Last year i borrowed a GI100 to use for a few live gigs and i thought
it was just fine for the blues/rock material. There was a
slight hiss but i doubt anyone other than me noticed it.
Adjusting stage volume without affecting FOH volume:
For amplifiers that feature a Preamp Out (FX Send), this can be sent to
the DI, which means any adjustment to your amp's Master Volume will have
no affect on the rig's FOH volume.
[I do have some studio experience with sending the preamps of
various high-end guitar heads (VHT, Bogner, Soldano, etc.) to various
high-end DI's. This never sounded better than using the
amp's own poweramp section. I mention it though because those
preamps all sounded way different from one another and so live
results would also vary.]
Eliminating the speaker cabinet altogether:
Again this depends on what the amp itself is capable of. With my
unmodified 70's Fender it can't be done. But with my 90's VHT i
have two options:
1. Preamp Out - send the signal from the preamp to the DI while also
muting the poweramp.
2. Poweramp Out - this amp can be powered up without a speaker cabinet
plugged in (no plug in the output = output shut down). Even with
the speaker outputs shut down, the Line Out (poweramp out) remains
active. [This amp is about 15 years old and so i would have to
assume that other similar amplifiers have similar features.]
There is a third way to eliminate the cabinet which involves the use
of a DI that also incorporates a "dummy load" for your tube amplifier.
It's kindof expensive and it's also outside the scope of this limited
document, but i will say that it's cool as hell *and* you can use it
with just about ANY amplifier from your 1978 Marshall JMP to your brand-spankin'-new
Fuchs ODS. [check out the
PGA-04 and the
Groove Tubes SEII]
Using a cabinet-simulating DI with a standalone preamp:
If you've got a stand-alone FX/preamp that you like then you're in luck
because all the options are on the table for you on the stage and in the
1. You can send the preamp directly into the DI and then use the lo-Z
out for stage and/or recording (this method does limit your
on-stage monitor options depending on how many Auxes your mixer has).
Obviously here you've eliminated your speaker cabinet.
2. You can take the DI's parallel out and send it to a power amp and
speaker cabinet for your stage mix (or recording).
3. When using a power amp and speaker cabinet, you can also
tap the poweramp's speaker output just like most other people do.
About two years ago i saw a guy using a Tech 21 rackmount preamp and
a Behringer GI100. His sound was pretty good.
Last year i heard a guy doing Robin Trower and Frank Marino covers: he
was getting incredible tone with the GI100, an Art Tube MP, and
an early 80's ADA MP-1!
Cabinet modeling versus speaker distortion:
For the DI's i mentioned above; cabinet simulation is not
made to replicate the nature of a speaker's own distortion. Many
guitar speakers are specifically made to break up with higher volume.
Some players who are just getting into this might not understand how
integral that whole low-wattage Celestion 4x12 cabinet thing is
to a guitar rig's sound.
* How realistic is speaker simulation; does it really sound like
an actual speaker?
* Does a cabinet model sound as good as a real speaker cabinet?
* What's better; the cab sim in an amp modeler, or the cab sim in
* What's better for recording; a cab sim or a real cabinet?
Depending on the gear and the player, results will always vary.
I didn't have a chance to plug my borrowed Behringer GI100 DI into a
mixer in the studio; but for the three gigs i used it live, it sounded
"real" enough for me. On one night, two of my guitar player
friends kept forgetting i was using it.
Any cabinet might sound better or worse to different musicians
depending on their tastes, their gear, and their style.
In the 20-something years that i've been doing this live and in the
studio, i have heard speaker cabinets that sounded worse
than the speaker sims in the Line 6 POD and the Behringer V-Amp.
I could easily imagine a situation where a speaker-simulating DI
might sound 'better' (for whatever reason) through a PA than a microphone
in front of a real speaker.
I can't directly compare the Behringer GI100's cabinet modeling to
the Behringer V-Amp's cab modeling because with the GI100 i was using an
actual amplifier and so the tone was completely different than what i'm
used to either with the V-Amp/DI or with the VHT/microphone setups.
Clearly there is an operational advantage to using a DI versus
using an amp modeler (speaking specifically about the V-Amp, POD, POD XT
and POD X3 here).
For me personally the decision to use a speaker/cab sim over
using a real speaker/cab only happens when i'm pressed for time
or being lazy and only when i'm also already using the amp modeler.
To my ears speaker modeling leaves much to be desired in comparison to
real speakers (in a studio), let alone the way real speakers react to
certain amps at high volume.
But i'm not arrogant or unrealistic though: i have heard many
many reamped recordings that sounded as good as or better than
recordings where the most expensive amps, microphones and rackmount gear
[Any producers, recording or mastering engineers who happen to read
this will immediately start to blame each other.]
I mean i would certainly not discourage anyone from using
a cabinet-modeling DI to record direct versus putting a mic in front of