DI Straight Into Computer?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Matt G, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    I know this issue has been discussed here before, but I'm struggling to find the exact answer I'm after. Which is: can I plug a DI [in this case, an Ampeg SCR-DI, which has both a line-out and a XLR out] straight into the computer for recording, or do I need a separate audio interface [such as a Focusrite Scarlett] between the DI and computer? My main concern for the moment is to quickly get sound on 'tape' without blowing up anything expensive. Sound quality is something I'm happy to look at later.

    A second thought: if I do need an audio interface, could I cheat and use the Shure X2u XLR-to-USB Signal Adapter [which makes it possible to record Shure microphone on a standard laptop]?

    OK, thanks in advance for any insights you can all share.

    - Matt
     
  2. GuitarPix

    GuitarPix Tele-Meister

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    You could go in via the computer sound card but that’s less than optimal. The xlr to USB route would probably work. Going in from your amp will certainly be a sound but you’ll still need to get the sound of speakers - but there are lots of ways to use Impulse Responses and lots of IRs of different cabinets.

    Stand alone audio interfaces tend to have better preamp and DAC to get sound in, so that’s my choice when going DI.

    BTW I’m still most satisfied when micing an amp. I have lots of amp sims - generally spend hours trying to find the sound I want, then go back to micing even a small amp (I have a Champion 20 for this.)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I can’t imagine doing it without an interface like a Scarlet. I’ve got the Scarlet 8 input model now but had the 2 plus 2 one and it’s more than up to the job. I had a mono 1/4” or XLR Fast Track before then which is also easily up to the job.

    The Scarlet 8 model has input mixing software that you must use and a power switch whereas the 2 input model doesn’t require the software and is in when it’s plugged in. They’re both great but the 2 input is less muss, less fuss.
     
  4. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Howdy Matt....

    Yes....I'd recommend getting an outboard audio interface.
    I think it's an eventuality/necessity if you want to be more pleased with the 'quality' your recording efforts.

    IE: you can even go with a small monthly payment with Musician's Friend:
    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/focusrite-scarlett?typeAheadRedirect=true

    But....you did say you're not interested in 'sound quality' now.
    That approach to recording my song writing or performance efforts would not work for me. :)

    So, judgement call for you.

    Back to it....hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  5. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    The best result (on a budget) would be from the XLR out into a USB interface. The next best would be to take the 1/4'' out and plug into soundcard with a 1/8" adapter, or via a mixer. That's a whole 'nuther game of issues to worry about, though, and basically unnecessary nowadays. Most onboard souncards are crap, anyways.

    The XLR to USB adapter is an option, but quality still depends on the converters. If you're gonna spend any money at all, spend it on an interface, and have other options including inputs for mics.

    EDIT: BTW, I've had very good results from the DI out on my Ampeg PF350 into my Scarlett Solo. The SCR-DI should get similar results, if not better.
     
  6. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks, gents - once again, TDPRI to the rescue. Still happy to hear new views but I reckon I now have an initial solution.

    Side note: initially this is just for an online bass guitar course, where I'll be knocking out single notes to the tune of a metronome. So long as I can hear click-thunk-click-thunk-click-thunk, and not hear an exploding laptop, the sound will be good enough for the moment.

    Based on what I've learned from you, here's what I think I'll do.

    1. I will not plug in direct to the soundcard, which sounds like more work than it's worth.

    2. Will trial my existing DI into my existing Shure X2u audio interface. It clearly won't blow my stuff up. It might even be OK.

    3. If it sounds terrible, I'll spring for one of the Scarlett AIs. I read up on them, and didn't find a single review where someone disliked them. The only downside seems to be people needing to upgrade for more inputs / outputs.

    4. Soon, I'll buy a Scarlett AI anyway. Apart from the bass project, it seems this is the go-to solution for plugging in a guitar (direct or miked) and 'voice' microphone at the same time and making them work together.

    GuitarPix - I hear you on miking the amp for six string, especially with this glorious Twin on hand. The bass, however . . . for some reason direct to board seems more acceptable.

    Awasson - Thanks for the reassurance that I can get by with one of the smaller Scarletts.

    Whatizitman - thanks for the tip about XLR-out and overall roundup.

    ChulaiVet - thanks, that does help. It also cracks me up to realise that you've given me the exact advice I normally give other people, which is: work out what you need, work out how to afford it, buy it, and then be happy with your projects. This is why I will buy a Scarlett, probably sooner than later.
     
  7. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Chuckle.....good.

    The way I view your conundrum (as with many other aspects of life choices/goals)....if you want something bad enough?
    One just needs to think it through, sacrifice something else/re-direct funding priorities and follow the path to achieve it....make_it_happen!

    I would also submit that one needs to acticapate the future needs regarding the device one is purchasing so one doesn't outgrow possible limitations from a hasty purchase.
    Just a thought.

