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Difference(s) between Align Session DI, Venue DI and Session DI

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  • Difference(s) between Align Session DI, Venue DI and Session DI

    I hesitate to ask such a wide open question, but I think it's the only way. I'm interested in one of the DI's and possibly the Align EQ at some point. How would you describe the quality differences between the three units?

    Some background might help answer.
    #1: Which would you consider to have the quietest, most "pristine" signal for home studio purposes? (Apollo Twin USB into Pro Tools)
    #2: Related to #1, I see specs on one of them includes a noise to signal ratio. Is that the same as Noise Floor?
    #3: I had the Anthem mic/UST installed on my new Gibson Hummingbird. I tried running it through a Boss AD-10. I think I had pre-amp overload. Imagine big 80Hz - 320Hz woofiness despite effective notching along with a big wide swarth of aggressive mid-range tone. Much of the same, though less, when running guitar to Apollo. Both of these drastically reduced, though, when removing the AD-10 AND adding a Radial DI-2 in between the guitar and Apollo. Alas, the question unfolds. Will your DI offerings in question give me more of that added pre-amp factor, or is it simply a clean volume control in it's cleanest state?

    I think that's it for now. I have more, but someone may inadvertently answer them.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Hey PatriotsBiker,
    In general, I would say that the Align Session and Session DI are the least "clean" and have the most color or character.

    The Venue DI is pretty clean, but since it does have a transformer-coupled output there is some very minor coloration there. I would still consider the Venue to be very clean sounding though.

    The cleanest sounding DI that we've made is actually the Align DI, which I would call pristine. The Align DI doesn't have a preamp-stage though. So it isn't ideal for some applications.

    On a separate note, if you are getting a woofy or muddy response from the Anthem, you may want to check and make sure that the undersaddle pickup is correctly anchored inside of the guitar. If it isn't, the pickup can be more microphonic, causing a woofy response and additional feedback.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Caleb_Elling View Post
      Hey PatriotsBiker,
      In general, I would say that the Align Session and Session DI are the least "clean" and have the most color or character.

      The Venue DI is pretty clean, but since it does have a transformer-coupled output there is some very minor coloration there. I would still consider the Venue to be very clean sounding though.

      The cleanest sounding DI that we've made is actually the Align DI, which I would call pristine. The Align DI doesn't have a preamp-stage though. So it isn't ideal for some applications.

      On a separate note, if you are getting a woofy or muddy response from the Anthem, you may want to check and make sure that the undersaddle pickup is correctly anchored inside of the guitar. If it isn't, the pickup can be more microphonic, causing a woofy response and additional feedback.
      Thank you very much for the response and information.

      Not having a pre-amp might be a good thing, actually. I've got one on the guitar and can't bypass the one on my interface. I'll have a couple more questions on the DI front. I'll get the mud topic out of the way. And speaking of which....

      I misspoke earlier about the low-end thump going straight to the Apollo. I'm not sure what I was trying to convey. It's a little aggressive all over, but there was no need for drastic EQ adjustments. It did settle down a good deal once I took my Boss AD-10 out of the equation. I have a sample posted on Soundcloud. A few minor EQ adjustments and some volume adjustment on the way in and inside the DAW is the extent of the process.

      I will take a look at the UST per your suggestion, though. I did not install it, but I do get a feeling that the UST isn't the most even natured thing around. I'm 'diming the two wheels and leaving it alone with the mic-screw maybe 1/6th down. Is there a reference with pictures you can suggest?

      fwiw, this is the basic sound I'm getting through my signal chain without a whole bunch of processing. https://soundcloud.com/patriotsbiker...ird-sample-adj
      There was one done prior to this one, but I took too much low end out of the AD-10 and messed it all up.

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      • #4
        OK,
        The sound clip is pretty solid. To my ears, it sounds like the mic could be turned down even a little more to reduce a little more of that "edge".

        The Anthem installation manual refers to an additional wire clip on the pickup and shows how to place it (figure 8): https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...all-manual.pdf

        If you need more details you can email me at [email protected].

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        • #5
          Thanks for checking out my sound clip and offering an analogy on the tone/sound. I do agree, too. I'll get there. I'll find my mechanic's mirror and take a look at the components inside, too. I'll get a camera in there if I have anything trigger concern.

          Back to the DI front. I think I've been combining far too many ideas into one component. On top of that, I've been looking for it in a tool designed more for live use. I do mean for Pristine to be in context of the rest of the tone. Whatever that tone is, it should be transparent with reasonably reduced amounts of electrical hisses and other tone wrecking noises. The second part of that equation is repair before getting into the interface as a result of playing, like fixing the low end feedback or something. The most basic statement would be to say that it's much easier to fix something before the interface than afterwards. Especially when the interface tries to enhance what it gets. The pimple on the tip of the nose gets bigger and harder to cover up.

          At any rate, after lots of review, I think the video on your side on the SessionDI page describes a lot of what I'm looking for if I was to say that I could replace gigging for live in studio type of thing. It's the introducing Session DI video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7uf...ature=youtu.be I do think that getting an EQ, perhaps the Align Series EQ, would be something needed sooner than later. Probably at the same time. The Venue seems like a good solution as well, but I worry about not being up to snuff with some of the finer, unadjustable enhancements that the Session DI claims to offer.

