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Amplifying Your Ukulele: Direct Boxes

My Personal Recommendations for a Ukulele DI

The Fire-Eye Red-Eye, the Radial JDI or J48 are the two pedals that I go to for the ukulele live. Get the Jenson equipped Radial.

2019 Update: The LR Baggs Align Series Active DI is promising. I have the Reverb, Chorus and Equalizer pedals testing out for my ukulele.

Been using the Fire-Eye, Red-Eye exclusively with my ukuleles. Simplest the best and easiest to use DI i've ran across. Going to get a few more of these for our Funky Frets store main stage.

I love this Red-Eye for is lack of additional knobs and controls - less to mess up. And, for the boost part for taking solos at loud jams with a full band - guitar and all can drown out the ukulele.

Checkout these links for some great info on sorting out just what a DI - active or passive - does.

Fire-Eye Red-Eye Instrument DI w/Boost

The Red-Eye is an all analog, handmade, high input impedance DI and clean boost. Designed and improved over the course of several years to meet the needs of performing musicians, the Red-Eye is crafted from the highest quality components available. Engineered by an electronics engineer with over 50 years of professional experience, the Red-Eye design focuses on high fidelity, low noise and simple plug and play performance. This no frills precision approach to amplification offers a truly satisfying experience for musicians and their audience.

Fire-Eye Red-Eye Twin DI w/Boost

Fire-Eye products are handcrafted. Raw components are purchased, the chassis are drilled, they are transported to a paint shop to be powder-coated, and then taken to a print shop to get legends. Then the mechanical components are screwed in and circuit boards are assembled and soldered. Lastly, the connections to controls and connectors are wired and the circuit boards are mounted and connected to the controls and lights. After a thorough test process, they are packaged and delivered to users.

Fire-Eye Dee-Eye

nput: high-impedance, greater than 1 million ohms, maximum 5 volts peak-to-peak level. Low-impedance, balanced, XLR output, 600 ohms, will drive long cables to a mix-board. Requires XLR Phantom Power. ¼ inch output and input for accessory loop, suitable for stomp-tuners or effects boxes or for output to on-stage guitar amps or PAs. Small Size: 1.25 x 1.5 x 3.75 inches. Weight: 6 ounces.

Radial Engineering R8001010JDI Single-Channel Passive Direct Box with Jensen Transformer

The JDI is a high performance passive direct box for live concert touring and professional studio recording applications, featuring a premium Jensen transformer for exceptional audio performance.

The Radial JDI is a passive direct box designed to handle extreme signal levels without distortion of any kind. At the heart, the Radial JDI employs the world class Jensen JT-DB-EPC audio transformer delivering a smooth, warm sounding Bessel curve, reminiscent of the finest vintage gear. Ruler flat from 10Hz to 40kHz and with virtually zero phase deviation, the JDI delivers the natural, pure sound of the instrument without artifact. By its no-power passive design, the Radial JDI performs both high-to-low impedance conversion and signal balancing over a magnetic bridge that passes signal while rejecting stray DC voltage. This makes the JDI particularly adept at eliminating hum and buzz caused by ground loops.

LR Baggs Venue DI Acoustic Guitar Effect Pedal

Every Tool You Need in One Acoustic Pedal.

The Venue DI gives you complete control by combining a full-isolation DI output, 5-band EQ with adjustable low & hi-mid bands, variable clean boost, and chromatic tuner all in one acoustic pedal. With its all-discrete signal path, hi-graded semiconductors, and exclusive use of audiophile grade film capacitors, the Venue DI is on par with the world’s elite preamps and provides a studio quality sound for the stage.

LR Baggs Para Acoustic D.I.

Studio quality performance, powerful tone shaping EQ and rock-solid reliability, the Para DI has become an indispensable stage tool for countless musicians around the world. This roadworthy box effortlessly tames the stage and enhances any acoustic pickup for a fuller, more complex sound. The Para DI features a 5-band EQ with a tunable midrange and notch, variable gain control for passive or active pickups and a high-quality DI output for a pristine signal to the board.

LR Baggs FIVE.O Undersaddle Ukulele Pickup

(Curt) This is the pickup that is in my newer Ko'olau CS Tenor. We carry and install these at out Funky Frets Music Store in Boyertown, PA USA.