    Do keep us informed weed hopper....hopefully, 'sooner than later'. :)
     
  8. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Good plan. Just keep in mind that your SCR-DI is at least half the battle. You will get better results with that plugged into whichever interface, than going straight into the interface without it. Trust me on that. To go direct to a PC interface without some type of DI would require quality of pre-amps and converters far out of price range of the vast majority of USB interfaces. That's IME, anyway.
     
  9. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone TDPRI Member

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    I have the base model Behringer UMC22 equivalent of the Scarlett and my experience is that it sounds great, just this. In fact I learned from it, against my will, how much I like the sound of "direct" (or perfectly clean amplification, for bass). Don't mean to contradict anyone, but the *fidelity* is approximately absolutely perfect.

    So, I'm sure the Scarlett would serve [and the brand is free of the negative reviews about Behringer's driver].
     
  10. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Why delay the inevitable? It's evident you've been reeled into the shadowy canyons of audio mystique, so go ahead and spring for an interface now and save yourself time and headaches! Just find a way! :D

    (For the record, Focusrite gear is at the very top within its price point.)
     
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  11. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone TDPRI Member

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    Right.


    I know what you mean, but for me, moving to clean amplification (for bass) is coming back *out* of the mystique and toward the "truth", you might say. [Sorry, just want to tell this story: I was gradually cleaning up my old tube amp (reducing distortion) for use with bass, and someone suddenly said "wow, it sounds like a jazz bass" (what they meant was it sounded like an upright). And since it's a P type with heavy LaBella flats, yeah, that's what it should sound like. Taught me that I don't like flats any more!]
     
  12. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Dude. My "canyons" metaphor had nothing to do with untruthful mystique. It had to do with the long road into learning about studio techniques and gear, and wanting to spend absurd amounts of time chasing final mixes. :rolleyes:
     
  13. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone TDPRI Member

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    I understood you. :)
     
  14. ataylor

    ataylor Tele-Meister

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    I recommend the Apogee Jam.
     
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  15. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Wanting to spend absurd amounts of time chasing final mixes. I get that. I sure am glad I’m not paying for studio time with all of the messing about I tend to do.

    I also tend to treat every track as a working track that I’ll use to stitch the song together. I’ll replace it later with another once I’m completely satisfied with the arrangement (even if it’s better than good enough). And to think, I used to avoid recording and only wanted to play in jams or live. My how times have changed.
     
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  16. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Ha....I hear you.

    Back in the early 70's I loved jamming with band mates and thrived on the process.
    But...when I bought my first 4 track r/r (Teac A3440s) back in 1979 I got the recording bug and really started writing my own material with vengeance.

    So...yes....'my how things have changed'.

    Back to it....
     
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  17. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm new to recording. Are you folks saying that even with a Focusrite Scarlett type device, one still needs to plug the guitar into a DI and then the DI into the Scarlett? That seems odd, so I probably misunderstood. Thanks.
     
  18. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    No. Scarletts have a 'HiZ' input, which means you can plug your guitar straight into it. I'm saying that the result may not be that great without a separate DI.

    The simplest explanation is that a low impedance (XLR, mic) preamp input is generally better. But you need something to change the high impedance signal straight from the guitar to a low impedance signal. That's what a DI does.

    My issue with Scarletts is that the hiZ input for guitar or bass is horrible. I would use a cheap behringer sansamp pedal copy into the mic input, and it was light years better. I now use my PF350 head which has a DI out, and sounds even more light years better.

    Focusrite is great for the price. But I just got a behringer umc202hd for far less than my Solo, and I think it has better preamps. Plus two XLR instead of just one. As a budget hobby recording dood, I couldn't be happier.
     
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  19. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I think that might be the difference between the 2 + 2 Scarlett I had and the 8 + 8 model. The 8 + 8 has a bunch more hardware under the hood, separate power supply vs. the USB supplied power and it requires that you run the focusright mixer software (not just a driver) in order to use it.

    At first because I had experience with a Fast track and the Scarlett 2 + 2 I was like WTH is up with all of this additional nonsense but now I suspect it provides a much greater level of fidelity. I recorded an acoustic with a fishman recently using the 2 + 2 rig and then the more complicated 8 + 8 unit and they didn’t sound like the same guitar at all. Then again, I was pretty happy with my Fast track. Plug in, arm the track, hit record and play.
     
  20. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Consider a basic mixer that has a USB interface too. The quality of the pre-amps in Yamaha and ( yes, I'm going to write it ) Behringer mixers, others too probably, but I have no direct experience of them, is really quite high.

    You get XLR, Hi-Z and line inputs to play with for connecting drum machines or other people, an FX loop, headphone socket and a myriad of other features. Never before have we been so spoiled for ways to skin cats.

    As to using a DI even with an interface with a Hi-Z, yes, use a DI. There's magic in those things. Even the Joyo Sansamp ripoff character pedals sound better through a DI into an XLR than into the Hi-Z.

    I've been using a basic Behringer 802USB for years, and although I could fault it, things I can't complain about are the onboard compressors and pre-amps. I get zero noticeable latency through the USB connector either.

    Have fun.
     
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