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Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 53
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 1:46 pm:   Edit Post

Just landed a bass gig requiring the use of a bass direct box to feed a PA. Board is Allen & Heath, PA is powered Mackie system.

I may not always be able to use a traditional amp/speaker cab to supplement the DI.

Project is a power trio (guitar, bass drums) with emphasis on "contemporary country", so I'm looking for a fat clean tone, a slightly gritty overdriven tone and a lot of definition & presence.

I will use two of the following basses:

G&L Shifter 5-string with three passive single coils

Music Man Sting Ray Classic 5-string with single active humbucker

Alembic Europa 5-string (currently being built) with standard Europa electronics and Fat Boy in the bridge position

Under consideration are the following DI options:

Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Driver Deluxe

EBS Micro Bass II

Radial Tonebone Bassbone

Looking for opinions on any or all of them.

Also, if there's another viable option, let me know.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
Intermediate Member
Username: dlbydgtl

Post Number: 135
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 5:48 am:   Edit Post

i have both the tech 21 and the Radial. i prefer the sound i get out of the Tech 21 and i play a 5 string Europa too.
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5313
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 8:28 am:   Edit Post

Power trio country? Now there's a unique combo! David, can you post any music links? I'd love to check it out. But isn't there a law against playing country bass with more than four strings? lol

Bill, tgo
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 54
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 9:51 am:   Edit Post

HA! Good one, Bill.

It's an interesting gig. At the risk of hijacking my own thread:

I auditioned on a 4-string, knew NONE of their material (80% cover / 20% original) and didn't hear anything from them for about 2 weeks.

So, I contacted them & was informed that they had 3 gigs lined up - the first one less than a week away - and could I do all 3 and rehearse the day after next.

I go to the rehearsal. Singer / guitarist is a no-show due to a family obligation so the drummer gives me some lyrics, chord charts and some recordings of about 3/4 of their stuff and tells me they "may or may not be in the correct keys" and "you got a 5-string? If so, use it."

Another rehearsal is rescheduled for the following day and the gig is 3 days away.

I show up and we hit the list cold. Got through about 1/3 of it, quit and then decided to agree on the correct keys for everything.

I asked for another rehearsal the following day, they agreed, and we got through another 1/3 of the list.

I am now "on my own" to figure the rest out.

Day of first gig, I'm nervous as h*ll (BTW: I'm never nervous because I'm usually well-prepared). We never touched the last 1/3 of the list and I DON'T KNOW THE MATERIAL. Plus, I've never played at the place we're playing, only played with them a total of about 4 hours and have no idea what the PA is.

To make matters worse, it's an outdoor gig (fotunately covered), weather is 50º and drizzling rain.

Long story short - I bring my "cheat sheets", they agree to follow the set list I compiled and, guess what, we knocked 'em dead. Got 2 more bookings for the following month and no one died.

Upside = my playing (though understandably error-laden) was well-received, tone was spot-on (5-string sounded HUGE) and, overall, they liked me. I got to sneak Entwistle / Lee - style aggressive bass into a contemporary country setting and it actually worked.

Now to refine the approach - hence my request for DI advice.
Advanced Member
Username: xlrogue6

Post Number: 244
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 11:15 am:   Edit Post

Love my ToneBone. When you need consistent volume and tone when switching between 2 instruments on a gig it's unbeatable, and it's got a great DI (Radial started out building DIs and built their reputation on them). My only quibble is the 18 volt wall wart it runs on--I'd advise picking up a spare if you're gigging steadily, as it is subject to the kind of failures wall warts (particularly ones whose cords get wrapped on a regular basis) are subject to.
Advanced Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 379
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 11:31 am:   Edit Post

I have recently fallen in love with my Darkglass electronics B3K overdrive. The B7K is the DI/EQ version of this pedal. Great product, great company, only you can decide if it suites your needs, Have fun choosing.

Username: indybass

Post Number: 16
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 1:25 pm:   Edit Post

I use a REDDI or a Little Labs DI.
Intermediate Member
Username: tncaveman

Post Number: 152
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 3:34 pm:   Edit Post

I have a Sans-a-Amp and use my GK micobass for monitor. When I know that the PA guy isn't paying attention, I bump my level. I can either bump the GK or the DI box, or both.

Have fun

Senior Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 636
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 5:24 pm:   Edit Post

Given your desired effect I'd go with the Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Driver Deluxe. I have one and it's great for doing that sort of thing in one package.

My other favorite DI's are:

Aguilar DB900
Avalon U5
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 914
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 6:18 pm:   Edit Post

David - I can't tell you poop about a DI, I've always used my amps DI output (GK 800RB and Carvin MB15).

