DI Box Or Not with Scarlet 4i4?

DesertRatt

New member
Recording with my Strat I’ve been plugging straight into my Focusrite 4i4 and being
single ended there is some noise.

I'm considering getting a quality DI Box with balanced output to go into the 4i4.

Will this make an improvement, or do most people not bother?

Or, am i just looking for another shopping opportunity so my wife can say, "OMG, another box for you!"
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
Single coil pickups are always susceptible to noise. One thing to check is whether the noise you get changes when you change the orientation of the guitar. If it does, it's pickup noise. And, trying different cables to rule out a bad cable is always worth trying, too. Me, I doubt a DI will do much to tame the noise, but adding an MP3 with a recording of the noise might help others speculate on the type of noise you are hearing.
 

BroKen_H

Re-member
I feel very fortunate that my wife rarely says anything about my purchases. She often encourages them. I think she would let me spend our way into the poorhouse if it meant I'd be happy... Guess I'm very lucky.
Anyway, with a strat there will always be some noise, but you already know what that noise is and how to deal with it. Most think it's part of the beauty of the strat sound.
A couple of things to ask...
Do you use a physical amplifier? If so, I would recommend one with a "through" to split between amp and di.
Are you just trying to reduce the hum of your Strat? If so, possibly EH's Hum Debugger might be a better fit.
Are you are running longer than 20-25' cables? If so, it might make a difference as the signal will be balanced to the input.

In any case, I hope it all works out! Happy Recording.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
Single coil pickups are always susceptible to noise. One thing to check is whether the noise you get changes when you change the orientation of the guitar. If it does, it's pickup noise....
+1 ^


I run my SSS Strat straight into my Tascam interface and, currently, get no noise at all. Though in the past I have experienced the traditional single coil noise while seated very close to my PC - and that will usually go away if I rotate 90° or so. Usually just moving away from my PC does it.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Recording with my Strat I’ve been plugging straight into my Focusrite 4i4 and being
single ended there is some noise.

I'm considering getting a quality DI Box with balanced output to go into the 4i4.

Will this make an improvement, or do most people not bother?

Or, am i just looking for another shopping opportunity so my wife can say, "OMG, another box for you!"

A little more than 15 years ago, I developed an obsession around classic Telecasters, specifically the early pickups. I built a pickup winder with a counter and researched all the documentation I could find and wound hundreds of pickups. When I ran out of guitars to put pickups in, I started building guitars. Really long story as I tend to find deep rabbit holes to explore.

Single coils are always going to be susceptible to noise at least from the front unless they have a grounded cover like a Tele neck pickup but you lose top end. Where a lot of guitars are not equal is how well the body cavities are shielded. Two main methods are copper foil or conductive shielding paint. Where practical, I used both soldering the copper together and to ground. Also made sure the bridge has a good ground. In addition to shielding the cavities, you can also replace single wire with shielded coax. I started using Mogami mini coax in my builds as a standard.

If the noise is out of the ordinary, I would first try to identify potential noise sources such as LED lighting, dimmers and such. Could be environmental.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
I always shielded my single coil guitars at least some - played in a church with terrible wiring and it helped a lot (but I still ended up using a humbucker guitar most of the time).

klein.jpg
 

Chili

Site Moderator
I'm considering getting a quality DI Box with balanced output to go into the 4i4.

Another point to consider.

You talk about having a balanced input to the interface, but you still have to use an unbalanced cable from the guitar to the DI box. That cable and the single coil pickups (as others have already mentioned) are your weak links. You are not really eliminating them, you are just adding another component to the signal chain.

I vote no DI box. Use a DI box if you're going to a PA system through a snake that is 100ft long.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
There are two components to electric guitar noise.

Electro-magnetic coupling and electro-static coupling. The latter is caused by being immersed in an electric field radiated from all the wiring in the house (go sit in a field with a battery amp and a Strat and have a near -100dB noise floor!) E'stat fields are stopped dead by a conductive screen.

E magnetic fields are much stronger and penetrate even 2mm of iron but they are low in range and very directional. They come mainly from transformers . The "Humbucker" pickup solves the problem to some extent but has a different tone to single coils. Best you can do with a S/C guitar is keed as far from gear as possible and find the 'null' point in its orientation.

Dave.
 

