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Least expensive RELIABLE direct box


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Not trying to threadjack, but slightly OT: What's the difference in the FDB and LDB lines of DI's from EWI? Is there a major difference vs the price difference?

EDIT: Just took a quick look at it actually, the FDB is passive, the LDB is active, but does that warrant the extra price for that much better sound quality?

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Quote Originally Posted by djiceman1575 View Post
Not trying to threadjack, but slightly OT: What's the difference in the FDB and LDB lines of DI's from EWI? Is there a major difference vs the price difference?

EDIT: Just took a quick look at it actually, the FDB is passive, the LDB is active, but does that warrant the extra price for that much better sound quality?
Has nothing to do with better sound.

It has to do with the input impedance, the active DI has a very high input impedance that works better with passive basses and acoustic pickups. The passive box has a lower input impedance and works better with active instruments like active basses, keyboards, etc. Active instruments have the active drive electronics already built into the instrument. Often, an active box will be noiser than a passive box when used with actively driven instruments.
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Quote Originally Posted by agedhorse View Post
Has nothing to do with better sound.

It has to do with the input impedance, the active DI has a very high input impedance that works better with passive basses and acoustic pickups. The passive box has a lower input impedance and works better with active instruments like active basses, keyboards, etc. Active instruments have the active drive electronics already built into the instrument. Often, an active box will be noiser than a passive box when used with actively driven instruments.
This means..it is better to use passive D'i box for a LAPTOP ya?
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Quote Originally Posted by agedhorse View Post
Has nothing to do with better sound.

It has to do with the input impedance, the active DI has a very high input impedance that works better with passive basses and acoustic pickups. The passive box has a lower input impedance and works better with active instruments like active basses, keyboards, etc. Active instruments have the active drive electronics already built into the instrument. Often, an active box will be noiser than a passive box when used with actively driven instruments.
I see, that makes sense. I didn't know if there was much of a difference. I know some people prefer active DI's, just never understood why. So picking up a few actives for acoustic type instruments, and a few passives for keyboards and such would make sense then.
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Quote Originally Posted by djiceman1575

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I see, that makes sense. I didn't know if there was much of a difference. I know some people prefer active DI's, just never understood why. So picking up a few actives for acoustic type instruments, and a few passives for keyboards and such would make sense then.

 

I would say YES to this idea - for being ready - but remember - "many" (if not "most") acoustic guitars with "pickups" in them are NOT "passive". - My guitar has a JR Baggs "Element" pickup in it - with a 9 volt battery - and a little onboard preamp and tuner - so it really has an "active" output - and hence - it goes into a "passive" direct box. The acoustic/electric bass - also has a battery driven preamp in it (although there is not a tuner) - but the battery driven preamp makes IT an "active" output too - so IT also goes into a "passive" DI. Anything with electronic or battery driven outputs are "active" ( is what I have been told) - and should go into a passive DI.
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Quote Originally Posted by stunningbabe View Post
This means..it is better to use passive D'i box for a LAPTOP ya?
Yes. Quite often a laptop will be noisy when used with it's power supply and plugged into a mixer. (Ground loop noise) A passive DI is based around a transformer and therefor can allow you to break the ground loop. You will need a microphone in on the mixer, not a line in.

For the best sound you want to use two DIs or a stereo DI or one that has a built in resistive summing of the two inputs. Don't just tie the two outputs of the laptop together.

Yes, some active DIs use transformers and some offer isolated ground between input and output but not all and often the isolation is not as good.
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I've heard great things about the EWI.

I have been a user of the Rolls DB25 and still have all 3 or 4 that I bought in the 90's. They do the job, and for about $25-$30 each, I cannot complain about 11+ years for that kind of scratch!

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Quote Originally Posted by fdew

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Yes. Quite often a laptop will be noisy when used with it's power supply and plugged into a mixer. (Ground loop noise) A passive DI is based around a transformer and therefor can allow you to break the ground loop.

 

IME: The noise associated with some laptops running off their power supplies is not ground loop related, but rather it's just a noisy power supply... as I suspect laptop power supplies are generally not engineered and built to be "electronically quiet".
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Quote Originally Posted by W. M. Hellinger

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IME: The noise associated with some laptops running off their power supplies is not ground loop related, but rather it's just a noisy power supply... as I suspect laptop power supplies are generally not engineered and built to be "electronically quiet".

