Review: dbx go-Rack Portable Performance Processor


Top-of-the-line audio engineers know the importance of getting a good overall sound for each performance space. Extensive processing gear is available to the sound engineers who 'tune' professional systems to flatter the style of the performers they are supporting, as well as to match the acoustical properties of a performance space, but, until now, songwriters with portable sound systems had to lug a rack of outboard gear with them or default to the simple tone adjustments made on a mixer. dbx engineers, with a history of building great processing tools for live sound and recording, have made getting great live sound easier for solo performers and bands on the go with the ultra-portable goRack Performance Processor.

What is it, exactly?

The dbx goRack is a small (and inexpensive) stereo speaker processor designed to be used between just about any source (mixer; individual mic or instrument input; or music player) and powered speakers giving you the ability to 'tune' your system like the pros do with anti-feedback control, compression and equalization, or even to add a clean boost of low frequencies to your sound. The goRack’s design is based on dbx's larger DriveRack Series. dbx, perhaps best known for its noise reduction technology used in professional recording studios, has been around since the early 70s and has delivered a lot of professional quality sound gear for recording and sound reinforcement.

Designed specifically to be used with powered speaker systems, goRack’s rear panel features combination 1/4”/XLR inputs that can be connected to mixer outputs or to microphones directly. goRack has a Mic/Line switch to select the proper input sensitivity and gain range and dual gain controls on the top provide independent level adjustment. An 1/8” Aux input allows for direct connection of mobile music players. XLR outputs provide a typical connection to your powered speakers. goRack can connect directly from the output of a mixer, but its dual XLR and aux inputs allow it to be used as a small mixer/processor for the solo performer.

What It Can Do for You

Feedback is a fact of life for live performers. So, having a device that can suppress it before it starts can really help you out. With electronics based on dbx's industry-leading AFS (Advanced Feedback Suppression) algorithm, the goRack can be adjusted to listen for, anticipate and remove annoying feedback before it starts--without compromising your sound quality.

The pros know that a bit of compression is the secret to many great mixes. Compression works behind the scenes to minimize peaks and levels out variations in your volume that aren’t adding to your performance. goRack’s Intuitive Compressor feature fine-tunes your system with technology that’s based on the dbx’s legendary 163 Compressor.

Getting more bottom end with goRack’s sub-harmonic synth can make your sound ‘go big’ without a big investment. The sub-harmonic synth in the goRack doesn’t just turn up the bass. It actually synthesizes more bass from your sound and adds it to your performance. This feature isn’t for every performer or every room, but if you need more bottom you can dial it in--as much or as little as you need.

EQ allows you to add richness and clarity to your audio and with one of goRack’s custom EQ presets (goRack has 20 31-band graphic EQ settings) you can instantly improve bass, midrange and treble response. Plus, with presets, you don’t have to be professional to do it and you don’t feel like you are guessing. You select a preset--that’s it. Presets allow you to quickly adjust your portable sound system to account for the acoustical response of a room or outdoor venue.

Equally useful for solo acoustic performance, bands, club and mobile DJs, the goRack is a well-thought out and solid piece of gear that's built to handle the road. It’s not meant to be rack mounted. So, you’ll need to put it on something near your mixer or mic positions (I’ve put it on my keyboard or on top of a road case). On stage, it's an easy set-up with a bright display and a convenient center volume/edit wheel that makes for quick adjustments. For about $100, the little goRack gives you some pretty powerful features to adjust your sound, similar processing as found in its big brother, the dbx DriveRack PA2 loudspeaker management system. For many of us who often play small venues, one of the goRack’s best feature is that it all comes in a very small package so you easily can carry it along in your gig bag.

Street price $99.99

Trixie Whitley: Porta Bohemica