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How can you tell if theres too much signal going into a dbx 266XL? There doesn't appear to be any input meter like you have on other brands of compressor.


anonymous Tue, 12/09/2014 - 05:18

?? Not sure I understand your question... on the dbx, your input level to the compressor should match the output level of your bus/master out... Which, if using a DAW, shouldn't exceed 0 db.

So unless you have another component in your gain-chain after your bus out but before the dbx, the input to the dbx will be the same amplitude as what you have coming out of your console/DAW (or whatever is the last stage in the signal chain before it reaches the compressor).

At which point you reduce gain on the dbx accordingly, using both your ears and the metering on the compressor... which is designed to show you how much gain reduction you are implementing. The output level on the dbx controls the amount of "make-up gain" you desire to make things louder (or softer).

frosty55 Tue, 12/09/2014 - 05:30

Its really to control bass guitar or maybe a kick drum. I am taping the band live in the rehearsal room onto cassette tape. The bass guitar>Emo D.I. Box>Sansamp Preamp>DBX266XL>Mixer>Nakamichi Casstte Deck (metal tape). Its not a serious recording for anyone else to listen to but us, but I would like to have decent recording levels for what it is. Love the sound of tape too.....

pcrecord Tue, 12/09/2014 - 05:31

Put the input threshold to 0db and check if it still peaks if so, go up and to see how much it is peaking (you usually can go up to +15db without distortions).
To be safe, I usually lower or higher the signal sent to the compressor until it's near passing the threshold of 0db.

Also, If you are using the 266 with an insert cable on a mixer channel, you can bypass the compressor and check the gain level with pfl meter. if it doesn't cross 0 db on the mixer, your 266 is safe.

anonymous Tue, 12/09/2014 - 06:41

Yup, me too. Details, Kemo-Sabie - Details!

Seriously guys, it really does help if you can give us details in your first post as to what your workflow is (gain chain, connection methods, etc.) as well as what you are wanting to accomplish; it helps us to better help you... and saves us all time, because we don't have to go back and forth with questions as to what you are doing, how you are doing it and what you hope to accomplish.



Boswell Tue, 12/09/2014 - 09:05

frosty55, post: 421946, member: 35632 wrote: How can you tell if theres too much signal going into a DBX 266XL? There doesn't appear to be any input meter like you have on other brands of compressor.

The DBX266XL can be switched to operate at professional +4dBu or domestic -10dBV nominal levels. The headroom above this nominal level is 18dB. I'm assuming you are using the +4dBu settings and then attenuating as necessary to feed your cassette deck.

If you think your input levels could be saturating the DBX unit, switch out the compression (Bypass switch depressed) and check the output for signs of overload. To do this you will need to have either a DAW with an audio interface that can handle peak inputs of greater than +22dBu or else use attenuators that can lower the output levels to something your audio interface can deal with before itself overloading.

Note that with an analog unit such as the DBX266XL, overload does not necessarily show as a flat top to a waveform as it would do with a piece of digital gear, so you have to judge when extreme waveform peaks appear distorted, then back off by several dB.