Show 178 – MXR Bass DI+ Reviewed and more!

This week we review the MXR M-80 Bass DI+ Pedal/DI/distortion. In the comments section we discuss Sonar’s Pro Channel feature; wire gauge; isolation cabinets; Line 6 console/preamp emulation; REAPER configuration; REAPER themes; setting up a mastering session and DDP export.

No guests this week.

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MXR Bass DI+

12 thoughts on “Show 178 – MXR Bass DI+ Reviewed and more!

  1. Definitely a cool show! Thanks a bunch for answering my questions to the fullest extent. xD It will really help me out in a bit.

    I don’t remember if you said what bass you used. Stingray, correct? Some basses have a top end that is too midrangy and clacky sounding, but the bass you’re using has a smooth tightness to it, especially on the higher strings. As for the pedal, it sounds similar to the Sansamp Bass Driver DI, but more open. The features are pretty awesome too. I wouldn’t mind having one of those in my bedroom- I mean studio. 😀 If it were to be put through an amp head, would it be better through an effects loop or right into the input?

  2. I’ve been looking at Bass DI’s for use in a live setting at church. Our soundguys don’t always know what they’re doing, so I’m trying to figure out ways to get the sound at its best before it gets to the soundboard in hopes that they will get a better mix. Do you think the M-80 is better than the sansamp for that purpose? Also, do you know of any DI for bass that has really simple & transparent compression? (Have to keep it simple for the players too…)

  3. Ryan, the 16gauge wire you used in your speaker cabinet is actually a great choice and I wouldn’t call it overkill….I used 16 AWG almost exclusively in my analog summing mixer.
    By the way, I am more than willing to “loan” you my summing mixer for evaluation if desired. Because there is a growing list not only of DIY’ers building them but also more companies are selling them, you might want to do a show on them and test a few. For what it is worth, although I used a plastic rack case (with an aluminum faceplate) for my prototype, I used .1% tolerance, $1.30 ea Vishay/Dale and IRC resistors instead of 10cent, 1% resistors and actually ran the two buss bars over and under each other instead of having them simply horizontal to insure equal lengths on all connections. This allowed me to lower the input load to lessen the gain loss without causing any crosstalk issues. All this is supposed to maintain better separation and depth of sound stage then when summing to stereo “in the box”. Anyway, it does seem to work and I am willing to let you use mine if you want to do a show on them. I’ll put mine up against any of the passive summing mixers on the market.

  4. Jon, I am in no way trying to get you to switch from Reaper, but I really think you should demo the new Sonar X-1 Producer expanded. Pro Channel is high quality, highly usable, and is really cool as are many of the almost endless features Sonar offers. You can also customize the interface. Sonar also offers direct publishing to Soundcloud as well as having a variety of exporting options including mp3 and FLAC. And for exporting to other DAWS Sonar offers both OMF file types as well as allowing exporting all tracks as individual files with one click.

  5. I appreciate the discussion regarding my comment last week, and Ryan, you’re absolutely right that a first impressions segment is all it should have been. I guess I was hoping for more insight because I had just purchased it and knew nothing about it. I figured for the price it was at least worth checking out. But once I spent some time with it, many of my questions have been answered. Reaper is a bit discouraging with all of the right click menus and deep preferences but once I understood them it was easier to embrace. The guys at (which I found via Gobbler) have a great Reaper 4 video tutorial ( that I purchased and I’m more than happy with it. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in getting more familiar with Reaper.

    That’s all I’ve got. Keep the shows coming, they continue to keep me inspired and motivated.


  6. Jon,

    Dude, your demo songs sound better than all of my material. Your bass tone is always awesome.

    I think you said you had an Ibanez SR-705 (and that you didn’t think it sounded good) and that you changed it out for a Music Man (model, # strings?) for like $400. I have the SR-705 and I don’t think I like it for recording (maybe I just suck). I record DI or through the Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II. Do you have a recommendation on the instrument (I’m definitely a low B guy)?

    Ride the Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide with Motorcycle Magazine pin-up chick, antibiotic-free organic free-range chicken to roast up for dinner, and Bryer’s chocolate ice-cream for desert,


  7. Hey Guys:

    Over the last couple of shows you’ve done, there’s been a lot of discussion about Reaper and and every feature you have mentioned as being unique to Reaper or an improvement over Pro Tools is a feature that other DAWs have had for a long time. Part of this, I think, has something to do with the fact that Pro Tools is a laggard, but also because you’re comparing version 8 of Pro Tools (2 versions old) with the latest-and-greatest Reaper. Not an exactly fair competition.

    I’m NOT a Pro Tools fan–in fact, I closely evaluated Pro Tools (and even own PT8 M-Powered) against Reaper (which I use for one project), Sonar (I owned several versions of Cakewalk and Sonar), and Cubase and finally ended up with Cubase as I had issues with compatibility, limitations, workflow, or stability with all but Cubase. I found Pro Tools to be the MOST inexplicably limited of all of the big DAWs. Even with an HD system, it couldn’t do what many of the other DAWs had been doing for several versions. The only edge it seemed to have was the ability to time-correct multi-channel drum recordings automatically–now available in Cubase 6.

