dbx 286A settings...HELP!
Recently got a dbx 286A, in large part to get the Expander/Gate deal with the noise floor.
Been playing around with it in all kinds of combinations, but can NOT get the Expander/Gate to sound right- highly unnatural.
What settings do you recommend?
Is there a particular routine and order to set the Expander/Gate, as well as the other settings: Compressor, De-Esser, Enhancer?).
Tried the suggested settings in the "manual" but they didn't help a whole lot.
Don't intend to use it on all recordings, but figure it would be useful on podcasts and some longer narrations, where I can sit at the desk, and where absolute silence is not critical.
[BTW while I have a fairly quiet recording environment, but it is a quiet urban neighborhood. No space for an audio booth. The noise floor comes mainly from a computer or two (mostly in the 2k to 4k range), and a very slight hum from a couple of distant refrigerators in the background]
FWIW I also have a GQ 1031BII 31 channel Yamaha equalizer, if that would help, but as it has no pre-amp, that would have to be after the dbx in the chain.
Last edited by D Voice; 06-18-2010 at 09:49 AM.
Reason: spelling, wording corrections
You need to remember that a "gate" is exactly that, it's a gate, on hinges. Picture a garden gate, it opens when you need to pass through and closes when you're done.
Common sense should prevail here, eliminate the violating noise first. Move the computers away form the recording area, along with the refrigerator.
The noise gate is there to help with minor incidental noise, it's not a magic wand.
And post samples.
Last edited by Mike Sommer; 06-18-2010 at 12:03 AM.
Yes, of course Mike. Will try to move things around a bit, and post something in a few days.
But wondering if anyone has experience with this unit (it seems to be rather well-lnown), and what settings they found that worked well.
Last edited by D Voice; 06-18-2010 at 09:54 AM.
These setting are pretty good to start with. But if there is to much noise you're just fighting an up hill battle.
Also if you have a lot of background noise I would not apply any compression, compression will only make
it seem worse. Besides we should not be using compression in VO anyway, other than some auditions.
Again you my be asking to much of this unit. Fix the problems first.
Here are some basic settings
Gain-With the signal present, turn up the gain control until the 0 dB led lights, but the clip LED does
not. (If your gain is not high enough, compression and gate may not work properly.)
48V - This should only be pressed in if using a condenser mic that requires phantom power.
HighPass - Try pressing this button in. If the sound is too thin set it back out.
Bypass - This button should be in the out position.
Start with the density set to about 6
Drive - Turn up until you reach the desired amount of gain reduction.
Density - Adjust until the release of the gain reduction suits your taste. You really need to experiment with these
settings to get the best results. You probably won’t want more than about 3-6 dB of gain reduction unless you are going
for a certain effect or desire very heavy compression.
Frequency - Set to about 5K
Threshold - While making “ssss” sounds in the mic, turn up until you get the desired amount of control over the
high frequencies. If no De-Essing is required, turn it off.
LF Detail - Slowly turn up until the lows sound good, but not overbearing.
HF Detail - Turn up until the high end sounds clear, but not harsh.
If no gate is needed, leave in the off position. If you want to set the gate, start by setting the ratio to 10:1.
Threshold - While talking or singing in the mic, bring up the threshold until the signal will no longer open the gate.
Now back it off until the gate will open when the signal is present.
Ratio - Adjust this setting until the background noise once again becomes audible, then turn it back up slightly
until the noise drops in level. Check the gate with the signal. What you are looking for here is the “happy medium”, where
the noise is reduced but the gate sounds natural. You may not be able to fully remove the noise, but you should be able
to lower it. If it doesn’t sound natural, try repeating this process.
On the expander/gate section of my 286a, I have the Threshold at -30 and the ratio at 1.9:1 (one tick left of 12 o'clock)... it's done a nice job, along with my Senn MKH416 mic, of really knocking off unwanted room noise without being noticable (you can't hear it working, which is kinda the point of a good gate). Good luck!
there's an extensive thread over at voiceoveruniverse.com on this topic
it's difficult to trade settings because there are so many variables. Mike offered some good points of reference and starting points
I found that I had to start with +40 on the Input Gain (output 0)
here are my other settings
Comp- 2+ Drive, 6+ Density
De Ess - 1K, 1+ Threshold (this one you have to play with a lot, careful though, very easy to destroy a recording with this)
Enhancer- 3+ LF, 4+ HF
Gate - -30 Threshold, 2:1 Ratio
thanks guys! the multiple variables are great to have- but daunting to try all the possilbe combinations.
these will give me a couple of places to start.
will move things around and try things a bit and post something in the next week.
i suspect i will need to get a new, quieter CPU fan, too.
Adjust one section at a time (left to right) and use your ears.