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Old August 16th, 2016, 03:01 PM   #1
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DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Hi,
Thanks for accepting my membership here.
I've a little problem and looking forward for a solution.
I've these 3 DBX devices:

And my USB interface is the Roland Tri-Capture

http://i.imgur.com/sX8g4m9.jpg

My microphone is Shure SM7B

http://americansongwriter.com/wp-con...img_sm7b_l.jpg

Please may you tell me exactly how to connect these 5 devices!?

Which one comes 1st then which one comes 2nd ...etc ?

What type of cables I should us for each step with each device?

Please if you may make any illustration using images or videos it will be good like draw something in a paper using a pen and use mobile or tablet to picture it so I can understand.

Thanks
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Last edited by Gami Rosd; August 16th, 2016 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Add DBXs to title.
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Old August 17th, 2016, 01:16 PM   #2
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Typically: Mic> Preamp> EQ> Compressor. The latter two can be swapped if that's a preference, but the Mic> Preamp cannot. The SM7 is a dynamic mic and does not require Phantom Pwr.. All other outputs and inputs should be set to +4dB line level, including the sound card or recorder's input. Aside from maybe a peak limiter.. EQ and compression decisions are best left for post-production where one would most likely process it 'in the box', so the EQ and compressors would not be necessary. I wouldn't use a gate at all for VOs.. if there's excessive background noise, a gate isn't the answer.
BTW, Gearsluts or Creative Cow may are worthwhile forums to visit for hardware processors.
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Old August 17th, 2016, 09:11 PM   #3
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Your Shure SM7B connects to the DBX 286s Pre-amp.
An XLR mic cable is what is needed. With a male, 3-pin XLR on the DBX end, and a female, 3-pin XLR connector on the microphone end.
The dynamic Shure SM7B is a dynamic mic and should NOT have phantom power applied.

The 286s Pre-amp boosts the mic-level signal up to line-level.
All successive connections should be at line-level.
Line-level connections typically use either XLR connections (exactly like the microphone cable), or they use 1/4 inch "phone plugs". These phone plugs are typically 3-terminal, Tip, Ring, Sleeve or "TRS". That is to make it possible to send BALANCED signals. But you may find "TS" (Tip-Sleeve) unbalanced 1/4 inch cables, also.

You did not reveal what you are doing, so nobody can know whether ANY kind of signal processing (compression, limiting, gating, equalizing, etc. etc.) is appropriate for your application.

If you were doing some sort of live-event broadcasting (or podcasting, or streaming, etc.) then one or more of those types of processing might be appropriate. If you were broadcasting excitable play-by-play announcers at an exciting sports event, then compression and/or limiting may be appropriate.

But if you were narrating long-form audio-books or something, then you would be well advised to make adjustments to your recording environment rather than requiring processing to produce an acceptable recording.
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Old August 18th, 2016, 10:07 AM   #4
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Thanks guys.

Sorry for not telling what I am doing.

I am telling the result of my google search but not my personal opinion so I am sorry if I am saying something wrong as I am still learning.

I am doing a live audio podcast and this is why I am trying my best to get as best as possible before any processing.

I've added some treatment to my bed room because I was not able to afford the right typical isolation for the room (expensive), so I changed the room's door to a wide thick door with 12:15 cm thickness with three degree like stairs, and placed foam around the door between the door and the wall, also changed the room's window to a PVC window with a rubber around its edges and I can not deny that it is not perfect but helped a lot to deny street noise. Now in the process of making some portable panels to place it in the front of me and to my right and left sides of my desk where I set to record and will place a blanket to the floor under my feet.

I've goggled a lot before buying these gear especially the podcast dedicated forums and google plus groups and found most of the podcasters recommending this shure and these dbxs, while I was about to buy the behringers (money wise) but most said that behringer is just a junk.

OK, so the right order will be as follow if I understand your recommendations correctly:-
SM7B>286s>131s>166xs>Interface>Computer.

