dbx DriveRack 260
Loudspeaker management system
Our take on the dbx DriveRack 260 by Crutchfield's Bob Bihlmayer
Give the rack a turn
dbx designed the DriveRack 260 to provide a full set of signal processing and system control features, building on the success of the DriveRack Series with powerful signal processing and a simple, intuitive user interface. This comprehensive loudspeaker management system becomes the middle man between your mixer and your speakers, replacing that old rack full of processors with a single compact unit.
The DriveRack 260 provides two independent channels of processing on the input stage, each with
The DriveRack 260 packs processing power and an intuitive user interface into a compact package.
- 28-band graphic or 9-band parametric EQ;
- dbx compression;
- feedback elimination;
- Subharmonic Synthesizer for bass optimization.
The six XLR outputs feature post-crossover 4-band parametric EQ, PeakStopPlus limiters, and time alignment delay. To optimize system performance in concert applications, the DriveRack 260 also includes a pink noise generator and a Real Time Analyzer.
Off the wall
For permanent installations, you can program the DriveRack 260 remotely for volume adjustment, muting, and program selection from any of the dbx Zone Controller Series wall-mounted control panels. You can locate up to six controllers within 1000 feet of each DriveRack 260, wired in series or parallel. The 260 also offers password protection of unit features and system parameters for enhanced security in permanent installations.
Making complex simple
To simplify programming the DriveRack 260 features dbx's Wizard system for quick setup of system configuration, auto EQ, and feedback suppression. If you own JBL speakers or Crown amps, you'll find a list of system presets already in place. DriveWare Windows-compatible software supplied with the 260 allows remote control and configuration with a graphical user interface over a RS-232 PC connection. Why not make your life easier and your performances better with this acclaimed processor?
- maximizes your PA speakers' performance with sophisticated processing
- feedback elimination with advanced feedback suppression filters
- 2.7 sec. of alignment and zone delay
- RS-232 PC GUI control
- classic dbx compression and limiting
- auto-EQ function and gain control
- full bandpass, crossover, and routing configurations
- pink noise generator and full-time real-time analyzer
- subharmonic synthesizer for sub-bass EQ
- setup wizard with JBL speaker and Crown power amplifier tunings
- 25 factory preset programs and 25 user-configurable presets
- password-controlled security lockout
- optional wall panel control inputs
- 2 XLR line inputs, 1 XLR RTA microphone input
- 6 mutable XLR outputs
- maximum output: +22 dBu
- frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- weight: 5.5 lbs.
- dimensions: 1.75"H x 5.75"D x 19"W (1 rack space)
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- 7' AC power cord
- 4 Rack-mount screws
- 4 Flat washers (plastic)
- 10' Serial interface cable (Null Mode)
- DriveWare software disk
- Registration card
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Overview: The DriveRack260 is a complete Equalization and Loudspeaker Management System designed to provide state-of-the-art signal processing, for both live and permanent installations, while utilizing a simple and intuitive user interface. It offers two independent channels of processing featuring: Graphic and Parametric EQ, Feedback Elimination, a 6 channel output system with flexible routing configurations, dbx Compression and Limiting, Auto-EQ function, Pink Noise Generator with fulltime RTA, and many other useful features. The DriveRack260 Setup Wizard makes configuration easy with routing options for all channels displayed on the LCD or use the provided Null Modem cable to connect to the RS-232 COM input on your PC (USB to RS-232 adaptor or PCMCIA card may be required).
- Inputs: Two balanced XLR inputs, on the back panel, are provided as the main audio inputs to the processor. These can be configured as either dual-mono or stereo inputs. Also provided is an XLR input for the connection of an RTA microphone (856RTAM). This allows the user to optimize the EQ settings of any room through the use of the Auto EQ in the Wizard Setup Assistant. The DriveRack260 has a Zone Controller input (RJ-45 Connection) for use with dbx's ZC series wall panel zone controls (sold separately). These provide remote functionality for features such as volume, mute, program selection, etc.
