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Preamp to Preamp?

Discussion in 'Preamps & Processing' started by corrupted, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    I've heard bad things about running 2 mic preamps in series... and it makes sense as to why... but I have a question about specific items.

    While recording vocals, I'm going to try using a dbx 286A as a preamp because of the built in features. I will then run that into a Mackie Onyx 1640. I've heard good things about the onboard Onyx preamps, and I have liked what I got from them... but I suppose I'll try using the dbx preamp.
    Would the best way to route this be through a balanced out from the dbx to a generic balanced in on the Onyx? Or should/could I route the balanced out of the dbx into one of the XLR inputs (preamps) of the Onyx? What would be bad about that?

  2. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Is the reason why you want to do this is so that you can use the Onyx as the preamp and then use the other non-preamp features from the DBX?

    If thats what you want to do, you're in luck. The DBX has an insert that is used to insert effects after the preamp stage and before everything else. It can also be used to bypass the preamp on the DBX and use just the processing stuff.

    So what you do is plug your mic into the Onyx. You'll need to create/buy a cable (XLR to TRS) that you can plug the output of the Onyx into the insert of the DBX. If you make your own cable, the RING carries the return signal into the DBX. Then you take the output of the DBX and run that to the input of your recording device. VOILA!

    BTW, this is all explained in the manual for the DBX where it describes the insert jack. If you don't have the manual, you can download it from their site.
  3. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    Well, I was really just curious as to what would be best... I have no problem using just the dbx preamp, and that's probably what I'll do... but I wanted to make sure I hooked it up properly.
    So on that note, would you think it would be better off to use the Onyx preamp or keep it simple?
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    I recommend the 286a all the time because it has good, easy-to-use features. The preamp is OK, certainly no worse than many other mic processors that cost more $$$. But I would also try the 286 as a processor for a channel on the Onyx, using the Onyx's preamp and insert loop. You might like the results. And you don't have to make a special cable for this. A typical Hosa 'Y' patch cable they make to do inserts (available at a GC near you!) will work with the line in and out jacks on the back of the 286. How do you like that downward expander, eh? I find that it really keeps the ambient noise and room reflections to a minimum...
  5. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    I think I'll play around with that. I actually can't use the insert as easily as you'd think, because the preamp is the only thing in line before the direct recording output. I could patch it through to a new channel via the Aux output, but I think I'll start off with just using a direct TRS balanced input.

    I haven't really used the dbx yet, other than making sure it turns on, etc... so I don't know about the expander. From what I've read, I will definitely enjoy that part, though! The whole unit seems fairly nice. Just enough control to let you adjust almost everything... but simple enough to set it up quickly each time. Me likey!

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