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  #1  
Old 01-16-2012, 03:25 PM
ajspence ajspence is offline
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Default Live gig rig question - DI box, preamps, etc???

Just wondering, for those of you who play out... what, if any, DI box, outboard preamp, compression, or other effects units you may use before your signal goes out to the PA or mixing board? Not so much brands or models (though that is fine to know as well), but more what do the devices do to improve or change your sound? Or maybe, many are like me, running straight from your guitar to the mixer? That's good to know also!

I play acoustic solo and sometimes duo, guitars and vocals. Currently I just run our guitars and vocal mics direct to the mixer and then to my Bose PAS or whatever PA system we are using for the gig. I may add a tiny bit of reverb in the mixer but not much. We play everything from small dinner settings to larger outdoor concert in the park types of things.

We use Takamine, Martin, and Taylor guitars, all with onboard preamps and I am generally happy with the sound. But I've read discussions and reviews talking about improved tone, compression, etc, that DI boxes and the like can provide. Also I've seen acoustic performers using them whose sound I liked, though I'm not sure if the DI boxes had a lot to do with that.

Any thoughts and experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.

-Andy
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2012, 04:02 PM
GibbyPrague GibbyPrague is offline
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My jewel is an Aura Sepctrum DI, and sometimes I add some Boss chorus, then to the amp or PA.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2012, 04:38 PM
royd royd is offline
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I have two rigs.

my main guitar has a dual source (McIntyre & Sunrise) out to a rack with a Sunrise stereo buffer to Dtar Solstice blending pre-amp with dbx compressor in the inserts (add a tiny bit to each pickup) and a Digitech digital effects unit in the effects loop with a tiny bit of chorus (subtle) and reverb added.

my second rig has a Fishman UTS in the guitar that goes out to a TC Electronics G Natural multi effects unit. I often use this with a little detune (again subtle), maybe some compression, and some reverb or delay.

The compression helps with bringing out any harmonics I play. The chorus or detune fattens the sound a little as does the reverb or delay. In both cases, I usually bump the bass with the EQ to make that part of my sound a little bigger.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:14 PM
mutantrock mutantrock is offline
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A quality preamp or EQ pedal of some sort should give more tone shaping than a mixer (depending on the mixer). For me, at this point in time there is no better than the Fishman Aura Spectrum especially used with an UST guitar pickup. In a word AURA is awesome and I have not personally heard anything better.
There are certainly other other quality preamp and price ranges to explore (DTAR, LR Baggs, Ultrasound, Fishman or the "next level" Pendulum ) that various folks on this forum dig.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:46 PM
Barnzy Barnzy is offline
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My role in an acoustic duo is to play leads and add ambiance to the singer/strummer. I also sing harmonies. There are several songs where I take a more traditional role (sing and strum), and for those times my effects are generally off. My signal chain reflects my primary role. Here it is:

Taylor 414ce or Taylor 355LTD (Koa) both with Fishman UST's and onboard preamps> Diamond Compressor (to help even out finger/pick dynamics...subtle compression and EQ tweaking here)> Morley Vol pedal (use for swells mainly but also to mute) > Boss CE-5 Chorus> Boss DD-5 Delay with Tap Tempo Pedal (enhance leads and accompany vol swells)> DI Box (not happy with current one...moving towards A Radial I think...)
This is a very versatile and reliable setup for me and I power it with a Voodoo Labs ISO-5 because batteries are a PITA.
Thanks,
Barnzy
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:59 PM
BTJammin BTJammin is offline
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Using a LR Baggs venue with Taylor 314 ce into a pa system with good results. I do run an effects board in front of LR Baggs Venue. I use a variety of effects (compressor, clean boost, overdrive,chorus , delay, wah and an octave pedal ) sparingly. Use them mostly to play over the top of a loop to change tone and volume of guitar. Any loops I do are recorded live so a its nice to have some toys to play with. Most of the time I am playing with no effects, just a little reverb from the pa.

