The dbx 286s is the Right Answer for Voiceovers
I was facing the task of creating dozens of training videos for software applications. These are basically videos of the application performing certain operations with a voiceover track. The first attempt was with an inexpensive USB headset/mic combo equipped with a small wind screen (marginally acceptable, but not great). The audio tracks were recorded directly into the video capture program, but that left little opportunity for sweetening because of the limitations of the particular program.
I decided that it would be better to tweak the signal going in and not have to do any post-processing of the vocal track after the screen captures, so that's where the dbx 286s enters the picture. The main signal path is a Shure SM58 (with a windscreen and pop filter) going into the dbx 286s and then into a Focusrite 2i2 interface. The output of the 2i2 is going into the computer via a USB port and this all makes for a very simple and manageable setup.
Using the dbx 286s, I can completely tailor the sound and achieve broadcast-quality output with very little fuss. I set the preamp gain on the mic, add a slight amount of compression, set the de-esser to take care of a pronounced sibilance issue with my voice and then use the expander/gate to easily remove any background noise from computer fans and ambient sounds in the room. Lastly, I fiddle just a bit with the enhancer to add just a little boost to the low end. This is a very intuitive setup and the best part is that it is very repeatable; once set up, I can come back into the studio days later and everything on the new tracks sounds just like the previous sessions. I would guess that this would be very applicable for podcasting applications.
It is probably no surprise that various versions of this unit have been used by many radio broadcasters in the signal chain for their vocal talent for decades. In fact, I have seen racks of them in some stations where they have separate units set up for each individual voice so that they can achieve absolute repeatability of the "sound" of each radio personality at the station. As if that weren't enough, the dbx 286s also has a send/return link so you can drop in a graphic equalizer and/or reverb unit into the signal path and further customize the sound for each voice (and all without having to use any computer software/plug-in assistance).
Anyway, all-in-all, this unit has been the perfect fit for my voiceover application and I would highly recommend it for anyone who would like to create broadcast-quality voiceover tracks on a sub-$500 total system budget. You might be able to spend a lot more on high-end channel strips, but dollar for dollar, I don't think you can beat the sound and versatility of this unit.