Feedback can ruin your sound whether you are performing live or recording in a studio. Increasing the signal or using a higher frequency can increase the risk of feedback, which typically occurs when the microphone picks up its own signal from the speaker and creates a feedback loop.
There are several techniques for eliminating feedback, including the use of feedback eliminators and reducers. While feedback is commonly considered an issue for live performances, it can also impact your editing when using Pro Tools and other DAWs.
If you want to eliminate the risk of feedback, the following products are your best options.
1. Behringer Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496
The Behringer Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 is more than just a feedback eliminator; it is also an advanced equalizer, analyzer, and sound processor.
Using an advanced algorithm, the Ultracurve Pro can detect the feedback without impacting the rest of the input signal. You also get a 10-band parametric equalizer and a graphic equalizer with 31 bands. These settings can be used independently or concurrently.
The device is also equipped with a high-resolution sound processor using DSP technology. Besides getting rid of feedback, you can ensure that you have a nice, clean sound.
The Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 allows you to process 24-bit/96 kHz audio. This should suit most people’s needs when using a feedback eliminator with Pro Tools.
An interesting feature is the real-time FFT analyzer that helps monitor each signal. The analyzer helps you determine where the feedback is coming from so that you can possibly put an end to it.
You can even store your settings for different environments or setups. There are 64 user memories for storing these settings. For example, if you find that you tend to get a lot of feedback when setting up specific equipment, you can eliminate the feedback and store the settings to make things easier the next time that you use the same setup.
2. dbx AFS2 Advanced Feedback Suppression Processor
The dbx AFS2 is a direct competitor to the Behringer Ultracurve Pro. Both options cost about $300, depending on the latest price. However, they use different methods for helping to eliminate feedback.
With the AFS2 Advanced Feedback Suppression Processor, you can monitor your signals to determine where the feedback is coming from. You also get 24 feedback filters, which is twice the number that you typically find with a high-end feedback eliminator.
The device also has a series of LED lights and an LCD display. The LED lights make it easier to monitor and control the signals while LCD display provides additional information. This device is also lightweight and easy to set up. It fits a standard rack and weighs just 5.48 pounds.
The AFS2 also includes a feature that guides new users. The AFS2 Feedback Suppression Wizard walks you through the process of addressing the feedback problem. Depending on your technical knowledge, this wizard is a useful feature.
The main difference between the AFS2 and the Ultracurve Pro is that the AFS2 is a dedicated feedback eliminator. It does not include the equalizers found on the Behringer device. However, it does offer more filters and options for addressing feedback.
3. Behringer MicroHD HD400 2-Channel Hum Destroyer
Behringer also produces a cheaper solution for eliminating feedback. At about one-tenth the price of the Ultracurve Pro, you can get the MicroHD HD400 2-Channel Hum Destroyer.
While you do not get the equalizer settings and advanced sound processor, you do get several features that are designed to help reduce feedback and signal noise. It can help stop feedback loops and balance signals without causing any loss to the signal strength or quality.
The device is connected between the amps and your mixer. As a two-channel device, you can use it with two separate mono input signals. You can also combine the channels for use with a single stereo input signal.
Overall, the MicroHD HD400 feedback eliminator is the easiest device to use. You simply plug it in and let it do its job.
Which Feedback Eliminator Should You Use?
If it is within your budget, the Behringer Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 is one of the top choices. It combines feedback elimination with equalizers and sound processing to help deliver a superior signal to your mixer or Pro Tools.
The dbx AFS2 Advanced Feedback Suppression Processor is another option that is worth considering. It includes 24 feedback filters for each channel. It also features a large LCD display to help you troubleshoot the cause of the feedback.
The dbx feedback eliminator is comparable to the Behringer Ultracurve Pro and has the same price tag. While it lacks equalizers, it uses more feedback filters and works with almost any audio equipment, thanks to the XLR and TRS connections.
If the cost is a major concern, the MicroHD HD400 may be the better choice. It is incredibly affordable and provides a simple solution for helping to eliminate feedback.
Additional Suggestions for Dealing with Feedback
While the products discussed may help you eliminate or reduce feedback, they are not a complete solution. With a feedback eliminator, you are treating the symptoms instead of providing a cure. If you want to stop feedback, you need to consider your setup.
The placement of microphones, the positions of the performers, the signal levels, and the volume and placement of the monitors all impact the risk of feedback.
You should first ensure that the mics are not too close to your monitors. You should also have the performers get as close to the microphones as they can since this helps you reduce the need to increase the volume and the risk of feedback.
If you are worried about feedback when using Pro Tools, you should pay attention to how you connect everything. For example, if you are using a mixer for its preamps and then sending the channels to tracks in Pro Tools, you should use the direct outputs instead of the main bus.
Along with these tips, using a feedback eliminator offers additional help. With the right device, you can get peace of mind knowing that even if your audio setup is not ideal, feedback may not be an issue.