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dbx 676 Tube Preamp Channel Strip For Return To Rome

Metalcore band selects processor for Reading and Leeds Festivals in England and new studio album.

By PSW Staff November 5, 2015

Return to Rome bass player, Harri Lowe (Credit: Leigh Drinkwater Photography)

When metalcore band Return to Rome learned it was going to perform at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England, founding member and current bass player Harri Lowe became laser focused on the finer points of sound and tone.

Lowe selected Harman’s dbx 676 Tube Preamp Channel Strip for the performance because of the depth and clarity it brings to the band’s sound.

Lowe got his hands on the dbx 160A at his first studio job at an independent label, and he’s been a fan of the brand’s products ever since.

When Return to Rome was invited to play at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, Lowe knew he could trust dbx to deliver the sound and tone the band wanted. With a few months to prepare for the shows, Lowe and his band-mates put together a rig, and the dbx 676 played a critical role.

“We had about five months before the festivals to get to know the rig,” said Lowe.

“Despite having that much time, I was able to dial in a tone dependent on the instrument within a couple of minutes, using the 676. It has completely transformed the quality and depth of my product. The clarity of the 12AU7 vacuum tube coupled with the 250v circuit is pristine, and honestly, I don’t think I’d be able to part with it now that I’ve had a taste of the sound.”

When playing live, Lowe uses BIAS FX on his iPad. He runs the iPad straight into the dbx 676, which in turn, acts as a preamp for the speaker cabinet and PA.

In the studio, he does the same with a cabinet and microphone running through the 676 and listening through his monitors. “Either way, I can dial in a tone at a low volume and still achieve the same sound without sacrificing anything,” said Lowe. “It keeps all the clarity in the tracks I produce and downloading straight out to the desk saves not only a lot of time, but eliminates having to lug around a huge rig on the road.”

According to Lowe, the multiple adjustments to the tone from the tube make it one of the most versatile channel strips on the market. Additionally, an Overeasy setting on the compressor, designed after the dbx 162SL, combined with the parametric EQ and the ability to side chain in additional equipment ensures Lowe can control dynamics and tonal balance with precision.

Lowe, a producer on the band’s upcoming LP, is also using the 676 in the studio during recording sessions. “Goodnight,” one of the band’s latest tracks, has a section with six different guitars, so Lowe used the 676 to help separate the layers.

“There is a part on ‘Goodnight’ where there are about six guitar tracks at the same time, which can make a mix very muddy,” said Lowe. “With the different settings on the 676, I can dial in with Tube Attenuation to distort and add harmonics. And with help from the EQ, separating each lead—coupled with the main rhythm—wasn’t difficult at all. What started as high risk in the mix turned into what I feel is one of the defining moments on our upcoming LP. The dbx 676 truly is the premier mic preamp available, and that’s why it is on everything I have put out this year and will be for years to come.”

Return to Rome


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