If i had to give a simple answer on this question then
my short answer would be that an active DI is
best with acoustic guitar. I mean, even if you don't
necessarily *need* it, a good active DI isn't going to have you sounding
any worse. But that's the real question though: what do you
For a longer answer, keep reading...
When you're talking about an active DI for use with a
steel-string acoustic guitar, you're usually talking about one of these:
What we're looking at here are two things,
1. Some guitar-centric equalization.
2. A (hopefully) really good preamp. [some preamps are better than
You're not going to find either of these two things on a passive DI.
And, if it's the case that you don't need an active DI, it doesn't mean
you're for sure gonna be saving a whole bunch of money; because passive DI's
that use high-quality transformers aren't cheap.
A friend of mine is a working musician in Los Angeles.
His acoustic rig sounds amazing and he does not use an active DI.
His Martin dreadnought has an active M1 magnetic pickup and a ribbon
transducer that he salvaged from another guitar (the UST is also active
ala endpin preamp). He sends both of those into a Whirlwind
DIRECT2-JT passive DI and then on to an acoustic amp.
[He does run into some of the same feedback issues that all of us
do and i guarantee he would benefit from a notch filter and/or variable
The cost of his rig excluding guitar and amp: $478
Here are some things to think about when deciding on
whether or not to go with one of those active DI's pictured above:
Do you need a really good out-board preamp?
* Yes - if you don't already have a really good on-board
Do you need a DI with standard equalization (low,
* Yes - if you don't already have it on your guitar OR you're
unhappy with your guitar's existing EQ.
* Yes - if you play solo/duo acoustic.
* No - if you play with a full band and aren't worried about the
low & high end; just need to cut through the mix (mid range).
* No - if you're plugging into an acoustic guitar amplifier and
hitting the board from there (if at all).
Do you need a DI with a parametric (variable
frequency) Mid EQ?
* Yes - if you're not completely happy with your live tone.
* Yes - if you ever have mild-to-moderate problems with feedback.
Do you need a DI with notch filtering (narrow-band
* Yes - if you ever have mild-to-severe problems with feedback.