I loved your story! I get it - the bit about wanting to be prepared, even overly prepared and being surrounded by a couple of lackadaisical fellows! Sun Machine was that way for me - excellent band, miserable 'off stage' dynamics. It drove me crazy and I had to quit what was the most creative partnership I have had thus far.

You are not wrong for wanting to be professional. Tread carefully as what starts off as being amusing may become a torture.

Advanced Member
Username: wayne

Post Number: 209
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 - 8:59 pm:   Edit Post

For me, I like a clean DI. Just send what my bass and my hands sound like to the board.

My number one is a Little Labs "Redeye". It's a re-amping box, but has a great passive DI. A virtually interchangeable second place is a Radial JDI.

I've played through a Countryman on several occasions. they sound really nice, but add a little too much warmth for my taste.

You can't go wrong with Radial. Great attention to tone shaping - or lack thereof as desired. And they're built like tanks.


BTW - The DI on the F1X beats them all.
Username: jos

Post Number: 65
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 - 3:37 am:   Edit Post

Hi Guys! If you are talking about “only” DI boxes Ampeg SVT tube DI is pretty good (not in production) If you are talking about DI/Pre- amp…. I did use yesterday for a recording session the Alembic F-1X and its works great!
Darkglass electronics BK7 is also really good especially if you like a bit of “distortion”.
Best Regards, Jan-Olof Strandberg
Senior Member
Username: malthumb

Post Number: 538
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 - 11:08 am:   Edit Post

Had a SansAmp BDDI. Loved it. Found myself in situations where I needed to switch basses a lot. Kind of clumsy with SABDDI, so I picked up a Radial ToneBone. The attraction there is that it has two instrument inputs and is easy to switch between them.

IMHO, the ToneBone does a very good job and produces really nice tone, and the SansAmp produces truer tone, but I still figured advantage ToneBone because of the two inputs. But now my ToneBone is crapping out, so I use a Line6 Wireless to switch basses. So if I can't get my ToneBone sorted out, I'll go back to a SABDDI and use my Line6 to switch.
Advanced Member
Username: oddmetersam

Post Number: 215
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 3:23 am:   Edit Post

I've used the JDI and Tonebone extensively. The Tonebone's great for switching between two basses and has a DI out but the JDI just kills if you are only using one instrument. Plus the JDI needs no battery or wall wart -- just plug and go. One less thing to worry about on a gig.
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1394
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 3:32 am:   Edit Post

My favorite DI with tonal shaping these days is the Grace M103. Not cheap but has amazing tone for days. The EQ and compressor are both very flexible and the frequency response is second to none. I wouldn't say that it's got a gritty sound, it's very clean, but it can be warm and punchy as well as hifi.

The Alembic F1X is also one of the very best there is. It just sounds great.
Username: svlilioukalani

Post Number: 100
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 1:52 am:   Edit Post

I just spent the last month searching for a new DI. I have used SansAmp for years but have grown to dis-like it. Colors the tone too much. SansAmp will make cheep gear sound good. But we play Alembic basses around here.

Check out the Aguilar Tone Hammer. It is very close to sounding like an F-1X. To me is't the best of the bunch. The MXR M-80 is great if looking for something less expensive.
Advanced Member
Username: s_wood

Post Number: 363
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 7:26 am:   Edit Post

The SansAmp can be useful, but it will color your tone somewhat as that's what it's designed to do. I used an A Designs Reddi Tube DI on a recording project last year and I liked my tone a lot. There was a subtle but pleasing degree of tube warmth imparted to my tone that was similar to what the F1-X produces. A less expensive, lighter weight and more roadworthy option might be the Demeter VT-DB2. It's also a tube DI but to my ears the effect of the tube is more subtle. Put it this way: The Reddi sounds more like a tube amp. The real point is that DI's don't all sound the same so you need to hear them and decide.

Hope this helps.
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 55
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 10:34 am:   Edit Post

Hey all - thanks for the responses, input and advice.

After a fair amount of research, I've decided to go with the Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Driver Deluxe.

All things considered, it appears to be the most economical, straightforward way to accomplish what I need to do.

It will accommodate 2 different basses (channel "A" or "B") with the ability to footswitch between them. In addition, it allows 3 different footswitchable tones for each bass that are automatically made available upon selecting the desired channel.

It has an XLR line out (feeds PA mixer) and a 1/4" line out (feeds stage amp "return" FX loop jack) so I should be able to run through the PA with no stage rig (smaller venues) and still use a stage rig for lager stages.

It also has an FX loop - unfortunately not footswitchable.

I realize that there will be some coloration to the tone, but the simplicity of operation - select either bass "A" or bass "B" and then select one of 3 separate "custom" tones - is very desirable in live performance settings.