Undersaddle Ukulele Pickup/Preamp System with Volume Control and 300-hour Battery Life.

The Funky Frets Main Stage

@ Funky Frets Music Store, 124 N. Chestnut St., Boyertown, PA USA

Some performers just like to play on and on!

The Funky Frets Main Stage can accommodate up to 60 for a House Concert atmosphere.

Fire-Eye Development, Inc.

3800 Mia Tia
Austin, Texas 78731
USA

Tel: 512-346-6944

Hand-made in the USA

Latitude: 30.354115
Longitude: -97.760925

Links
Listing Info • click here to show or hide more info

from the Fire-Eye Development, Inc. web site

Flat response and high headroom - no knobs to fiddle with on-stage.

The Red-Eye is an all analog, handmade, high input impedance DI and clean boost. Designed and improved over the course of several years to meet the needs of performing musicians, the Red-Eye is crafted from the highest quality components available. Engineered by an electronics engineer with over 50 years of professional experience, the Red-Eye design focuses on high fidelity, low noise and simple plug and play performance. This no frills precision approach to amplification offers a truly satisfying experience for musicians and their audience.

Red-Eye DI/Boost

Red-Eye

Also available a twin for switching A/B instruments.

The Red-Eye DI/Boost is flat-out the BEST and easiest DI that I have ever used. It is my go to pedal for all situtitions.

Hoping to have these available at our Funky Frets Music Store in the near furure.

More information available on the Fire-Eye Development, Inc.'s web site.

Even more information, discussion and comments on this listing.

Radial Engineering

Radial Engineering
1588 Kebet Way
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
V3C 5M5

Latitude: 49.239849
Longitude: -122.757858

Links
Listing Info • click here to show or hide more info

from the Radial Engineering web site

Radial Engineering Ltd. is a manufacturer of professional audio products based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The company offers a wide array of products that are sold under brand names such as Radial, Tonebone, Primacoustic, Reamp and Zebracase. These are offered through a network of dealers and distributors that span the globe. Quality construction, exceptional audio performance and superb customer service are the underpins that have served to make Radial one of the most respected and trusted brands in the industry.

Which DI?

DI Family

A simple rule of thumb:

  • If the source is active, use a passive DI box
  • If the source is passive, use an active DI box
Source Instruments - Ukulele with Piezo Pickup

SB-4 PZ-DI PZ-Deluxe PZ-pre

these are the same for a Classical guitar

Radial has a great page for selecting the right DI for pretty much any instrument and pickup combination: Comparing DIs

More information available on the Radial Engineering's web site.

Even more information, discussion and comments on this listing.

L. R. Baggs

483 N. Frontage Rd.
Nipomo, California 93444
USA
Phone (805) 929-3545
Fax (805) 929-2043

Latitude: 0
Longitude: 0

Links
Listing Info • click here to show or hide more info

from the L. R. Baggs web site

We started this in a loft in downtown Los Angeles, California, with a hope and a dream, and no business sense whatsoever. The first L.R. Baggs product was our LB6 Series Pickup. We would like to thank Leo Kottke for his early support. Stores would call us and say, "Leo Kottke said he was using your pickup." We could literally track his touring route as the stores would order in his wake. Early endorsers were Steven Sheehan of the Judds, James Taylor and Kathy Mattea. These endorsers gave us the encouragement and support that sustained us when we had more enthusiasm than business sense. They spread the word and gradually our business grew.

LR Baggs Para DI

The Para Acoustic D.I. is a studio-quality direct box, featuring a five-band equalizer with tunable notch and midrange controls, adjustable gain and phase inversion. Our proprietary Quasi-Passive EQ circuitry is totally transparent and allows control over voicing without sacrificing tone — a big advance over conventional equalizers. In short, the Para D.I. Is engineered to bring out the best in any pickup.

( Curt - This is my go to performance DI for ukulele.)

More information available on the L. R. Baggs's web site.

Even more information, discussion and comments on this listing.

