Technology has moved on in the 10 years since the original D‑Box was released — but the concept seems stronger than ever.
I reviewed Dangerous Music's D‑Box, which combined the roles of active monitor controller and analogue summing mixer, in SOS March 2009 (https://sosm.ag/dangerous-dbox). It has since won several well-deserved awards and proved enduringly popular. But technology moves on, so Dangerous decided it was time to reinvent the D‑Box to raise the quality, increase its flexibility, and take advantage of the smartphones and tablets we now all take for granted. The result is called the D‑Box+ — but that modest plus sign doesn't really do this redesign justice...
The D‑Box+ adds USB and Bluetooth to the original's three input sources, and offers separate source selection for the control room and artist headphones, and switching for three speaker sets rather than two. There's also a new summing mixer design, new D-A converters, new digital connectivity, and a new Bluetooth remote control app (iOS, Android, Mac OS and Windows). Other new features include an assignable line out, duplicated rear-panel headphone sockets, individual speaker trims, summing-bus output trim, automatic mono, and subwoofer associations with one of the speaker outs.
The build quality is exemplary. A substantial 1U rackmount powder-coated steel chassis contains a large main PCB populated with surface-mount components, plus a daughter–board carrying the USB and Bluetooth interfaces. It's still recognisably a D‑Box, but one that has very obviously been extensively enhanced and updated.
The rear panel is crammed with connectivity. Next to the universal IEC mains inlet and power switch is a pair of quarter-inch headphone outputs, which are parallel-wired duplicates of the artist and control-room headphone sockets on the front. Three pairs of balanced speaker line outputs on quarter-inch TRS sockets cater for three sets of stereo monitors, or two sets plus one or two subwoofers. One stereo balanced line output, again quarter-inch TRS, can be switched between the control room or headphone source selectors, and a second is a dedicated output from the internal summing bus, whose eight balanced inputs enter via an AES59 (Tascam) standard 25-pin D-sub. A pair of 'combi' XLRs accepts the main analogue stereo monitoring input, while a set of male/female XLRs takes in an AES3 or S/PDIF digital audio signal (up to 192kHz) and provides a link (thru) output. A USB 2.0 Type B socket accepts audio (again, up to 192kHz) from a computer; it's class-compliant with Mac OS and there's an ASIO driver for Windows. Finally, there's a rotatable...
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