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DBX 286 S

Microphone processor

  • Studio / Live microphone preamp
  • 48V Phantom power, de-esser, enhancer, compressor and expander gate
  • Design: 19", 1U
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Further Information

Compressor Yes
Gate No
Peak Limiter No
2-Channel Unit No
Attack/Release Adjustable Yes

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If you order this product together with others as part of a bundle, you can save up to 5 % additionally!
DBX 286 S + the t.bone SCT 700 +
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starting from £253

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Our most popular Compressors, Gates and De-essers
402 Customer Ratings
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4.7 /5
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Professional value at affordable price
Steve Galloway, 06.04.2020
I use voice recording in an office/studio which operates a lot of electrical equipment and and having a hardware sound chain and preamp in one channel strip like the dbx 286 S Microphone Processor helps me cope with white noise and outside traffic noise while coping with anything from Office 365 Teams telephony and professional voice production.

Packaged in a 19" rackmount form factor may terrify those who are new to audio production, but the unit enjoys plenty of professional YouTube commentary to help understand the learning curve and configure this workhorse. The unit is excellent for those moving up from entry level microphones to prosumer and professional tools. Also, a hardware sound chain like the dbx 286 S may be quicker to get to grips with than learning audio processing software to achieve the same results in tools like Audacity, Reaper, and other post processing apps.

I can disable the sound processing chain and record raw mic input for post processing, and I can always fall back to preconfigured settings for telephony/rush recordings, casting etc. In this respect the High Pass filters and Expander/Gate really help cope with outside neighbourhood noise and suppressing electronics fans etc.

I marked down the the "Features" by one star because the unit does not have a power on/off button. This means having to unplug the unit from my rackmount power strip, and it is a feature I would be very pleased to see included in future iterations.
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Perfect for improving audio during video meetings!
mrozzzz, 10.07.2020
I bought the DBX during the COVID lockdown primarily for video meetings, because I wanted to have a better audio when using my Rode NT1A microphone.

At first I tried various digital workarounds (microphone routed through DAW with noise reduction/gate plugins, compressor, EQ, and looped back) but I had loads of problems that way. Sometimes it worked perfectly, other times my coworkers complained about all sorts of problems that I didn’t hear on my end, not to mention the extra latency.
Eventually I gave up and started looking at hardware options. After watching loads of reviews online I decided on the DBX and it worked great! The compressor and noise gate were especially helpful.

I think that for video meetings/calls or for streaming the DBX is the best choice for this price. However for the usual audio recordings (vocals or voice over) I use it only as a preamp with processing bypassed and then do all the post processing in my DAW afterwards, because that gives me more wiggle room to process the recordings anyway I want.
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You'll love this thing
Micha G, 25.01.2021
Years ago I decided I wanted this pre, but through unforeseen circumstances I never got to buy it. Since then, I have upgraded my signal chain from a 1st gen Scarlett 2i2 to a Clarett. As I am starting a new production I thought: what the hell, just buy it. At this price you really can't go wrong.

And you can't. I have been using it for two day now and I must say: I'm very impressed. We use it for the vocal tracks on singer/songwriter music and the artist is so much more comfortable using this then going 'dry' into he Clarett (using the Rode NT1000 or the Audio Technica AT 2035). It eliminates background hum, airplanes and other stuff. The compressor tightens the vocals in a very musical way. I give his voice a very subtle boost in the lows, which brings his 'chest' sound up just a notch - brilliant.

Don't overdo it as driving this unit too high gives strange effects.

In conclusion: I always thought that the way to get a better sound is through better microphones and/or AD conversion. This is true, but the power of this nifty unit made me overthink this. So, if your vocals sound too thin or dull to your ears, you might stick to your present signal chain and invest in this DBX thingy instead of buying other mics.

4 instead of 5 stars for the hum the transformer in the unit produces. I have the same thing with my Kawai piano. I'll have to live with that. And the expander/gates filters it out anyway.
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Great for voice overs
Zahn, 17.03.2021
A radio station I worked at before had one of these, but, I always felt it was under-utilized as it had very subtle settings dialed in for the processing. And now, I finally got around to investing in one for myself to improve my home studio output, and I couldn't be happier to maximize it for my particular voice.

I plugged this into my signal chain as soon as I got it out of the box, and used it right away to record a commercial VO. It sounded like I was finally maximizing my mic's potential, and I enjoyed the "fuzzy" analog tone I was getting from it.

Up until today, I was relying on plug-ins in post to "mold" the right tone in for my VO work. The 286s now helps me do that as I record, saving me time and effort.

It can get a little tricky trying to find the "right" processor settings for your voice, but a little Googling brings up useful tips on better understanding of what each dial actually does and some good baseline settings. The only drawback is that you can't make presets for different mics. I guess taking a picture of your best settings for each mic would help.

Oh yeah, like a lot of folks, I also wish it had an actual power switch. I would recommend hooking it up to an automatic voltage regulator to keep it from ever getting fried by electrical spikes.

Overall, it's a really great add-on to your gear if you've been hooking your mic up directly to a USB interface. And you won't have to break the bank to get it.

P.S. The folks at Thomann give awesome customer service. They shipped it well and fast, and their chat support is very friendly and helpful.
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£133
Including VAT; Excluding £8 shipping
Available shortly (2-5 days)
Available shortly (2-5 days)

This item has been ordered with our suppliers and should be in our warehouse in the next few days.

Standard Delivery Times
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