One item I have been using much more of is the Boss OC3 Super Octave. I bought this so I could lay down bass lines over a loop. Got tired of bringing a bass guitar to gigs with tight quarters. I found that I can also dial in a good tone for certain "strumming" patterns and techniques with this pedal also.

Good Luck !
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:20 AM
ajspence ajspence is offline
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I apprecaiate you all sharing your expereince and thoughts with me on this. This is a pretty fine forum indeed!
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:46 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajspence View Post
...We use Takamine, Martin, and Taylor guitars, all with onboard preamps and I am generally happy with the sound. But I've read discussions and reviews talking about improved tone, compression, etc, that DI boxes and the like can provide. Also I've seen acoustic performers using them whose sound I liked, though I'm not sure if the DI boxes had a lot to do with that.
Hi Andy...
The time most of us use a direct box between the amp and PA is when we have long cable runs. Standard guitar cable (1/4'') is really only designed for short runs of 15 feet or so. After that it's prone to audible degrading of the signal.

XLR cables can easily be run 250 feet or more. The Snake on a stage will allow you to plug in a mic cable, then maintain the integrity of the signal all the way to the board of the PA.

So if you already like the plugged-in tone of your guitars, and do not have to do long runs, your present rig is just fine.

If you go to a large venue and have to patch into their stage system, you need at least a passive Direct Box between the amps and the snake which carries the signal to the board. It will transform the signal to match it to what the PA board need.

Hope this helps...


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Old 01-17-2012, 08:55 AM
pieterh pieterh is offline
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We've had this subject crop up a lot recently, it may be worth doing a search for similar threads - or even my sig, cos I've written quite a lot before!

But to summarise, an active DI is strictly speaking a preamp. If you are going to be using a DI to feed the mixer as well as a stage amp then it should be active, though not essential if the guitar has a preamp. A passive PUP on the other hand will not have enough to drive both mixer and amp via a passive DI. A DI's job is to basically optimise impedance and balance the signal for connection to a mixer or similar balanced input.

Balancing basically sends the same signal down two cores, one with inverted polarity. Any noise picked up or generated along the way will then cancel itself out when that polarity is flipped back and added to the other, while increasing signal level at the same time.

Acoustic guitar preamps - Radial, Headway, Dtar etc - these days have a DI function, so separate units are not neccessary.

The Taylor ES is already a balanced system so does not need a DI, though generally using effects in a line would eliminate one half of the balanced signal so unless the last unit of the chain has a balanced out then a DI is recommended.
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2012, 01:42 PM
ajspence ajspence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi Andy...
The time most of us use a direct box between the amp and PA is when we have long cable runs. Standard guitar cable (1/4'') is really only designed for short runs of 15 feet or so. After that it's prone to audible degrading of the signal.

XLR cables can easily be run 250 feet or more. The Snake on a stage will allow you to plug in a mic cable, then maintain the integrity of the signal all the way to the board of the PA.

So if you already like the plugged-in tone of your guitars, and do not have to do long runs, your present rig is just fine.

If you go to a large venue and have to patch into their stage system, you need at least a passive Direct Box between the amps and the snake which carries the signal to the board. It will transform the signal to match it to what the PA board need.

Hope this helps...


Thanks for your thoughts LJ. 90% of the time we are playing into our own mixer and system with only a 15-20 ft cable from the guitar to the mixer and the sound is fine. Usually in larger venues with a house PA we request a DI box be provided for each performer. I understand what you say about long cable runs, but we are ok there.

With the guitars' onboard preamps we can usually tweak the tone/volume to our liking. We only use a touch of reverb, and prefer any EFX to be transparent, subtle enough that the average listener doesn't notice them. When I listen to recordings taken from our mixer I do wonder if a touch of compression would improve or enhance the live sound. But then again, maybe better vocal and guitar technique is the answer!

Thanks again!
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  #11  
Old 01-17-2012, 06:25 PM
RockerDuck RockerDuck is offline
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I use either my acoustic aural exciter DI or my acoustic amps DI out for larger venues. My other band members use compressors and plug straight into the PA.
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