Have you ever asked yourself whether you should pick a normal dynamic cardioid microphone like the SM57 or even get in touch with a DI Box to capture the sound of your guitar amp?
In the studio you can spend a lot of time finding the best mic position, but in a live situation you normally have to do everything as quickly as possible. The advantage which arises in using a DI Box is not only in saving time, but also in getting a pretty good and consistent sound in every conceivable situation.
Make sure you are using a dedicated guitar DI Box including filters to emulate speaker response. They are available in both active and passive versions and mostly are capable to convert line and speaker signals sourced from guitar amps into balanced, frequency-compensated, microphone-level signals with tonal characteristics of a guitar cabinet.
In the most ways the use of these tiny little helpers is easier than you would imagine. The only thing you have to do besides choosing your preferred “speaker” settings is to connect the DI Box between the amplifier output and the speaker and using the balanced output to feed the PA mixer.
There are a few guitar amps on the market which are equipped with an integrated DI Box and are capable to turn the signal into a very authentic sound.
Note: The RED BOX 5 emulates the speaker, not the microphone. In other words, signals provided by the RED BOX 5 sound like those of an actual cab rather than that of a microphone picking up the sound of a cab. The benefits are considerable: You get a fatter, punchier and more direct signal with far greater presence, bandwidth and dynamic range than signals captured with a microphone.
With the RED BOX 5, you can take the PA and playback device out of the sonic equation and deliver the sound of a guitar cabinet straight to audiences and listeners. Best of all, there’s no latency, spillover or crosstalk from other signal sources such as drums, frequency cancellations caused by neighboring microphones or any danger of feedback.
This signal is the best you can get for processing with compressors, equalizers, reverb effects and microphone simulations on stage and in the studio.
Tip: Experimentation is very much encouraged: Make the most of both worlds by mixing the signals from the RED BOX 5 and a microphone. The RED BOX 5 lends every microphone signal more girth and presence without detracting from its inherent characteristics.
In this video Thomas Blug gives you a good impression how the Red Box sounds like. He uses a TubeMeister 18 which is equipped with an integrated DI Box to do a pretty nice A/B comparison switching between the cabinets sound and the Red Box.
To learn more about cabling methods and several ways of configuring setups, we recommend you to read more about it here
And if you can’t get enough from the theory, check out the article about “Using Mics & DI Boxes On Stage” from our friends at “Sound On Sound”…
First published: May 14 2014. Most recent update: October 16 2015.