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Direct Injecting Synths

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I was talking to a rock/pop guitarist/producer guy at work about my new desk and he was suggesting I run all my synths through DI-boxes into the Mic Pre-amps on the desk as I would get a better sound. Is it true? All of my synths are unbalanced. He said the DI box balances the signal resulting in higher gain. One benefit I can see is that it would free up the line inputs so that down the track if I get more I/O for my puta I can run even more outputs into the desk.

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will the benefits really be worth the price? do you get noise / interference through your audio cables ? do you hear the radio through your desk? if you don't then there is really no point ..  is there point to have 2 things hanging off one channel strip aswell? other than desperate need for inputs.. di's are good for recording live instruments or actually playing unbalanced instruments over a big system where feedback and interference really are quite noticeable .. or getting a low level instrument up to gain

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will the benefits really be worth the price?

Dunno! Hence the thread.

I don't get any noise or interference or radio. So probably not.

Cheers for your feedback 8)

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I tend to agree with hps - unless there is a persistent hum or RF interference then no real need in a studio.

It's a myth that balancing unbalanced signals automatically makes them better. A -10dB unblanced output going to a -10dB unblanced input, with well shielded cable, has matched voltage and impedance at both ends, will give good gain control and will sound fine. It's only when people use very long cable, poorly insulated cable, RFI-riddled rooms* or mismatched input/output levels that the DI will serve any benefit.

In live setups DI's allow the synths to be plugged into the stage box which are mostly XLR inputs perma-wired into the mic inputs at the desk, so DI's are a must for getting the signal at the right level into the desk.

Also some very good DI's like the BSS and various valve models will add some character to the sound (valve ones are popular with bass players), but they are pretty expensive - not your Behringer standard at all :(

If I was in a big studio like Sing Sing or 301 and I had the option of DI'ing my synth thru an expensive valve DI I might take it up - but then again why not use an expensive valve preamp and go all the way?

* Iused to live near high voltage tram lines - a DI with earth lift was helpful in getting rid of persistent hum whenever I was recording guitars, basses etc in the room, where their pickups were receivng noise from the tram lines.

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maybe he didn't realise that synths have a nice healthy line output signal already?

It's a good idea to DI a guitar or a bass rather than going into a line input on a desk. The extra gain is useful, and the often high impedance of the DI puts much less load on the pickups and gets you a much better sound - you can hear the difference with pretty much any non-active pickup instrument you want to record direct.

in the case of synths, though, it sounds like a waste of money.

synth = line out.

desk = line in.

unless one of them is of the really old 600R impedance style, they are designed explicitly to work together with nothing in between. And even if one is the old 600R style, they'll probably still play fine....

Anyway - I dunno what your desk is, but personally, I'd do whatever it took to AVOID the mic pres on any modern "rack format" mixing desk.... not buy extra gear to force me to use them...

:-)

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