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Thread: Opinions on the Driverack PA

  1. #1
    Your Memory Lives On RIP Tom Loizeaux's Avatar
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    Opinions on the Driverack PA

    Any opinions on the merits of the dbx Driverack PA unit?
    I'm considering putting one of these in my PA system. I want a simple, reliable processor that won't "muck up" the signal. Is having crossovers tailored to JBL PA boxes really that necessary? Is the dbx compressor any good? Is it worth having all that digital processing in the signal path? Does one really need all that control?

    I'm interested in your experience with these units.

    Tom

  2. #2
    RIP 2010 scott fitlin's Avatar
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    Many are using the Driveracks, and they offer alot of bang for the buck. Most that I know who are using the DBX Driveracks like them.

    Right now I am using a BSS 366T, and its really good. I love the things Im able to do with it. I am also purchasing an analog xover, customized for me, but right now Im having alot of fun with the BSS!

    The things sound good. There is one area in particular that I still hear the DSP! In the HF! Some units are better than others, but even with whats considered to be a top processor, I hear the difference between analog and DSP in the highs. Although, it isnt bad, just noticable.

    However, some of the things available at the flick of the switch are incredible. Time alignment, asymetric xover slopes, EQ, etc!

    I have been time aligning my full range, and yes, it does make a difference! The clarity just snaps into focus. Not night and day like too much bass or not enough, but once you hear it, and what it does when properly set, it is beneficial.

    Try one and see what it can do for you. DBX also has a new processor with 24/96 DSP, and I think this does make a marked improvement over the older processors.

    DSP processors arent as warm as their analog counterparts, but they are totally clean sounding. And, I cant do what Im doing with my BSS with an analog crossover!
    scottyj

  3. #3
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    While not the DRPA, I really like my Driverack 260! ('Next step up.) I personally think DBX's compression is very good - they seem to have transferred much of the character of their earlier analog units over to digital, (I used to have some of their analog units - can't remember the number right now).

    The compression in the DRPA is the same as the DR260, but I'd *highly* recommend going with the DR260 instead of the DRPA. It has *far* more functionality and flexibility, and can be controlled via computer GUI interface, (the DRPA can't), which makes it *much* easier to set up than the DRPA. With the DRPA, you have to enter all the control entry sequences via the panel, which may be OK once you've got it figured out. But you can download the GUI from DBX to check out yourself if you want, without having to have an actual DR260 installed.

    While the DR260 lists for quite a bit more than the DRPA, it can often be found online for only a couple hundred dollars more than the DRPA. Believe me - it's well worth the extra cost! Even if you don't need the extra flexibility of the 260, the computer interface alone is worth it!

    OK - I just generated some screenshots out of the GUI as examples, (they're *not* specific settings!):

    The first shows the 9 band parametric EQ on the input, (a 4 band parametric is also available on the outputs - best used in combination with the crossovers) - all control points and sliders can be mouse controlled.

    The second shows the 31 band graphic EQ on the input, (you have the choice of graphic or parametric on each input channel).

    The third shows an example of a 3-way crossover on the outputs - virtually any slope/type of filter is available.

    The last shows the compressor controls - again, much easier from the GUI vs. the front panel.

    If you want to see screen shots of other functions, (sub-harmonic synthesizer, limiters, automatic gain control, notch filter, delays, noise gate, auto feedback suppression), just let me know - better yet, download and check it out yourself to really see what's happening. You really do get a lot of bang for the buck, and while not Lake or BSS, it's suprisingly good, and still part of the Harman Pro family.

    I almost forgot - it also has a pink noise generator and RTA - again, you can monitor the RTA from the GUI, with fast, medium, or slow rate, and either mic, (separate RTA mic input), or A/B inputs for the source.

    Making these adjustments is possible via manual control inputs at the panel, but it should be obvious how much more user-friendly the GUI is.

    The DR260 is also really fun plugged into home audio!

    John
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  4. #4
    Moderator / Treasurer/Marketplace Czar boputnam's Avatar
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    Hey, Tom...

    What's your budget, and application? I'd suggest you also Search the ProSoundWeb forum - they are quire vociferous about this particular model (amongst many other things... ). In-short, they seem to agree with johnaec, on this.

    The BSS unit Scotty refers to is quite powerful, and pretty good sounding. I've used it. Next (significant...) step-up would be the KT DN9848, which I have in my rack, and/or xta's DP 428 (xta are erstwhile KT guys, so my contacts at Sound On Stage say...).
    http://www.xta.uk.com/dp428/Bevel%20Frameset.htm

    I've witnessed the DP 428 and it's very similar to the DN9848. I have not A/B'd the two, but am quite partial to the DN9848 over any other unit. But it's a question of what you need.

    If you are going to use one, take the time to "model" your mains. Get some good acoustic measurement tools (i.e., Smaart) and really understand what your mains are doing, and then use the power of these processors to their fullest. I too prefer analogue for sound quality, but by giving up just a little on that (with the DN9848), I gain an unbelievable ability to help the mains mate with the room. The argument stops there...

    Hey John - what you doing modelling all that boost on the EQ's!! Holyshit, man, you are spooking me!!! :shock:
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by boputnam
    Hey John - what you doing modelling all that boost on the EQ's!! Holyshit, man, you are spooking me!!! :shock:
    I was just going for effect - colorful and graphical!

    John

  6. #6
    Moderator / Treasurer/Marketplace Czar boputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Loizeaux
    1) Any opinions on the merits of the dbx Driverack PA unit?
    2) I want a simple, reliable processor that won't "muck up" the signal.
    3) Is having crossovers tailored to JBL PA boxes really that necessary?
    4) Is the dbx compressor any good?
    5) Is it worth having all that digital processing in the signal path?
    6) Does one really need all that control?
    Oh, and...

    1) Check ProSoundWeb for other roaddogs opinions. But do exhausting Search before you post. They are maneaters over there...
    2) These are all reliable. None are simple - unless you do "auto" anything, and then you are laming-out anyway...
    3)
    4) Yes. Their analogue units are legendary, and in most 'riders' today. I have not A/B'd them with the Driverack units, but would guess any differences related to Driverack digital processing and their affordable price-point (both would degrade the comparison, IMO).
    5) Yes, and no. What is your application?
    6) ibid, #5
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

  7. #7
    Senior Moment Member Oldmics's Avatar
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    I"m Stayin Outta This One

    But as Bo hinted

    "(xta are erstwhile KT guys, so my contacts at Sound On Stage say...). "

    or

    X (K) T A as its know in some circles.

    I love the digs these guys come up with.

    Oldmics

    P.S and as Bo knows in his #5 comment

    "5) Yes, and no. What is your application?"

    Its all about application-How many times ya heard that now Tom?

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