You are here

Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby Evie McCreevie » Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:54 pm

I've always stuck them straight into my interface / desk / whatever... Plenty of level, minimal noise (if any), no hassle.

Why use a DI box? Am I missing anything?
User avatar
Evie McCreevie
Regular
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Dublin

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby RegressiveRock » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:01 am

Is it not a line level not an instrument level signal?
RegressiveRock
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1540
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Buntingford, Herts
Smoking Goats
https://www.facebook.com/SmokingGoats

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby Evie McCreevie » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:40 am

RegressiveRock wrote:Is it not a line level not an instrument level signal?

Exactly! But I get guys coming in with modern keys AND di boxes, thinking "this is the proper way to do it".

I ignore the DIs, stick the gear straight in, and get on with it. Never a problem. DIs are just a hangover from the Fender Rhodes days, aren't they?
User avatar
Evie McCreevie
Regular
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Dublin

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby narcoman » Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:10 am

sometimes nice to path them through Mic pres - keyboards sound great through 1073s....
narcoman
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3439
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Battenburg to the power of 20 - said by Richie Royale in a moment of genius. 4pm. Wed 16th Nov 2011. Remember where you were....

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby Evie McCreevie » Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:08 am

narcoman wrote:sometimes nice to path them through Mic pres - keyboards sound great through 1073s....

Well, I don't have a 1073, let alone a pair of them... :frown:

But while it may be "nice" to DI/mic pre with keys, what you're essentially saying is there's no real technical reason for doing so. Yes?
User avatar
Evie McCreevie
Regular
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Dublin

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:00 am

Evie McCreevie wrote:
But while it may be "nice" to DI/mic pre with keys, what you're essentially saying is there's no real technical reason for doing so. Yes?
Yes! But sometimes the impedance mismatch is exactly what is needed. Boss pedals anyone?
User avatar
Tomás Mulcahy
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1699
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Cork, Ireland.

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby Dave B » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:36 am

Two issues :

1. Balancing. A lot of keyboards aren't balanced and so traditionally need something like a DI to perform this. In a studio with a wall box, this means that you can go straight in to an xlr which traditionally leads to a mic input (as Narcoman pointed out) rather than a line input. That makes senese. But for a small system with easy access to line inputs, it's fine as long as the cable runs are short.

2. Live. Again for balancing as above. Plus, having the ability to pad the signal at source can sometimes be handy - depends on the desk at the other end.

What I constantly keep an eye out for is a line driver of some kind which takes an unbalanced signal and balances it. Simple idea which can be really quite handy and let your studio run everything balanced. Etek used to have a cool, cheap box to do this but it was discontinued years ago and are like hen's teeth s/h..
User avatar
Dave B
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5430
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Maidenhead
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi (I came, I saw, I conkered)

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:48 am

"What I constantly keep an eye out for is a line driver of some kind which takes an unbalanced signal and balances it. Simple idea which can be really quite handy and let your studio run everything balanced. Etek used to have a cool, cheap box to do this but it was discontinued years ago and are like hen's teeth s/h.. "

Hi Dave, Well that is beer into water to make as a passive device, spend as much or as little as you want/need on transformers. If you want active no problem, whether transformerless but "earth" free or hybrid with iron.

OEP/Walters have some application notes and circuits and Jensen Transformers shedloads of same.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11282
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk
#They did not listen, they are not listening still...Perhaps they never will?#

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby The Elf » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:02 am

I have over 70 unbalanced keyboard signals arriving on my patchbay. The thought of buying a DI for all of them makes my blood run cold!

Nah, I always go straight into a line input - never had a problem.

Ironically, the only thing that gives me grief is a BBC-modded RMI piano that has a pair of balanced outputs - one way too hot and the other way too low.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13737
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:48 am

ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11282
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk
#They did not listen, they are not listening still...Perhaps they never will?#

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby The Elf » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:53 am

Thanks!

Unfortunately my understanding of electronics is restricted to soldering my own leads, so this is lost on me! I'm guessing I add/replace a resistor somewhere on the balanced output?
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13737
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:22 am

" I add/replace a resistor somewhere on the balanced output?"

Heh! Heh! Not quite, you need to build the network.

Can you not buy line level, inline XLR attenuators these days?

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11282
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk
#They did not listen, they are not listening still...Perhaps they never will?#

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby The Elf » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:48 am

ef37a wrote:Heh! Heh! Not quite, you need to build the network.

I've not the faintest idea what you mean! :crazy:

ef37a wrote:Can you not buy line level, inline XLR attenuators these days?

I just turn down the volume and use the hot output. Wonder what the original un-modded output was like...

Never looked for an attenuator, though I wouldn't know what to look for or what values I'd need. Do they quote these things in dBs? I did once try to find in-line attenuator pads for a couple of my mics, but had no luck. I think Neumann used to list some, but the price was ridiculous.

I also have an ARP Pro-Solist that has a very hot, but unbalanced output and a very low balanced output. I stick with the unbalanced, since I'm assuming the hotter signal will hold out better.

It's all guesswork, but I've never had much of a problem.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13737
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:53 am

Dave B wrote:
What I constantly keep an eye out for is a line driver of some kind which takes an unbalanced signal and balances it.
Art make a couple of these. Very good problem solvers. And there's that Balun thingie, reviewed in SOS a while back.
User avatar
Tomás Mulcahy
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1699
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Cork, Ireland.

Re: Is there any point in DI'ing keyboards?

Postby Shreddie » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:33 am

The Elf wrote:I have over 70 unbalanced keyboard signals arriving on my patchbay.
70?! :shock: I think I have about 20-30... I must try harder!

I've always just plugged straight into the line inputs... And other than my mic cables, there's not a single balanced cable in sight in my studio... I hum a bit but my gear doesn't!
Shreddie
Regular
Posts: 260
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:00 am

Next