With solid PA control alongside some of the best automatic feedback suppression in the industry, the DriveRack 260 is a must-have piece of gear in your rack!
I'm a 16 year old guy that does sound engineering and recently got a Driverack 260 for a sound system I put in. I was blown away by the clarity and quality of the processor. The crossover is amazing, both the graphic EQ and the Parametric EQ are awesome, and many of the extra features such as feedback surpression are great tools if configured correctly. I recently took the 260 outdoors for an event I was doing sound for and once again the Driverack pulled through with flying colors. I purchased the Driverack 260 over the Driverack PA for a few reasons-the main one being I wanted to have the ability to configure it via a computer. This feature is DEFINATELY worth the extra money as it cuts setup and configuration time in half. I've also used an ASHLY Protea 4.24c and was impressed but I was blown away by how easy the 260 is to use. This is a great buy!!
Still cool after all these years!
I've got a rack full of these 260's because the 480 did not come with autoeq at the time I needed to outfit a . The installation where I use the most driveracks has 10 clusters of double 18's with horn loaded mid/highs (medium and long throw). I'd have preferred to manage them with driverack 480's due to the management features in the 480 architecture.
However I have found the auto eq feature is such a great time saver in this permanent (indoor) installation -- an acoustically challenging concrete amphitheater style building that seats 3500 people -- that I figured I'd save more time with auto eq than with the great remote management architecture of the 480.
Having spent endless hours over the years tweaking graphic equalizers with real time analyzer setups in various types of indoor facilities -- I've always been pleased with the speed and relative accuracy of the auto eq feature on the 260. Unlike the driverack PA you can auto eq each channel separately -- which makes the 260 a lot more versatile than the cheaper PA version.
I eventually installed another three 260's to handle stage monitors and floor monitors.
The compressor in the 260 is full featured, robust, responsive, and has enough flexibility to handle just about any situation where a little compression on the mains helps to tighten up the entire wave front.
I've yet to hear anything that performs as well for the price. The 260's are pretty easy to set up. The configuration software is a little weak and I've never gotten the security layers to function as expected -- however the need has not been great enough to put the time into troubleshooting it. However if I was giving this five stars it would be because the security features worked as I'd expect them to -- without any troubleshooting.
Driverack 260 Rocks
DBX has always had a reputation of producing high quality professional products.
Their compressors and gates are renound as being completely transparent and very musical.
The DBX Driverack 260 is no exception, in fact it draws a new line in the sand for quality and features.
It seems the lads at DBX have thought of just about every possible device you may want to insert between your mixing console and amp racks and integrated it into the Driverack.
When you open the box you are greeted with the familiar DBX styled unit that has graced the outboard racks of concerts and tours around the world for years. The Driverack however is obviously geared for the high end of the market, it has built in speaker and amp tunings for some of the best (and most expensive) products in the world.
When you plug it in you are prompted to select from one of the 50 presets that come standard with the unit. These are all geared for large 3, 4 or 5 way systems based mainly on the speakers and amps that the system knows about, which was a little disappointing. When I get a new toy the first thing I want to do is plug it into the nearest speaker. Setting up a 3 way concert rig just to have a play is a little frustrating. It would have been nice to have a basic 2 way preset with minimal processors and effects turned on just to help you get to grips with the menu and navigation system without having to figure out what speakers and amps it thinks you are using.
I found myself struggling at first to get my head around the processing chain and it wasn't until I fired up the included Driveware software on my computer and plugged in the Driverack that I finally came to grips with how the signal chain worked. Initially it took forever to change anything on the driverack using the software but after adjusting the baud rate of my computers com port it began working fairly quickly. (be warned there is no troubleshooting guide in the manual and DBX assumes that if you bought a driverack you already know a fair amount about audio and technology).
Using the software is a breeze, I set up my crossover points, limiter thresholds and routing all with a few clicks and then loaded it back into the unit. It took a little while to figure out how to set up the crossover correctly and the system sounded a little like a telephone until I figured out where things were routing to and how the filters worked.
One of the cool features about the driverack is its insane amount of headroom. You can feed it +22db before it starts to clip which when coupled with a console with an output level in the same vicinity can lower your noise floor considerably. By turning the attenuation down on your amps and cranking your desk so that the signal peaks at around +20db and setting the peak limiter or auto gain control to maintain the signal at that level you can significantly lower the noise floor of the system. I have always had a slight hiss that annoyed me at low levels and by adopting this strategy the system is now completely silent when there is no signal present - nice.
The sub harmonic synth is a great tool for giving your system the added punch needed for those bass heavy rock concerts.
The feedback eliminator is a little slow off the mark in real time mode but if used properly to set up your system prior to a show shouldn't really be needed anyway, its handy to know its there though if some idiot walks in front of your speakers with a radio mic, it will cut the frequency within a second or two.
The Driverack has plenty of delay options. You can add micro delays to correct speaker allignment issues at the input and/or output stage and assign 'delay time' where its needed for larger delays. I assigned up to 20ms on each input channel for allignment and then gave the rest of the 2.7 seconds of delay time to another two channels for delay lines. When maxed out you can set up delay lines over 400 meters from the FOH stack which should be more than enough for most applications. Its a nice touch to have delay time in seconds, feet and meters as well.
You have plenty of compression, limiting and gain control options in the driverack and they all have that transparent and musical sound we have come to expect from DBX as well as a variable 'Overeasy' setting that takes all the guessing away. The driverack also has an auto gain feature that can maintain the signal within a certain range, quite a good idea if you want to maintain the level of a very dynamic perfomance.
The EQ section is where the unit really stands out. You have a 28 band graphic or 9 band parametric on the pre stage and can insert more independant EQ's on each of the 6 output channels, both very musical.
I have always been sceptical of Real Time Analysers and their usefulness, however after playing with the RTA wizard in the Driverack 260, I think I am becoming a convert. Its fairly nice and it seems to work very well. You simply plug in a reference mic to the dedicated XLR socket (they even put phantom power on it) select your target curve (they have provided a range of curves that suit everything from rock to classical music) and then let her rip. The driverack sends a blast of pink noise through the system, analyses the signal received from the reference mic and adjusts and tweaks the frequency response of the system to match your target curve. Within a matter of seconds you have a great starting point for EQing the system, from there you can go on to use the Feedback Elimination wizard to pull back any resonant frequencies and your in business.
The Driverack has to be the ultimate speaker management system. You really don't need anything else between your mixing console and amp racks. There wasn't a possible scenario that I could think of where it wouldn't be able to solve almost any FOH issue. For the big jobs you could put one in every amp rack and using the networking software and a laptop, repatch your whole system from the FOH desk.
All in all the Drivrack met all my expectations and then some. I have tried other speaker management systems, other compressors and other EQ's but there is something about the DBX gear that just rocks. The Driverack is able to do so much to mould an audio signal to your exact needs but at the same time it still maintains the integrity and musicality of the signal. If you were to try and do the same thing with seperate outboard components your signal would be reduced to a abundance of hiss, altered frequency response and other nasties. DBX have done it again with the Driverack 260 and its got to be a must have addition to any FOH rack.
Toby Mills is the managing director of Noise Productions Ltd, a New Zealand based rental company specialising in mid sized concerts and tours.
Email Toby@noiseproductions.co.nz or visit http://www.noiseproductions.co.nz