DI box for guitars to mixer

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DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

Hi,

I gave a Yamaha MG16X 16-Channel Mixer and want to hook up a bass, electro acoustic and lead guitar. The manual says use a DI. What do I need, what does it do and recommendations - not too expensive, thankyou
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Martin Walker »

The simplest answer is that you need a DI (Direct Injection) box between the unbalanced outputs of your electric guitars and a balanced mic input on your Yamaha mixing desk, and also to provide the guitar with a high impedance input.

The most comprehensive answer to this would be to read the following sound on sound features:

Using DI Boxes: Choosing The Most Suitable Type: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/using-di-boxes

Prepare to DI! Using DI Boxes On Stage:
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/prepare-di

Martin
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Wonks »

I’m not convinced that the lead guitar should be DId unless either the amp has a speaker emulated output or if there is no amp, their pedal(s) of choice has an emulated output. If they’ve only got standard pedals into an amp, then you’ll need to mic the amp up or it will sound awful.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by ore_terra »

that's what you would do if you - for some reason - were to plug the electric guitar straight to the mixer. If there's an amp involved what you will do is mic the amp. If there's a multifx or amp emulator (helix, kemper, etc) you will take the DI out from the device and straight to the mixer.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Chet Leeway »

I recently got a Sadowsky SBP-1, a preamp/DI for bass. Very happy with it.

For electric guitar, my Vox Valvestate amp has a lineout that can be plugged straight into the mixer, but if I were serious about it I would be looking at a better amp and run it through one of Two Notes' boxes. For a simple guitar > thing > mixer solution, I use a Line6 Helix Stomp.

For acoustic guitar, the brands Fishman and L.R. Baggs are the standard recommendations. I got a cheaper TC Electronic BodyRez pedal that improves the sound to a certain extent, but I wouldn't strongly recommend it.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

ore_terra wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 6:40 pm that's what you would do if you - for some reason - were to plug the electric guitar straight to the mixer. If there's an amp involved what you will do is mic the amp. If there's a multifx or amp emulator (helix, kemper, etc) you will take the DI out from the device and straight to the mixer.

It’s all new to me, been given the equipment and trying to work out how to hook things up.nos if you plug an electric guitar straight into the mixer would it still come out of the powered speakers? I don’t know what you mean by multifaceted or amp emulator sorry
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

Chet Leeway wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:03 pm I recently got a Sadowsky SBP-1, a preamp/DI for bass. Very happy with it.

For electric guitar, my Vox Valvestate amp has a lineout that can be plugged straight into the mixer, but if I were serious about it I would be looking at a better amp and run it through one of Two Notes' boxes. For a simple guitar > thing > mixer solution, I use a Line6 Helix Stomp.

For acoustic guitar, the brands Fishman and L.R. Baggs are the standard recommendations. I got a cheaper TC Electronic BodyRez pedal that improves the sound to a certain extent, but I wouldn't strongly recommend it.

Okay so if I understand correctly, if there is a line out on guitar amp it can go straight into the mixer, if not I need one of those brands mentioned?
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

Wonks wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 6:32 pm I’m not convinced that the lead guitar should be DId unless either the amp has a speaker emulated output or if there is no amp, their pedal(s) of choice has an emulated output. If they’ve only got standard pedals into an amp, then you’ll need to mic the amp up or it will sound awful.

What is an emulated output?

I think I’m confused because I have a focusrite audio thing that has pre amps on it so I can go straight into it without an amp.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by James Perrett »

punkyfish wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:15 pm What is an emulated output?

It is an output that has a filter on it with a response similar to the response of a guitar speaker. Guitar speakers produce very little real high end but can produce quite a bit of sound in the 2-3kHz area. When you use distortion, the raw distorted signal sounds very thin and fizzy because it relies on the speaker to smooth out the sound. If you don't want to use a real speaker then you have to use some kind of speaker emulator for distorted sounds.

If you had a mixer with more sophisticated eq you might be able to roughly emulate a speaker by rolling off the high end and maybe boosting the mid a bit.

punkyfish wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:15 pm I think I’m confused because I have a focusrite audio thing that has pre amps on it so I can go straight into it without an amp.

Yes, that will have the equivalent of a DI box built in. You can also use effects in the computer to emulate a speaker.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Mike Stranks »

I used to have one of these:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_gi100_ultra-g.htm

in my DI collection as someone here had spoken approvingly of its emulation mode.

