I think that sometimes it's best to try something for yourself so that you can draw your own conclusions.
You may have misunderstood my post. You're probably right about the importance of the DI box, what I meant is that if some vendors say studio and merged profiles sound different, the problem is probably somewhere else, as I imagine they have good DIs. So yes, maybe they're doing something wrong.
If CK says they sound the same, I believe him (and yes, like I said before, I haven't tried myself).
Still I think it would be interesting to have official information about the importance of a good DI; the recommended DIs in the sticky post of the "share tips and tricks" section are actually quite cheap (10 to 40 euros)
Thanks for your recording. I can hear slight differences between the loops, but wouldn't be able to say which one is which or which one sounds better.