Best interface / Signal chain for recording good DI guitars?

August 2019 is the first KVR Guitar Month so here's a new forum for discussion of all things guitar!
HREQ
KVRist
Topic Starter
78 posts since 19 Mar, 2016

Post Mon Mar 14, 2022 9:02 am

few years ago I bought an Audient EVO4. It has a 1Meg Ohms impendence input and a JFET DI instrument input

I noticed my guitar DI sounded much better than my old interface, upon looking up my old interface it had no such JFET in it, and a much lower impendence input (I think it was 250k, but might of been 500k)

I'm wondering if I upgrade to one of the newer interfaces specifically made for recording guitar (Audient Sono, IK Multimedia AXE, or even the UA VOLT for its preamp/1176, not sure about the volt)

Would I notice my sound improve even further? I don't even have a guitar right now, but I'm getting a new one soon. Would replacing the POTs with 500k or 1meg make the DI sound better, or better pickups?

I heard you should try to match your DI with professional DI's, and then ampsims will sound really good. I downloaded some professional DI's before and my DI still sounds a bit off compared to theirs.

Would a DI BOX help more? Or a BOOST / Tubescreamer pedal before the DI?

Anybody have any advice on this?

Jafo
KVRAF
2128 posts since 20 Dec, 2002 from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Post Mon Mar 14, 2022 9:39 am

TL;DR version: what you've got is probably plenty good for your needs. You can spend lots more money to get slightly better results, but how much do you want to spend? "Pro" guitar recording basically consists of cutting all the bass and boosting the treble these days anyway. :hihi:

Longer version. Higher input impedance is generally a good thing. JFETs, MOSFETs, and op amps generally have very high input impedance -- this loads the signal down less, which kinda sorta basically means you have more higher frequencies present. Your previous box probably had a BJT set up as an emitter follower, which is still plenty high input impedance (around the 250k-500k you mention). I'm 99% sure that the difference between your two interfaces lies in one being better designed -- there are a LOT of places where things can be sub-optimal, such as the quality of the converters (how precise they are, how accurate they are -- not the same thing! -- how stable they are, and so forth) or how the filters are designed.

A DI box just lowers the output impedance, giving you much the same effect as an interface with a higher input impedance. You don't need both. A DI box is simply a transformer with a high input impedance and a low output impedance. Totally passive. If it has a JFET or any active component, it's technically a buffer -- an amplifier that doesn't really amplify, but changes impedance. Confusingly, some marketroids call such devices "active DI boxes." Even worse, some also call an audio interface designed for guitar a DI box.

I've only heard marketing people and their followers say that devices specifically for guitar make a huge difference. But hey, if there's a reasonable return policy, I'd say go for it -- I could be wrong, and you only have time to lose. It's not like you should be practicing guitar to sound better on guitar, right? :hihi:

If your guitar sounds dark, higher value volume pots, or tone pots, or tone capacitors, etc. can help. So can modding your pickups, or switching them out entirely. But if your guitar sounds fine, don't bother -- it's a very time-consuming (albeit glorious!) hobby, an excellent way to put off actually practicing guitar.

"If you can't hear it, you don't need it." -- Kim LaJoie
Joy and kindness are acts of resistance -- fight the power!

msimsek
KVRer
17 posts since 23 May, 2021

Post Tue Mar 15, 2022 4:45 am

IK's AXE I/O makes a dramatic difference. But not in sound quality, in the control you have. Check its controls for guitar input, you can enable or disable JFET, you have a mode for active pickups, you can change input impedance between 1 MOhms and 2.2 kOhms.

These really make a difference. But they don't improve sound quality compared to a similarly spec'd interface, but they offer possibilities to have different sounds. Its sound quality is particularly good compared to entry level interfaces like EVO or Scarlett, but it is not a top end interface like an Apogee Symphony. Mid-range, I would say. But if you are into hi-gain, you will feel the benefits it offers with its noiseless input.

So, if you have the money, it will be an improvement you will easily notice, at least compared to an entry level interface.

kanoharuayu
KVRist
38 posts since 27 Feb, 2018

Post Tue Mar 15, 2022 9:44 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlXa4JON-2U

This video is good example on how different guitars sound through different interfaces. It's really surprising really...

Does DI go through the A/D converters of the interface? I was thinking of getting AXE I/O but I didn't see a Digital Out, I have a separate box for A/D / D/A conversion, AXE IO seems like it would of been perfect if they had just included that...

Danilo Villanova
KVRian
690 posts since 30 Apr, 2018

Post Sat Apr 02, 2022 11:21 am

I got one of those Radial boxes with “tube amp input stage emulation” (JFET, I assume) and my tone is significantly better. I made thorough comparisons.

User avatar
Mister Natural
KVRAF
2736 posts since 28 Oct, 2007 from michigan

Post Sun Apr 03, 2022 12:25 pm

expert only on what it feels like to be me
https://soundcloud.com/mrnatural-1/tracks

imrae
KVRAF
2054 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Sun Apr 03, 2022 12:53 pm

I doubt if any of those other options will give a better option than the Audient JFET input. If you really want to get closer to the vibe of a lower-impedance input just darken with EQ - or the tone knob.

Danilo Villanova
KVRian
690 posts since 30 Apr, 2018

Post Mon Apr 04, 2022 1:40 pm

imrae wrote: Sun Apr 03, 2022 12:53 pm I doubt if any of those other options will give a better option than the Audient JFET input. If you really want to get closer to the vibe of a lower-impedance input just darken with EQ - or the tone knob.
A DI box with a JFET will work the same, even with a low-impedance input. That’s why you can have only one pedal with a buffer in your pedalboard and it will still be a high-impedance signal.

imrae
KVRAF
2054 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Mon Apr 04, 2022 2:12 pm

Right, you don't need a fancy Audient interface for this. But if you do have one, you're already sorted :D

Dirk Diggler
KVRist
400 posts since 12 Sep, 2007

Post Wed Apr 06, 2022 10:33 am

Avalon U5, total awesomeness.

Tonio_
KVRer
8 posts since 11 Apr, 2022

Post Thu May 12, 2022 9:22 am

I have the motu m2 and it's pretty damn great for guitars from my experience

Weasel-Boy
KVRist
363 posts since 12 May, 2004

Post Thu May 12, 2022 9:49 pm

Tonio_ wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 9:22 am I have the motu m2 and it's pretty damn great for guitars from my experience
It’s ability to kill RFI/EMI noise from single pole pickups is a big plus.
On a number of Macs

Chickenman
KVRian
747 posts since 19 Feb, 2004 from QLD, Australia

Post Sat May 14, 2022 8:45 pm

I use a cheap Focusrite solo as my other interface is in storage (tascam 16x08) until we move, they are both adequate but I think I might buy the IK interface eventually as I love shiney things.
I play guitar

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