- Outputs: The DriveRack260 has six balanced XLR outputs on the back panel. Either or both of the inputs can be assigned to any of these six outputs for a very flexible routing configuration. There's also an RS-232 port for connection to a PC.
GEQ/PEQ: The DriveRack260 has a Pre-Crossover EQ section and a Post-Crossover EQ.
- The Pre-Crossover EQ section can be configured as a single or linkable 28-Band Graphic EQ or a 9-Band Parametric EQ. The GEQ offers 28 frequency bands, ranging from 31.5Hz to 16.0kHz, with the Gain control for each allowing -12 to +12 dB of adjustment in .5 dB increments. The PEQ offers 9 frequency bands of adjustment, with Band 1 being a low-pass shelf and Band 9 being a high-pass shelf. Both have a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. Bands 2-8 can be swept through all frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz and have a Q adjustment, per band, with a range of 0.20 to 16.0. All bands have -12 to +12 dB of level adjustment.
- The Post-Crossover EQ is a 4-Band Parametric EQ.
The 4 bands can range from 20Hz to 20kHz with -12 to +12 dB of
adjustment and a Q bandwidth range of 0.20 to 16 dB. This EQ also offers 4
- Bell - All bands are bell-shaped
- HShelf - One band is a high shelf, while all others are bell-shaped.
- LShelf - One band is a low shelf, while all others are bell-shaped.
- LHShelf - One band is a low shelf, one is a high shelf, and all others are bell-shaped.
Feedback Eliminator: The DriveRack260 offers dbx's exclusive AFS (Advanced Feedback Suppression) circuitry. The AFS uses Precision Frequency Detection and state-of-the-art processing to determine the exact portions of a given frequency of your feedback that need to be removed. With AFS, the module removes the feedback automatically and the proprietary, precision AFS filters remove only a fraction of the frequency spectrum.
Subharmonic Synthesizer: The Subharmonic Synthesizer is a feature designed to enhance Bass audio material, in a variety of applications, by adding synthesized low-end frequencies to produce a smooth, extended bass response. Two frequency ranges can be boosted: 24-36Hz range and 36-56Hz range.
Gate: The Gate control allows signals above the Threshold setting to pass, but will attenuate signals below it. This is useful for eliminating any background noise during quiet parts of the signal. The Gate parameters are as follows:
- Threshold: Sets the volume level at which the Gate opens, attenuating signals below that point. Threshold range is -50 to 20 dBu.
- Ratio: This determines how much downward expansion will be applied. This works opposite from that of a compressor or limiter. Ratio can be set from 1:1.0 to 1:15.
- Attack: As the signal reaches the threshold area, the Attack control sets the speed at which the gate opens. Range is from 0.1 to 200 m Sec.
- Hold: Sets the amount of time the gate is held open after the signal passes below the threshold point.
- Release: Sets the speed at which the gate closes or attenuates when the end of the Hold time is reached.
- Max ATT: Sets the maximum amount of attenuation for the gate.
Automatic Gain Control (AGC): The AGC is used to keep the average level of a signal at a constant level. AGC parameters include: AGC on/off, Target level: -20 to 20dB, Gain: 1 to 20dB, Window: 1.0 to 10dB, Low Threshold: -60 to -30dB, Attack: 0.20 to 5 seconds, and Release: 30.0 to 1 dB/sec.
Notch Filters: These are used to drop out undesirable frequencies on the input signal. Up to six Notch Filters are available for all six outputs. Parameters include: Notch on/off, Frequency 20 to 20kHz, Gain -36 to 6dB, Q 16 to 128.
Crossover: The Crossover is used to divide the input signal into several frequency bands, so that each output can have it's own crossed-over signal. This allows each speaker to play its optimum frequency range for more efficient use of amplifier power. The DriveRack260 Crossover can be configured as a 2x2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 (stereo configurations) or 1x1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 (mono configurations). Crossover parameters include:
- Frequency: Adjusts the frequency of the Low Pass or High Pass filter from 20Hz to 20kHz.