The guitarists who used it to DI their electric guitars also seemed happy with the sound produced.

Doubtless, there are many other 'emulation' DIs available...

NB. Not all Behringer DIs are the same. There are some that many of us here wouldn't touch with a barge-pole! :lol:
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Chet Leeway »

My response was built on the assumption that you wanted to use the mixer for practice, rehearsals, jams or small gigs.

For recording to a computer, I normally go straight into my audio interface, which has an input for that purpose, and run the sound through amp simulators or whatever "in the box". That's easiest to set up and most flexible.

The products I mentioned could still be useful if you want to establish your sound "out of the box" (for instance with your favourite pedal and amp settings) and avoid the temptation to go through gazillions of amp sim presets or otherwise waste time tweaking your sound after recording. In my case the Sadowski is a shortcut to a perfect sound for me, so I'll often use that going into the audio interface even though it's not strictly necessary.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by ef37a »

punkyfish wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:15 pm
Wonks wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 6:32 pm I’m not convinced that the lead guitar should be DId unless either the amp has a speaker emulated output or if there is no amp, their pedal(s) of choice has an emulated output. If they’ve only got standard pedals into an amp, then you’ll need to mic the amp up or it will sound awful.

What is an emulated output?

I think I’m confused because I have a focusrite audio thing that has pre amps on it so I can go straight into it without an amp.

I am not surprised at your confusion friend. Yes you do indeed need a high input impedance DI box for the lead* guitar and yes, 'flat' lead guitar does sound pretty dreadful through full range speakers but the mixer has 3 band EQ and I am sure you will be able to find a setting that gives you an approximation to a guitar speaker. That after all is what is being "emulated" and since they all differ, there is no one EM curve that is 'right'. You will probably need a bit of bass boost, a dip in the mids and a roll off starting around 5-6kHz. I could probably find you some dB numbers if you wanted but they would be only 'one man's' idea of one speaker's emulation. A good one shot solution would be a graphic EQ pedal. Got your hi-Z and EQ all in one box.

And of course, as you say you just fire straight into the Instru' input on your interface and that seems ok and I don't know of any AI that has emulated inputs?

*Bass I doubt will need any emulation anyway. In fact I would try it straight into a line in on the mixer, the only problem I foresee is perhaps a lack or gain? (Ooo! I could try my bass through my Berry 1202. Will do tom')
Acoustic guitar amplifiers are essentially 'flat' and use full range speakers. You should be able to go into a line input if it is an active guitar. If not you really need a much higher input impedance around 10meg Ohms, ten times the typical guitar amp. Such acoustic pre amps tend to be rather expensive but you could try a phantom powered active DI then EQ the **** out of it?

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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by resistorman »

I don't think running an electric guitar straight in sounds "dreadful" at all! I like to do it with mine, and several clients of mine have done the same on our projects. In fact, for many of my songs, I much prefer it over an amp or emulator. I will use an amp or sim for a lot of things, but not all.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Wonks »

Punkyfish, what are you actually trying to do?

You’ve posted in the live sound section so is this -

1) About how to get instruments into your mixer for the purposes of putting them through a PA for a gig?

2) About how to record a band at a live gig?

3) About how to record a band in a studio?

4) Some specific variation of the above?

Until we know, all we can do is speculate, which means that a lot of the answers given above are probably unhelpful and confusing to you.

We can provide solutions to specific problems, but until we know what that problem is, you are going to get a lot of replies that fly off at tangents that don’t help at all and confuse matters.

So we first need to know just what you are trying to do. More questions will follow, but knowing what you are trying to do will allow us to ask meaningful questions.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by ef37a »

resistorman wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 12:46 am I don't think running an electric guitar straight in sounds "dreadful" at all! I like to do it with mine, and several clients of mine have done the same on our projects. In fact, for many of my songs, I much prefer it over an amp or emulator. I will use an amp or sim for a lot of things, but not all.

I think it depends on genre and whether the guitar is clean or heavily distorted?
I was first introduced to speaker emulation at Blackstar and its main purpose was to make an over driven guitar signal sound acceptable through a pair of hi-fi speakers. But there is also the safety of the tweeter to consider. Highly rated and protected active monitors and PA tweeters might be in little danger (but not none!) but domestic hi-fi will be.
I have dug out some numbers for a pedal and the EM response is -4.4dB ref 1kHz at 5kHz and -19.5dB at 10kHz. The natural pedal response does not extend much beyond 15kHz anyway.

