Are you looking for a "Money channel" for live or project studio work? This dbx 376 tube channel strip is worth every dollar of your money! It gives you a tube input section that is quiet enough for most vocal or instrument applications in the home studio arena, and definitely more than good enough for live work. The EQ and dynamics sections have carefully chosen parameters available on a well-laid-out and easy-to-use front panel, the metering choices being particularly good. For studio use the A/D conversion is a big improvement over those found in a lot of budget home studio interfaces, with the adjustable dither and noise shaping options at up to 24-bit/96kHz. A number of my customers have thanked me for recommending this unit to them, for live and studio situations, and it's easy to hear why. Do yourself a favor and put this at the top of your list for an affordable channel strip!
I know it isn't sold as a bass pre, but you are missing out if you don't try it out. It sounds better than pre's at 3x the price, PLUS you can use it as a front end for your home studio when you aren't gigging.
After 30 years of every piece of gear that I could get my hands on, I have now decided to make this my preamp for my bass rig. I have used the 376 as my bass pre while I was "between" my last pre and the next "Holy Grail". I have owned, at least, a dozen different dedicated pre's, in addition to more than that many amps like the Mesa Boogie Bass 400+ that is currently for sale.
Enough searching... I have found the one.
A Must for any Project Studio
What a great pre amp for any one who does not have a budget for a "boutique" pre amp. I really like it!, Its warm and clear at the same time. EQ is nice (don't quite use it at the tracking level unless I have too) and the compressor is just right. I could do w/out the deesser but its a nice feature to have when you need it. This is a genuine tube pre. I personally like the Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 tube it comes with, but I just started to experiment with swapping tubes and it will change the character of the source. Again, it will change the CHARACTER not the clarity of the source. I believe its a definite must have for any project studio. Although, I would like it to be $300 or $250, it is worth every penny! I went ahead and bought its dual brother the 386 to take advantage of my digital SPDIF channels on my MBOX 3rd Gen. Digital Channel (at least for SPDIF) is easy to use and just as clear. You will not go wrong with this mic pre!
This is one of my favorite pieces of gear. I use it for live vox as well as a $$ channel for recording. You would have to spend 1-2 K to beat it. It has the most bang for the buck. Presonus is junk. Prosumer crap. Dbx is rugged enough to take on the road as well as detailed enough for the studio.
The 376 vs. Eureka
I have owned both a PreSonus and DBX 376 for several years. I use the 376 more because of it's simple design. It is very easy to dial in the sound desired. The LED indicators are also very easy and useful. I don't have time for the evasive metering of the Eureka. I typically use this preamp for vocals, but I have also used it for guitar. The DBX is a great value in this price range for vocals. The sound tends to be warm rather than crisp. If you intend to use this preamp more for instruments, I might recommend the Eureka. Especially in a 'set it and forget it' situation.
Good Channel Strip, but Consider the Presonus Eureka
I looked carefully for a channel strip in the $500 price-range, and the dbx 376 and the Presonus Eureka were the two I came up with. They offer similar features: Preamp, EQ, Comp/Limiting. The dbx comes standard with a digital output; the Eureka offers this extra at a price. I recorded lots of good stuff with the 376, but head to head, I just liked the PreSonus more -- it had more of what I wanted to hear. Both units are little bit hard to steer with touchy knobs, but the Eureka was a bit easier to set, although on the Eureka I found it harder to catch clips (the dbx does offer easy to read LEDs instead of the old school VU meter) and the Eureka's knobs are pretty tiny and catch a bit of glare which makes them very difficult to read.
The dbx 376 is nothing to be ashamed of, but if you don't need the digital output, the Eureka is the better sounding unit in my opinion.
a few years ago I did a pretty serious workover of this preamp, along with some MOTU, Vintech, and Focusrite preamps. We were using a variety of mics and the sound source was a Tacoma acoustic guitar, which has a little different flavor than most acoustics. It was not super clean, but was clean and quiet overall, with a bit of warmth to it. In spite of it not being perfectly clean, it still retained good clarity. with colored mics, like a ribbon and an FET condensor, it became very muddy and overly colored in a hurry - losing definition and clarity. However, it did very well with small and large diaphragm condensers.. It was better suited for the strumming parts than for finger picked parts, as it had a little meat too it but didn't bring out all the nuances in the fingerpicking as well as some of the other preamps tested.
Bottom line - not quite as much presence and clarity as I would like for some parts, but overall still a very solid performer on a budget. Keep in mind that 2 of the 3 preamps we were comparing it to were many times the cost of this