The J48 Active Direct Box is absolutely amazing. I use it during a full-blown acoustic set with a 12-string. It's rich, has a lot of great output, and built like a tank (for all of you out there that know the kind of beating your gear takes when you are an active musician). Most of all, you can drive it to an extreme! Excellent choice and investment!
This is THE DI to have! Excellent on bass, keyboards, and guitar. Get two, one for each ear!
Believe the Hype..amazing for recording
I have a wonderful UA solo 610 running into an Antelope Zen Studio. Great sounds, but man, i've always had an issue with hum and buzz. I use some Collings Electrics (humbucker and P90 versions) but always had some hum. i tried this to help. I usually run my guitar into the Solo 610 and have the clean signal go into my Zen and then use the through on the Solo 610 go through effects into the Zen as a colored signal. I've never had luck with the through on the Solo, its loud, lots of hum and buzz. Even with ground lift..buzz/noise/static...too much
I plugged the J48 in, used the through output and direct...hit the ground lift and wow, in all seriousness, i couldn't believe what happened. 100% noise gone. I have a furman power conditionar rack unit and it wasn't until i got the JDI (and the active DI as well for my guitar) that i really heard my gear sing. I use the J48 into my Solo610, its just insane how good it sounds now. The ground lift on the Solo never solved my issues, but this box did.
I never really 'got' the whole thing about DI boxes, but this thing just solved so many issues. Sound quality of my pre-amps are dramatically improved.
Believe the hype.
Part of me wants to gush all about this J48, but here are the simple facts: I was using a cheap $20 DI box for my Taylor 618e (new version) with the Taylor Expression2 system, and I had to EQ the pants off the channel on our PreSonus StudioLive 32.4.2.AI desk at church (not name-dropping gear, just want to portray that I'm using decent components front to back). Then one of teh channels died so I started researching DI Boxes. This active J48 kept coming up as the winner for acoustic guitars rather than line-level keyboards (keyboards work fine but also do with a passive box). Seemed nuts to drop 200 bucks on a DI box, but when I saw that Tommy Emmanuel used to use this before switching to the line-out on the AER amp, I knew it was worth a try.
Outcome: I now run the EQ F-L-A-T on the PreSonus board, and only slight cut the bass knob on the guitar, the treble knob stays flat also! I also leave the volume on the Taylor at center detent and just use the excellent XMAX pre in the board to get my signal in the mix. Unbelievable, I am so happy with the sound now, I thought the Taylor system was lousy, turns out my junky DI box was the issue. You can't rip this J48 out of my hands now, what a fool I was to think all DI boxes were the same.
Final note: I do mostly fingerstyle and the Expression 2 system with a PRO DI box sounds very very good. Strumming can still be a bit boxy, but a slight cut around 300 should fix that. If you are using a rosewood acoustic then you'll need to cut more, this new maple Taylor is gorgeous in that respect, much less boxy tone. Nonetheless, if you have a pro instrument going to a pro system, a cheap DI is wasting your time. J48 all the way.
I have always intended to re-amp my guitars so I can focus on getting a good take separately from worrying about microphone placement, etc.
In doing so, I've been using the Radial X-Amp reamp box with a couple extremely nice preamps.
I have a Great River and a Crane Song Syren in a 500 series lunchbox. Both have a "Hi-Z" input which I thought would be perfect on guitar. Both of these preamps are an absolute joy when a mic-level signal is used. However, using the Hi-Z input for a guitar is a nightmare. The headroom is practically nonexistent, causing them to distort very quickly unless the gain is set very low (the output from the pre not very hot as a result). And when you do leave enough space by keeping the signal from the guitar low, the reamped sound is thin and brittle sounding, the sound of the amp via the X-Amp and the guitar direct to amp absolutely night and day. In fact the DI on the 18i20 audio interface (no external pre in use) sounded better than the Hi-Z input on these $800+ preamps..!
I bought this box praying it would solve the problem and it absolutely has. I now use the J48->whatever preamp and then reamp through the X-Amp. The result is that the reamped guitar signal sounds nearly identical to the guitar direct to amp, almost impossible to distinguish and definitely of a quality worth mic'ing.
J48->Great River 500->X-Amp being my favorite signal chain, the thing works like an absolute dream and saved my reamping setup.
Radial J48 Review
When you need a road worthy, dependable, clean, interference resistant Direct Box, the Radial J48 hits the mark in every way. This box requires 48v phantom power, but it uses that circuitry to provide a strong clean signal all the way back to the mix station as well as feeding on-stage amplification an unaltered signal path.
Pricey but worth every penny. I recommend.
The New Standard
Excellent DI for both recording and live. I do not like mentioning other names of products when comparing. But for all its worth the way this DI is built along with its capabilities its no wonder why this box isn't the industry standard.
It does make a difference
I already own a couple of Radial's excellent JD1 Passive boxes, and got my J48 as a part of the re-amping kit. I didn't use it until I got into a big live recording setup and wanted to take the bass both mic'd and DI'd. Normally when I do this, I end up tossing the DI track becasue it's too much work to get it to sound as good as the mic track sounds raw. Not this time. The J48 (recorded through the preamps on a 01V96) caught all the tone...the punch...every nuance of the playing...it just sounded beautiful. Coupled with the whole 'built like a tank' thing, there's no reason not to give it all five stars. I want another one.
Awsome direct box
Very easy to use and set up. First time I gigged with it, I recieved many compliments on the tone. Built like a tank and will last me into the future. A no hassel permanent piece of my equipment from now on!
A Must Have
DI Boxes may not be the most interesting topic, but
they are a critical part of any studio. Most of the
direct boxes I have used seemed about the same.
This unit is different. It makes the signal sound
like what you thought it should sound like.
Clean, open and lush. This thing is amazing
on bass and analog sythnesizers. Has many
features and is rock solid. Well worth the price.
A great box, worth the money
I bought this a Gearfest this year and have to say I'm pretty impressed with it. I have a couple of DI's that I bought or inherited for live use. I recently did a shootout for what would be best using a passive Fender Jazz bass. After being able to hear the good and bad of different DI's, I can say this DI really does sound GREAT! Unlike some active DI's it does not sound overly bright or harsh, just a true full spectrum representation of the sound.
The features are also great. I really like that you can do the dual input for bringing stereo keyboards to mono. Also this thing is built like a tank. I think the only thing I would possibly want in it that it doesn't have is a option for using a battery, but even that is not really a big issue.
It does what I need and sounds great. Having a pad and hi pass filter help as well. you need phantom power so not for all applications.