BBE EQA-231 vs DBX 231


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At the local shop, I can get the BBE for $150, vs $190 for the DBX. I need two or three of them for our theater.

From the feature list mismatch, it looks like the DBX has a four-segment level LED, whereas the BBE has variable HI and LO pass filter thresholds. I don't know that I would need either of these features specifically

I respect the DBX reputation, have heard nothing about BBE.

Does anyone feel I should get the BBE over the DBX?

Thanks. John
I think most here will say to go with the dbx. I haven't heard the BBE for myself (actually, I wasn't aware they made EQs until now), but the dbx is well respected and reliable, as I'm sure you know. You might be able to find them on ebay for less than $190. You might also find the long throw fader version, the 2231 for less than its MRSP. It's also got more features.

As for the metering and filters, you'll use them. The metering comes in handy when setting the system's gain structure, and to show how hard you're hitting the wedges (or IEMs) when the console doesn't have metering on the aux's. The 231 only has a fixed HPF (set at 40 Hz if memory serves me correctly), but it'll still help clean up the low end of the PA. It may not be as versatile as a variable HPF, but it still helps. IMO, the LPF isn't always needed. Personally, I run with the LPFs on my EQ's disabled. My opinion, go with the dbx. I'd also trust the filters more on the dbx than the BBE; I'd be willing to bet that the dbx filters are more accurate than the BBE.

Buy once, cry once.
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Buy once, cry once.

So true. Go with DBX. You won't regret it. And go for the 2231 if you can get it, as already mentioned. Very nice unit.
I'll get the DBX then. I'd love the 2231 but right now with $0 budget for EQ I'd rather get the least expensive EQs. The 2231 is going for over twice the price of a 231. And with 5 channels in FOH and 2-4 channels behind stage, I may need to buy three or four of these.

My only need for these is feedback, by the way, I think the speakers sound fine in the theater otherwise. So I'm thinking ideally a Driverack (which I think does notch filtering), but again no money for it right now.

As far as buying used, unlike Mackie, DBX says they don't transfer warranty to subsequent owners. So I'm thinking if I save $100 on a used unit and it breaks within a year, I'm pretty much out. Unless you can tell me that these units never break ...

Thanks. John
Never say never, but DBX stuff can really take a beating and still keep on going. So as long as the previous owner didn't use it for target practice with his hunting rifle, you should be fine used, IMO.
I agree with Soundlight, typically with this sort of rack gear, infant mortality is the real issue, unless there is a real design problem (like for instance with the Behringer Dcx 2496, they had a problem with the board shorting out to the case, so you could either insulate/isolate it your self or you ran the risk of the frying eggs sound. As the units age typically beyond warranty time you do run the risk of capacitors needing to be replaced, but on a lot of the lower end great by that time something much better/less expensive has come along.

The other company with a good rep, not all that well known but west coast based to look at is Rane. ME60

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Ah yes. The ME60 is a nice unit as well. I was going to recommend the Ashly MQX series until I remembered how much they cost!!!
The Rane's are also not cheap ... significantly more than the DBX. My buddy recommended both Rane and DBX to me early on as he has used a lot of their equipment as well and has had very good experience with it. But DBX is less expensive.

You guys seem okay with the durability of DBX so I'll keep an eye out for used equipment.

Tell me though, if I'm primarily interested in feedback, then is a 1/3 octave EQ going to work for me or do I need a 1/80 octave feedback suppressor to avoid butchering the sound quality? And if the latter, would something like a Driverack PA or iEQ31 be better than a combination AFS224 and 231?
There are several schools of thought on this area, so here is one approach

I tend to use the Dsp type units ie drive rack etc, for setting up the system, correcting issues with the speakers themselves, cross over points, alignment delays etc, basically not addressing room issues at all but the :system:

If youom look at the user interface etc for these driverack type units, you can see that they are designed IMO from this standpoint, you work you way thru menus, and various parameters for eq and delay etc, and then it is pretty much a set and forget it.

Feedback issues tend to come down to two main areas, Mains, and Monitors.
In most cases similar to yours, feedback from mains should not be an issue, as you should be able to correct for placement of speakers and mics. For the most part you are looking at attempting to improve how the system sounds in the room. There is an old joke of "how do I flatten a room... get a bull dozer" which has a lot of truth in it, but also points out a lot of the confusion.
Again, since you are using this system in a specific venue, IMO the best way to correct for room issues is to use treatment (panels/drapes etc) to alter the room response.

You then can use eq etc to try to improve how the system sounds in the room. This is where the graphic or parametric is useful. So again if you have proper placement of speakers/mics the FOH sound should in most cases be corrected for feedback resulting from peaks and valleys with room treatment etc. There are different approaches to this issue, so different people take different correction measures.

Monitors are a different issue entirely, Here you are typically ringing out for feedback, have less control over speaker/mic placement etc, and eq is typically done each time the monitor system is used, based on the likelyhood of different mics, placement etc.

Most people use a Graphic for this, I can be argued that this is a pretty broad blunt instrument, as if you were to look at the actual response curves based on frequency fader alteration, you will see that while the center point of the "effect" is at the fader frequency, this is not a notch filter and the alteration spreads out quite a bit.

Some people use a parametric for this, since it can be more precise, but it tends to be a bit more difficult for the non experienced user. Here is where companies like Sabine decided to make feedback eliminators. Their use is controversial, since improperly used they can dramatically alter the sound of the system in a negative way. Their advantage is that they detect the frequency with the "excessive" energy and implement more of a notch filter.

I certainly can be argued successfully that a properly rung out monitor system does not need a feedback eliminator, and that any automatic system is a series of compromises, BUT they can be useful in a system where for instance there can be a lot of variation between mic placement during ringout and performance, or the person running the system is having diffuculty associating a frequency with the beginning signs of feedback, and therefore has some difficulty determining exactly which fader to alter.

So in some cases I use for example the Sabine FBE systems, as a compromise where the automatic feature or more correctly the quick response is usefull, especially if the user clears and resets the filters before the performance. Again a lot of this is personal taste and judgement, and in some cases where the people running the system might not be all that experienced, might not be able to be highly attentitive to the system during the performance, or there can be major variation in mic placement during the performance, an auto feedback eliminator can be useful.

In the main the feedback eliminator mainly determines the offending frequency and attempts to correct it. that is the good news, and the bad news and where there needs be be a lot of caution is that since it is automatic, it certainly can be fooled with a set of frequencies that are infact part of the program , which it then attempts to correct, with the result of negatively impacting the overall sound of the system.

so in a long winded way, Graphics are a good way to go for monitors, Feedback eliminators CAN save the day on some occasions, Driverack type units work best for system setup, and if you are working in a specific venue with the system on a fixed basis, using physical room correction can make a major difference and is usually very worth while.

I have on many occasions had the challenge of turn this airplane hanger or gym in to a reasonable sounding venue. No amount of electronic correction is going to save the day, but reflection panels, absorption panels and drapes can produce some amazing improvements. Again in a long winded way, with feedback or simply how the system sounds in the venue, it is very worth while looking at placement and treatment solutions, in many cases first when you are doing an install

If you for instance look at a graphic on the mains on an install and the settings are obviously dramatic and severe, USUALLY it is an attempt to correct something that really should have physical correction.

Hope this helps

I'm trying to remember exactly which dbx model is in question but given the price, I think my first thought is correct. These are the made in china units. From experience, fader noise is not out of the question. They feel and sound cheap in comparison to the higher end dbx models. BUT, that is not to say they are a bad product, just that they don't behave the same way as higher end models.

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