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dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip

B&H # DB286S Mfr # 286S
You Pay: $199.95
Product Highlights
  • Single Channel
  • 4 Processors
  • Compressor
  • De-Esser
  • Enhancer
  • Expander/Gate
  • Phantom Power
  • Insert Jack
  • Meters

The 286s from dbx is a full featured channel strip that includes a studio quality microphone/instrument preamplifier, and four processors that can be used independently or in any combination. The hassle of patching together multiple processors for use on one track can be frustrating. The unit delivers the entire microphone processing chain needed in a single box, with the shortest, cleanest signal path.

Features include wide-ranging input gain control, switchable +48V phantom power, and an 80Hz high-pass filter to remove low frequency hum, rumble or wind. The dbx OverEasy compressor can transparently smooth out uneven acoustic tracks, or deliver the classic "in your face" vocal performance. Vocal sibilance can be tamed or even eliminated and high frequency distortion removed from instruments such as cymbals with the frequency tunable De-Esser.

The Enhancer provides both HF Detail and LF Detail controls that can add sparkle and crispness to vocals, while making adjustments to the low frequencies for adding fullness and depth to vocals and bass instruments. Muddy low midrange frequencies can be cleaned and the separate threshold and ratio controls on the Expander/Gate allow for subtly reducing headphone leakage, or radically gate noisy guitar amplifiers.

The channel strip provides a full complement of metering and status LEDs. The XLR microphone input accepts balanced or unbalanced inputs, allowing for easily connecting professional or home studio microphones. The 1/4" TRS line input can accept balanced/unbalanced signals to process live electronic instruments or pre-recorded tracks at mix-down, while an insert jack provides access to the signal flow between the preamp and the processing sections for connection to external processors.

Studio quality microphone preamp/channel strip processor
Classic dbx compression puts great sound within easy reach
Frequency tunable de-esser reduces sibilance and high frequency distortion
Enhancer increases the detail and definition of the high and low frequencies
Program adaptive expander/gate
Insert jack allows you to add an external processor
Full complement of meters and status LEDs
+48V phantom power
Precision detented controls
Number of Channels Single
Inputs 1 x XLR Microphone (p2 hot)
1 x 1/4" TRS phone Line
1 x 1/4" TRS phone Insert
Outputs 1 x 1/4" TRS phone Insert
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz, +0.5/-0.5dB
Noise <-80dBu unweighted (20Hz-20kHz); both gain controls set for 0dB, all processing controls OFF
Preamp
Gain Range 0dB to +60dB
Maximum Output 0.25Vrms, Gain = 30dB
Input Impedance ~4.2kΩ
EIN -125dBu, 22Hz to 22kHz, 150Ω source impedance
CMRR >40dB, typically 55dB
Phantom Power +48VDC, applied to XLR pins 2 and 3 through 6.81kΩ resistors
Line Input
Impedance 10kΩ unbalanced, 20kΩ balanced
Maximum Level >+21dBu, balanced or unbalanced
Gain Range -15dB to +45 dB
CMRR >40dB, typically 55dB
Insert
Impedance Ring: >5kΩ
Tip: 100Ω
Maximum Level >+21dBu, >+20dBm (600Ω load)
Noise <-89dBu, unweighted (20Hz to 20kHz); Line Gain control set to 0dB
Distortion <0.01% THD, 20Hz to 20kHz, +10dBu
Line Output
Impedance 100Ω unbalanced, 200Ω balanced
Maximum Level >+21dBu, >+20dBm (600Ω load)
Gain Range -30dB to +10dB
Noise <-80dBu unweighted (20Hz-20kHz); both Gain Controls set for 0dB, all processing controls OFF
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz, +0.5/-0.5dB
Distortion <0.08%THD, 20Hz to 20kHz, +10dBu, all processing controls OFF
Compressor
Threshold Range -40dBu to +20dBu
Ratio >4:1 for input levels beyond 20dB above threshold
Attack Time Program dependent: >1S for small level increases, down to 10mS for large increases
Release Time Program dependent: adjustable between approximately 1dB/sec and 75dB/sec
Slope OverEasy
Sidechain No
Distortion Typically <0.05%THD, 20Hz to 20kHz, 15dB gain reduction, +10dBu Output, Density @ 0
SMPTE Intermodulation Distortion: <0.05%; 60Hz/7kHz 4:1, 15dB gain reduction, +10dBu Output Level, Density @ 0
Equalizer
Filter Type Not applicable
Frequency Bands Not applicable
Bandwidth Not applicable
Range (Boost/Cut) Not applicable
Light Indication
Threshold Range Not applicable
Ratio Not applicable
Attack Time Not applicable
De-Esser
Characteristics Wideband Gain Reduction
Frequency Range 800Hz to 10kHz High Pass, 12dB/octave
Release Time Program dependent approximately 1mS/dB
Enhancer
HF Detail Program-controlled shelving equalizer, approximately 15dB maximum HF boost
LF Detail Bell-shaped boost @ 80Hz, bell-shaped cut @250Hz, ratio is approximately 2:1
Gate
Gate Threshold OFF to +15dBu
Expansion Ratio Adjustable 1.5:1 to 10:1
Maximum Depth >50dB
Attack Time Program dependent, approximately 2mS (at maximum attenuation)
Release Time Program dependent, approxiamtely 10mS/dB
Dynamic Range Typically 105dB
Physical
Power Requirements 120VAC 60Hz, 100VAC 50/60Hz
15W consumption
Operating Temperature 32°F to 113°F (0°C to 45°C)
Dimensions (WxDxH) 19 x 5.75 x 1.75" (485 x 146 x 45mm)
Weight 4.5 lb (2.04kg)
Specialties Full compliment of meters and status LEDs
dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip
  • AC Power Cable
  • Two (2) Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    dbx286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip
     
