Thanks for the quick replies - I guess a DI box isn't a quick fix for me.
have you investigated other parts of your gain stage? perhaps a quiet level coming from your input or some pedal?
Agreed - I need to take the time to go through and isolate each part of the chain to work out where the noise/level issues are.
Re. power supplies - I use a Diago unit http://www.diago.co.uk/pedal-power/diago-powerstation.html
which I brought with me to Canada when I moved from the UK. They seem to sell the same unit in N.America so hopefully that's not an issue (though you've got me worried now...!)
Also tempted by a POD - read a lot of good things about them as inexpensive front ends for direct recording. Might have to invest... Cheers.