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Dangerous Music D-BOX+ Review - Ryan West
Review: Dangerous Music D-Box
Hey kid, wanna make a record? Lord knows how you're going to do it. At home on a laptop, in some studio doing basics, probably to a computer, but maybe you're using tape. Your session changes locations from here to there, maybe even daily as you bring the studio to the musicians. You head out and record in somebody's cabin, next week you're back in some larger place doing overdubs, editing in the other room as other people are tracking.
In the last several years, the trend toward in-the-box computer-based recording and the accompanying decline in the use of the conventional mixing board have spawned several complementary product types designed to provide key functions previously handled by the console. The monitor controller, for example, gives you necessary features such as talkback, input switching, speaker switching, and headphone amplification. Another postmixer product is the analog summing box, which allows you to combine a number of subgroups, stems, or individual tracks from the outputs of your DAW into a stereo mix that is summed through analog circuitry. Dangerous Music, a company that is a leader in the analog summing field and also makes top-notch monitor controllers the Dangerous Monitor and Monitor ST , has incorporated the technology from both types of units into the D-Box see Fig. To make the deal even sweeter, the unit offers the renowned Dangerous Music audio quality at a price that will appeal to the personal-studio market. It's very solidly built, with a heavy-duty metal case, metal knobs, and plastic push-button switches that light when engaged. I'll cover the D-Box's main functions one at a time, beginning with speaker switching.
Introduction Let me start with a simple statement of fact. The D-Box rules.
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SOUND ON SOUND
This neat new hybrid product appears to be defining its own market niche, but can it really be all things to all people? However, both outputs are always fed with whatever's being auditioned on the monitors — which is probably the biggest limitation to the unit's flexibility and suitability. The first button activates the talkback mic, lighting red when active, the second switches the monitoring to mono also red , and the third selects the alternative monitoring speakers red again. These last two buttons are also used to access the machine's configuration mode, and I'll come back to that. Alternatively, if the button is pressed and held the function becomes momentary and is cancelled as soon as the button is released.
The summing section has eight signal-present LEDs, one per channel, that glow even when low, dBu signals are present. The first six summing channels' stereo bus pan positions are fixed: Channels 1, 3 and 5 are assigned to the left side, while channels 2, 4 and 6 are assigned to the right side of the stereo summing bus. Channels 7 and 8 both have panpots for manual placement in the center, using the center-detent or anywhere else across the stereo field. A Sum Output Trim control attenuates up to dB of the stereo summing bus output. For communication between studio and control room, the D-Box offers two front panel headphone jacks, each with a separate level control. However, there is no rear panel line-level output for driving an external headphone amplifier. The built-in talkback mic features front panel level control and a rear panel jack for remote operation.