Submitted June 1, 2014 by Michael G in Baltimore, MD
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I run the Venue at the end of my board using the XLR out into a mixer most of the time. I play mainly Taylor guitars, which have pretty low output pickups but very nice tone. The Venue sends along an excellent, uncoloured sound and gives me a tone that's very close to my 816ce unplugged, which is exactly what I want in a DI.
This thing is built like a tank, it's quite heavy and well made. I wish it weren't so large, simply for pedalboard real estate, but it's well worth it.
A word of advice - this DI outputs damned near exactly what you put into it, with whatever you add through the preamp - a great guitar will sound even better, but a poor quality guitar will still sound poor. Cheap cables (by cheap, I mean the stuff guitar center will throw in when you buy an inexpensive guitar, or the $8 / 25 feet stuff) will degrade your sound quite a bit. I personally use Mogami gold, which is probably over the top outside of a studio, but I did test a few garbage instrument cables against Mogami and the new D'addario American stage cables and there was an audible difference.
Great sound quality. The frequency boosts and cuts are nice and subtle with small adjustments but can also be used to add or remove quite a lot of sound. I often cut treble a bit and add to the bass and lower mids when using a smaller bodied Taylor (my 612ce, for example) for fingerstyle songs, I get a great deal of extra warmth. I have no complaints whatsoever with the Venue's sound.
The preamp portion is easy to use and offers user selectable frequencies for the mids, which is ideal for getting your guitar to come forward in the mix or to tone it down a bit. The boost is solid and adjustable with very clean sound, I have it set at 5db and switch it on for some solos or when playing fingerstyle when set up for a pick, it gives back the volume I'd usually lose. I personally run a J Rockett Lemon Aid boost as the first pedal on my board and keep it on 99% of the time, so I don't need the boost on the Venue continually. I have played with JUST the Venue, however, and I used the boost to match the volume on my friends Martin D-28 with LR Baggs Anthem electronics while playing a 612ce without having to mess with any of my settings.
The tuner is quite good, it's accurate and saves me needing to use a standalone box.
Ease of Use
I find the Venue to be extremely user friendly. I had mine up and running with the tone I wanted inside of twenty minutes of taking it out of the box. Everything on it is self explanatory and well labeled...if any of the features aren't familiar to you the instruction manual will sort you out in no time. It's not the typical one sheet of paper you get with most pedals, it goes into detail on what each knob does and how to set it up properly. Also included is an insert showing how to use the tuner, though I find it to be the same as using the Boss TU-3 that most of us would be familiar with.
This thing honestly feels like it's built to take a beating. The knobs are plastic, but the metal housing rises up at the top and bottom of the DI and all of the controls are recessed a bit, so it'd be very hard to accidently step on anything that isn't metal.
The control knobs have a very smooth feel and are nice and tight, making it very easy to make your adjustments in small increments. The metal switches and input / output jacks are very high quality, I expect this product to last for years.
Yep, it's worth the money. Sure, $300 is a little steep for a DI, but the build quality, tone and features just put it over the top.
I've dealt with LR Baggs in the past regarding an Anthem system I bought to install in my Santa Cruz OM. The rep I got was extremely friendly and knowledgeable and gave me technical details that I needed in order to get the sound I wanted from the Anthem. That was part of the reason I went with another LR Baggs product.
The Wow Factor
I personally got exactly what I wanted from a DI with this box. I was previously using a Baggs Para DI and a Boss TU-3...the sound quality on the Venue is better, without a doubt. It's also a gorgeous box. I like the fact that if I don't need effects I can just pull the Venue off my board and zip it into the case it came with to go out and play, rather than needing a DI and a tuner as well as either 2 AC adapters or a 1spot. The Venue accepts a 9v battery, which many other DIs do not...also a very handy backup & convenience feature.
Alt-rock, lots of 90's stuff, fingerstyle singer-songwriter kinda things.
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