Mackie

LOUD Technologies Inc.
16220 Wood-Red Road NE Woodinville, Washington 98072, USA

tel: +1 425 892 6500

Latitude: 47.746677
Longitude: -122.161324

Links
Listing Info • click here to show or hide more info

from the Mackie web site

Mackie is a brand of the United States-based company LOUD Technologies. The Mackie brand is used on professional music and recording equipment, such as mixing consoles, loudspeakers, studio monitors and DAW control surfaces, digital recording equipment and more.

*Mackie Designs, Inc. *was founded in Woodinville, Washington by Greg Mackie, an ex-Boeing worker who began making pro audio gear and guitar amps in his spare time. After founding the small line mixer manufacturer TAPCO, and later the home audio processor manufacturer AudioControl, Mackie founded Mackie Designs, Inc., designing and manufacturing affordable and versatile compact pro audio mixers. Mackie Mixers sprouted and began life from a condo situated in Edmonds, Washington. The LM-1602, priced at $399 was Mackie Designs' first mixer. By 1991, Mackie Designs had moved to a true factory to concentrate on, and release the CR-1604, a follow-up model to the LM-1602.

More information available on the Mackie's web site.

Even more information, discussion and comments on this listing.

Shure Microphones and Audio Electronics

Shure Incorporated
5800 West Touhy Avenue
Niles, IL 60714-4608
USA
Phone: +1(847) 600-2000
Toll Free: (U.S. only) +1(800) 25-SHURE
Fax: +1(847) 600-1212

Latitude:
Longitude:

Links
Listing Info • click here to show or hide more info

from the Shure Microphones and Audio Electronics web site

Shure Incorporated is an American corporation originally founded by Sidney N. Shure in Chicago, Illinois in 1925 as a supplier of radio parts kits. The company became a consumer and professional audio-electronics manufacturer of microphones, wireless microphone systems, phonograph cartridges, discussion systems, mixers, and digital signal processing. The company also produces listening products, including headphones, high-end earbuds and personal monitor systems.

The Shure SM57 is a common professional low impedance cardioid dynamic microphone in live sound reinforcement and studio recording applications. It is a popular choice among live users due to its sturdy construction. It is often used on instruments that produce high sound pressure levels, such as the snare drum and other percussion, electric guitar amplifier, and even vocals. Introduced in 1967, the SM57 remains one of the best selling microphones in the world today. The SM stands for Studio Microphone.

More information available on the Shure Microphones and Audio Electronics's web site.

Even more information, discussion and comments on this listing.

Additional D.I. / Preamp Resources

I'm sure there are a few more out there. Let me know if you have a favorite for ukulele.

Fishman Transducers, Inc.

Fishman is dedicated to helping acoustic musicians achieve the truest sound possible whenever they plug in.

Our ongoing commitment and wide range of innovative products has helped our company grow to become the industry standard for acoustic amplification. From the largest arena to your own living room, wherever you hear an acoustic instrument, you can bet you’ll hear a Fishman. Fishman users are passionate about their brand of choice, for one simple reason: we put the needs of the acoustic musician first. With exciting new products in development and the ongoing growth of Aura Acoustic Imaging technology, Fishman continues to lead the way in acoustic amplification.

BBE Sound

BBE Sound is a premier audio technology company dedicated to improving the quality of amplified sound for all people, from everyday consumers to music and sound professionals. BBE High Definition Sound technologies are found throughout the audio entertainment production spectrum; from the stage and studio, where world-renowned musicians insist upon using BBE professional audio processors, to consumer electronics manufacturers who implement BBE High Definition Sound technologies into their products so that they provide a more satisfying audio experience to their customers.  

K & K Sound Systems, Inc.

Our mission is to establish K&K as the premier manufacturer of the highest quality acoustic amplification products in the world while maintaining the highest respect and service to our customers, employees, and community.

All K&K products are designed and manufactured in house, enabling us to quickly react to customer and market needs. Specific requests for customized products are easily met for musicians, dealers, and manufacturers. Our products are proudly Made in Oregon, USA. We encourage our customers to shop local and we strive to do the same.

Whirlwind USA

Whirlwind manufactures and distributes a wide variety of products through our worldwide network of independent dealers. Some only sell pro audio, some only service the install and contracting markets and others are music stores which primarily sell our snakes, cables and interface boxes.

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