DI distortion and not clipping interface. Looking for help


New Metal Member
Mar 30, 2017
I'm experiencing distortion from my guitars DI signal into my interface and i'm trying to troubleshoot it. My guitar is using fishman fluence modern active pickups and it's going directly into my apollo twin x. i've tested two different inputs and when i strum hard i can hear distortion even though i'm not clipping the interface input.

I've tried with the hi z input directly and i've also tried plugging into my radial j48 DI box and using the mic input. in both scenarios i'm not clipping the input or even close to it, but i hear distortion. even with a pad enabled on the DI box and the UA console, which puts my input somewhere like -30db, i'm still hearing distortion.

i recorded some DI takes and what i've noticed is that when i'm strumming hard that the signal looks pretty compressed. this is the first time i'm recording with active pickups and the apollo twin, so i guess i'm not sure what to expect with this setup, but i feel like i shouldn't be experiencing distortion even if i'm strumming hard.

the only thing i haven't tried is using a passive DI box, which I think is recommended for active pickups, but even if I plug into the hi z it doesn't clip, so i'm not entirely sure the problem is that i'm clipping the preamp. the only other thing i'm considering is that maybe this is being caused by possibly faulty pickup wiring? looking for suggestions/help! thanks
this almost certainly sounds more like you’re clipping the internal preamp of the pickups rather than the DI or mic preamp. Have you tried lowering the pickup height? can you try 2 batteries at 18v?

EMG’s commonly clip and it’s just part of their sound. Some people move them further away from the strings or run them at 18v, but a lot of the time that clipping is part of the desired sound.