The human voice is capable of a wide dynamic range, which is why it makes sense to run a station's mics through a mic processor. Used properly, a processor smooths the dynamic extremes and can add some presence to the on-air voices.
Some modern mixing engines provide dynamics processing, so an external processor may not be needed. But processing is as much art as it is science, and the right processor may have just the sound you seek.
Like most equipment categories, there are mic processors that seem to be a ubiquitous choice for many stations. The Symetrix 528E is a popular model. The DBX 286A and 286S are also commonly used. In this Side by Side we look at some other options.
All these units are 1RU. We noted the rack depth as well. The features of these units range from rather basic (but effective) dynamics and EQ to multiple-preset, software-accessable workhorses.
|Model||Airtools Voice Processor 2x||Aphex Channel||Presonus Eureka||Vorsis M1|
|Inputs||mic or line (XLR)||mic (XLR), instrument||mic (XLR), line (1/4" TRS), instrument (1/4")||Mic (XLR)|
|Input Impedance||6.67kΩ||>2kΩ||50Ω-2.5kΩ selectable (mic), 10kΩ (line)||>2kΩ|
|Outputs||line (XLR), AES3||line (XLR, 1/4" TRS), AES3, S/PDIF, optical||line (XLR and 1/4" TRS), optional AES3 & S/PDIF||mc/line (XLR), AES3|
|Output Impedance||200Ω||66Ω (XLR), 600Ω (TRS)||51Ω||<10Ω|
|Output Sample Rates (kHz)||adjustable||44.1, 48, 88.2, 96||44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192||44.1, 48, 96|
|Metering||input, output||output, gain reduction||input, output or gain reduction||input/out, de-esser, compressor, expander|
|Front-panel Control||LCD menu||yes||yes||yes|
|Software Control||Windows app|| -|| -||Windows app|
|Remote Control||remote port, Ethernet||cough switch|| -||Ethernet|
|Presets||50 via front panel & remote||1||1||via software|
|Phase Rotator||voice symmetry circuit||yes||no||yes|
|De-esser||yes||split-band universal|| -||recursive-style|
|Filters||adjustable high-pass, low-pass||low-cut||high-pass||high-pass, low-pass|
|EQ||4-band (low shelf, high shelf, parametric mids)||single-band parametric, Aphex Aural Exciter, Big Bottom||3-band parametric||4-band (low shelf, high shelf, parametric mids)|
|Expander/Gate||downward expander||logic-assisted gate|| -||downward expander|
|Other Models|| -|| -||Studio Channel, TubePre||M2 (dual channel)|
|MSRP||$1,979 ||$1,299 ||$700 ||$899 |