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

Channels 1
Number of microphone inputs 1
Instrument input No
Tubes No
Compressor/Limiter Yes
Equalizer No
De-Esser Yes
Phantom power Yes
Phase Reverse No
External effect loops Yes
Analogue Outputs Jack
Digitale Outputs None
Headphone connection No
Level Meter Yes

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DBX 286 S + the t.bone SCT 700 +
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starting from $299

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Our most popular Compressors, Gates and De-essers
325 Customer Ratings
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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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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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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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Not just for voice
Lew Canoe, 21.08.2017
I initially bought this unit to help with recording vocals (which it is superb for) but now use it for post-production on just about everything (guitars, bass, piano, strings - everything). If you are not a professional engineer with years of experience and full understanding of compression and EQ settings, then a few days with this machine and you'll be able to add clarity and fullness to your music. It doesn't use the standard naming conventions but you will soon understand how to use the features. Its cheap but far from nasty. Definitely recommend for all home studios. Great product.
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$162 €133.61
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