicated when using an Orchid active DI -- particularly when trying to connect a laptop or computer interface to a console, for example. In such situations, a passive line transformer box would be a better solution.

But my initial findings certainly confirm the claims of others here. These Orchid units are impressive and extremely cost-effective DI Boxes.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Guy Johnson



Joined: 02/05/03
Posts: 4400
Loc: North Pembrokeshire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #969497 - 10/02/12 02:58 PM
Orchid, looks good. Not much technical stuff on their site. Worth a punt, though: I'm sold! Nice transformer isolaters and splitters, too. In fact it all looks good stuff that's been well thought out.
I especially like the mic mute pedal with buffered auxiliary output: Nice!

--------------------
Facebok Page for acoustic music PA-ing in smaller venues


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Michael Harrison
active member


Joined: 10/09/02
Posts: 1866
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #970128 - 14/02/12 02:46 PM
Good thread. A few general thoughts on some of the models discussed here:

BSS AR133 - Expensive-ish; worth it though. Noticeably better sound quality than many another - even without taking comparisons as low as the B*hringer noise-inducers.

ART Dual Passive - A variant on one someone mentioned - actually pretty decent. Solidly built, and 2 channels for £30-40 is pretty good value.

LA Audio DI2 - Also pretty decent; build & sound not as good as BSS, but no complaints for £50. However - there's a couple of 'funnies' about this box which anyone considering one should be aware of.

1) In addition to the usual 1/4" TS Jack input/XLR output, there's a 1/4" 'Link' as would be expected, and also an 'unbalanced output' on 1/4". OK - an extra output, handy; no big deal. However, I can't find any difference between this & the 'link' out - again, no big deal until you get a hot bass guitar signal & decide to engage the pad.

The pad should attenuate the OUTPUTS (XLR, and presumably unbalanced 1/4" TS too) by 20dB while leaving the 'link' unaffected. However, for reasons known only to the designer, it attenuates the 'link' out too! This is a big problem onstage, as it drastically affects what signal hits the bass player's amp & rapidly makes you an unpopular sound engineer...

2) There are 3 toggle switches on the rear of the box - PAD (as discussed above), GRND LIFT (straightforward; so far so good) and the strange/suicidal inclusion of a +20dB (I kid you not) switch!

This might be useful elsewhere if trying to crudely preamplifiy/boost a weak signal before sending it a distance; but onstage it's a disaster waiting to happen. The possibility of reading '+20dB' in the low light & thinking it's a -20dB pad are huge, as the latter (unlike the former) is a common DI feature.

Accidentally adding 20dB to a signal you were intending to attenuate doesn't seem like progress - and I've not even gotten as far as to see whether it rams another 20dB in the bass player's direction via the already-variable 'link' out!

I actually quite like this DI (it's not much issue for acoustic instruments that don't use the 'link' output), but felt the odd electronic architecture was worth explaining - especially as +20dB at the wrong moment could be potentially speaker/gig/ear destroying.

Hope this helps,

Mike

--------------------
www.ehsound.co.uk - Live Sound Hire & Services


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Guy Johnson



Joined: 02/05/03
Posts: 4400
Loc: North Pembrokeshire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #970190 - 15/02/12 12:48 AM
I've ordered a couple of Orchid's classic DIs, and as said, John at Orchid is very helpful.
And this looks good for those singers who like to use effects and loopers.

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DPoll



Joined: 22/02/09
Posts: 39
Loc: UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #984753 - 28/04/12 06:46 AM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Quote Hugh Robjohns:

I have arranged for some of Orchid's products to be sent to me for review...




Have now received various boxes from Orchid. Initial impressions are extremely favourable and the bench tests confirm the impressive specs.

It is worth noting, though, that the DI boxes rely on an active balanced output stage, rather than the more conventional transformer. I think this accounts, in part, for the extremely attractive pricing relative to the performance. A transformer of a similar quality would be very expensive! In the majority of situations the balanced active line driver is perfectly acceptable and allows Orchid to achieve very impressive bandwidth, noise and distortion figures.

However, it does also mean that it is not possible to achieve the same kind of galvanic isolation as can be obtained with a transformer, and so in some cases ground loop noise might not be eradicated when using an Orchid active DI -- particularly when trying to connect a laptop or computer interface to a console, for example. In such situations, a passive line transformer box would be a better solution.

But my initial findings certainly confirm the claims of others here. These Orchid units are impressive and extremely cost-effective DI Boxes.

Hugh




Read your article in sos with a keen interest, but you didn't mention the orchid units phase response. Radial bang on about how good theire response is compared to most on the market and was wondering how the orchids compared?

Also how highly would you consider this aspect of performance in terms of perceived sound quality?

Dave


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22041
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: DPoll]
      #984789 - 28/04/12 11:07 AM
Quote DPoll:

Read your article in sos with a keen interest, but you didn't mention the orchid units phase response. Radial bang on about how good theire response is compared to most on the market and was wondering how the orchids compared?

Also how highly would you consider this aspect of performance in terms of perceived sound quality?




Personally, I'm not convined that it is a critical element -- all EQ messes the phase response and we are very used to the effect and even miss it when it's not there -- which is part of the reason many people find using the early digital EQs so difficult. But it may well account for some of our ability to differentiate between different DI boxes on an A-B test.

Radial claim the J48 has zero phase shift at 20kHz and 1kHz, with 2 degrees at 50Hz and 10 degrees at 20Hz -- which is almost phase linear, as they say. This is possible because the J48 is an active box without a transformer in the audio path (it's in the power supply side instead).

When I measure the J48 my measurements are different to theirs, but that's most probably because of the circuitry in the phantom power supply adapter I'm using to power the DI boxes. However, since we are only looking for comparison figures it is still a valid test.

I measured the J48 at the same four frequencies (20k, 1k, 50 and 20Hz) as: -2.5, 0, +8 and +23 degrees

The Orchid boxes don't use transformers either so their phase response is going to be pretty good compared to most transformer boxes. For the same four frequencies the Orchid Micro DI (and the same basic circuit is used in all Orchid's active DIs) measures -6, 0, +8 and +23 degrees.

So the low frequency phase response, which Radial argue to be critically important, is completely identical. The high end has an insignificant -3.5 degree offset.

I'd say that was yet another reason why the Orchids represent such astonishingly good value for money!

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5831
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #984800 - 28/04/12 11:44 AM
Have we been told what these will be used for? Is an active DI box necessary?


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Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1618
Loc: UK
Re: Which DI box? new [Re: 21stcenturykid]
      #984802 - 28/04/12 11:59 AM
Quote Exalted Wombat:

Have we been told what these will be used for?




Quote 21stcenturykid:

I need one for bass definitely....

...I have 2 different keys players that I also potentially need them for....

...And then theres my acoustic...




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www.Lozjackson.com


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