I've read the 286s manual after posting my thread and it says:
"External audio processors (e.g., equalizer, delay unit, etc.), can be placed in the signal chain directly between the Mic Preamp Section and remaining 286s processing via the rear panel INSERT jack.".
So I've the 131s EQ. as mentioned in my 1st post. So shall I connect it like the following:
1- SM7b >xlr> 286s (MIC INPUT).
2- 286s (INSERT) using 1/4" TRS to (2) 1/4" TS Insert Cable > go to 131s, so the TRS side into the 286s INSERT jack and the 2 TS input & output jack of the 131s.
3- 286s (OUTPUT) >1/4" TS> 166sx (INPUT).
4- 166xs (OUTPUT) > 1/4" TS to {2} 1/4" TS > USB interface AUX input (left & right).

This is the 1st scenario I am thinking about and the 2nd one as follows:

1- sm7b >xlr> 286s (mic input).
2- 286s (output) >1/4" TS> 131s (input).
3- 131s (output) >1/4" TS> 166xs (input).
4- 166xs (output) >1/4" TS to {2} 1/4" TS > USB interface AUX input (left & right).

I hope that I've expressed what I want correctly. Please recommend which scenario is more logical and does using the INSERT jack in the 286s will make any differences compared to use the OUTPUT?

Thanks :)
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Old August 18th, 2016, 01:19 PM   #5
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

It will make little (if any) difference whether you string all the processors out in series between the preamp and the interface input, vs. using the effects loop on the mic preamp. The audio path is essentially equivalent either way.

However, it is not at all clear whether you are attempting to use all this fancy processing to try to mitigate ambient deficiencies (room acoustics, ambient noise, etc.)? No amount of processing will compensate for bad acoustics in your room. No amount of processing will compensate for a noisy ambiance.

A significant factor in mitigating either acoustic or ambient noise problems is microphone PROXIMITY. The closer the microphone is to your mouth, the higher the "Signal to Noise Ratio" (SNR). Using a studio-type microphone like a Shure SM7B would be great in a proper studio, but not necessarily in your back bedroom in a noisy neighborhood. My first choice would have been a headset microphone.

It is also not clear why a "live audio podcast" requires such a remarkable investment in gear. Are you a famous voice-over announcer? Sorry, but it just seems (from what you have written here so far) that you have gone way overboard buying fancy, expensive gear without knowing whether ANY of the investment will actually result in a notable improvement in your audio quality. People do phenomenally successful podcasts with audio gear that doesn't cost 1/10th of what you are spending.
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Old August 18th, 2016, 01:59 PM   #6
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
It will make little (if any) difference whether you string all the processors out in series between the preamp and the interface input, vs. using the effects loop on the mic preamp. The audio path is essentially equivalent either way.

However, it is not at all clear whether you are attempting to use all this fancy processing to try to mitigate ambient deficiencies (room acoustics, ambient noise, etc.)? No amount of processing will compensate for bad acoustics in your room. No amount of processing will compensate for a noisy ambiance.

A significant factor in mitigating either acoustic or ambient noise problems is microphone PROXIMITY. The closer the microphone is to your mouth, the higher the "Signal to Noise Ratio" (SNR). Using a studio-type microphone like a Shure SM7B would be great in a proper studio, but not necessarily in your back bedroom in a noisy neighborhood. My first choice would have been a headset microphone.

It is also not clear why a "live audio podcast" requires such a remarkable investment in gear. Are you a famous voice-over announcer? Sorry, but it just seems (from what you have written here so far) that you have gone way overboard buying fancy, expensive gear without knowing whether ANY of the investment will actually result in a notable improvement in your audio quality. People do phenomenally successful podcasts with audio gear that doesn't cost 1/10th of what you are spending.
OK, I will try both ways then.

hum ... I am just trying my best for the room acoustic around the place where I set to record.

Yes when I am close to the microphone my voice is very deep and wide compared to my voice if I am a bit a way from it.

My GOD, are you saying that a headset would be better instead of what I've got?

To tell the truth I am nobody and invested in gear in order to produce professional audio quality in order to be able to compete what is already exist.

All I did was just google for podcast gear and followed some famous people in the podcast. Who I've followed were:
Daniel Jee Lewis (TheAudacityToPodcast), David Jackson (SchoolOfPodcasting), Ray Ortega (PodcastHelper), Cliff Ravenscraft (ThePodcastAnswerMan) and few others.

So after few weeks of searching and listening to various shows and watched a lot of YouTube I've ordered these used gear, actually the website DVInfo was one of the recommendations I've found in several search result that it has a real name policy and serious real discussions which encourage me to post here.

