Lyric Seems to Fight with Para DI
Hi, wonder if you have seen the problem below before:
I have a Lyric newly installed in a Santa Cruz OMPW. Direct into a Loudbox 100 it sounds great, with very little EQ needed. But through my Para DI, whether into the Loudbox or a few PAs I've tried, I have the following problems:
If I use the XLR out, the signal is HOT. I need to turn the gain almost all the way down. If I use the 1/4 inch out, the signal is low and I need to turn the gain almost all the way up, as well as the volume, to be heard at all. And in either case, the sound is nowhere near as good as direct into the Loudbox. It is much less warm though the Para DI, requiring big cuts to the mids and treble. It also seems much too "present" in that you hear every little bit of finger squeaking on strings, and the pick attack on the strings is too amplified. Cutting mid, treble and presence on the Para DI helps but it still won't be as nice a sound as into the Loudbox directly.
Is it possible the Lyric and Para DI don't play well together? Or perhaps my Para DI has developed a problem. Any thoughts or advice? Thanks!
Hey there ksquared,
That is a VERY strange combination of issues. I actually just tried to reproduce what you are doing, and my results were almost completely opposite from what you are hearing. The Lyric into a Para DI (and without the DI), into an acoustic amp, and then a little later through a PA system. The Para DI had normal output from the XLR and the 1/4", and the tone was much warmer when played through the DI versus played direct into the mixer or amp. The XLR output versus the 1/4" output should be similar, but comparing them will largely depend on the gain structure of your amp/mixer's inputs. Something like the Loudbox 100 has a very wide gain range on the 1/4" channel to accommodate passive and active pickups, according to the manual. So comparing the 1/4" input gain to the XLR input gain, may or may not be a fair or accurate way to measure.
So I don't think that there is necessarily any kind of incompatibility with the Lyric and the Para DI, but like I said, what you are experiencing is far from normal. So there has to be something going on in your signal chain somewhere. Since there are so many factors in this kind of setup, it may be easier to speak over the phone, if you prefer.
If you would like to send me your phone number, I would be happy to call you. Or you can call me at 1-805-929-3545 ext. 121.
Thanks. I'll give you a call -- maybe not today, as day job is intruding. It could very well be the gain on PA inputs that's getting things out of whack. I'll try some troubleshooting before I call.
Caleb (and anyone else who may be paying attention):
I did some more troubleshooting, and I think you are right that it is caused by the gain structure on different inputs on PAs and amps, particularly those little "coffeehouse" PAs and amps. I did my troubleshooting on a Fishman Loudbox 100 and a Fender Passport 150, both of which are designed for a singer to be accompanied by guitar. On each, the gain was over the top when using the XLR input, and it was too much so to be usable, no matter the EQ settings. However when using the Para DI's XLR output, but connecting to the amp/PA's 1/4 inch input using an adapter, the gain was pretty much the same as using the Para DI's 1/4 inch out, and the overall tone was good. Lesson learned. I've yet to try it on a larger house PA but I hope to do that soon.
So while it's no longer a problem, I still sense that the attack of pick or finger on strings is bumped up when using the Para DI versus straight into the amp -- it's a squeaking or scratchy sound on the strings that seems to be louder than it ought to be. Could this be a setting on the presence control on the lyric perhaps? Is there a "rule of thumb" for setting the gain (or other controls) on the DI when it is being used before something with another gain stage, such as the pre-amp in the Loudbox or similar system? Thanks for your help.
Thanks for getting back to us with the results of your testing. It's still a little odd to me that the XLR is overpowering the inputs of those systems. The gain on the amp and PA should easily be able to be lowered to the point where that's not an issue.
For setting the presence control on the Lyric, I recommend playing through a PA system, and then setting the presence control to match the "unplugged" or acoustic tone of your guitar. I usually play the guitar acoustically, then un-mute the signal, and play again. Then I make small adjustments to the presence in order to get the most accurate sound that I can. If you plan on using the Para DI live, I would recommend using it in your signal chain when you set the Lyric's presence. Then, even if you don't have the Para DI, the Lyric's tone should sound more balanced through any other systems that you use.
For setting the Para DI's gain, I would recommend doing it the same way that is outlined in the manual: http://www.lrbaggs.com/sites/default..._di_manual.pdf
If after setting the gain on the DI, the signal is too hot for the amp or mixer (even with amp/mixer gain turned down), then you can turn the Volume on the Para DI down to avoid clipping at the next stage.