    I love to see an upstart get airplay, but Reaper isn’t the revolution you make it out to be (other than it’s price point) and seems to get more airtime than it deserves. Maybe time to try some other DAWs?


  8. GSAA. I listen to every show, but I don’t comment often. (Call me a lurker.)

    Regarding sharing files with different DAWs. It’s true that it really doesn’t matter what DAW you use as long as those sharing know to save with agreed upon start points. However, if you want to exchange sessions (fades, cuts, etc…), the issue is a bit more complicated.

    I had a problem once when I did not record the tracks but was asked to mix them. The tracks were recorded on Nuendo (yeah, I know.) I did not want to buy Nuendo, especially for one project, but the recording engineer did not think (or care) about sharing files. There were track starts and cuts scattered everywhere. I had access to the recording PC, so I converted all WAV files to include BWF chunks within Nuendo. Then I used something called EDL Translate to import to REAPER. I still had some manual fixing to do, but it was better than repositioning all of the WAV files. Still a lot of work.

    I now have my “Project Settings” in REAPER to always write the BWF chunks. It’s a small extra assurance that will help should I need to share my tracks with another DAW. It doesn’t make the files much larger at all. Just a few kilobytes.

  9. Hey Jon….. I have a question regarding Reaper… So let me set up the question and explain what I’m dealing with here…. 7 microphones on the drums two guitars and bass guitar…. All recorded at very healthy levels. So before I go into any questions about plug-ins on certain channels let me bring up a scenario that I’ve done… When I start a rough mix I bring all faders completely down. I start with my two overheads left and right and I raise the signal as high as it can go with out it peeking into the red. I do this of course with the rest of the channels…. “NOW” when this is done my master track is peeking into the red pretty bad, and when I try to lower certain elements in the track it just seems I’m missing a whole lot…. And now comes the question I was always afraid to ask….. do I just simply lower the master track until it’s not peeking? I rendered a mix where nothing was peeking in the red and wow!! lame…. Well maybe lame is a bad choice of word …just no kick drum existing whatsoever in the mix. So I just gave it a try and brought  that kick drum up and rode the satanic signal that clipped so hard my grass was cut.. But following the advice of you wise gentlemen I just went with what sounded good to me but it kind of sucks in this situation that what sounded good could not rely on visually… Thats like masturbating with no magazine… I am using a wide variety of waves plug-ins but have to admit I’m not really sure I’m using them correctly. I’m knowledgeable on where to put compressors on drums but again with the master track, with would any of you guys put a compressor there? As always fellas, it’s a pleasure listening to you guys every week and not to sound creepy or anything but I almost feel as if I somewhat know you guys personally and I really think you all will enjoy my 800 page letter to each of you explaining how much of a fan I am and hope you will want to hang up the photos I sent. Ryan I think you especially we’ll dig the photo of you and I hugging…. I know I know isn’t Photoshop great!! 
    …. I didn’t want to say it because it’s funnier and creepier if not said but the last part was all a joke. 

  10. I have one more question that I forgot to ask on my previous home well wasn’t really a comment more like a novel…. But would you guys ever be willing to have the website set up to where say for example I can just upload my mix and then you guys can do a quick listen and email me telling me I should just commit boshido suicide and ending the email with….”PS: this will be used on a future show called the sounds of a shit mix…. Thanks for listening and don’t forget our donation button!!”  
    No but all jokes aside…. I’m sure it’s absolutely impossible for you guys to listen to a ton of mixes and explain certain key points on them but maybe what I mean is having a section on the website where other members can critique. If I ever had Dave chic listen and give me pointers…. Well…. Ok, I’ve made enough terribly horrible jokes for one episode 🙂

  11. GSAA

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the MXR di at first listen, but i came back to it with better head phones and it sounded way better. There was something going on in the high end with those head phones especially as the tones got dirtier. I can still kinda hear it with good head phones but its not nearly as offensive with the good head phones.


  12. Great show-thanks especially for the section on setting up a mastering session in Reaper!

    Referring back to a previous show (can’t remember which one) one of you threw in the question whether there are any Behringer products that are worth anything. As someone trying to develop a home studio while raising kids, I found the ADA 8000 a pretty ok compromise for expanding my hardware in/outs on the profire 2626. Another piece of equipment that’s worked for me is the BCF2000 midi controller.

    I have a suggestion for a guest on the show: Mike Senior from Sound on Sound magazine. He did a “Mix Rescue” for one of my own songs (The Road Ahead) a while back and is a great guy: really down-to-earth. He has published a great book on homerecording called “Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio”. His take (npi) on mixing is to listen for anything that clashes with what you already have as you add each channel and remove that, rather than trying to enhance sound on each added channel. It’s really improved my home studio mixes and helped me start listening rather than looking. Anway, below is the link to his website. I wrote to him about your show and he said he’d heard of you guys. Keep up the great work!

    Mike Senior’s website:

    Link to the book:

    And here’s a link to a great resource: a free multi-track wav music library to hone your mixing skills with:

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