But yes, we need the OP's precise MO.

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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by shufflebeat »

Also - what's the acoustic guitar?
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by ef37a »

As promised, I plugged my plywood 'P' bass into line input 3 of my Behringer mixer. With channel pot at vertical ('0' dB) and the Main Mix fader at '0' as well I could easily get enough gain to hit +6dB on the LEDS. I could have pushed it harder but feared for my Tannoy 5As. Many a dad's Kef Chorals have been borked by a bass guitar!

It sounded just as I would expect a bass to sound and so, as I suspected, there is no real need for a 1meg input for bass G.

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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

Chet Leeway wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:26 pm My response was built on the assumption that you wanted to use the mixer for practice, rehearsals, jams or small gigs.

Hi, yes bang on. I think I thought I could do the same using the mixer and it would work, because I can do that with the focusrite. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

Wonks wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 4:00 am Punkyfish, what are you actually trying to do?

1) About how to get instruments into your mixer for the purposes of putting them through a PA for a gig?

Apologies, I would like to put a bass guitar, electric lead guitar, keyboard/synth, electro acoustic guitar through the mixer which then goes to Yamaha powered speakers.

I’m a singer so fine with mikes however no experience of anything else. I have been given this equipment so trying to fathom out how everything works. I don’t have guitar or keyboard amps and the focusrite addition was purely to explain that I can plug the instruments straight in, which I thought I could do with the mixer.

Any help with that would be amazing thank you.

I also want to ask about electric drums and do they plug in, never used before and don’t have yet, but maybe that would be better as a separate post?

All help gratefully appreciated!
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

shufflebeat wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 10:10 am Also - what's the acoustic guitar?

Probably this is or a fender strat, purely for finger picking accompaniment for a ballad.

https://www.gear4music.com/Guitar-and-B ... -Burst/5K2

Thankyou
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Short answer: yes you can plug instruments into the line inputs of your mixer.

Longer, and more nuanced answer: Electronic sources — keyboards, synths, electronic drum kits etc — can be plugged straight into the line inputs of your mixer without problems.

You can also plug electric guitars and basses straight into the line inputs and you will get sound out. It may be low level, though, and the tonality will be different to the sound from a proper amp.

Part of that is related to the lower input impedance (a mixer line input is typically 10-50k Ohms, while an amp or dedicated DI input is typically 250-1000k Ohms). There's also a difference in frequency response since a mixer line input will be flat beyond 20kHz, while a guitar amp will roll off quite quickly above 5kHz. This is why 'cab emulation' is so popular.

Acoustic guitars are often equipped with piezo pickups which work best into an even higher impedance of 10M Ohms, but many have an onboard preamp which is usually happy feeding a mixer line output directly.

The usual solution to addressing the impedance mis-match and low-level compatibility problems with electric guitars and basses is to use DI boxes.

The guitar/bass plugs into the DI box which presents much the same high impedance as a normal amplifier. An isolated balanced output at mic level is connected to a mixer's mic input. The DI box's electronics are normally powered by phantom power from the mixer.

There are hundreds of different DI boxes on the market. Some are passive, but active designs are generally thought to be better. Some include filtering options to emulate the real-world speaker/cab roll-off.

Generally, you get what you pay for, with more expensive models being more robust, better sounding, and more feature-laden... but there are some real bargains to be found. For your kind of application I'm a big fan of the Orchid Micro DI.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/or ... s-di-boxes
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by ef37a »

Small point Hugh? Guitar amplifiers generally don't have a rapid roll off around 5kHz, most sustain HF to around 10-15kHz and then roll off gently.
Were this not the case there would be no need for emulation in load boxes or indeed the emulated outs fitted to some amps (cough!) in addition to the 'flat' FX send.

It is the guitar speaker that starts to give up at about 5-8k and is is pretty done by 12kHz. This filters out the 'fizz' of distorted guitar.

Yes, OP can plug pretty much anything 'line' level into his mixer. Might not sound too good but as I said, have a do with the EQ.

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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

ef37a wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:46 pm Small point Hugh? Guitar amplifiers generally don't have a rapid roll off around 5kHz.... It is the guitar speaker that starts to give up at about 5-8k and is is pretty done by 12kHz. This filters out the 'fizz' of distorted guitar.

