In March of 2015 I published a video entitled “Stompbox/Pedal DIs” featuring the Sansamp Bass Driver DI, a relatively early solid state emulation of a classic tube bass amplifier. Since then, amp emulation technology has come a long way! In this video I discuss how to deal with this type of DI as a live sound engineer, and cover specific features of the Origin Effects Bassrig ’64 Black Panel, one of the best current examples of the type.
As mentioned in my previous post about the MXR M81, the idea of having a DI box with EQ convinced me to leave me bass amp at home for the first time in 20 years. This unit takes things to the next level, and gives you an entire vintage Fender Bassman amplifier in a DI. The only variable remaining is having a sufficiently power and well-adjusted stage monitor system to take the signal back to the bass player.
Happy New Year everyone! Had an interesting question come in from a viewer recently on one of the DI box videos and thought I’d post my response here as well:
G.M.: Hello Bruno. One question that has been on my mind lately is the difference between comparable units in Radial’s DI lineup between their Pro XX and their JXX (e.g. Pro DI vs. JDI) DIs. I believe the main difference is in the transformers with the Pro series containing Eclipse transformers and the J series including the Jensen transformers. First, would you say that is accurate? Second, are there really any other meaningful differences? and third, what really is the difference in those two transformers? I am not sure if this is something you could cover in a comment response or in another video; but, I really value your experience and opinion on these topics!! Thanks for all the great content on your channel.
GLB Productions: Hello GM, thanks for getting in touch. The first thing to understand is that there is a difference between the active and passive DIs in Radial’s lineup: for example, the J48 and Pro48 have exactly the same circuit and sound identical – the differences between them are in the feature set and also more mundane things like the size of the case and the number of colours in the graphic package. In the case of the passive DIs, you rightly point out that the difference is in the quality of the transformers used. Radial give details about the differences on their FAQ pages e.g. here and here. Basically, the Jensen transformers are the ‘ultimate’ choice for studio use, whereas the Eclipse work fine for live use. I have found this to be true – in live sound, the frequency response of your loudspeakers is the limiting factor rather than the transformers in your DIs.
For live sound, I use the J- and Pro-series DIs interchangeably, and choose more based on the feature set needed. For example the JDI has a merge to mono feature and can also accept a speaker-level input, the ProAV series are specialist DIs with 3.5mm and RCA inputs that can solve a myriad of problems. Hope that helps!
The video that inspired the question:
Hope everyone is doing well – take care and keep sounding good!
The Radial SB-5 multimedia DI box has been added to the Amazon Links page. This is a very compact passive stereo DI box that features a permanently attached minijack cable and balanced outputs on both XLR and quarter-inch. It’s small enough to fit into the front pocket of a laptop bag!
The quarter-inch outputs are stereo whereas the XLR output sums the signal to mono, often the best option in live sound situations where a significant part of the audience can only hear one side of the sound system.
The Radial JDI stereo has been added to the Amazon Links->DI boxes page. I recently purchased this DI mainly for use on keyboards where the highest possible quality is needed. What can I say, it’s a Radial, it rocks!
Check out this page if you haven’t done so before – it contains a mini-review of each DI box as well as the Amazon link. I own and use all of the DI boxes listed, no junk here!