- Type: Selects the crossover filter type from three options:
- BS (Bessel) with a slope of 6, 12, 18, or 24 dB/Octave.
- BW (Butterworth) with a slope of 6, 12, 18, or 24 dB/Octave.
- LR (Linkwitz-Riley) with a slope of 12, 24, 36, or 48 dB/Octave.
- Gain: Sets the level of the selected output(s). Range is from -Infinity to +20dB.
Compressor: The DriveRack260 Compressor is a full bandwidth stereo compressor inserted prior to the Crossover. This helps tighten up uneven signal levels for a more even mix. Compressor parameters include:
- On/Off: Turns the compressor module on and off.
- OverEasy: The DriveRack260's OverEasy feature (referred to as "soft knee" compression) starts to compress, before the level of the signal reaches the threshold, and then reaches full compression after the level has gone above the threshold. This gives a much smoother and more natural sound without an abrupt drop in signal level ("hard knee" compression). Range is 0 (off) to 10, 1 being almost hard knee and 10 being the softest.
- Threshold: The threshold is the point in the signal level where the unit starts to compress the signal. Threshold range is -40 to +20dBu.
- Ratio: The Ratio is the amount the compressor reduces the signal level that is above the threshold. A 2:1 ratio means that if the incoming signal is 2dB over the threshold, the output signal will be only 1dB over the threshold. Range is 1.0 to Infinity:1.
- Gain: The Gain parameter is used to compensate for the drop in signal level from compressing it. Range is -20 to +20dB.
- Auto: The Auto Mode feature automatically sets the Attack, Hold, and Release times for the signal. This mode constantly adjusts these parameters in real time for optimum performance. Setting is On/Off.
- Attack: The Attack is how fast the compressor starts to compress the signal after it passes the threshold. The attack control is not active when in Auto Mode. Range is from 0.1 mSec to 200 mSec.
- Hold: The Hold setting is the time the DriveRack260 remains in compression after the signal has dropped below the threshold. A longer hold time is useful in smoothing out the sound when compressing several fast peaks that are fairly close together in time. The Hold control is not active while in Auto Mode. Range is from 0 to 500 mSec.
- Release: The Release is how fast the DriveRack260 comes out of compression and is expressed in dB per second. Too fast a release time can result in an audible volume jump, while too slow a release can result in compression of a signal that is not above the threshold. The release control is not active while in Auto Mode. Range is from 360 dB/Sec to 5 dB/Sec.
Limiter: Similar to Compression, Limiting is a compressor whose ratio is 10:1 or higher, and is used basically stop a signal from passing the threshold. The Limiters are located on each output channel to protect the speakers and amplifier. The Limiter settings are the same as the Compressor except the ratio, which is factory set (no ratio specified). Parameters available are:
- OverEasy: as with the Compressor, this setting determines the "knee" or how fast the limiting happens. A lower setting will give a more "hard knee" type limiting, while a higher setting will give a more "soft knee" type limit. Range is 0 (off) to 10.
- Threshold: The Threshold is the level at which the unit starts to limit the signal. Range is from -40 to +20dBu.
- Auto: The Auto Mode feature automatically adjusts the Attack, Hold, and Release parameters in real time for optimum performance. Setting is: On/Off.
- Attack: The speed at which the limiter starts to limit the signal once it has crossed the threshold. Range is: .01 to 200 mSec (per band or global).
- Hold: Hold is the time the limiter stays in gain reduction after the signal level has dropped below the threshold. Range is: 0 to 500 mSec (per band or global).
- Release: This controls how fast the limiter releases from gain reduction after the signal drops below the threshold. Release times should be set longer for lower frequency bands and shorter for higher frequency bands. Range is: 360 to 5 dB/Sec (per band or global).