It will arrive later this week and I'll post a performance review after I use it for a few gigs.
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 56
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 10:50 am:   Edit Post

Pauldo -

Yeah, I've thought about the consequences of getting involved with a "seat of the pants" project. Been there before & eventually needed an "ulcer intervention" to cope. Hopefully, this one will settle down before that happens again.

Here's what's attractive so far:

Opportunity for lots of work in front of decent-sized crowds

Talent and high energy level

They are focused and professional when performing


They are not hung up on "note-for-note, just like the recording". As long as I execute the important signature riffs and bass lines with a danceable low-end groove, they allow me a great deal of freedom with the rest of the material.
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3280
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 1:13 pm:   Edit Post

If i'm gigging with a series bass and feeding the bass rig in mono from the Ds-5, are there any pros and cons for giving the sound man individual outs from the ds-5 into DI boxes or should it be just the mono out?

What is the best way to go.
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1400
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 3:58 pm:   Edit Post

I think it depends on the sound man (or woman). If it's someone who understands the nature of these basses, then send them a stereo line, if they are not, a mono signal can work best. It also depends on how you use and blend the pickups.

Some people like to really accentuate certain aspects of each pickup and if that's where you are going, then stereo can be a good option and you can explain to the soundman that you want to roll off the lows of the bridge pickup or whatever you want. Or, if you run each pickup more or less flat but use the blend to create different tones, then mono will be fine. Personally, I go back and forth between both approaches, but if I am treating each pickup differently, I'll use an F2B as a submixer and still send a mono output to the PA. It tends to confuse sound men less. YMMV and all that.
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 559
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 1:00 pm:   Edit Post

Yeah, don't confuse the sound person or piss them off, they can make or break your sound and they are usually rushed and sometimes interesting to deal with. They usually have a idea of how they want to get your bass signal in the first place too and probably (but not always) have the gear to do it with. Remember, they have to deal with singers, which makes them cranky enough already!

A DI box is handy to have in your gear bag in case you need one.

I use an SWR amp that has a direct out built into it to get a signal to the board.
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 57
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 2:54 pm:   Edit Post

I am currently using the XLR line out on the back of my SWR 750X to feed the board and it works fine, except I've been cautioned that I may not always have room on stage for a traditional amp rig.

Considering this, I've decided to permanently incorporate a DI into my signal chain to ensure that the PA receives as consistent a signal as possible from two different basses - regardless of the venue and regardless of whether or not I am able to use a traditional amp rig.

In this project, an amp rig is ALMOST unnecessary because I have my own powered monitor wedge blasting me in the face with as much bass as I want (which is pretty cool).

So it's more important to me that I avoid the typical "small venue" issues like limited stage real estate and bass amp volume overpowering the PA, etc.

I figure using the DI will accomplish several things:

1. make my bandmates (esp. singer) happier
2. allow me as much flexibility and control as possible over my tone when using multiple basses
3. make life easier for the sound person
4. simplify my set-up & tear-down
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 561
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 10:36 am:   Edit Post

You are gonna laugh, but I also have a SWR 550 head plus the 400 and all the big cabs, but now I actually gig with a small SWR Workingmans 12 combo.

That little amp rocks and it also has a built in line out and you can add an extension cab to up the power output. I have played pretty big outdoor in-the-park type gigs with it (using my 2X10 goliath jr cab as an extension) and it cranks out clean powerful bottom end while the line out gets a great signal to the PA. I also owned a SWR Workingmans 15 and it sounded even slightly better but weighed a lot more, so I sold it. I don't like the rest of the Workingman series except the 10", 12", and 15" combos, which I have played them all with great result. PLUS, they are cheap!
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 73
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, March 01, 2013 - 10:08 am:   Edit Post

Here is the performance review of the Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Driver Deluxe I promised earlier:

I've had it for about a month and have used it at home, at rehearsal and live.

The three separate channels are easy to program. As a starting point, I used the suggested reference control settings in the owner's manual and tweaked them as desired until each patch was optimized for the instrument and the 3 output levels were balanced. If you are like me, this will take some trial and error, so I suggest making notes so you can quickly re-create previous settings if you need to edit them.

Since I am partial to tube amps, I chose "Fat Tube", "SVT" and "Slap" and modified each as desired for a MusicMan Sting Ray 5 (Alembic Europa 5 on order - can't wait). When a channel setting was ready to save, I pushed the corresponding switch twice quickly (click/click) and, presto, it was programmed.

Trial test was performed using my AER Amp One. I plugged the 1/4" "output" jack of the DI into the effect "return" on the amp and by-passed the amp's tone controls. Master and compressor were still operational. Worked like a charm. All 3 tones sounded like I expected.

