Previously I mentioned being given a Taurus T-Di Bass Preamp and DI-Box for Christmas by my parents. I also promised I would do a write up about it. I’ve been meaning to do it for quite a while – almost 4 months.
Finally though, here it is!
What is a Taurus T-Di Bass Preamp and DI-Box?
The T-Di is a great idea by Taurus that is a combination of a DI-box and a bass preamp in one nifty little foot pedal (effectively making it an active DI-box).
A DI-box, or direct input box allows you to directly connect an instrument such as an electric guitar or bass into a PA system’s microphone input. These are regularly used alongside a musicians amplifier, so that they can send a signal to both it and to the PA system.
Excerpted from Wikipedia:
A DI unit, DI box, Direct Box, Direct Input, Direct Injection or simply DI is an electronic device that connects a high impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal to a low impedance mic level balanced input, usually via XLR connector. DIs are frequently used to connect an electric guitar or electric bass to a mixing console’s microphone input. The DI performs level matching, balancing, and either active buffering or passive impedance bridging to minimise noise, distortion, and ground loops. DIs do not perform impedance matching.
In my own experience, I have never directly connected an electric bass to a PA system through a DI-box without also using my bass amp, the reason for this is simply because I have no control over the sound. Even with my amp I only have control over the sound coming from my amp, but it’s better than nothing. I have run an accoustic bass with pickups directly into the PA through a DI-box with no issues, in saying that though, my accoustic bass pickup has a lot of tonal controls which give me excellent control over the sound that comes out of the PA. The DI boxes I have used have always been passive, or in other words, they simply do the signal balancing and nothing else.
The T-Di is effectively an active Di box, which means it performs the signal balancing but is also has a preamp built in, so it is capable of providing gain control. The geniuses at Taurus have added some other goodies for people that are picky about their tone, like me.
What does a Taurus T-Di Bass Preamp and DI-Box do?
- Gain – takes the input and applies gain to it. This can be set to true, in other words no gain applied, or turned up for a nice gain boost.
- Bass – lets you adjust the bass tone after the gain has been applied. The knobs let you adjust it and a switch lets you set it as negative, positive or double positive.
- Treble – lets you adjust the treble tone after the gain has been applied. The knobs let you adjust it and a switch lets you set it as negative, positive or double positive
- Volume – is additional volume applied to the output after bass and treble adjustments have been applied.
- Vintage-MIX-Modern – allows you to switch between three tone options, vintage, modern tube simulation, and a mix of the two. All three of these options are quite nice tonally, mix provides the least variation on the normal tone of the bass though.
- Bypass options – give you the ability to set what you want the foot pedal to do when you press it. It can be set to mute the signal altogether/utilise the preamp and mix controls or to bypass the preamp like a traditional DI box/utilise the preamp and mix controls. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be able to mute as well on the second option, but that isn’t a big deal really.
The T-Di also has a punch button that adjusts the midrange based on the bass and treble settings to get a punchy sound.
The bass and treble controls can get some interesting sounds since they allow you to apply the settings you have select in the negative, as well as the positive, or to double the positive adjustments. When I tested this I was using my Redback 5-String Bass guitar with a small Behringer 10″ amp (I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try it out with a PA system), and when I turned the bass knob right up and set it to double positive, the open G string actually resulted in the speaker cone rattling as much as playing the open B string with no tonal adjustments. That’s some pretty serious bass adjustment! The treble was similar, turned right up with double positive, the B string became extremely twangy and the little 10″ speaker was actually able to relatively effectively reproduce the sound (it struggles with the B string regularly). I’d like to give it a try on my 15″ Peavey, but unfortunately I don’t have an extra power adapter (more on this later).
The T-Di also has a ground lift switch to help reduce ground loop problems, if there are any.
Something that caught me by surprise to some degree is discovering that not only does it have a little red power LED, but when you activate the gain controls with the foot pedal, the red sections on either side of the pedal light up and glow red. It’s pretty cool and really stands out whilst also serving the purpose of letting you know that the preamp is on.
What input/output options does it provide?
The T-Di has a mono input jack to plug your bass into along with a mono output jack to run to your amp.
It also has an XLR output to send to the PA system.
It’s nice and simple.
What does it come with?
My Taurus T-Di came with:
- 1x Taurus T-Di Bass Preamp foot pedal
- 1x Power cable
- 2x Velcro strips with matching opposites
- 4x Rubber feet
- 1x Big Taurus logo sticker
- 3x Small Taurus logo stickers
- 1x Outstanding new bass product line sticker
- 1x Taurus lint free cloth
- 1x Instruction manual
Is there anything Taurus didn’t think of?
If you are putting your new T-Di in a box with other effects pedals, then you’ve got velcro strips that are cut to the right size to fit the bottom of your T-Di. If you just want it on it’s own, then you’ve got 4 rubber feet ready to stick on.
As you may have noticed from the photos, the T-Di is pretty shiny on top, so the lint free cloth helps you keep it finger print and mark free so that it can keep shining.
To top it off, once you’ve used it and realised what a great idea it is, you want to let everyone know who makes it, so you’ve got lots of stickers to choose from and to give to your friends.
One note though for Australian buyers is that the power cable has a US style plug, so you will need a converter to use it with our power points. Fortunately, my Peavey bass amp has a US plug as well, so I just pulled the adapter off of it to test out the T-Di with. I need to get an adapter just for it though as the Peavey one doesn’t quite fit it properly.
My thoughts and conclusions
The Taurus T-Di is an excellent piece of equipment that is well thought out. Their slogan, “Designed by musicians for musicians” comes to mind here, it is exactly what I would want in a device like this if I were to design my own one, the only thing I would potentially do different is put in an overall mute option, however this isn’t a big deal really.
The 3 built-in tone options are excellent and subtle, they aren’t over the top, disgusting tones that I wouldn’t use, I would actually use these ones, and the tone controls are perfect. I like being able to control the mid as well as the bass and treble, however the T-Di does an excellent job of shaping the mid on it’s own based on your bass and treble settings, and the punch option just gives it that extra versatility to quickly get a punchy tone without having to play with all your balance settings.
Adjusting just the gain and volume controls allows for a huge amount of volume control, giving you the option to turn yourself up quite significantly if the PA guys/girls don’t get the hint that pointing up means your volume needs to go up, or if they simply ignore you. Of course they can turn you back down again at the mixing desk, but still. The sound does get grungier if you knock the gain boost up too high, but that is to be expected more or less, so if you are simply just trying to get more volume, the volume control is a better choice and an excellent idea considering the effect the gain control can have.
It looks good, it sounds great, and it functions just the way I would want a device like this to function.
I have to say that in my tests, it is perfect. Now I just need to try it out on an actual PA system! I’d like to try it running an electric bass into a PA system without my own amp so that I can see just how effective the tone controls and preamp are when used with a PA. I’ll put up the results once I get a chance to try it out with a PA system.