DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

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zero
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DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by zero » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:47 pm

So, as you may have seen elsewhere, I have an SVT on the way, and timi got me thinking about DIs and microphones. At this stage most of my amps have had onboard DIs, but even then it's been a bit of a mixed bag as to whether the sound guy wants to use that or not.

The question is - should I invest in a good-quality DI, or a good quality microphone? And, of each, what should I look at?

My gut instinct is telling me that DI is the best route. While obviously a mic'd cab is preferable, I can envision an unsuccessful future whereby I rarely convince a sound guy to use it - it'd probably be much easier to convince them to use my own DI.

I think I just missed out on a cheap Radial JDI, bugger. They appear to be $450 new :shock: and my budget is nowhere near that - $300 is my absolute max.

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by T-Dub » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:36 am

You know the SVT has a DI out, yes?

In any case, I'd be getting a JDI or Countryman 85 as both can go inline between the head and speaker. The SVT has an effects loop so you could chuck it there too. Sound guys are generally going to ignore your nice mic so might as well get the best DI you can.

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by irvinz » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:09 pm

i reckon a cheaper version of the JDI, the ProDI does the job pretty well. can't remember if it can go inline between head and speaker tho.
ex- Music Planet Queen Street Resident Bass expert wannabe

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by timi » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:21 am

I think a JDI is more like $380 RRP, but I don't know why you would pay that when you could get one for around $250 online. I picked one up another one used on NZ Guitars for $175 the other day...

I'm doing a mix soon where the bass had a mic and DI on it. Mic was a Sennheiser e609 (kinda similar to a 57) and the DI was a JDI running at speaker level. Could post a clip comparing the two if you like...

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by joppo » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:05 am

timi wrote:Could post a clip comparing the two if you like...
Yes please Timi! And a brief description of what you did to the two tracks if you wouldn't mind (eq, compression and the mix between the 2two). I got an SM57 when I was in the US at Christmas, so have been planning to have a crack at recording some bass this way.

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by zero » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:52 am

Thanks Timi - that'd be great. I really wanted that bloody JDI but didn't have any money at the time :x

Online looks like the best bet I guess. I know the SVT has a DI out, but IME, soundies don't even let you use that... :? they say it's to do with ground loops (despite there usually being ground lift switches) and extraneous noise (all those silent Behringers, eh...).

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by timi » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:27 am

Will post up separate mic/DI tracks for comparison when I get a chance, both will just be totally dry but I will match the volumes. Probably won't use both the mic and DI in the final mix, usually I prefer just the mic.

Sound engineers often don't like built in DIs because lots of them suck, but also because they don't want the "risk" of potentially going after your eq or even master volume, ie they want as much control as possible even though that means taking away the character of your rig. I believe the balanced out on an SVT-CL is post master volume by the way...

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by timi » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:34 pm

Jazz bass copy, Tronographic Rusty Box, Orange AD200B, Livesound 2x12 (Ampeg like character).
http://soundcloud.com/timi-1/e609-vs-jdi

Few things:
Mic is a Sennheiser e609, right up to the grille and from memory about halfway between the centre and outside of the speaker. DI is a Radial JDI with the speaker sim on (according to the manual it has to be on for it to run at speaker level).

Instruments were tracked live so on the mic clip you can hear drum bleed.

The bassist was going for a lot of top end (and the Rusty Box is quite toppy) and a fair bit of grind, the JDI shouldn't sound quite that harsh with most other overdrives (but close IMO). There might have been some preamp drive from the Orange but it wasn't loud enough for the power amp to start driving.

The mic and DI are using different sounding preamps but this still gives you a pretty good idea. Had I used the same for both the DI would be a bit smoother on top and sound a bit more "open".

I've matched the levels but there's no other processing on these tracks.

To kill that harshness on the DI you really need a low pass filter to get a steep rolloff at around 3k, I've never seen an LPF on a live console (aside from digital ones).

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by Tim1 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:11 pm

Just posted on your other thread that I am very happy with my Countryman DI with my orange AD200. I also have an SVT VR head which is the first all tube head I have owned with a decent DI built in, selectable pre or post eq. Not sure whether the CL is the same or not. I agree with Timi though, IME many built in DIs are best forgotten about.

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by zero » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:23 am

Thanks for the thoughts guys. Got a few things to weigh up (particularly some expensive earplugs) so I might have to put up with crappy Behringer for now...but I am scouring TM for a JDI, as I do think it's the way to go. We're having enough trouble getting any gigs, so we probably can't be too choosy about sound men...

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by timi » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:50 pm

I had expensive custom moulded earplugs, once they wore out and started falling apart I got a $30 set of Earbuddies ER20s, sure they aren't quite as good but pretty close and a tenth the price... No matter how good they are everthing will still sound boomy because they simply can't reduce lows and low mids.

For the JDI, sign up to the Front End Audio mailout list, they often have 10% off codes and their shipping is pretty reasonable.

How are you going about getting gigs? Do you have a release or a demo? Can people listen to you online? Any videos? Have you sent music to the bnet stations and Kiwi FM? What have you done to promote the band? You could always put on some shows with you as the opener and get a more established/popular band to headline, this has worked well for bands I've been in when people don't know about you...

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Re: DI vs. Microphone: wisest practical investment?

Post by zero » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:14 pm

My biggest problem with earplugs is that I have small ear canals and the E.A.R ones I have now are uncomfortable, and can make my ears hurt a fair bit after a long pracitce.

As for gigs, we've released our EP (Icaro) for free/name your price. Got lots of downloads, overseas fans etc., but it's just hard finding other bands to gig with to be honest - it feels like there are hardly any gigs happening at the moment. Certainly the number of venues in Auckland seems to be dropping. Just organised a gig for the 25th, but even that has been a nightmare - unreliable venue owners/managers etc. or simply lacking in responses from most venues.

The music is probably not everyone's cup of tea either, and I dunno how radio friendly it is, but we could send it to bFM. It just seems more difficult than I remember last time I was in a band looking for gigs.

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