DBX 286 S

424

Microphone processor

  • Studio / Live microphone preamp
  • 48V Phantom power, de-esser, enhancer, compressor and expander gate
  • Design: 19", 1U
Compressor Yes
Gate No
Peak Limiter No
2-Channel Unit No
Attack/Release Adjustable Yes
available since January 2011
Item number 259111
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Channels 1
Number of microphone inputs 1
Compressor/Limiter 1
De-Esser 1
Phantom power 1
External effect loops 1
Analogue Outputs Jack
Digitale Outputs None
Level Meter 1
Design 19" / 1U
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£129
Including VAT; Excluding £8 shipping
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In stock

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SG
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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m
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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MG
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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RL
Nice unit, preamp not an upgrade from interface
Robin L 06.05.2020
Great looking device with well thought out features.
Very easy to use.

The low and high frequency detail (which isn't "just" EQ) sounds nice as long as you don't pump it all the way up.
It can just add that tad which is missing especially when you are using the 80hz cut off.
The De-esser does it job, similar to the compressor.
It's not too fast, not too slow. So perfect for controlling rather than removing peaks.

Tho for non-sensitive mics, beware for the noisy preamp.
I originally bought it thinking it would probably be less noisy than my Audient iD14 preamps but I was wrong.
From 30dB you start to hear the hiss.
Since you have to drive the compressor, it only amplifies it.
Not an issue for the majority of condenser mics since you will stay under 35dB anyways.

If you are buying it mostly for the effects section, it might be better to use the insert with another preamp if you are going to use gain hungry mics and especially if you are going into another (multiband)compressor/broadcast processor.

It's certainly a decent product for the price.
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