Z-TONE DI and Buffer Boost Now Available

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Z-TONE DI and Buffer Boost Now Available

Postby Peter_IK » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:04 pm

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Recording and performance solutions featuring onboard tone-shaping options are now available.

Our Z-TONE technology expands from our AXE I/O hi-end guitar interface to everyone with Z-TONE Buffer Boost pedal and Z-TONE DI active direct box - available now!

Both offer a unique active/passive pickup selector switch to ensure the ideal gain staging for any instrument; switchable PURE and JFET input circuits to adjust from pristine, transparent sound to added warmth and harmonics; and IK’s patented Z-TONE variable impedance control for powerful new ways to shape an instrument’s sound and feel.

Z-TONE Buffer Boost

This guitar/bass preamp/DI pedal adds Z-TONE tone shaping to any player’s pedalboard or stage rig. Now users can adjust the feel and tone of their instrument directly by adjusting the input impedance of their preamp pedal before hitting the rest of their pedalboard. Z-TONE Buffer Boost also offers premium sound, with a best-in-class dynamic range and extended frequency response, delivering superior performance as an instrument preamp.

Z-TONE DI

This studio-quality active DI box lets users add Z-TONE tone shaping to line-level sources like mixers and interfaces, making it ideal for use both in the studio and on stage. Like Z-TONE Buffer Boost, Z-TONE DI offers a best-in-class dynamic range for ultra-quiet operation and a wide, extended frequency response that won’t cut off an instrument’s natural range. It features adjustable input and output gain, a balanced Main output with ground lift to eliminate buzz or hum, plus an unbalanced out for flexibility and a -20dB pad for an extended operating range.

Z-TONE Buffer Boost and Z-TONE DI are currently available from the IK Multimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide.

Z-TONE Buffer Boost: $/€169.99*
Z-TONE DI: $/€149.99*

*prices excluding taxes
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Re: Z-TONE DI and Buffer Boost Now Available

Postby jonny_franc » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:57 pm

Are the DI & pedal identical and have the same I/O connections with the exception that the pedal has the boost?

My 2 software amp modelers.... the usual suspects.... I've given up on as they sound bad. Why I suppose? Only recently have I come to understand that plugging a guitar directly into your a/d/a interface, regardless of having an 'instrument' input, is not a good thing.

I recently saw some videos that recommended that you really need to use a DI box into interface. That perplexed me as I understood that DI boxes were simply used to run long lines of audio cable with low noise.

Someone in a forum said try using a buffered effect pedal because they have a buffered circuit. So I tried that. While there was a very noticeable difference in how the modeler reacted, it was just another variation of $#@! tone, lol.

I do understand that besides the whole buffering aspects of these products, there is the Z tone thing. I imagine its a variable input impedance circuit like this other well known manufacturer uses on it's hardware modelers.

I'm hoping the pedal could perform double duty into my interface as well which is why I ask if they're functioning and i/o is identical (with the exception of the boost of course)

Do both have groundlift and -20bd pad?

I'm also a bit confused by the diagrams on product page as the DI box shows it's balanced output going into an interfaces MIC input and you have a +48v shown as well. That implies to me that you should turn on phantom power with this??
Why doesn't the DI output go into the interface line level/instrument balanced inputs?

I'm very confused by this, heh.

Thanks
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Re: Z-TONE DI and Buffer Boost Now Available

Postby Ryan_IK » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:21 pm

jonny_franc wrote:Are the DI & pedal identical and have the same I/O connections with the exception that the pedal has the boost?

Do both have groundlift and -20bd pad?

They are very similar, but they have specific features for where they are meant to be used that separate them.

For example, Z-TONE D.I has a -20dB PAD on it. This is not on the Z-TONE Buffer Boost, since you probably won't need it when sending out to amplifiers/fx meant for live use. The Z-TONE D.I on the other hand will not have the Buffer Boosts optional +10dB boost (with pedal control). The Z-TONE Buffer Boost will also offer a 9V power supply port which is not feature on the Z-TONE D.I as you would normally use battery for Phantom Power in most cases.
jonny_franc wrote:My 2 software amp modelers.... the usual suspects.... I've given up on as they sound bad. Why I suppose? Only recently have I come to understand that plugging a guitar directly into your a/d/a interface, regardless of having an 'instrument' input, is not a good thing.

