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Radial JDI Passive DI Review

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Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Arthur Stone » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:51 pm

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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 dynamics.
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.

[img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurstone/6875691239/[/image][image]http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurstone/6875692779/[/img]

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 3Dness.
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.

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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.


References:
Radial Engineering JDI & J48
http://www.radialeng.com/pdfs/smartsheet-jdi.pdf
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Glenn Bucci » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:49 am

I have the unit also and just love it. I use it mostly for recording bass as well. I use the XLR to a mic to record thebassamp with my Brauner mic. Then the quarter inch jack goes to my Portico pre or Manley Voxbox.

I also foundby going in it and then my bass amp, it gives a more solid sound. Really happy with it.
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Jimmy T » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:28 pm

I've got one also and again I use it for bass. It works very well.
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Helmutcrab » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:44 am

Hi Glenn,

Im interested as to how you use your jdi for recording bass amp with a mic but am confused. Are you using the xlr output of the jdi into your mic and then taking the jdi 1/4" input to a preamp ? Is the impedance not too high for a preamp from the 1/4" unbalanced input on the jdi or is that sorted by your portico/manley. I didn't realise you could reverse the signal path on d.i's, if so thats very interesting. Im just trying to learn about this subject.

Cheers

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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Henry Mark1 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:13 am

This thing is very nice. I have it with me and I am very satisfied with it.
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby ryanevans1 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:20 pm

Wow this is quite unique and fun thing. Good job man!
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Frank Eleveld » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:37 am

I'm a big fan of the Radial DI-boxes as well. Nice concise write-up!
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Arthur Stone » Sat May 05, 2012 8:39 pm

Anyone considering the Radial should check out the review of the Orchid DI's in this months issue of SOS.
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Martin Walker » Tue May 08, 2012 12:13 am

Orchid products are getting quite a reputation for quality results at bargain prices


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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby Imran500 » Mon May 14, 2012 7:19 pm

Arthur Stone wrote:Image


'Musical' really does apply here; it's as if the JDI is an instrument itself.


I've got the J48 Active one - I'd say it bumped up the quality of my DI'd in Guitar Rig recordings by 30% it was significantly better sounding. Quality DI boxes are a must have
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Re: Radial JDI Passive DI Review

Postby grab » Tue May 22, 2012 9:15 am

I've just got some Orchids too. We played a large-ish pub in St Ives on Friday, so we thought it'd be a good opportunity for our newbie soundman to practise. Also a good test for the Orchid DIs too (two mini ones on the two guitar synths and a standard one on my bass), since the room lights were incandescents on a dimmer, turned down to about a quarter. Not a trace of hum, and everything sounded spot-on.
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