Is it possible that you may tell me some example for people do phenomenally successful podcast with simple hardware? so I can follow and learn how they did it? seriously asking, are you sure? I do believe you but just looking to the gear right now next to my laptop at my desk then look back to my screen reading your words and you can imagine how much disappointing I am if it is really does not required such a thing.

While your reply i very tough and makes me very disappointed but I hear the reality in your words and know that you are after doing the thing in the right way.

hum ... shall I sell it and use something else like a headset!?

Thanks
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Old August 18th, 2016, 03:29 PM   #7
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

The issue may be that you got a lot of hardware that others have without knowing WHY they got it (or, in fact, if they are even USING it effectively). I prefer the approach to start out with the basics, improve the things you have control over, and then identify the deficiencies and problems, and buy gear (or whatever) to solve the problems as they are identified.

If you are following all those podcaster experts, do they explain WHY you need limiting and compression and gating and equalizing? Do they show how to identify certain problems and how to use the processing gear to solve the issues? Those are all handy audio tools. But you don't need an extensive set of English and metric end wrenches and 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch drive socket sets and welding equipment if you are setting up a wood-working shop.

Do they give some convincing reason why you must have a large-diaphragm microphone? What are you going for here? Are you doing a podcast where the gravity of your voice is an important part of the show? Or are you just going for maximum intelligibility and minimum distracting noise and acoustics?

I'm not saying that ANY of your gear is BAD or useless. I am just saying that you seem to have the cart before the horse, at least from my perception. There is nothing wrong with any of the audio processing gadgets. But that Shure SM7B may not be the optimal choice for the location you must use.

Now if you had come here and said, I've done this and this and this and I am still getting traffic noise when I record (or podcast). Or with this microphone and these accessories, I am still getting "p-popping", then we might have something to actually work on. But you are setting up a lot of gear without apparently any idea of whether you actually need it or not.

And even those podcasters who are using those things may be using them improperly to compensate for some problem that would be better solved by another (perhaps less expensive and or less complex) way. I see a great deal of misinformation and downright ignorance passed off as "expert advice" on the interweb these days.

OTOH, I see that hundreds of people are doing YouTube videos with excellent sound with quite simple audio setups (compared to your audio chain). And I am talking about the people using popular-priced headsets and even lav mics, not the jokers who are using the on-camera mic and sound like they are sending audio from the bathroom.

I am considering making some tutorial/instructional YouTube videos. And following my own advice, I plan on using a headset mic like Rode HS-1 or an Oscar Sound Tech HM-701 going directly into my camcorder (or into a simple audio interface with a decent mic preamp like a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2).

Those nearly-invisible headset microphones are used in the most critical applications (like reinforcement for opera singers, etc.) with complete success. And even sports reporters on-camera wear earphones with attached microphones in noisy venues like basketball courts and football sidelines, etc. Because speech intelligibility (including signal-to-noise ratio) is more important visual aesthetics.

This is the 21st century. We are no longer constrained by the technology of 100 years ago. Famous name radio personalities use big gold-plated microphones as a status symbol, not because there is any technological reason to need a microphone nearly as big as your head.

Ref:
RØDE HS1 Headset Mic
Oscar Sound Tech Headset Mic
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Old August 18th, 2016, 03:46 PM   #8
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

This is my favorite reference on setting up voice studios at home. The guest on the TWIRT (This Week in Radio Tech) show is George Whittam who is "engineer to the stars" including many of the most famous voice talent....

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Old August 20th, 2016, 01:27 PM   #9
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Gami,

Richard is spot on with his advise, To produce quality audio there are some simple basic rules that must be followed or ANY set up will fail. When I read your first post I too thought "why all of this gear". Since you were asking how to hook it up it was obvious you are not a skilled audio technician. Audio processing gear is NOT something you just turn on and it does its thing. YOU set the parameters to make it work. Done incorrectly it will damage your signal instead of enhance it. There is a lot of EQs out there being used improperly. I know that because I have seen them and helped correct some of them. Here is a tip, if any fader on an EQ has been adjusted to its extreme setting in ether direction it is probably wrong. I suspect you did spend a lot of money you did not need to spend. I am not picking on you, I am being honest and sincere.

