Background: I use an Ibanez SR500 bass and whilst it's perfect to play, I haven't been
totally happy with the tone which was lacking resolution both live and recorded; also the
dynamics were uneven across strings and the fretboard. In the mix this led to an ambiguity
in the soundstage and I needed a lot of top end to bring definition whilst boosting the
bass meant wooliness. Things improved after DI'ing the bass through a BAE1073mpf (which
passed through the output transformer but not the input transformer)...the tone was
there...a healthy ringing warmth - but still the lack of definition and uneveness of
After reading up at Gearslutz.com I reckoned I needed a passive DI - I
nearly bought a cheap one, but decided to save up for a Radial JDI.
Hardware: The first thing I noticed as I unpacked it was the weight (720g)...very solid;
this acts like an anchor with the non-slip rubberised base. The folded-steel design is
ergonomic and there are no sharp edges to snag cables. The enamel finish is quality with
clear legends; the push-buttons latch well and the insert sockets are tightly secured to
the chassis. As the JDI a passive unit there is no batteries or external power needed.
In Use: The weight is a
well-judged balance between stability and portability, it's a solid base for the cable and
doesn't drag around easily, it's set and forget. I plugged in an active bass (Ibanez
SR500) to the JDI input; then a short XLR from the JDI output into the mic input on the
BAE and added 40dB of gain (@1200ohms).
I was blown away from the start - it sounded
'peachy' (sorry!). The tone was very pleasant, still the harmonics but no harshness; the
resolution of the tone, the shape of it, was incredible...very 3D (and I'm looking forward
to mixing bass now); the articulation of dynamics seemed to have been improved too - there
was more evenness across strings and frets. Basically it sounded like one guitar rather
than 4 different ones.
On electro-acoustic guitar the JDI performed just as
well as bass...same peachiness of tone and smoothing of harsh harmonics with added
I tried a passive electric guitar too and was impressed...better than any
other DI input I have - the fact that the JDI is passive didn't adversely affect the
tone...maybe a little bit darker but certainly full bodied.
'Musical' really does
apply here; it's as if the JDI is an instrument itself.
Conclusion: This is great bang-for-buck for your signal path. It sounds superb.
Excellent design and build quality. I'd thoroughly recommend the JDI for anyone who wants
to improve their guitar tone and resolution.
Radial Engineering JDI & J48
Edited by Arthur Stone (14/02/12 02:57 PM)