Radio audio processing

Hey guys audio question im a radio presenter and wanting sound processing to process both the music and speech any ideas what can use???

hello, If you want to make your voice sound better, try the DBX 286 mic preamp and for your total mix a bit compression with a DBX 266. All affordable stuff. If you want more processing you have to let me know where you are looking for…

Hi there,
I use a an older DBX unit on my voice (286a) which works really well.
For my music, I use the software PlayIt Live with the audio processing plugin, which is digital.
I don’t process my total mix though - for me, this is done elsewhere when broadcasting.
Hopefully, this helps!

Most professional stations will use expensive processing equipment but depending on your needs you could get away with a DBX286s for your mic and a dbx 166xs for your output before transmitting or streaming.

Alternatively if you’re putting your finished output back into a computer to stream you could use a software solution like Stereo Tool in combination with vb Audio Cable.

I use a software processing called “Stereo Tool”. There’s a free version or you can upgrade. The really neat thing about Stereo Tool, if you’re like me and haven’t had a lot of experience with how to process an audio chain, you can download user’s presets online and try them out. I tried three different ones and settled on what I think sounds as good as any broadcast radio station I’ve ever heard or worked at.

There is one issue with this. You will experience some slight latency, which isn’t an issue until you try to monitor air when you are live on the air. To get around that, I had an old Compeller audio processor that I installed in my studio, and I routed an output of my audio console into that so that I can plug my headphones in to that and at least hear a processed signal while on the air. It works for my purposes,

Hope that helps.

Hi rob,
Radio processing is quite different from audio processing (like compressing and so on) Stereotool is as you write a nice plugin but can kill your “on air” soud dramatic if you do not know what is hapening.
My advise for starters with radioprocessing is buy an DBX 266 compressor limiter and practice with fast attac times slow release times and quite some gainreduction (in radioland 15 dB is not strange)
good luck!

Hi Studioavm

I think the DBX286 proc is an awesome Mic processor, and is what I use for my mics. However, if you want to process your radio station’s sound (think air chain), the DBX286 isn’t something I would choose.
StereoTool is something that you can start with very slowly, and you need no experience, other than your ears to listen to what sounds good to you. There is a whole community of radio station processing geeks (i use that term with love) who create specific sounds to mimick specific hardware. You find these folks all over YouTube, and the StereoTool forums. For example “FM Optimod sound of the 80s” “90 CHR sound”, etc. I am not engineer, nor do I have any experience in processing radio stations, but I know what I like when I hear it. I purchased StereoTool and downloaded 3 or 4 of these configuration files, loaded them in StereoTool, and just listened to the station for a few days with each configuration. I chose the one I love and run it on my station. No experience needed. Simple to install, load the config files etc.
In my humble opinion, it’s the best option for beginners.

Dear rob, if stereotool works for you it is fine! The only thing i want to tell evereybody that Radiosound ([processing) is something very different than just put an compressor on your Left/Right. We @student FM have an orban radiochain witch sounds like this:

best regards!


That is cool, and it would have been my first choice, but way outside my price range, and I don’t have any experience setting it up to get the sound I like. Every station I’ve worked for, including most of the AM stations used Optimods.

Initially, it was my plan to do all physical gear when building out my station, but I quickly realized that an Optimod was not going to be possible. I looked at buying an older, pre-owned device, but since I don’t have any experience with electronics, I wouldn’t be able to fix it like most of the hobbiest I see on the internet do by soldering in new components, etc. But it’s an awesome device for sure. :slightly_smiling_face:


Ive got the DBX 286s for mic processing with the main audio would i be best to process that to? My playout one had compression and EQ built into the software have the compressor set but wondering if anyone uses the processor in playoutone with additional kit??

Hi Thomas,
if you use the dbx on your vocals it is fine! you can put another compressor at your main left right out if you are working with a analogue mixer.

Hi Rob,
The Optimod sound is indeed quite good and although the equipment is analogue it still can compete with today’s stations. I am also not a good in electronics but we have her in the Netherlands a guy who is a real orban doctor… he can fix anything with the name orban on it.
This setup is not cheep but saving money for it was it worth!