Another basic that must be done. Your SM7B is a very good mic when used properly. If your mic technique is not good it will fail just like any other mic. What Richard did not mention about headset mics is that they correct the most common mistake of mic technique. That is varying your proximity to the mic. A headset mic is attached to your head so the proximity does not change when you move. Look at the guys in the video he posted. When they speak they do not move. The distance from mouth to mic does not change. When you are doing your podcast every time you turn your head or sit back your sound will change for the worse. Getting basics like this correct is far more important than expensive processing.

The gear you have is not "wrong", it is probably not necessary and it can be harmful if used improperly. Learn the basics first. They will go a long way with any set up.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old August 22nd, 2016, 05:22 AM   #10
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

A few years ago I was contacted by a local talent who was making his way into books on tape. He had been sold a package of gear that sounds similar to that which you're talking about. It was set up but wasn't working to achieve the desired results......good voice recordings.

I dropped by for a house call and worked with the gear to get him back on track. I'm not sure any forum can get you exactly where you need to be. Hopefully, it may get you closer.

Audio is not plug and play. You actually need to know some things and have enough experience to make decisions based on what you hear. Not trying to be critical, just saying, there's more to it than most people think.

Regards,

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Old August 22nd, 2016, 01:25 PM   #11
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

To spin and riff a little bit on all the excellent feedback the original poster received above...

There seems to be no end of self-appointed internet experts to tell you that certain pro-level gear is what you *need* to succeed. Many of the "experts" are marketing all the time. Build audience. Build ad revenue. Make friends. Influence people. Get people to sign up for all-you-need-to-succeed seminars with titles like: "How I make $10,000 passive income every month!"

This forum is quite different, with many working pros sharing their advice, concerned with developing and sharing best-practices approaches various forms of media production.

Use of a pre-amp, compressor, EQ, and USB interface is a pretty conventional approach to the spoken word, dating back to the days when radio was king. Except the USB interface... No computers when radio ruled.

It is just as easy for the uninformed host to screw up his/her audio with these tools as to improve it. As Ty posted above, someone of his skill can set it up and optimize settings for your voice, mic, and environment in a few minutes. But, his skills, as well as those skills of many on this board, were developed over decades of learning and experience.

The Shure SM7 is a classic mic. Love 'em. They sound good. So do many others. That, your USB interface, and a good pair of headphones (Sennheiser HD280 for me, but there are others), a mac or PC with Audacity or another sound editor, and you have all the gear you need.

A nice pre-amp, compressor, and EQ are icing on the cake. They are not the cake. Learning about how to use them well is a study in itself. Is it really what you want to spend your time on?

There's something called the 85/15 rule. In this case, it means that you get 85% or more of the possible quality from a decent mic in the right place, and a cheap interface. Getting from 85 to 95% is gonna' cost. And from 95 to 100% is REALLY gonna' cost.

But those improvements come from analysis of the shortcomings of your recordings, and clearly thought-out strategies for improvement. As an example, room treatments will frequently get you better sound for less money than gear will.

There's nothing wrong with the gear recommended to you. It's all in a sweet spot of value, and that mic is really good for *some* voices.

All this is a distraction from what you need to do to connect with an audience. Who are you? What do you have to say? How good is your storytelling? How will listeners find you? These are really important questions. If you're doing well with them you don't need much gear to get started.

Gear is just a tool to use, and you may do very well to find someone like Ty locally to help you get set up. I believe the self-appointed internet experts have convinced you to put the cart before the horse.

I'm not suggesting you return or sell this stuff. Just get a minimal setup going with decent quality, and start your project!
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 08:51 AM   #12
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Seth,

+1 on everything you said. Except I would like to point out even if he went for the last 15% of improvement would anybody hear it? I think not, or very few would. When mixing audio I mix for the end result. This is an internet podcast, not a radio broadcast. All the gear in the world is not going to fix the sounds coming out of lap top speakers or a ten dollar set of Logitechs hooked up to a CPU.

I don't see a fifteen percent improvement even if he brings in an engineer to tweak the system. At the least, dollar for dollar it would be a waste of time.

Steve
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 02:51 PM   #13
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Re: DBXs 286s, 166xs, 131s how to connect & adjust settings & cables?

Quite right, Steve. It's an important point you bring up: Most internet podcast listeners won't hear the difference between 85 and 95.

To Gami, though, it's quite important to get to that 85%-ish quality mark. If your narrative is difficult to understand listeners won't get to your storytelling.
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