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Thread: DBX 119 et al

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    DBX 119 et al

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    I answered an ad for this pile of gear even tho I have some version of most of it. I mean, who buys gear they dont really need, right?
    The money shot was the 3BX, but in a field check it came up dead. The rest of the gear passed a preliminary check, so it all came home cheap.

    What I have is
    DBX 3BX
    3BX-R
    DBX 110 Subharmonic
    DBX 120 Subharmonic
    DBX 119 Compander
    DBX 400 Shwitcher
    DBX 224 noise reduction
    Teac AN-80 dolby

    What I need advice on is the 119, and I know at least Cory has one he has worked on recently. I sort of expected it to have a similar sound/ effect in the expansion mode as my working 3BX expander, but it just sounds choppy when I run the expansion level up. The compression might be ok, but again I am not hearing anything like I would expect. What is the effect that this little box is supposed to give me, say, as compared to the 3BX?
    Any ideas on what I might be doing wrong??

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    I don't have a 119, but I have a 128. This is light duty stuff meant for program material. Expansion might be driving some questionable caps

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    Yeah its really designed for consumer market program material, but I've used it on guitar in compression mode and liked what it did. Haven't really had much time to play with it...or anything...for the last couple years. I recall playing with it on some raw stereo mixes and I think my reaction was like "huh! alrighty then!" As opposed to something like "ew!"

    The best thing about the 118/119/128 is it uses the same proprietary VCA as some other holy grail vintage dbx stuff. It doesn't have the balanced I/O and it doesn't have the control feature set as those other models...it's a basic unit, but the heart is there so I think it's a useful thing to keep on the shelf if it followed you home. I'm keeping my two units. It definitely has a very simple user interface which is really nice in a way depending on what you need and how you use it...it's definitely a "use your ear" unit.

    The one I featured in some thread here I did recap and replaced the input and output amps with 5134s and IIRC paid special attention to the compensation cap value and quality of the part. I don't recall specifics but can dig that up I'm sure.
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    Ya, my "use your ear" was a low-rate mp3 of Springfield's What's That Sound. It was Stills vocals where I got some action. I never got very far into feeding it bandpass, but I normally have it in parallel if I want to play with it

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    I'm just not sure what I should be hearing. I'm running taped music as the source and when i crank the expansion mode up to full or near full it gets this very unpleasant choppy "pumping " sound like people describe dbx stuff does, but I dont get anything like that on the 3BX or noise reduction gear.
    I dont know if maybe i'm overdriving it or its got a funky component or ???
    What SHOULD be the effect? I'm thinking the expansion mode should sound like a 1BX/ single band expander (thats what this is, right?) but what should the compression mode be doing?

    I've got basically nothing invested in it so I'm going to hang on to it for now while I try to resurrect the dead 3BX expander.

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    My 128 expander is more for restoring dynamics from a record groove. I haven't found a use for it, yet. It don't hurt to track down PDFs on that stuff

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    I have never really messed with the expansion on mine, but I do use the compression and like the effect.
    You can squash the signal pretty good with it. There's no make up gain though. It would be cool if that could be a mod on this unit. I think it sounds nice on acoustic guitar.
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    Yeah, techno I've never really messed with the expansion either...it sounds like you are possibly overdriving the VCA? Or maybe it needs a recap. Dunno.

    j.harv brings up a good point...no onboard makeup gain. That's right. That's one of the features that makes it a "basic" unit...last time I used mine I had it in between my Digitech GNX2 guitar multi effects pedalboard and the Tascam 234...tracking guitar wet. I was pleasantly surprised with what it did with the guitar. That's been a couple years. I honestly can't say what it was that it did because I don't remember. I just recall thinking "that's a keeper." The simple interface means simple signal path. That's a plus. If you're using it with any mixer you've got your makeup gain handled right there.

    I need to find that thread...I'm pretty sure I started one.
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    Here it is:

    dbx 119 Story...

    Some pretty good info in that thread IMO.
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    I need to try some different signal paths.
    I really wanted to try it for the compression aspect as I have a nice expander. As I noted I am just not hearing the effect, but that might be a matter of the source material or the
    signal path routing.. Or maybe just because I cant hear stuff like I used to .....

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