          Hopefully this all seems logical and I didn't miss something.

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          • #6
            I use the Session DI myself, and I love it! It won't dial-in as precise of a tone as something with a good EQ, but once you play with the Session, you won't be satisfied playing without it.

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            • #7
              I think at this stage I am more interested in the overall sonic qualities. I can EQ all I want inside the interface's software and the DAW after that. I would have prefered a couple parametric bands before the Interface, but hopefully will prove unneeded. It's surprising that nobody in my area stocks these things. No biggie. It will be brought to my porch tomorrow. I wish the Align series had a parametric approach with it's EQ.

              Your tip to reduce the mic screw worked well once I decided to feed my interface directly instead of the AD10. With the screw being 100% at 1:00. I was just shy of 10:00 and ended up just shy of 9:00. I bit thick, but it was easy to dial in a pleasing strumming tone inside my DAW using just a couple small shelves and a tiny 2.5Khz dip of -3db for singing resonances. There was sort of a line of doom. If I am at 9:43 on the dial right now, 9:46 still had some slight harshness.

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              • #8
                The Align pedals have been back-ordered for a while, so not many places have them available. I'm glad that you were able to grab one though.

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                • #9
                  I don't think I ordered the Align version. This is the one I ordered, albeit from Amazon as these folks are out of them. https://www.samash.com/seesion-acous...al-lsessiond-p

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                  • #10
                    That's the one that I use. It's fantastic!

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                    • #11
                      I understand the power supply needed for this is not standard. Do you have one in particular that you recommend or at least use there?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PatriotsBiker View Post
                        I understand the power supply needed for this is not standard. Do you have one in particular that you recommend or at least use there?
                        The power supply is actually completely standard. Any standard 9v center-negative pedal power supply should work with it. We do recommend the Truetone 1-Spot, but that's mostly because it is extremely quiet.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the notes on the power supply. I should not believe everything I read in user reviews. doh! Gotta like phantom power on this. Good move!

                          What a slice of home project studio heaven this pedal is, and I've still got one kink to work out and do not even dialed it in yet.

                          I am concerned over the gain staging. I have to nearly peg the input gain on the Session DI to get that red light to flicker at all. I'm worried not about getting volume too high, rather too aggressively toned to be able to use the saturation and compression effectively. I can certainly get a volume booster or an impedance matching pedal if need be.

                          Even with any possible input gain staging issue, this thing rules!!! I'm feeding the interface a very full signal. The cleanest upper-mids I've ever gotten into my DAWs with an acoustic guitar. I had been fighting squelches between 1-3kHz forever. Solid tone across the whole frequency range, though can be a bit aggressive too soon in the lowemids to mids. For UAD Apollo users, this pedal does something similar to the signal that the 610-B pre-amp does when setting the mic impedance selector toggle to 500k ohm. It fills that lower mid to mid range wonderfully, adding tons of depth to the tone. I have zero need for the 610 now, but will try it anyhow. I'm getting a very usable -15db avg peak at about 60% output volume on the Session DI via XLR in. I've never had a notch work this well. It does so much more, though. I'm thrilled already and it's just gonna get better today.

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                          • #14
                            An update of sorts to the previous post. I tried my noisy Sans Amp pedal between the guitar and SessionDI for two experiments. Gain-staging and EQ before SessionDI. Very far from perfect test as all the Sansamp has only a tone-stack in addition to anything it has to offer, even in it's cleanest settings.

                            First, the gain staging thing did help. I was able to lower the gain knob on the SessionDI to about 1:00. The entire mid range seemed cleaner. Especially impressive was the lowered sibilences(sp?) between 1kHz and 3.5kHz. That is a HUGE win for me. The SessionDI had already lowered them. Next, some basic tone stack tweaking did nicely, but I really had no specific frequency control to do any A/B testing with adjusting EQ before and after the SessionDI. In the very least, it was at least good. Sold.

                            Huge win for the SessionDI is that it made my noisy Sansamp less noisy. Score one for LR Baggs. Perhaps a couple other pedles I have will clean up and be useful in the "studio" now?

                            So last night I used an EQ on some recordings I made using the SessionDI. I used the frequencies available on the Align Series EQ. 3-4 of them are very common ones for me to adjust. The other two seemed more like an education. That EQ pedal also does gain AND volume adjustments and allows me to use useful EQ settings before the SessionID. I win no matter what at this point. If it helps with gain staging, it's a bonus. PLUS it gives me another notch, or one prior to the SessionDI should that help. I prefer stacking notches inside the box anyhow (post recording), so this gives me a chance to try it pre-recording. I have one being delivered tomorrow.

                            Sweet!!!

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the details! I'm sure that this will be helpful for people using the Session in their studios.

                              As a side-note, I actually prefer the sound of the Session with the gain set a little lower. Everyone is different, but I think that "clipping" in the yellow, rather than in the red, results in a smoother sound with less "edge". The Comp-EQ and Saturation still work just fine.

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