 

Could be either. It is easy to check. If the laptop is noisy when connected to a sound reinforcement system, disconnect it and listen to it with a good pair of head phones. If the noise is gone then it is a ground loop. My Dell has a strange high pitched noise that fades in and out unless I use a DI box, then nothing but tunes.
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Quote Originally Posted by fdew

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Could be either. It is easy to check. If the laptop is noisy when connected to a sound reinforcement system, disconnect it and listen to it with a good pair of head phones. If the noise is gone then it is a ground loop. My Dell has a strange high pitched noise that fades in and out unless I use a DI box, then nothing but tunes.

 

Or if the laptop thing is noisy when running off the power supply but quiet running on battery power, then the noise is relative to the power supply.
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Quote Originally Posted by W. M. Hellinger

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Or if the laptop thing is noisy when running off the power supply but quiet running on battery power, then the noise is relative to the power supply.

 

True, if checking with headphones or another non AC powered device. If the laptop is connected to a sound system and disconnecting the power supply stops the noise then it a noisy powersupply or ground loop or both. You have made the problem go away but you don't know the cause.
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Quote Originally Posted by fdew

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True, if checking with headphones or another non AC powered device. If the laptop is connected to a sound system and disconnecting the power supply stops the noise then it a noisy powersupply or ground loop or both. You have made the problem go away but you don't know the cause.

 

If it's quiet with the headphones, but noisy through the system... groundloop or similar or headphone skew.
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Quote Originally Posted by W. M. Hellinger

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Or if the laptop thing is noisy when running off the power supply but quiet running on battery power, then the noise is relative to the power supply.

 

There can be ground loops that are related to safety ground EMI suppression schemes, and groundloops that are created specifically through the power supply safety ground. Almost always, these can be resolved using a passive DI.
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Quote Originally Posted by boomerweps

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I know many will pooh-pooh them but the behringer D!-100 active DI works fine and so does the DI-20 active stereo DI. They are inexpensive and WORK. ONLY problem I ever had with them was if placed on top of a stage bass amp, it made some noise.

 

The other company I work for has a ton of these, and they use them all the time for smaller events. I've only seen like one go dead.
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Quote Originally Posted by boomerweps

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I know many will pooh-pooh them but the behringer D!-100 active DI works fine and so does the DI-20 active stereo DI. They are inexpensive and WORK. ONLY problem I ever had with them was if placed on top of a stage bass amp, it made some noise.

 

They still have problems with noise on many laptops because of issues related to phantom power required grouning paths. Passives are a MUCH better choice here.
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I don't mean to start the fire, but I'm sorry the Behringer DI20 is garbage. I was given 4 from a guy that discovered the glorious value of Behringer first hand. I tried to use one when our new bass player started and we needed another DI in a pinch one night. Buzzy and awful. OK, try another.... same thing. Was less noisy on one instrument than the other, but neither was really acceptable. Nice concept as far as the options, but certainly not worth the chance it doesn't work.

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Quote Originally Posted by djiceman1575 View Post
The other company I work for has a ton of these, and they use them all the time for smaller events. I've only seen like one go dead.
Not to turn this into a "B" bashing thread but, I work for a company that has had about 10 of them (between the stage & A/V depts). Of those 2 are dead completly and 4 must have a battery because they will not work with phantom power (absloutly sure it's NOT the cabling). Also if you check the specs, they are not really that high of an input impedence (just an inline, noisy gain stage with a ground lift). Why bother? Countryman 85s are the highest z with Radials a close second. EWI's are (I believe) 1M+. Not bad for the money.

As to laptops. I've run into many (although I think the manufacturers are making them better these days) that had noisy power supplys. Isolation & ground lifting doesn't cure the problem (as andy said, it has to do with leakage back into the safety ground). Headphones sound fine but through any system they are noisy - until you operate them on battery. If this is the case, seek out an equivalent voltage/current UL listed supply WITHOUT the 3rd pin safety ground (these are usually built into a better insulated case) and the problem will be solved (It's cheaper and more reliable than a new battery :-).

As to the OP. Past a certain level of quality the only real sonic difference between different transformers is how much you can push through them. Better ones will pass high db levels before saturation and bottom end loss. This is rarely a problem at standard +4 or -10 levels (plus you can always use a pad). One of the biggest differences is build quality (switches & connectors). That said some people actualy seek out that saturated sound (usualy in studio production) in mic pre front ends and LDC outputs but distortion is still distortion :-)
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