Next test was at rehearsal. I plugged the 1/4" DI output jack directly into the padded input of my SWR 750X, set the tone controls "flat" and was rewarded with 3 punchy (and different) tones from the DI that sat nicely in the band mix.

Final test was live, direct into a PA mixer via XLR output with no stage rig. Once gain, the DI worked great, however, the 3 individual tones through the powered monitor wedge did not seem to retain as much of their unique character as they do through an amp. I attribute this to the quality of the monitor speakers. But each tone was punchy with just enough high-end "bite" to cut through without being harsh or "clacky".

All-in-all, this product is a winner. Reasonably priced, light weight, built like a tank, easy to use and intelligently engineered.

Will it replace thousands of dollars worth of stage gear? Probably not, but the comments I have received from my bandmates and the audience thus far have indicated that the bass is prominent and distinct in the mix without being overpowering and that is what I'm looking for in this project.
Intermediate Member
Username: svlilioukalani

Post Number: 101
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Monday, March 04, 2013 - 1:09 am:   Edit Post

On this subject; Check out the 3 Leaf Audio, The Enabler. It sounds dam close to my F-1X. Also the Darkglass electronics the B7K a DI/EQ, great if you are into overdrive. The guys who make these boxes, have taken effect boxes to the next level.
Check out how young, yet bad ass, the maker of 3 Leaf Audio products is. This is a clip of him selling his Proton. Notice what Spencer's office looks like. But don't let that fool you. The drive and mind on this kid is unreal. And he can play the bass.
Intermediate Member
Username: 0vid

Post Number: 163
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, March 08, 2013 - 9:13 pm:   Edit Post

A designs REDDI or Jules Amps Monique. Either one of these will satisfy.
Intermediate Member
Username: worldfamousandy

Post Number: 132
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 6:35 pm:   Edit Post

I like the DBX db12. Price is right ($99.99), and it sounds great. For most of my gigs these days, I don't even bring my rig. I just bring the db12, a JBL SRX712M monitor, a QSC 2502 which I bridge, and a 1/4" TRS-XLR cable. I ask for an aux send from the board, and I've got my own monitor mix. Plenty of power, too. Of course, I love it when the stage is big enough for me to bring the F-1X/QSC/Schroeder rig, but I don't do it unless I know I have enough room. I hate being accused of overdoing it.
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 2295
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 25, 2013 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post

"I hate being accused of overdoing it."

That made me laugh out loud. ;)

Username: izbadd

Post Number: 1
Registered: 3-2013
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 2:23 pm:   Edit Post

I know it sounds ghetto but for situations like that I use a bass POD XT (Bean shape) with a basic clean tone and flat eq into a Radial passive DI. The combination sounds insane either through my power amp into my Eden 410 or straight into front of house. The key with the POD though is that it acts weird if it isn't getting proper voltage. Once addressed it sounds better than anything I have played through ever. Although Demeter is making their Bass Pre's with an 800 watt power section now. Sigh...
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 95
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 11:33 am:   Edit Post

First off, welcome to the board, Pat.

I have experienced a similar voltage / performance issues with other devices. Fuzz units in particular seem to be sensitive to this.

I have also found that the Bass Driver Deluxe produces a fairly high output - high enough to overdrive the power amp of a traditional bass amp (when used in the "effects return" jack) or the power amp used for a PA system or powered monitor.

Dialing in a strong (but not too strong) output signal is key to optimizing its performance.
Username: coop

Post Number: 5
Registered: 5-2013
Posted on Thursday, May 09, 2013 - 8:34 pm:   Edit Post

I would also check into the Eden WTDI. Great tone from a crazy small DI and built like a tank. If you're using effects, the Zoom B3 is an interesting option to consider as well. It's got a good DI plus amp/cab simulations and several types of EQ.
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2085
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, May 10, 2013 - 8:58 am:   Edit Post

Coop I agree about the Zoom B3, I pre programmed mine for each song in the set list as according to how it sounds live. It's a great piece of kit with so many applications, DI, looper, recording interface, cab & amp simulators. Although some people say it's not as good as Boss/Roland stuff it is actually much more versatile and switches faster.
Advanced Member
Username: pasewark

Post Number: 216
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, May 10, 2013 - 4:37 pm:   Edit Post

A friend has a REDDI available for $500.
Senior Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 955
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Friday, May 10, 2013 - 5:11 pm:   Edit Post

great quote on REDDI website

"The exceptional brightness of the LED was intentionally provided for easy visual confirmation that the REDDI is powered on, and also to temporarily blind annoying A&R reps lingering in the control room."

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