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Avis de RickD - dbx 286 A

This 100% analogue, there is no digital circuitry involved at all.
And so it's perfect if you have a digital recorder: compress the signal and add the gate before you go into the digital domain and you end up with optimal use of the dynamic range in your recorder and pretty much no noise at all.

XLR and TRS input.
XLR and TRS output if i remember correctly.

Preamp, compressor, deesser, enhancer, gate. It does all of those very decently for the money, by the way.

It's a normal 19 inch 1 unit rack.

UTILIZATION

You can't get much simpler than this: compressor has only 2 settings but in 7 years i never found that a problem. Used mainly on vocals and acoustic guitars, the unit did a good job and the gate worked great.
You have to be careful with your settings or you'll bring up hiss (enhancer and compressor). The unit is not exactly silent when you turn everything up but if you stick to the preamp then there's not much you can complain about.

Never needed the manual and when i sold this on, just recently, i realized the manual was perfectly new. I doubt the new owner will need it either...

SOUND QUALITY

This is budget product so don't expect miracles, but if you can't produce decent results with this then you need to learn how to use it! The sound is fine, it's just not going to rival with much more expensive gear, which is obvious anyway.

OVERALL OPINION

Took me a looong time to outgrow this!
It's an excellent swiss knife, it's just not the best knife or the best corkscrew.

If you want to upgrade from this, the only thing i can think of is the SPL Channel One...and that is about 7 times more expensive...
I would think the DBX286A is a very very good starting point and i don't regret the purchase at all.