- Peakstop+: This parameter turns the PeakStop+ limiting on and off. PeakStop+ involves a two-stage process of dynamic limiting. The first stage of PeakStop+ is the Instantaneous Transient Clamp which clamps the signal with a soft logarithmic clamp function. This logarithmic function ensures that the signal will not exceed the level set by the PeakStop+ Overshoot control by more than the overshoot amount, and that it will not introduce harsh artifacts. The second stage is a unique program limiter featuring Intelligent Predictive Limiting. Its function is to monitor the input signal and intelligently predict the amount of gain reduction needed to keep the output signal below the ceiling set by the Instantaneous Transient Clamp. Setting is: On/Off.
- Overshoot: This parameter sets the amount of overshoot for the Instantaneous Transient Clamp when PeakStop is turned on.
Alignment Delay: The DriveRack260 offers pre-crossover and post-crossover alignment delay. The post-crossover Delay modules can be used for delay compensation when speaker drivers are offset from one another, compensation for the difference in high and low frequency speed, and delay fills. The pre-crossover Delay modules can be used for delaying the system as a whole, without having to readjust each post-crossover delay module. Delay settings:
- Delay Time: Sets the amount of speaker alignment delay time.
Delay times include:
- Seconds - 0.00 to 1.3
- Feet - 0 to 1465.1
- Meters - 0 to 445.9
- Units - Seconds, Feet or Meters
LCD: The backlit LCD display of the DriveRack260 provides the user with all of the vital processing information of the unit including: signal routing, effect block editing, and Wizard Setup functions. The display will also notify the user if any clipping is taking place within the unit by displaying "CLIP" in the display.
Data Wheel: The Data Wheel is used to scroll through the program menu, load programs, select parameters and edit parameter values.
Input Meters: The DriveRack260 provides the user with two independent, six segment Lightpipe input meters that range from -30 to +22dBu. These meters monitor the signal level right after the input module.
Threshold Meters: The threshold meters indicate that the threshold level has been exceeded within the Limiter or Auto Gain control sections, and gain reduction may be taking place within the specific output channel.
Output Meters: The DriveRack260 provides the user with six independent six-segment Lightpipe output meters that range from -30 to +22dBu.
Output Mutes: The six mute buttons are used for independently muting each output on all six outputs of the DriveRack260.
Functions Buttons: The function buttons of the DriveRack260 allow direct access to all editing and navigation functions and are as follows:
- PREV PG - Moves to the previous page.
- NEXT PG - Moves to the next page.
- EQ - Selects the EQ effect menu. Successive presses of this button will toggle through the pre-crossover and post-crossover section modules.
- XOVER - Selects the Crossover section. Successive presses of this button will toggle between the various crossover modules if more than one crossover module has been pre-programmed.
- OTHER - This button is used to move to the Input Insert module section, which includes: Notch Filter, Subharmonic Synthesizer, AFS (Advanced Feedback Suppression), and Wire (no effect) modules.
- DYNAMICS - Selects the Dynamics effect sections. Successive presses of this button will toggle through the pre-crossover dynamics modules (Compressor, Gate, or AGC), and post-crossover dynamics modules (AGC's or Limiters).
- DELAY - Selects the Alignment Delay effect module. Successive presses of this button will toggle through the pre-crossover and post-crossover Delay modules.
- I/O - Selects the input and output parameter editing section for all inputs and outputs. Successive presses of this button will toggle through each input and output module.
- PROGRAM (CONFIG) - This button is used to get back to the Program screen from any other menu, like a "Home" button. Press and hold this button to enter Configuration mode, where the more advanced programming configuration takes place.
- UTILITY (METER) - Selects the Utility menu of the DriveRack260. When pressed and held, it will enter Meter mode.
- STORE (DELETE) - Used to store and delete program edits.
- RTA (WIZARD) - Pressing this button enters the RTA mode. When pressed and held, this button enters the Wizard menu which includes: System Setup Wizard, Auto EQ Wizard, and AFS Wizard.
- LIFT (on back panel) - This is a ground lift button for pin 1 of both Channel 1 and 2 XLR inputs.
- POWER (on back panel) - Powers unit on/off.