Jumbo Sunshade - Ezine

Using a DI with Electric Guitar
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[Update: I've moved the information on the use of Cabinet-Modeling DI's with tube amplifiers to its own page.]

Live gigs:
I think that bass players have it the easiest when it comes to gear, options, & simplicity.  Many bass amplifiers come with a built-in DI Out that can be sent to the board for FOH.  For amps without that option, this is what you're likely to see:


For electric guitar players, the trend at live gigs is that less people are putting a microphone in front of a cabinet these days; and are instead sending a signal from their amp modeler to the board for the Front Of House mix (usually via a Direct Box).
Main advantages of this:
* Can free up a mic/preamp channel on the mixer.
* 1 less microphone & stand to setup and worry about.
* Guitarist has more control of his/her FOH sound/mix right from the stage.

While some players are sending a line-level signal from their amp modeler straight to the board, there are advantages to using a DI for getting this signal there.
* Converts the hi-Z unbalanced signal from your modeler to a
lo-Z balanced signal, resulting in better noise rejection even while increasing the possible distance of that run.
* Provides Ground Lift option.
* Parallel Out option.


My typical rig when playing out live and using an amp modeler is pretty straight-forward:

One of the outputs on my Behringer V-Amp has amp and cabinet simulation enabled; this is what i send to the board via DI (usually active, but sometimes passive).  The other V-Amp output has all the same processing but the cabinet modeling is disabled because this is going to come out of an actual cabinet.

The solid state Carvin poweramp that i use doesn't have any EQ, but the V-Amp allows me to adjust the bass, middle and treble of the sound going to the non-cab-sim output; leaving my FOH sound unaffected by my on-stage EQ changes.
[I'm not 100% positive, but i would have to assume that the exact same thing could be done with the Line 6 POD or with some of the other popular amp modelers.]

The V-Amp does have the power to send my signal down a 20-30' 1/4" unbalanced (guitar) cable, but in almost every bar i've played that signal is really noisy when it comes out the other end (at the board).  What i do is use a very short 1/4" cable from the modeler to the DI, and then use (balanced) mic cable(s) to get to the mixer.  The signal is just always way cleaner that way.


When using my wireless, i have three power supplies (poweramp, modeler, wireless) that are tied with signal ground.  Without my wireless i eliminate one power supply & ground signal but gain the physical connection of my pickups to the rest of the gear.  The Ground Lift on my DI has saved me from countless problems over the years and i can't imagine being without that option.


The unbalanced 1/4" parallel output is an unaffected split of whatever is feeding the (also unbalanced) DI input.  In one of the bands i'm in, this is just a really great option to have.

What i'm doing with this setup is sending my modeler-processed guitar signal (including speaker/cab-emulation) to a line channel on my drummer's personal mixer via 1/4" (guitar) cable.  [Line noise is minimal because he's fairly close to me on stage.]
With this setup my drummer can control the guitar level for his personal monitor mix right from where he's sitting (one less thing for the sound guy to worry about).

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