Big DI-box shoot out

I just bought 5 second hand Behringer DI 100 DI boxes, so I decided to test them, and they all performed pretty much the same. About the same amount of noise floor and pretty similar amount of THD distortion. While I was at it, I decided to test all of my DI boxes, and surprisingly – Other than the H&K (that has a cabinet simulation that can’t be bypassed) and Behringer DI20 (that was REALLY noisy), they performed pretty similarly.

Output level

Output levels were drastically different. I fed the DI boxes -18 dB level sine wave thru a reamp box to simulate guitar impedance and had the microphone preamp gain at zero. The DI boxes returned these values:

-10.8 dB – Radial J48
-15.1 dB – Behringer DI100
-17.0 dB – Behringer DI20
-21.0 dB – Sansamp BDDI
-34.6 dB – MXR Bass DI+
-36.7 dB – Hugnes & Kettner Red Box Classic
-40.6 dB – Radial Pro D2 (passive DI)

And naturally you can compensate for this difference with the preamp, so most of the time, it’s not a problem. If you have a really loud source, using a passive box such as the last three will help a bit, when with most sources, an active DI box will do the job. But do notice that the DI20 is not THAT noisy by default, but if you engage either of the pads, the noise levels go thru the roof. But it’s the only DI box from these in addition to the Red Box, that I would not recommend to use for capturing guitar or bass DI tracks.

THD

edit: I just realized I took all these screenshots with 4.5dB/oct slope in SPAN so it seems like my interface (M-Audio ProFire 2626) has immense amount of noise even tho that is not the case. Here is a comparison of Radial J48 with 0 dB/oct slope:

Radial J48, 0dB/oct slope
Radial J48 (0dB/oct slope)

Radial J48:

Radial J48
Radial J48 (4.5dB/oct slope)

Radial Pro D2:

Radial Pro D2
Radial Pro D2

Behringer DI 100 (note: harmonic distortion levels are at -87dB, -82, -113 and -106 dB)

Behringer DI 100
Behringer DI 100

Behringer DI 20:

Behringer DI20
Behringer DI20

with the -40dB pad on, we can see that the noise floor stays at the same level but the level dropped by 40dB, thus the signal to noise ratio got significantly worse:

Behringer DI20 with -40dB pad
Behringer DI20 with -40dB pad

Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver DI:

Sansamp BDDI
Sansamp BDDI

and BDDI with the XLR pad turned on:

Sansamp BDDI with pad
Sansamp BDDI with pad

MXR Bass D.I.+ M80:

MXR M80
MXR M80

Hughes & Kettner Red Box Classic:

H&K Red Box Classic
H&K Red Box Classic

And the cabinet simulators looked like this:

Red Box Classic
Red Box Classic Combo

Screen shot 2014-10-03 at 06.37.51
Red Box Classic 4×12″

What about the sound?

And for the sound… Well, listen to yourself. I put both the clean tone and the distorted tone to the same clip. The clean is on the left and the distorted on the right. Same DI and settings used. No noisegate on the distorted channel so you can hear the difference in the noise floor. I used a single coil telecaster with new strings, so the noise sounds a bit different because I couldn’t find 100% the same position. First is J48, then SansAmp BDDI. So for the sake of capturing the DI track, I would be happy to get it from any of the aforementioned DI-boxes, except the Behringer DI20.

Any questions or comments? write them down below.

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Guitar Noob Challenge 2014

Instructions for the challenge:

Play these four chords 2-4 times using an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar with a clean tone: Em, C, G and D. After that flip the guitar around and play the same chords (PS: NO REHEARSING BEFORE RECORDING!). After that challenge 3 of your friends to do the same challenge.

Remember that this is not a serious challenge, so don’t be afraid to fail, this is all for laughs and giggles. The more of a train wreck, the funnier the video 🙂

Fingerings for the chords can be seen in the video at 0:11 or read them here:

E minor: 022000
C Major: X32010
G Major: 320003 or 320033
D Major: XX0232

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Demonstration: Speaker out mod to Roland Micro Cube

I made a simple combo guitar amp mod today… I added a switch and a speaker out to Roland MicroCube, but this same technique can be used for almost any combo amp.

The idea of the mod is that you can swap between the internal 5″ speaker (that sounds like a bum hole) and any cabinet you want on the fly just by flipping the switch. Took way longer to execute than I want to admit because my tools totally failed on me (I need to buy a new head for my soldering iron) and I just winged the whole thing, but basically you just need a jack, switch and some cable to do this and something to mount the thing to.

DISCLAIMER!

Do NOT do this if you have no clue what you are doing. I do not take any responsibility if you ruin/destroy your amp, kill yourself or burn your house down. And don’t be an idiot and do this while the amp is connected to a power source or while any potential tubes are hot. Disconnect it, let it cool down and then proceed.

Parts list

– two pole on-on switch (see video at the bottom if you have no idea what this is)
– mono jack (guitar jack)
– about 1 ft of speaker wire (use same gauge as in the amp)
– old unused dvd cover for the plastic cover (or other piece of sturdy plastic)
– some solder wire and screws
+ tools: leather man / saw, screwdriver, drill, soldering iron, scissors, wire cutters, wire strippers, multimeter, electrical tape, gaffers tape, cardboard and a sharpie

Instructions

Step 1: Remove the grille from the front of the amp and remove the speaker with the screws that it’s mounted. Then get about 1ft the same gauge wire that is used in the amp. Use wire cutters and cut the wire from the amp to the speaker about half way OR so that you just remove it from the speaker side and add new cables there. Note that the wire from the Micro Cube amp to the speaker is REALLY short, so you most likely need to extend them a bit.

Step 2: Get a mono guitar jack and an On-On switch and use a multimeter to find out how they are routed if you have no idea. Usually the switch is routed so that the input is in the center and the variable outputs are in the sides. Jack is always so tip is plus and ring is ground. You can solder the jack to the switch already, but don’t solder the speaker or the amp in there yet.

Step 3: Mount the jack and switch to something that you can then attach to the amp. I used a small piece of plastic that I cut out from an old DVD case. It’s a bit flimsy, but much better alternative than the cardboard that I originally intended to use.

Step 4: Make a hole to the side of the amp, that can fit the switch and the jack. To be honest, this was possibly the hardest part of this mod, because I didn’t have the right tools for the job. I used my screw driver with a drill bit and the saw blade on my Leatherman to make the square hole. If you have a dremel, jigsaw or something, I bet that you can do it much faster with those.

Step 5: Now that you have a hole on the side of your amp, put the mount plate in and solder the amp and speaker to the switch. I soldered them so that the order was:
LEFT: Micro Cube Speaker – CENTER: input from the amp – RIGHT: Output jack

Step 6: Screw the mount plate to the side of the amp with screws and reassemble the amp to it’s glory, and you should have something like this:

1422467_830021627031363_2348282879578593649_n

Demo video

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