The Elf wrote:I've never much seen the point in going from line level to mic, only to have to amp it back up again.
Yes, taken at face value it does seem silly, and should, in theory at least, increase the noise and distortion.
However, with a very large percentage of consoles, plugging into the line inputs usually means padding the signal down to mic level and routing through the standard mic preamp anyway. So you're not actually losing anything by padding down at the source end instead. And modern preamps are so good that the added noise and distortion is difficult to measure, let alone hear!
But the real benefits on stage to using a DI box are firstly, and most importantly, the safety net it provides in protecting your lovely keyboards/interfaces from the accidental application of phantom power. Secondly, galvanic isolation for protection against damage from electrical faults and missing safety earths. And thirdly, ease of plugging and routing -- if everything from the stage is mic-level (ish) there won't be any nasty surprises at the console if something gets plugged down the wrong channel.
To this end if I can run line levels to FOH I do, though I can provide mic if FOH insists.
I'm not a regular stage performer, and I don't mix that many live shows anymore, but whichever side of the stage I'm on, I personally prefer to always use DIs for line level sources. Everything going to the console at mic level just makes life easier, more convenient and safer... the last point being the critical one
Orchid made me a couple of VERY useful custom boxes that take stereo line inputs and split to both mic AND line with isolation. That way I can always offer the choice.
Quite happy with that as a solution -- but it's the transformer isolation that is the absolutely essential part. I really wouldn't countenance plugging a line source on stage directly into the stagebox/snake and down to the console without a transformer in the way -- whether from a line-isolator (hum-break) or a DI box. Not using one is just asking for trouble... expensive, disappointing (and potentially smokey) trouble!
If it becomes necessary for some reason I have (and will) feed a line-level source directly to the console but only ever via a line-level transformer isolation box (instead of a DI box) ... but that's usually only if I've run out of mic channels or need a stereo channel etc... It's the exception rather than the rule for me.
I don't know what John @Orchid has done in your box, but if it were me, I'd probably use a line-level isolation transformer with dual secondaries, and fit a balanced 30dB pad to the second output to provide a mic-level feed. Simples.