Pre-amp/Compressor options

I’m finding that my mic input (XLR input, Rode condenser mic) needs to be cranked very high to get a good output to the USB channels from my Signature 12 MTK desk into Adobe Audition.

I’m considering the DBX 286s (as recommended by Mike) as I also want to add a compressor/expander/gate capability. The DBX 286s adds a pre-amp gain but I see that the (cheaper) DBX166xs compressor only has output gain. Do I need the 286, or would the 166 still do a good job? Is there and advantage to having, effectively, two pre-amps in the set up (using the 286s)? Advice please!

Thanks, Steve

I can speak from experience (owning both dbx 286s and dbx 166xs) you’ll want a 286s for a microphone and not 166xs. Yes you get two channels so two possible independent mic inputs. Saying that the 166xs can only really noise gate and compress a mic. The 286s has noise gate, compression, deesser, limiter and EQ all in one box.

I love it so much I currently own 3 dbx 286s units. 1 in the vocal studio at MRC and 2 in our live studio (one for my mic and the other is on @Izabela’s mic).

Hi Mike,
I have the DBX 286. Is there much difference between the 286 and the 286s?

I’m not aware of a dbx 286. There is a dbx 286a which is the older model. Is that the one you have?

Hi Mike,

Yes you’re right mine is the DBX 286a.
Is there much difference between the 2 models do you know?



They have exactly the same dials on so performance should be the same. One if black and the newer one is silver. The 286s is newer and may also have some better components inside it but if your 286A sounds good I’d stick with it unless you need a new mic pre :slight_smile:

dbx 286A

dbx 286s

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Thanks Mike. That’s great.
I’m happy with the quality of my DBX 286A, it’s a good bit of kit, so I’ll stick with it.

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