I recently saw some videos that recommended that you really need to use a DI box into interface. That perplexed me as I understood that DI boxes were simply used to run long lines of audio cable with low noise.

It would be best to check your source going into your amp modelers to make sure there is nothing wrong there. D.I boxes can do a lot for your signal. Check out the line below from our FAQ on "What is a D.I box and do I need one?".
Since an interfaces in essence is a complete studio all built into one device; from the pre-amps, headphone amplifier, D/A and A/D conversion, and not all inputs are created equally. This allows you to upgrade this one section of your existing audio interface without any physical changes to your set up, improving the clarity in your signal giving you’re a better start to your projects.

Full FAQ section on Z-Tone Buffer Boost here. There is also some explanation on how Z-TONE and Triple Topology can improve your tone as well.
jonny_franc wrote:I'm hoping the pedal could perform double duty into my interface as well which is why I ask if they're functioning and i/o is identical (with the exception of the boost of course)

I'm also a bit confused by the diagrams on product page as the DI box shows it's balanced output going into an interfaces MIC input and you have a +48v shown as well. That implies to me that you should turn on phantom power with this??
Why doesn't the DI output go into the interface line level/instrument balanced inputs?

The Z-TONE Buffer Boost can serve as both a D.I to go to your interface and go to your pedal board. It's a sturdy little beast.

The examples on the site are just that, there are many other ways you can use these devices. The Z-TONE D.I does get power via Phantom Power, yes. The D.I BALANCED OUT is what I would send to an audio interface, depending on the inputs I had available at the time. The MAIN OUT is also a great option, but this all depends on the specific gear being used.
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Re: Z-TONE DI and Buffer Boost Now Available

Postby jonny_franc » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:37 pm

Thanks for the info Ryan

Ah, so the pedal gets its power from battery or wall wart and the DI from phantom power.

I have the original NI Audio6 interface. Therefore if I get the DI, for example, the proper way to plug into it would be using an XLR cable, set input choice to line rather than instrument and turn on phantom power.

This just had me thinking... does my interface provide phantom power regardless of whether the input is selected to line/mic or instrument. Hmmmm, need to check its guide book.

However, lets say instrument input setting does provide the +48 as well. Would it matter to the Z-Tone boxes whether its connected to a line or instrument?

I suppose perhaps there is an impedance difference between the two. I always thought the difference was more that mic inputs had greater sensitivity and gain available in order to boost a mic's weak signal, while instrument inputs can handle the hefty output of guitars, synths, etc.
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Re: Z-TONE DI and Buffer Boost Now Available

Postby Ryan_IK » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:44 pm

jonny_franc wrote:Thanks for the info Ryan

Ah, so the pedal gets its power from battery or wall wart and the DI from phantom power.

I have the original NI Audio6 interface. Therefore if I get the DI, for example, the proper way to plug into it would be using an XLR cable, set input choice to line rather than instrument and turn on phantom power.

This just had me thinking... does my interface provide phantom power regardless of whether the input is selected to line/mic or instrument. Hmmmm, need to check its guide book.

However, lets say instrument input setting does provide the +48 as well. Would it matter to the Z-Tone boxes whether its connected to a line or instrument?

I suppose perhaps there is an impedance difference between the two. I always thought the difference was more that mic inputs had greater sensitivity and gain available in order to boost a mic's weak signal, while instrument inputs can handle the hefty output of guitars, synths, etc.

Correct. While both units have battery and Phantom power options. The Z-TONE D.I does not offer a port for a 9V PSU like the Z-TONE Buffer Boost.

When you connect to your interface using the XLR output, you'll actually be sending a signal level designed for the mic input on your interface or mixer. When you connect using the 1/4" output on the Z-TONE D.I, then you would be sending a signal level designed more for say an instrument input on your mixer/interface, or your guitar amplifier/pedal board.

If you wanted to send to an amplifier or pedal board and bypass any gain staging from these devices, the THRU / LINK will help you do that while still getting the Z-TONE circuitry.

Check out these new videos on how these sound and are used. The Z-TONE D.I video goes over clean to rock guitar and some bass. The Z-TONE Buffer Boost goes over a higher output (passive) guitar with some more heavier, metal sounding tones.



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Re: Z-TONE DI and Buffer Boost Now Available

Postby jonny_franc » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:57 am

Thanks again Ryan. :)

Watched vids. Will definitely buy.
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