A few years ago, I reviewed the DriveRack , so in turn I will review the new flagship for dbx, the The was a great unit breaking new ground for dbx; but has dbx changed and fixed some of its limitations? The bigger question here is, as most manufacturers tend to update their products from year to year, has dbx actually improved on their product or just put it in a prettier box? Can the turn heads and budgets like its predecessor?
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The dbx DriveRack series of drive boxes has been immensely popular for quite some time, and in recent years, many contractors and systems integrators have featured the DriveRack in their racks. I got my first peek at the at InfoComm , and now the product is shipping.
I spent time with two of these units recently, and I have discovered the to be a major improvement over the original in many respects. Indeed, the DriveRack is a popular product, and with good reason. I had already had some exposure to the original unit, but I was told that the was substantially different and supposedly superior in many ways.
There is also an optional expansion slot for CobraNet connection in this area. Rounding out the rear panel are eight XLR connectors representing the eight analog outputs, and four XLR connectors accepting analog input.
All of these analog inputs have ground lift switches to lift pin number one, eliminating ground loop-induced hum. Jensen isolation transformers are an additional option on the analog outputs. A version is also available with a limited front-panel display, intended for installation use. Some of the most extensive changes between the and exist on the front panel. The display of the is considerably higher resolution than that of the Starting on the left end is a very welcome RTA microphone connection — there ought to be a law requiring these on all front panels.
Just to the right of the display are the function buttons. Below the function buttons are three rotary encoders to select and edit parameters.
Above the output meters are tri-color LEDs to indicate the breach of threshold level for inserted dynamics processors. Below each output meter is a rotary encoder to adjust levels.
Pressing the knob mutes the channel and illuminates a red ring around the knob to nicely and unambiguously indicate muted status. The color VGA display, along with much-improved button and knob functionality, make the far easier to use than the The signal flow obviously starts with the four inputs, which can be mixed or routed. Cross-patching can be accomplished in the , and a pink noise generator is also provided.
A second EQ, configurable as either a graphic or a nine-band fully parametric EQ comes next in the chain. Following that, there are two inserts into which may be inserted a gate, compressor, automatic gain control, de-esser, sub-harmonic synthesizer, notch filter, or automatic feedback suppression. The delay is displayed in seconds, feet, and meters. Next up in the chain is a six-band, fully parametric EQ, and then a second insert, which makes available a gate, a compressor, automatic gain control, and a limiter.
Finally, there is a delay, as in the inputs. Again, while my personal preference is to control the box with a laptop, I found the front panel very navigable and intuitive — a vast improvement over the Furthermore, any complaint about the inability to change the order of the signal flow is countered by the fact that there are EQs both before and after dynamics processors in the chain, so you can have it whichever way you want it.
Most importantly, the box sounds good. With internal resolution up to 96kHz, the quality of the audio is high. Also, dbx has developed and included digital versions of some of its legacy analog processors, such as the compressors and the sub-harmonic synthesizer. They sound great, just like their analog ancestors. This is a powerful drive box with plenty of useful bells and whistles, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants solid crossover, EQ, delay, and dynamics between the mixer and the amps.
Cons: Control software not available for Macintosh. Application: A 4in. Subscribe For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to our newsletter here. Featured Articles.
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