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Which DI box?

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Which DI box?

Postby 21stcenturykid » Sun Feb 05, 2012 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby UNMUTE » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:10 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Scramble » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:25 pm

Behringer DI boxes are amongst their worst products. Go a little higher.
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:57 pm

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

Simpler, cheaper, better.

www.zzounds.com/item--WHRIMP2
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby 21stcenturykid » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:18 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
Scramble wrote: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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby UNMUTE » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:55 pm

No, that's fine if you use the balanced main outputs.
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby The Elf » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:27 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.
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Joel Nichols » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:02 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby 21stcenturykid » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:25 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:19 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:19 pm

21stcenturykid wrote:
shufflebeat wrote:
Scramble wrote: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/?source=215_74
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Joel Nichols » Sun Feb 05, 2012 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby UNMUTE » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:27 pm

The BSS AR133 looks very similar to the Studiospares one too?

BSS ARR133
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Joel Nichols » Sun Feb 05, 2012 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby aekoi » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:46 am

Hi Joel. I've used the S'spares boxes, they work fine for cover/wedding band type stuff.
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby 21stcenturykid » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:56 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:21 am

The EMO range are good and very solidly built.
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 06, 2012 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.

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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Evo 1 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Scramble » Mon Feb 06, 2012 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby 21stcenturykid » Mon Feb 06, 2012 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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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Dave Gate » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:32 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 . . .)
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:33 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.

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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Guy Johnson » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:55 pm

+1 for the [url=http://www.studiospares.com/mic-accessories/art-z-direct-interface/invt%2
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby Guy Johnson » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:55 pm

+ 1 on the Art DI passive box. Don't be put off by the price.
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Re: Which DI box?

Postby MattLTH » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:52 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/director

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.

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Re: Which DI box?

Postby seablade » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:35 pm

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

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

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.

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Re: Which DI box?

Postby MattLTH » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:07 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. :-)

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Re: Which DI box?

Postby BluesWest » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:10 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.

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Re: Which DI box?

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:13 pm

BluesWest wrote: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.
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