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Author Topic: Help me NOT hate my K&K mini - pick a DI box for me  (Read 9847 times)
AZLiberty
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« on: August 26, 2013, 09:12:04 AM »

A while ago I had a K&K mini installed into my Rainsong.

It sound well, BAD.  Boomy.  Rather Terrible actually.

However,  the last time I had it out I had a sound crew that really knew what they were doing.  Gerry (the sound guy) routed the output of the guitar through a DI box and then into the board.

Twas like magic.  All of a sudden it sounded pretty good.  Actually it was slightly brighter than the guitar, but that's what mixing boards are for.


So, clearly I need to pick up a DI box.  However, I am utterly bewildered by the options and available models of these things.  I don't even know if I want an active or passive one.

So, since we all know that this is the unofficial K&K mini forum:   Which DI box do I want?

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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 10:59:46 AM »

 I have had good results with K&K Pure Preamp (I have never used the XLR version) and Ultrasound products (PAMM and their DI).  Of course, I like my K&K pickups going direct into my Ultrasound amps, so I may be a bad judge.

Ed
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 11:43:02 AM »

I have a Rainsong dread with the JJB Prestige #330 pickup and I found the RedEye preamp to be the best for me.  Not cheap and not laden with features like full spectrum EQ, but it cleans up and makes the sound great.  I jam and do open mics in a variety of venues and have never had a soundman unhappy with it...just throw him a line!     
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 01:51:25 PM »

There are a ton of simple direct box's from $20 on up.Do you need a Pre-amp?
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 02:27:59 PM »

I run my K&K mini through an LR Baggs Para DI and the sound is lush.  Lots of online chat says these two are incompatible.  Don't believe the chat.  Check out the sound for yourself and see if you like it!  Good luck.
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 03:44:03 PM »

There are a tone of simple direct box's from $20 on up.Do you need a Pre-amp?

This is what I'm wondering. What AZL states is that the sound guy used a DI. Does not mention a pre-amp....is it possible that a simple DI would make a notable difference in his sound?
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 04:34:52 PM »

What's one of them things do, anyway?

Boost the level since the K&K is passive, impedance matching, EQ, all the above?

The one thing I'd want in one, would be a 1/4" and an XLR out ... especially if running a long cable to a main console somewhere ... it's nice to have that shielded 600 ohm balanced output for long cable runs - long high impedance unbalanced cable runs are prone to picking up noise / radio traffic. Always remember my uncle's story about picking up CB radios back in the late 60's when his church cheaped out on unbalanced high-impedance mics ...

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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2013, 04:46:48 PM »

DI - I was under the impression that it essentially just take an instrument cable, and convert it to a balanced signal for a mic input.

I outta take a class so that I understand this better. I know when they're used...but really understand nothing of what they're really doing.

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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2013, 05:39:33 PM »

That's all a DI does and all come with 1/4" in to XLR out.No pre-amp in a standard DI.
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 05:57:18 PM »

That's all a DI does and all come with 1/4" in to XLR out.No pre-amp in a standard DI.


Rob, does a simple DI have enough poop with a passive pickup like the K&K pure mini/western?

I guess the question of preamping and eq comes down to which end of the cable run does that job before amplification.

Either I use a mic or one of my guitars with active (Fishman/Baggs) UST type pickups. It's been decades since I last used a contact / soundboard type pickup, like the Oyster and a few clamp-on jobs by DeArmond like this old relic: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-DeArmond-Model-800-Contact-Pickup-/300952395003?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4612291cfb


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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2013, 08:22:21 PM »

A while ago I had a K&K mini installed into my Rainsong.

It sound well, BAD.  Boomy.  Rather Terrible actually.

However,  the last time I had it out I had a sound crew that really knew what they were doing.  Gerry (the sound guy) routed the output of the guitar through a DI box and then into the board.

Twas like magic.  All of a sudden it sounded pretty good.  Actually it was slightly brighter than the guitar, but that's what mixing boards are for.


So, clearly I need to pick up a DI box.  However, I am utterly bewildered by the options and available models of these things.  I don't even know if I want an active or passive one.

So, since we all know that this is the unofficial K&K mini forum:   Which DI box do I want?



