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Bare with me here as a lot of this is new to me, but here is my understanding of my problem. I have a Taylor GS mini, which I believe has an active preamp built in. When I plug my guitar into my pre amp using an XLR chord I have, and then from my preamp into my computer via USB (Using logic pro X as my DAW), I'm getting a static sound.

From the research I've done, it's because my guitar outputs an instrument level signal into the preamp, but the preamp is expecting a microphone level signal, so it's boosting an already too loud signal?

More research seems to point me towards the fact I need a DI. That's why I'm here. I want to make sure I understand what's really going on before I buy one, and also would I need a passive or active DI. I assume passive, because I want to drop the instrument level signal to a microphone level signal for my preamp.

Can you guys explain what would be causing this static? Am I way off? Is a DI a good idea to have to fix this problem?

  • There are two types of electronics available from Taylor for the GS Mini. You can get the ES Go pickup made for the GS Mini, which is a passive magnetic pickup and you can buy the GS Mini "e" with an active piezo under saddle pickup. It might be helpful to know which type of pickup your GS Mini has. If you are not sure - the Active under saddle pickup needs batteries and the passive magnetic pickup does not. Also, the active pickup (with pre-amp) has volume and tone controls. – Rockin Cowboy May 29 '15 at 3:21
  • Bad cords and dirty contacts also cause static. If its popping, your processor is most likely too slow, if its humming, you have bad power from the outlet. – Jay Skyler May 29 '15 at 4:17
  • @RockinCowboy It does have volume and tone controls, so it must be an active pickup. – Jeremy W May 29 '15 at 13:07
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It's probably not the level but the impedance, which is the ratio of voltage to current for a given level of power. A DI is mostly an impedance matcher but it also lets you do some level manipulation in many cases. The active versus passive DI question is more about tone than level. If you want a nice clean tone with a wide frequency response, active is usually a better choice. For a smoother spound with a little extra warmth, you might want a passive DI. Active DIs also require phantom power.

If I were in your shoes I would plug that into a Radial J48 or Countryman active DI, assuming I could afford it. The Radial JDI is pretty much the passive DI, but I have a couple Whirlwind passives that have nice transformers in them and are more affordable. Just don't dishonor a Taylor by plugging it into a Behringer DI. :-)

  • Kk. So if this is an impedance problem a DI should solve that, whether it be an active or passive one? I'm definitely going to look into those DI's you suggested. Thanks! – Jeremy W May 29 '15 at 13:14
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    Well this is a little late, but I did end up picking up a passive DI and it solved my problem. Still wrapping my head around all of this but I'm getting there. Thanks a lot! :D – Jeremy W Aug 20 '15 at 18:40
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It may be related to your audio interface settings. If the buffer sizes are too low it can cause all kinds of weird (bad) sounds. If your computer and interface are up to the task, you should be able to adjust the buffer so you get a good clean sounds with minimal lag. Another thing I have seen is on laptops, the power saving settings sometimes cause issues. Even setting to 'Maximum' might not be enough. (look for settings relating to USB ports). Final word on the buffer size - you can rule this out by setting it to its maximum buffer size - if it clears up you know you are on the right track. It may be unplayable due to lag, but you can then shrink the buffer to your liking. If you cant shrink it enough to keep the sound clean without lag you need to upgrade your hardware.

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