The dbx DriveRack PA2 Loudspeaker Management System is a comprehensive live sound sculpting box. For those already invested in a non-DSP portable PA system—older powered systems or a component-based passive speaker/amp-based rig—dbx’s DriveRack PA2 ($399 street) is a boon. With stereo XLR inputs and stereo low, mid and high-frequency XLR outs, the PA2 utilizes a front-panel RTA microphone input for simplified speaker leveling and room EQ via dbx’s Level Assist and AutoEQ Wizards for potential pro-level results.
Harman family member dbx touts the PA2’s simplicity for even novices, and I believe they are correct. With the PA2’s free DriveRack app—Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android OS ready—direct tweaking of compressor, graphic and parametric EQ, crossover and more settings are touch-adjustable and truly intuitive. On its front panel, these and other processes are accessible via button-push activation, including AFX Feedback Suppression, Delay, dbx’s 120A subharmonic synth, RTA, and more. See all the capabilities at prosoundnetwork.com/sept2015.
In all, I found the PA2 a perfect pairing with a traditional-style analog mixer—in this case, a Mackie ProFXv2 Series mixer with built-in digital effects—which added much of the fine-tuning needed to push speaker performance to pro-rivaling results. I especially found the PA2 useful in the HOW environment; as many church-based operators are near-novices, an analog desk/PA2 pairing allows the best of both worlds: a simple, intuitive mixer for the user and deep processing for the unique demands in fixed installations with often less-than-ideal acoustic characteristics. The PA2 was also helpful when paired with a simple powered sub/full-range portable PA rig, too.
In summary, the DriveRack PA2 paired with essentially any tablet raises the bar—and performance capabilities—of nearly any live sound rig to results that sound far beyond a $399 investment.