Your K&K pickup is just the first part of a multi-part signal chain.  Discussing the pickup alone, without understanding or discussing the remainder of your signal chain, is limiting.

What is the remainder of your signal chain?  E.g., preamp, eq filters, power amp, speakers.
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2013, 08:57:35 PM »

A DI changes from (typically high impedance) unbalanced signal to low impedance balanced signal.  Whether you need a preamp depends on the signal level from the pickup and the distance it needs to go.  Whether you need eq or not depends on the person at the sound board.  The thing about something like the Ultrasound DI (or LRBaggs, or K&K Pure XLR, or any of a bunch of others) is you get versatility.  You set the eq flat and set basic levels and let the sound person take it from there.  Or, if you're at a place that has a jack to plug into and no sound person, you've got gain and eq controls right there to tweak.  The upside of the K&K is the input is specifically designed with the K&K pickup in mind.

Ed
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bluesman67
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2013, 09:54:50 PM »

I have a K&K preamp, very nice.  small and has a belt clip. 
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2013, 10:38:39 PM »

A DI changes from (typically high impedance) unbalanced signal to low impedance balanced signal.  Whether you need a preamp depends on the signal level from the pickup and the distance it needs to go.  Whether you need eq or not depends on the person at the sound board.  The thing about something like the Ultrasound DI (or LRBaggs, or K&K Pure XLR, or any of a bunch of others) is you get versatility.  You set the eq flat and set basic levels and let the sound person take it from there.  Or, if you're at a place that has a jack to plug into and no sound person, you've got gain and eq controls right there to tweak.  The upside of the K&K is the input is specifically designed with the K&K pickup in mind.

Ed
yep, it doesn't just change what kind of cord your using. It's main function is to match impedance. With signals and basic electricity is often good to think of them as water going thru pipes. If you have a big pipe full of water (signal, low impedance) and it runs into a small pipe what's gonna happen? Waters gonna bounce back because it won't all fit. When it bouces back it's going to hit the other waves coming down pipe out of phase and tear them up. Conversly a smaller pipe(high impedance/signal) would hit the big pipe and not fill it up so the water would not fill the pipe and it would splash around a trickle into it's destination, again tearing up the smooth flowing equal pressure signal. If the front end of where ever you are going has enough gain and good eq you can correct the sound pretty good. I can go straight into my board ok. But if nothing else a not so expensive passive DI with no preamp would be more proper. You have to know what you are looking at too. Lots of boxes that call themselves DI's have preamp, eq as well.
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2013, 01:44:22 AM »

This is what I'm wondering. What AZL states is that the sound guy used a DI. Does not mention a pre-amp....is it possible that a simple DI would make a notable difference in his sound?

No pre-amp, just straight from the DI box to the board.    Presumably the DI box matches the high impedance output of the K&K to the low impedance input of the mixing board?


This is NOT hard with my Larrivee or Taylor.  Those both have a Fishman unit and are simple plug & play.
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2013, 04:17:37 AM »

The Ultrasound DI is a fantastic move that should cure your issue.
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2013, 04:29:33 AM »

I run my K&K mini through an LR Baggs Para DI and the sound is lush.  Lots of online chat says these two are incompatible.  Don't believe the chat.  Check out the sound for yourself and see if you like it!  Good luck.

 +1
I have the K&K mini in both my L-07 and L-40 12-string and I  use the exact same combination.  I second everything you have said here.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2013, 04:35:11 PM »


Rob, does a simple DI have enough poop with a passive pickup like the K&K pure mini/western?

I guess the question of preamping and eq comes down to which end of the cable run does that job before amplification.

Either I use a mic or one of my guitars with active (Fishman/Baggs) UST type pickups. It's been decades since I last used a contact / soundboard type pickup, like the Oyster and a few clamp-on jobs by DeArmond like this old relic: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-DeArmond-Model-800-Contact-Pickup-/300952395003?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4612291cfb




It would depend on the pu and the board.If the board has a trim/gain pot then it should be alright.
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« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2013, 05:54:11 AM »

Wow, for the price of that Para DI box I could rip out the K&K and install a Fishman UST.

Really regretting the decision to go with a K&K now.
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2013, 07:21:24 PM »

the BBE acoustasonic is pretty good for my needs.....
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