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Thread: Using a DI and Preamp

  1. #1
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    Default Using a DI and Preamp

    I am not sure if it is necessary to have both but I have an active DI and am considering buying a Boss acoustic preamp pedal. The pedal has a notch filter on it which seems like it would be helpful, and can be used to mute the pickup. I've messed around a little with my passive pickup and the DI and it sounds OK but has room for improvement. Would the preamp help and if so, most importantly should I be using a passive DI now that I will have a preamp too? Makes sense to me that the preamp goes before the DI but now that I will be raising the line level will I need the lower level DI? Read the article about DIs in the archive but didn't quite understand. Does the DI defeat the purpose of the preamp since one raises the signal and then the other lowers it? The pedal does have a balanced line out so I think I could just use a 1/4" to XLR cable and not use the DI at all.
    Last edited by jaybp30; Feb-03-2020 at 11:30am. Reason: adding info

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    Registered User mandowilli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    What is the destination of your signal? A mixing board mic channel? An amplifier 1/4 input? Powered speaker?
    willi

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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    I may get some kind of amp to use as a monitor but its really the mixing board part that I'm curious about.

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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    I just go from the preamp to the board. Don't see any need to put anything else in the signal path. You could also come out of a 1/4" out on the pre and go to an amp at the same time.
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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I just go from the preamp to the board. Don't see any need to put anything else in the signal path. You could also come out of a 1/4" out on the pre and go to an amp at the same time.
    When you go preamp-> board are you using a balanced out?

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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    Many don’t realize that all DIs don’t have the same input impedance, so if your pickup is a piezo, you must make sure it has an input impedance of 1 meg ohm in order to sound its best. If you are going into a mixing board, I see no reason to have redundant eq on a pre amp. I used the very fine RedEye for years and now use a SunnAudio Stage DI.

    Now unfortunately most pickups, including the K&K, aren’t very linear and need a ton of EQ to sound good, but most mixers should do the job. Remember, if you have someone running the board, they are going to do what they do no matter what signal you give them. You have to pray they know what they are doing. As someone who runs an open mic, I hate performers who twiddle with their sound once it is right. I have to undo what they do most of the time. But impedance matching is paramount. Without it there is no hope of sounding good.

    One more word on bells and whistles. Everything in a signal path effects sound. It is an economic necessity manufacturers have to design to cost, and hence used cheaper parts. So a pre with four pots in it designed for studio sound quality is going to be more than consumers will pay. The best pots can be $20 or more. A good transformer can be $100 alone. So you can spend your $200 on something like a RedEye, or get one of the Baggs, Fishman, etc. boxes. I vote quality every time. We did a comparison of three or four pres and there is an audible difference. You can buy a sixty dollar DI or one for twice that. It really comes down to how picky you are about your sound. Just like mandolins, you do basically get what you pay for.

    Any acoustic pre will have the DI function incorporated in it. Do not use gear for electric instruments like electric guitars or keyboards.
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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    Quote Originally Posted by jaybp30 View Post
    When you go preamp-> board are you using a balanced out?
    Yes you use the XLR to he board, but at the same time you can use an AUX 1/4" out from the pre to a tuner or to an amp.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    The preamp I'm getting has a 1/4" balanced out so my plan is to get a 1/4" to male XLR. Then down the line may get an amp for monitor use. Its nice, the preamp has a reverb setting on it but has an option to not send it through the balanced output, just the aux so I can have it in my amp but let the FOH use whatever they want.

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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    Quote Originally Posted by jaybp30 View Post
    The preamp I'm getting has a 1/4" balanced out so my plan is to get a 1/4" to male XLR. Then down the line may get an amp for monitor use. Its nice, the preamp has a reverb setting on it but has an option to not send it through the balanced output, just the aux so I can have it in my amp but let the FOH use whatever they want.
    I would simply go into the board with a1/4", I think you will be better off. This has a 10M input so it will work for peizo pickups, but a 1M is a better match IMHO. Also says the battery lasts 6 hours. A pre with an XLR normally accepts phantom power, so no battery wear. The battery in mine, I use it from time to time, lasts me all year. A dedicated pre without bells and whistles is simply getting you better sound. There is reverb on the board, on each channel, so not really needed in a pre. I hope this works well for you, but it would not be my choice.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Many don’t realize that all DIs don’t have the same input impedance, so if your pickup is a piezo, you must make sure it has an input impedance of 1 meg ohm in order to sound its best.
    I keep a Radial ProDI in the gig bag as a passive DI just-in-case. It has enough resistance to work with a piezo p/u to send a useful signal FOH.

  11. #11
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    I'm using the Boss AD-10, if that is the model you are looking at. It has both XLR and 1/4 outputs on it, so you can go from it to a PA board without needing a DI, or you can feed an amplifier using the 1/4 jack. The AD-10 has two inputs, a tuner, a compressor, reverb, delay, eq and a few other things in it as a well as the preamp. It has a mute button and a boost button, as well as a delay button. The feedback suppression system on it works well and is easy to use, important in a loud band, as is the compressor. For me, it is a single box solution to a lot of needs, particularly when playing with rock bands. The preamp quality is good, but not equal to a Felix Grace, or some of the other boutique level pre-amps.

    I use it with a bunch of different acoustic instruments, mostly mandolin, usually with K&K pickups on the instrument. It works well with piezo bridges as well.

    There are a lot of good preamps out there these days. The AD-10 is relatively feature rich, has been reliable so far and has simplified my stage setup (no need for other pedals now). The sound quality is typical of Boss, good but not spectacular. The Felix preamps sound astonishing, but start at twice the price. I have a Radial PZ-Pre and I think the pre-amps in the Boss are actually better than in the Radial.
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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    Quote Originally Posted by jaybp30 View Post
    The preamp I'm getting has a 1/4" balanced out so my plan is to get a 1/4" to male XLR. Then down the line may get an amp for monitor use. Its nice, the preamp has a reverb setting on it but has an option to not send it through the balanced output, just the aux so I can have it in my amp but let the FOH use whatever they want.
    I really think this particular pre is not ideal for acoustic instruments to sound acoustic. It has some built in effects that are on whenever the pre-amp is engaged. From the description, it sounds like digital processing which means a-d and d-a conversion as well. Unlikely to be very transparent. I would buy a high quality analog pre-amp if the DI is not to your liking (red-eye is a good one). Agree with others on impedance match. Find out the ideal impedance for whatever pickup you are using, and chose based on that. DO NOT listen to anyone who tells you it does not matter. If your pre or DI needs power, consider one that takes phantom power, all modern mixers have phantom, and it will simplify your life in a big way. If you look at something really feature rich like a tonebone, it will not support phantom. I use a Headway, but that is because I also play upright bass with mic and pickup. If I was just using a pickup on my mando, It would be Red-Eye.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Using a DI and Preamp

    Direct Input [DI], is XLR, with the level/impedance of a microphone .

    Syage boxed likr Baggs PA-DI , has 2 outputs , the peamp is a higher level , DI lower , but ..
    a Long balanced cable to the house board will be better @ rejecting RFI..
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