dbx 286S Microphone Preamplifier

Set it, forget it, and record better vocals! This do-it-all mic preamp/channel strip gives you dbx compression, expander/gate, de-esser and "enhancer" EQ.

The dbx 286S is a full featured Channel Strip Processor that delivers a studio quality microphone/instrument preamplifier and four processors that can be used independently or in any combination. Why mic up vocals and instruments through a noisy, blurry mixer? The sonically pristine dbx 286S Mic Preamp has all the features you need, including wide-ranging input gain control, switchable +48V phantom power, and an 80Hz high-pass filter to remove low frequency hum, rumble or wind.


- Studio quality Mic 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 compliment of meters and status LEDs
- +48V Phantom Power
- Precision detented controls

Use the patented dbx OverEasy compressor to transparently smooth out uneven acoustic tracks or deliver that classic in your face vocal performance that only a dbx compressor can. Eliminate vocal sibilance and high frequency distortion from instruments such as cymbals with the frequency tunable De-Esser. Fine-tune the Enhancer HF Detail control to add sparkle and crispness to your tracks and make adjustments to the LF Detail control to add fullness and depth to vocals and bass instruments while cleaning up the muddy low midrange frequencies. And, read more the separate threshold and ratio controls on the Expander/Gate allow you to subtly reduce headphone leakage or radically gate noisy guitar amps.

The dbx 286S offers a full compliment of metering and status LEDs to visually guide you to achieving the right sound. The floating balanced XLR Mic Input accepts balanced or unbalanced inputs to easily connect to professional and home studio microphones. The additional 1/4-inch TRS Line Input can accept balanced/unbalanced signals to process live electronic instruments or pre-recorded tracks at mixdown. Use the Insert jack to interface between the Mic Preamp and the signal processing sections to loop out to external processors (such as EQ or delay unit) or to mix the Mic Preamp's signal out to an external destination.

The cost and hassle of patching together multiple processors for use on one track can be frustrating. The dbx 286S provides you with all the mic processing you need in one box, with the shortest, cleanest signal path to keep your music sounding its best!
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Mic Input:
- Input: Floating balanced, Pin 2 Hot
- Impedance: ~4.2k ohms
- Maximum Level: 0.25Vrms, Gain = 30dB
- Gain Adjustment Range: 0dB to +60dB
- Phantom Power: +48VDC, applied to XLR pins 2 and 3 through 6.81k ohm resistors
- CMRR: >40dB, typically 55dB
- EIN: -125dBu, 22Hz-22kHz, 150 ohm source impedance

Line Input:
- Input: Floating balanced, TIP Hot
- Impedance: 10k ohm unbalanced, 20k ohm balanced
- Maximum Level: >+21dBu, balanced or unbalanced
- Gain Adjustment Range: -15dB to +45 dB
- CMRR: >40dB, typically 55dB

- Connector: 1/4 inch TRS phone, Normalled; tip is Send, ring is Return
- Ring: Impedance: >5k ohms
- Maximum Level: >+21dBu
- Tip: Impedance: 100 ohms
- Maximum Level: >+21dBu, >+20dBm (600 ohm load)
- Noise: <-89dBu, unweighted (20Hz-20kHz);
- Line Gain: Control set to 0dB
- Distortion: <0.01% THD, 20Hz-20kHz, +10dBu

Line Output:
- 1/4 inch TRS phone: Balanced/Unbalanced
- Impedance: 100 ohm unbalanced, 200 ohm balanced
- Maximum Level: >+21dBu, >+20dBm (600 ohm load)
- Gain Adjustment 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-20kHz, +10dBu, all Processing Controls OFF

- Threshold Range: -40dBu to +20dBu
- Threshold Characteristics: OverEasy
- Compression Ratio: >4:1 For input levels beyond 20dB above threshold
- Maximum Compression: 30dB
- Attack Time: Program-Dependent; >1s for small level increases, down to 10ms for larage increases
- Release Time: Program-Dependen; adjustable between approximately 1dB/sec and 75dB/sec
- Distortion: Typically <0.05%THD, 20Hz-20kHz, 15dB G/R, +10dBu Output, DENSITY at 0
- SMPTE Intermodulation Distortion: <0.05%; 60Hz/7kHz 4:1, 15dB G/R, +10dBu Output Level, DENSITY at 0

- Characteristic: Wideband Gain Reduction
- Frequency Range: 800Hz to 10kHz High Pass, 12dB/octave
- Release Time: Program-Dependent approximately 1ms/dB

- HF Detail Characteristic: Program-controlled shelving equalizer, approximately 15dB maximum HF boost
- LF Detail Characteristics: Bell-shaped boost at 80Hz, bell-shaped cut at 250Hz, ratio is approximately 2:1

- Threshold Range: 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

- Power Requirements: 15watts
- Operating Voltage: DO: 120VAC 60Hz, 100VAC 50/60Hz; EU: 230VAC 50/60Hz
- Physical:
- Dimensions: 1.75 x 5.75 x 19 inches (4.5x14.6x48.5cm)
- Weight: Net Weight: 4.5 lbs/2.04 Kgs
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Base Item
Shipping Weight: 6.25 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 3 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): DBX286SV

For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 844-776-4899
Web: https://www.dbxpro.com/en/support

Reviewers gave this product an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars. (9 ratings)
Submitted September 26, 2014 by Joe Green in Ione, CA

"Best Single Piece of Equipment for a Small/Home Studio"

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
(see rating details)
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
This is truly a phenomenal piece of equipment. The preamp is extremely quiet for a consumer grade system. The expander/gate really helps tame echo/room noise. The de-esser is very good at eliminating most sibilance without losing vocal harmonics and the compressor evens out the incoming signal very smoothly; a little goes a long way. The manual that comes with the unit has some good suggestions for basic settings. I would not hesitate to buy this unit again.

Musical Background:

Lifetime musician, recording artist, studio owner, producer.

Musical Style:

Country, classical guitar and keyboards.
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