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Author Topic:  Active Direct Box Suggestions
George Redmon


Post  Posted 2 May 2019 1:38 am    
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I'm looking for suggestions for a smaller, either table top, or stomp box size format, active direct box. To use with my electric acoustic, steel, and electric guitar and bass, to go direct to mixer. For recording & live.

I currently have a Rolls 4 channel, single space, rack mount active unit right now. Since i closed my home project/practice studio, i'd like a smaller single channel unit. What brand, style, format do some of ya'all prefer?
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Steve Sycamore


From:
Sweden
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 2:44 am    
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Though not advertised as a DI the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 seems to work as least as well as anything out there if you want the cleanest, strongest, purest signal possible. But I haven't tried using it behind a volume pedal.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 4:59 am    
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Focusrite preamps aren't the best as my experience they tend to "color" the signal and not full fidelity. I owned a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 and recently tried a Scarlett 18i6 2nd gen as I downsized my recording studio. Latency sucked in both the Saffire Pro 40 and the 18i6. The 18i6 was sent back along with other problems it would hang up and need repowering.

Lots of active DI's listed on Sweetwater. Only issue is how much you want to spend.
https://www.sweetwater.com/c957--Active_Direct_Boxes
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Ken Metcalf


From:
Converse Texas USA
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 5:32 am    
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Cheaper options
https://www.cheaperpedals.com/collections/amp-sims

The one I like best.
https://tinyurl.com/yyc3dj7q

One I have for back up and other stuff.
https://tinyurl.com/y4cqxw6y

I have been playing ampless with my Telecaster using the Q Strip. Stomp box Foot pedals are Barber Tone press and Dispatch Master reverb/delay.
Very happy with the tone and performance.
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Scott Denniston


From:
Hahns Peak, Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 6:29 am    
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One thing I like about the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 aside from it being quiet is that it's "multi client". Meaning that it's drivers can run two (or maybe more) software apps at a time. You can run a stand alone amp sim alongside BIAB for practice for example. You could waste a lotta dough discovering that only a few interfaces will do this. Most of them you can only use the other app if it will function as a plugin.
I haven't noticed any latency or tone coloring issues. The one I have is "second generation" so maybe that has something to do with it. I don't know.
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Ken Metcalf


From:
Converse Texas USA
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 6:41 am    
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active direct box to go direct to mixer. For recording & live. ??

Is he looking for a computer interface?
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ajm


From:
Los Angeles
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 7:08 am    
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Stop. Time out.

George Redmon: You are looking for a "direct box".
When I see that term the first thing that I think of is a device that can convert a signal to an XLR balanced.
As you said: "....to go direct to mixer. For recording & live."

Not a computer USB recording interface.
Not an effects pedal that has amp/cab sims.

Am I right?
If so, I don't believe that any of the suggestions thus far will do what you want.
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Scott Denniston


From:
Hahns Peak, Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 7:25 am    
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oops sorry. I saw the Focustrite mentioned a couple of times and thought we were talking interface.
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Ken Metcalf


From:
Converse Texas USA
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 7:29 am    
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My suggestions are all direct boxes with tone controls.
For live I like some tone control.
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George Redmon


Post  Posted 2 May 2019 7:54 am    
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Thanks guys, i went ahead and ordered the Radial J48 from SweetWater. I really don't want to color my signal at all. I appreciate everyone's suggestions. I have a couple of interfaces, so no i didn't want another interface ken. But much appreciate the help. Thanks Guys.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/J48--radial-j48-1-channel-active-48v-direct-box
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Chris Reesor


From:
British Columbia, Canada
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 8:45 am    
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For the same money, I would buy one of these, George.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ParaDI--lr-baggs-para-di-acoustic-preamp-5-band-eq-and-direct-box

Very powerful EQ, an effects loop, battery or phantom power.
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Mike Bacciarini


From:
San Luis Obispo, California
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 9:05 am    
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I've used Radial J48's for years with my sound company. Built like a tank and definitely a pro product. Super clean. Needs phantom power.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 12:14 pm    
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I've got several Radial Pro D2's that I use in my home recording studio but they are passive.
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Bill Burch


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 2 May 2019 4:01 pm    
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+1 on the Radial J48 direct box. No coloration, cleanest isolated way to get from your instrument to the PA.

