Jumbo Sunshade - Ezine

What's best for electric guitar or bass; a passive DI or an active DI?

I was taught as a basic rule that:
Where passive pickups are used (acoustic, electric, bass), you'll always want to use an active DI.  I still prefer using an active DI to this day in just about any situation, but my experience doing this over the past 20 years with electric guitar has actually led me to a different conclusion.

I think that when using a DI *solely* for the purpose of converting a high impedance (hi-Z) electric guitar or bass signal into a low impedance (lo-Z) signal for routing to a mixer (or other balanced preamp); any basic passive DI will almost always suffice.
Just have to make sure that when needed; the DI being used can handle very high impedance, and/or meets minimal sonic requirements (studio).

And while i say that on the whole, either an active or a passive DI would be fine for use with most electric guitar or bass situations as long as all the options where there (parallel out, ground lift, pad); it's relevant to point out that probably half the musicians i've known and worked with over the years disagree with me completely.

So, i propose a new rule:
Get the best active or passive DI that you can afford, and then swear by it no matter what (until such time as you can afford a better one)!


Cabinet modeling is available on some active DI's that are made specifically for use with electric guitar. [for more details on this please go here]


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