DesertRatt

New member
Great information here. Thanks! For now, I'll just continue without a DI. After listening closer i think the most noise occurs while NOT playing. Add soon as i touch the strings it gets quiet enough.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Great information here. Thanks! For now, I'll just continue without a DI. After listening closer i think the most noise occurs while NOT playing. Add soon as i touch the strings it gets quiet enough.

Ah! Do you mean as soome as your fingers make contact with the strings the hum stops or that the hum cannot be heard ovr strumming?

If the former the guitar need the bridge and therefore the strings, bonding to the jack sleeve and the internal screening (assuming that has been done.)
If the hum is masked by playing look for a noise gate plugin or buy a NG pedal. I had a Behringer AI that had a blood good real time NG in it so if they make a pedal (must do?)

Dave.
 

DesertRatt

New member
Ah! Do you mean as soome as your fingers make contact with the strings the hum stops or that the hum cannot be heard ovr strumming?

If the former the guitar need the bridge and therefore the strings, bonding to the jack sleeve and the internal screening (assuming that has been done.)
If the hum is masked by playing look for a noise gate plugin or buy a NG pedal. I had a Behringer AI that had a blood good real time NG in it so if they make a pedal (must do?)

Dave.

Yes, that's what i mean. The buzzing stops when i touch the strings. BTW, it's a 3 year old mint condition American strat, so i doubt if it is defective, per se.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Yes, that's what i mean. The buzzing stops when i touch the strings. BTW, it's a 3 year old mint condition American strat, so i doubt if it is defective, per se.

I know nothing of the screening quality of American Strats but it is always possible for a wire to be missed, especially when it makes no difference to the playing of the guitar. A momement with a digital meter will reveal all but there is another possible scenario?

There is a school of thought that thinks bonding the strings of a guitar to effectively the amplifier chassis is a potential safety hazard. It is possible that Fender have blown hot and cold on this idea over the years. Now, I think I can say I am well known now in this forum and that I have a smattering of technical electronics jnowledge? Many here would I think also agree that I am almost OCD about electrical safety. So, IMO bonding strings to 'ground' does NOT compromise your safety. I will tell people to only buy good quality mains cables etc and check them for faults at least once a year. If you gig (remember that?)check them and your 'diss' boxes BEFORE each session and get everything PAT certified once a year. DO use an RCD device at the common mains outlet. But don't worry about earth bonded strings.

Dave.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
A very cheap volt-ohmmeter (I may have got one for free at Harbor Freight) can be used to check continuity between your strings and the ground/shield of the guitar cable. Just set it on OHMS - some low setting like 0-50 or whatever, and it should be effectively zero ohms when one lead clipped to the bridge/strings/tuners and the other attached to the output jack nut and then to the sleeve of the end of the cable where you have it plugged into the interface. If it's not zero, you have an open ground, but that would likely hum like a MF all the time. Still, like I said, test a couple different cables and spin around in your chair, hold the guitar overhead, etc., to confirm the pickups are where the noise is entering, then see if you can reduce it by turning off anything in the room, especially lighting, but really anything else electronic. If your computer is a notebook, run it on battery and see if the noise is less, etc.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Good stuff Keith. The insidious thing about electro-STATIC radiation is that it is there all the time, even if every piece of grear and light in your house is turned off it is still there because the is a charge around the cables in the wall.

"They" say, if you stand under a 132,000 V pylon (don't try this at home folks or anywhere else!) with a 6ft tube in your hand it will light up! That's ES fields for ya!

Dave.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
...
"They" say, if you stand under a 132,000 V pylon (don't try this at home folks or anywhere else!) with a 6ft tube in your hand it will light up! That's ES fields for ya!

Dave.

Hey.. we used to strap 24" fluorescent tubes to our car's bumper-mounted CB whip antennas - they would light up when the mic was keyed.

.. and now back to our regularly scheduled program..
 

hautbois16

New member
I thought that the Scarlet box you have is in and of itself a DI box. Granted, I don't know a lot about these items, but if you are getting noise when you plug your strad into it, I would think you might want to look deeper for the reason you are getting the noise. Is it hum related to 60Hz? Are you using a reasonably good quality cable from your guitar to the equipment? I have found in my small recording studio that my physical orientation with respect to the recording equipment can cause more hum to be picked up, induced from the electronics within my reach. Changing the way I am facing often eliminates that noise.
 
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