Bill
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George Redmon


Post  Posted 2 May 2019 8:09 pm    
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Thanks Chris for the suggestion. I was looking at all of the LR Baggs units, which are voiced more for acoustic instrumentation. But as i stated i'm needing something that can be used equally well with electric guitar, steel, dobro with a pickup fiddle with a pickup etc. Both on stage, FOH, and my own digital mixer. I really appreciate everyones thoughts and help.

I think the Radial J48, is a great quality product as Jack pointed out. I value Jack's experience with the Radial brand of products. That really helps me make a confident selection. I think it will do the job for what i'm wanting to do. I like being able to actually play "thru" the unit and split the out signal to an amp, or pedal board or whatever i'd like to do. As many times as i've ordered from Sweetwater, i didn't know all of those di's were listed together on their site. Makes it much easier to compare products. The 4 channel rack mount Rolls unit active di that i have now, does not allow you to split and play "Thru" the unit, or "Sum" together the mono's to stereo like the Radial does.
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Steve Sycamore


From:
Sweden
Post  Posted 3 May 2019 12:15 am    
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I stand by my observation that the Scarlett 2i2 (Second Generation) is far cleaner and higher fidelity than the Radial devices. Even though it is a USB device it has a pair of audio outs that function perfectly well as an active buffer to be connected to external analog devices with no latency. But DI normally means that the signal is intended to be injected directly into the recording facility (which is usually a digital recorder these days).

I do use radial devices on occasion, by the way. The signal going over USB will have latency that depends on your PC's configuration. It will probably be between 4 and 15 ms.

As a check point, try re-amping the recorded signal. Send the guitar straight to the DI coupled directly to your recording device. After recording send the recorded track into your favorite amplifier. There should be no degradation in frequency, tone or dynamics compared to playing directly into the amp.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 3 May 2019 3:25 am    
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I own two DI's both Baggs, the PARA DI and the Venue. I use them all the time for ALL instruments. I use the Venue for all Steel gigs as well .
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George Redmon


Post  Posted 3 May 2019 3:54 am    
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Thanks Bill, i can't wait for it to get here. Steve i'm not going direct into a computer so latency is not even an issue that i was worried about, since it's not what i was looking to do. Thanks. Very Happy
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Mitchell Smithey


From:
Dallas, USA
Post  Posted 3 May 2019 8:18 pm    
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George, the Radial is a superb product, So is the old standby Countryman DI, Its all about the quality of the transformer. Radial now owns Jensen so you know the transformer is good!
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Bill Burch


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 4 May 2019 9:20 am    
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Correction on my above post. I actually have the Radial JDI direct box. it's the one they marketed as having the Jensen transformer. It's passive and sounds incredible.

Bill
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Steve Sycamore


From:
Sweden
Post  Posted 6 May 2019 12:17 am    
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The Scarlett box does need to be powered through a USB connector even if it is not connected to a PC. But I think a simple USB power supply is inexpensive.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 9 May 2019 12:36 pm    
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Eddy Dunlap


From:
Nashville, Tn
Post  Posted 9 May 2019 6:38 pm    
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If the direct thing is what you're going for, a kemper would be the best route for all those instruments(even acoustic). But a cheaper, smaller rig that would do the same thing and have great tone similar to the kemper would be a pedal train Nano:

https://pedaltrain.com/collections/nano/products/pt-npl-sc

With just a Line 6 HX Stomp for Steel, Electric Guitar, and Bass:

https://line6.com/hx-stomp/

And I always for my TV rig when I have to play an auxiliary role in the band(second electric, acoustic, banjo, dobro, mando, etc.) I always run my acoustic line separate by itself and I LOVE the Audio Sprockets Tonedexter. I can make a profile of the natural sound of my acoustic instrument with a mic and blend it with the pickup system in the instrument and the preamp/EQ of the pedal DI. Plus it has an XLR out.

https://audiosprockets.com/.

I think you'd have a stellar, pro A-list DI rig that takes up less space than a small practice amp and for $1,000. The tone would awesome too with these boxes!
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George Redmon


Post  Posted 10 May 2019 2:36 am    
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Thanks eddy, but not looking for yet another amp, or another pedal board, or to spend $1000 dollars. I have 3 pedal boards and six amps now. And i don't really care for the kemper type products. I just need a simple active DI. But i really appreciate the suggestions. Thank You Eddy. Very Happy
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Tom Dillon


From:
La Mesa, California, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 10:02 am    
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Eddy, if you are using and liking the HX Stomp for pedal steel, would you be willing to share your settings? I'm starting to use one for certain gigs. My settings are still evolving. I'm basing mine on the Twin amp model.
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