I was using the term 'guitar amp' to refer to a typical complete combo setup delivering an audible output with which the OP would presumably be familiar and naturally compare to the direct (DI) sound through the mixer.

But I agree with your point about the frequency response of the electronics in isolation.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by ef37a »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 4:01 pm
ef37a wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:46 pm Small point Hugh? Guitar amplifiers generally don't have a rapid roll off around 5kHz.... It is the guitar speaker that starts to give up at about 5-8k and is is pretty done by 12kHz. This filters out the 'fizz' of distorted guitar.

I was using the term 'guitar amp' to refer to a typical complete combo setup delivering an audible output with which the OP would presumably be familiar and naturally compare to the direct (DI) sound through the mixer.

But I agree with your point about the frequency response of the electronics in isolation.

We have grokked.

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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 12:13 pm Short answer: yes you can plug instruments into the line inputs of your mixer.

Longer, and more nuanced answer: Electronic sources — keyboards, synths, electronic drum kits etc — can be plugged straight into the line inputs of your mixer without problems.

You can also plug electric guitars and basses straight into the line inputs and you will get sound out. It may be low level, though, and the tonality will be different to the sound from a proper amp.

Part of that is related to the lower input impedance (a mixer line input is typically 10-50k Ohms, while an amp or dedicated DI input is typically 250-1000k Ohms). There's also a difference in frequency response since a mixer line input will be flat beyond 20kHz, while a guitar amp will roll off quite quickly above 5kHz. This is why 'cab emulation' is so popular.

Acoustic guitars are often equipped with piezo pickups which work best into an even higher impedance of 10M Ohms, but many have an onboard preamp which is usually happy feeding a mixer line output directly.

The usual solution to addressing the impedance mis-match and low-level compatibility problems with electric guitars and basses is to use DI boxes.

The guitar/bass plugs into the DI box which presents much the same high impedance as a normal amplifier. An isolated balanced output at mic level is connected to a mixer's mic input. The DI box's electronics are normally powered by phantom power from the mixer.

There are hundreds of different DI boxes on the market. Some are passive, but active designs are generally thought to be better. Some include filtering options to emulate the real-world speaker/cab roll-off.

Generally, you get what you pay for, with more expensive models being more robust, better sounding, and more feature-laden... but there are some real bargains to be found. For your kind of application I'm a big fan of the Orchid Micro DI.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/or ... s-di-boxes

Got it! Thank you so much for your help and patience!
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by punkyfish »

Thank you everyone for your help and advice!
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by BigRedX »

Are you planning do away with all the amplification apart from the mixer/PA speakers?

If so be aware that for some instruments (especially electric guitar) the amplifier is an important part of the overall sound of the instrument, so you will need some way of replicating that sound without having an amplifier and speakers.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by resistorman »

BigRedX wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 5:24 pm Are you planning do away with all the amplification apart from the mixer/PA speakers?

If so be aware that for some instruments (especially electric guitar) the amplifier is an important part of the overall sound of the instrument, so you will need some way of replicating that sound without having an amplifier and speakers.

With all respect, that is your opinion for a specific set of sounds and not a requirement for all players and situations. As I mentioned earlier, I often like my electrics plugged in directly, the raw sound can be beautiful, especially fingerpicked. Plucked? :D
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by Wonks »

However, for the OP’s benefit I’ll state that plugging an electric guitar straight into a mixer and PA may be acceptable and even desirable for a small number of players, but for the vast majority it’s not, especially if playing anything other than clean sounds.

And even if you like the sound of full-range distortion on an electric, unfiltered by a guitar speaker or a speaker emulator, it’s likely the audience won’t appreciate it much, especially younger people with better high-frequency hearing.

Maybe if the OP could give some examples of tracks the band sound similar to, especially if they heavily feature electric guitar, it would help our understanding.

But without that, as the OP is very new indeed to all of this, it would still be better to play safe and use a pedal that has amp and cab/speaker emulation.
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Re: DI box for guitars to mixer

Post by ef37a »

I agree Wonks and since OP needs a high Z input anyway he could look at a multi-effects pedal? They start at 40 quid for a Behringer, 70 odd for a Zoom and then the sky's the limit. Some might even have speaker emulation.

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