    4.7

    (based on 6 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (4)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Good audio (6)
    • Easy to use (3)
    • Versatile (3)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Home studio (5)
      • Amateur recording (3)
      • Professional recording (3)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Experienced (5)

      Reviewed by 6 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-6

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      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Very good product

      By scrappy

      from Boston, Ma.

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Clear Sound
      • Easy To Use
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Home Studio

        Comments about dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip:

        It was difficult to decide between the dbx and the Presonus channel strips, but I went with the dbx 286s for a couple of reasons. I'm using it primarily for voice overs, and dbx has been making industry standard compressors for ever, plus I knew I needed some de-essing. I wasn't expecting to use the noise gate but it's very useful. This unit does a lot, quickly, simply, and it's very clean. There are also many positive reviews on the internet for this product.
        The Presonus is appealing for the tube and the EQ, which I could use in other applications, but I'm very happy with the dbx 286s. Ordering from B&H is always a great experience, which became painfully obvious when I ordered something from another site a few months ago.

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        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        DBX 286S Mic Preamp/Processor

        By Leo Kieswether IV

        from Maumee, OH

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Clear Sound
        • Durable
        • Easy To Use
        • Versatile

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Home Studio
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip:

          I use the DBX 286s with my Electro-Voice RE320 dynamic microphone. The great thing about the 286s is that the compressor is program dependent! This means that the threshold, ratio, attack and release varies with the texture of the input and not fixed to were you set them at! This makes for a smoother sound than fixed settings! The de-esser works like a charm with a mic that has presence peaks. The low and high frequency detail pots are genius! The low frequency detail pot boosts 80Hz while simultaneously attenuating 250Hz (low/mid) at a 2:1 ratio with both frequencies boosted and cut with bell-shaped curves. The high frequency detail only enhances certain high frequencies that get lost in the mix most likely due to compression, but doesn't seem to contradict what the de-esser is trying to do. The expander/gate does wonders on gating out background noise! The 286s seems to be a bit quieter than the previous 286a model. The order of signal processes make good sense to. The 286s is well worth it's price and much more!

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          (0 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          I would buy this product again and again

          By Maikon

          from Framingham,Ma

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Clear Sound

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Professional Recording

            Comments about dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip:

            So God for me

            Share this review

            (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            dxb The 'X' Factor

            By David Beneke

            from Los Angeles, CA

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Clear Sound
            • Durable
            • Lightweight
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Home Studio
              • Performances
              • Professional Recording
              • Voice Over

              Comments about dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip:

              I have always loved dbx products; I own three others, which I purchased in the late 70's. This is the first piece of pro audio gear I have bought; I needed a pre-amp/processor for Voice Over work. To say the least, I'm not disappointed. First of all the pre-amp section is very low noise and can handle anything I throw at it, be it a ribbon, dynamic or condenser microphone cleanly. Surprisingly clean! It has a very effective 80hz high pass filter, which cuts the rumble, not the lows and of course can power any condenser mic with it's 48 volt phantom power.Next, the effects processing, from a very strong compressor, which dbx is known for, to the de-esser, which can do an effective job with out having to go into a DAW to do it. The expander/gate, another dbx triumph, can remove computer fan noise, mic self noise in audibly. That means, if you set it right, you are not going to get "breathing". As with any effects processor, less is usually more, which I find with the enhancer. With all the effects on, the sound out from the 286s remains very clean.Amateurs, be fore warned, to get the best sound from this unit, read the manual, and don't over do the effects. The results will be disappointing to you! It takes a good balance and some learning to get things right, especially with so many options.Overall, for my use, it's perfect. The result is truly a professional studio sound. I can see where the 286s would have other uses, such as live, broadcast and recording instruments and vocalists. For [$] it really can't be beat, I couldn't be more pleased. I researched other units that didn't have the features, value and reliability I have always found with dbx. A well-built unit, that's sure to last as log as all of my still working dbx gear!

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              (0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              would buy again

              By arnie

              from nyc

              About Me Novice

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Clear Sound
              • Compact
              • Easy To Use

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Home Studio

                Comments about dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip:

                using it with one of my ham radios and otehr audio eqpt

                Share this review

                (0 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Works Great

                By Zakky

                from Houston, TX

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Clear Sound
                • Compact

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Amateur Recording
                  • Home Studio

                  Comments about dbx 286s - Microphone Preamp/Channel Strip:

                  I am only using this to run my talkback mic for the radio show I produce, which it works great for. I'm not sure about the sound quality because, honestly, I never hear it. I also don't know how well all the effects sound because I only use it to gain my mic and nothing else. The one weird thing about it is that on the compressor it has a "drive" and "density" knob which I have no idea what it means.

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