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DBX 586 vs ART MPA Gold
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Chief Pronto
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#1
11th September 2011
Old 11th September 2011
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DBX 586 vs ART MPA Gold

Hey all, I've been running an ART MPA Gold dual channel tube pre for a few years with absolutely no gripes about it. But just for a change, I decided I'd give something else a try. I've stumbled upon a DBX 586 dual channel tube pre for $200 and have been playing around with it. It seems that the DBX has a greater range - the cleaner signals seem cleaner than the MPA Gold at it's cleanest setting, and the driven signals seem dirtier than the MPA Gold at it's most driven setting. The limiter on the DBX actually sounds pretty good. I couldn't hear it working even though I saw the LED flickering... so that's what I mean by "sounds" pretty good. The EQ was pretty good I guess.. I'm not sure. It did what I thought it would do - I turned up the highs and it got brighter, turn them down and it got duller... I'm not sure what else I should be looking for.

All in all I think the DBX has a wider range of different sounds, but I think the MPA Gold sounded overall a bit sweeter. Anyone have similar thoughts?

There's A LOT of bad stuff written about the DBX 586, and there's actually A LOT of good stuff written about the ART MPA Gold. Now, is that because the DBX sounds "mediocre" for a high-end unit while the MPA Gold sounds GREAT for a low-end unit? Are people unimpressed with the DBX 586 because of the original $1700 price tag, but impressed with the MPA Gold because of the original $350 price tag? If price/value was not a consideration, and someone offered you either an ART MPA Gold or a DBX 586, which one would you take?

Which one sounds better regardless of the price? And after you've answered that.... Which one sounds better considering the price? Same answer?
Chief Pronto
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11th September 2011
Old 11th September 2011
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anyone?
#3
11th September 2011
Old 11th September 2011
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I'd be interested in this as well. I have the MPA Gold (with NOS Mullards) and have been very happy with it but have often considered trying the DBX 586.
Chief Pronto
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12th September 2011
Old 12th September 2011
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I guess we're not so lucky as to get some feedback on this. I guess my only choice is to keep both.
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12th September 2011
Old 12th September 2011
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soul&folk is offline
I searched this and found an amusing thread where some people thought the DBX was starved plate and that was refuted. And then they were dissing the appearance, where the tube glows from behind or something like that.

Did so few people buy the DBX 586 that nobody knows about it?
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12th September 2011
Old 12th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soul&folk View Post
I searched this and found an amusing thread where some people thought the DBX was starved plate and that was refuted. And then they were dissing the appearance, where the tube glows from behind or something like that.

Did so few people buy the DBX 586 that nobody knows about it?
People who thought the DBX 586 was starved plate were misinformed. The tube glow thing that people were dissing was because there's an orange LED in the tube socket that makes it look as if the tube is glowing brighter than it actually was. This led people to believe that the tube didn't heat up or do anything, and that the 586 was "toob". The reality of it is that preamp tubes BARELY glow as it is, even when they're working normally... so they just put the LED in there to complete the look. To the people who thought that tubes don't do anything to the sound, just swap the tube and you'll hear that the tube does have a huge influence on the colour.

I'm trying to figure out if the DBX 586 would be considered an upgrade from the MPA Gold. The 586 has awful reviews. The MPA Gold has nearly impeccable reviews. But for the people reviewing the DBX, they're reviewing it as a $1700 dual preamp, and when it sounds just a little nasty, they slam it. When the same people review the MPA Gold as a $300 dual preamp, when it sounds just a little pleasant, they praise it.

So, since I can get the DMX 586 for $200, price is out of the equation. Which one is built better, which one has a more desirable sound (subjective), which one has a greater feature set, all not considering the original price tag...
#7
13th September 2011
Old 13th September 2011
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I have one and got good results before I found out it was not well liked around here
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13th September 2011
Old 13th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Pronto View Post
People who thought the DBX 586 was starved plate were misinformed. The tube glow thing that people were dissing was because there's an orange LED in the tube socket that makes it look as if the tube is glowing brighter than it actually was. This led people to believe that the tube didn't heat up or do anything, and that the 586 was "toob". The reality of it is that preamp tubes BARELY glow as it is, even when they're working normally... so they just put the LED in there to complete the look. To the people who thought that tubes don't do anything to the sound, just swap the tube and you'll hear that the tube does have a huge influence on the colour.

I'm trying to figure out if the DBX 586 would be considered an upgrade from the MPA Gold. The 586 has awful reviews. The MPA Gold has nearly impeccable reviews. But for the people reviewing the DBX, they're reviewing it as a $1700 dual preamp, and when it sounds just a little nasty, they slam it. When the same people review the MPA Gold as a $300 dual preamp, when it sounds just a little pleasant, they praise it.

So, since I can get the DMX 586 for $200, price is out of the equation. Which one is built better, which one has a more desirable sound (subjective), which one has a greater feature set, all not considering the original price tag...
If you can get the DBX 586 for $200, I'd say pick it up and use it a bunch. At the very least, if you hate how it sounds, you can easily flip it for the same money that you paid and find an MPA for around $200 (used). This is what I would do, simply because I've never worked with the DBX 586 before; I have both the MPA Gold and MPA II (both were re-tubed by me with NOS tubes from BOWIE) and I like them.
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Keep it simple - get good sounds at source - do not rely on all the technology. Go with your instincts/gut feeling. Don't mic too close.
#9
22nd September 2011
Old 22nd September 2011
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I have a 586 which I bought new for around $1700 a number of years ago when they were new on the market (mid 90s?)

first of all, the signal is ALWAYS going through the tube - the "drive" knob does not need to be cranked to engage the tube, only if you want to be creative with tube distortion

my unit seem to have low output until a tech friend of mine found some issue and resolved it

the EQ is okay - I remember using it as a bass guitar DI and the EQ was perfect in this application as a tone-shaper (as opposed to a problem solver EQ like in a Mackie)

it is NOT starved tube - LEDs light up the tubes as a marketing thing, they have no function otherwise

I would not pay $1700 again, but at the time it was among the cheapest pres I could find - I just recently picked up another for $50

can't speak to the ART stuff - had bad early experience with their gear (too noisy for studio) so I never considered the brand after that, but I've heard good things- but like someone has said, the low price may impact the opinion
#10
22nd September 2011
Old 22nd September 2011
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I remember when these were out which I am guessing was the late 90s because I remember seeing them at Mars Music when they were in business.

IIRC this was a rebranded (or redesigned) Digitech VTP-1 mic pre which was out in the early 90s and was one of the first tube mic pres I remember being marketed during those years.

I have a VTP-1 and although it doesn't get a ton of love I have always liked the way it sounds.

For $200 I would say it probably sounds ok plus it has an effects send which is kind of a neat feature.
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22nd September 2011
Old 22nd September 2011
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At that price keep em both for different flavors. And yeah, the dbx was way overpriced originally since at the time you could buy things like a Langevin DVC or even a Manley dual tube pre. Neither of them had all the features of the dbx but then neither one needed any of that.
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