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Appropriate Gain Staging with Para DI

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  • Appropriate Gain Staging with Para DI

    I have been using a Para Acoustic DI for more than 20 years now with a Collings CJ equipped with a passive Fishman Matrix. Rig sounds remarkable and very happy with it. Recently added a few new guitars to the collection. One has an L.R. Baggs Element Bronze pickup and with only very minor tweaks to the Para Acoustic DI it also sounds very good. I know what I want these rigs to sound like and these nail it. Especially love the notch filter when needed...can save the day in some settings. Love the phantom power and the balanced signal into my mixer.

    But one of these guitars - which I dearly love for a host of other reasons - has an active onboard dual-pickup system. This active system includes eq sliders, tone, contour and brilliance controls, and knobs for both notch and volume. The guitar sounds great plugged straight into an acoustic amp. However, when I run it through the Para Acoustic DI things get wonky. Minor adjustments get magnified through the active + active chain in a hurry...and it is highly unprofessional to fiddle with sound during a performance in my opinion.

    I realize the best way to figure this out is to experiment with it until I get it dialed in. Obviously I could bypass the Para Acoustic DI but this causes other problems and I lose my balanced signal into my board. But in the interest of learning something new, I'm curious as to the textbook right way to manage this set up.

    Should set the guitar's onboard system flat in the middle on all settings and then just use the PA DI to tweak my sound? Or go to 'max volume' on the onboard pre amp to get the highest signal-to-noise ratio? Definitely not a sound guy but hoping the experts can recommend a general preferred approach that I can tweak until it's perfect. Thanks!

  • #2
    It sounds like you know what you're doing. I agree that it will ultimately come down to playing with it a bit to find what works best.

    I'm a pretty firm believer in sending the strongest signal possible from the guitar, so I would set the volume on the guitar at full and the EQ flat, making adjustments on the DI for EQ and likely a lowering gain setting.

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    • #3
      Okay - that's the direction I was looking for. Thanks for your help!

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