Fix Those Loud Commercials With The Minicom Com800 On Your STB!

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FTABman0

FTABman0

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
May 13, 2006
818
1
Lat 39.2°N WV Lo 81.5°W
OK guys,
How many times have you turned up your STB to hear programs with low volume just to be blasted from your easy chair when a commercial comes on? Since I have gotten into the hobby I have noticed that the commercials are way too loud resulting in you scrambling for your remote to turn it down, annoying! Now being in broadcast radio as a Disc Jockey and also a former assistant studio engineer I found a cheap, inexpensive solution! Let’s add a studio style stereo compressor!

INTRODUCING THE BEHRINGER MINICOM COM800!
Price is $39!

The COM800 is an affordable ultra-compact stereo modeling compressor for studio use or stage & live sound applications. It has 16 presets pre-programmed into the little power house! Designed in Germany by Uli Behringer (But made in china - explains the cheap plastic!) the MINICOM really surprised me when I put it in line between the STB test box and my home theater amplifier!

From their website to give you specs and technical features then I will continue the review:

MINICOM COM800
Ultra-Compact Stereo Modeling Compressor with 16 Presets

This ultra-compact 9.5" stereo modeling compressor is small but super capable, and is ideal for both studio and stage applications. It features 16 awesome preset models for the most typical compression applications (vocal, drums, guitar, keyboard, etc.). A dedicated Compressor Modeling control with Led’s indicates the dynamics program currently selected. There is an integrated Enhancer for brilliant, lively audio even with heavy compression, while our IKA (Interactive Knee Adaptation) program-adaptive compression circuitry combines the advantages of hard and soft knee characteristics. We’ve also included an accurate 6-digit LED Input/Output meter plus a 6-digit LED Gain Reduction meter for precise level indication. Operating levels can be easily selected using the I/O Level switch. Long-term reliability is guaranteed with our high-quality potentiometers and illuminated switches. Our renowned ultra low-noise audio operational amplifiers offer outstanding sound performance. In addition, all MINI Series models can be stacked on top of each other to create an ultra-compact signal processing solution.

This is definitely one mighty wolf in sheep’s clothes!

Ultra-compact 9.5" stereo modeling compressor for studio and stage applications

16 awesome preset models for the most typical compression applications (vocal, drums, guitar, keyboard, etc.)

Dedicated Compressor Modeling control with LED's indicating the selected dynamics program

Integrated Enhancer for brilliant, lively audio even with heavy compression

IKA (Interactive Knee Adaptation) program-adaptive compression circuitry combines the advantages of hard and soft knee characteristics

Accurate 6-digit LED Input/Output meter, plus 6-digit LED Gain Reduction meter for precise level indication

Operating levels can be selected using the I/O Level switch

High-quality potentiometers and illuminated switches for long-term reliability

Ultra low-noise audio operational amplifiers and state-of-the-art VCA's offer outstanding sound performance

All Mini Series models can be stacked on top of each other to create an ultra-compact signal processor solution

High-quality components and exceptionally rugged construction ensure long life

Conceived and designed by BEHRINGER Germany


Don’t let it being a live sound or studio enforcement box throw you off, since it has stereo capabilities I knew I was not going to be disappointed! Yes it has vocal pre-sets to instruments, but has compression settings and leveling that are true and can be found in many outboard units in recording studios!

Pros:

Size! Small enough to fit on top of your STB without causing overheating problems!
Stackable with other Behringer MINCOM units! Can link a mini EQ and other units for linking or daisy-chaining!
LED indication of input & outputs
Intergraded Enhancer button that gives audio a very lively crisper sound.
Switches’ are illuminated when used
16 pre-programmed presets
Plenty of output volume
Separate adjustable input volume
Separate adjustable output volume
Gate/with compression with LED indication
Low noise for noise floor even at high volumes! (Ultra low noise a Behringer trademark!)
I/O level adjustable switch on rear for -10 dbv home recording level and +4 dBu for Home use or Studio level user input selectable
Unbalanced left and right outputs with just mono or full stereo
Balanced inputs
Large rubber feet bottom
Low power consumption, 9 VOLT DC
-20 db to 20 db gain on input and the same for the output adjustable!
An excuse to add something else to your FTA equipment that has cool lights and sounds awesome! :up

Cons:

Does not have AC3 out, to use you will have to go RCA out.
Does not have RCA inputs or outputs; have to use ¼ jacks so a little modification is due.
One meter for both channels, no Left no Right indication one meter shows one master input level or output level with clip.
Very light weight, wants to scoot around when you fiddle with the adjustment controls
Unit case is all plastic!
Uses the outlet hog wall wart!
Found another con, unit has to be turned on even in by-pass mode, audio dies when power button is turned off!


Overall for the money the sound is excellent and you will not be disappointed!

This compressor really got my attention when I moved my dish to 10R K! The RTN’s are notorious for having loud commercials during programs. I set the COM800 to my liking and was overly impressed on how well the little box worked!


My favorite settings as follows:


There is a hard Limit position 12 in the limiter selection,
this works great for all RTN Networks and solved the commercial volume overtake problem, set at this position the commercials are now the same level as the program! WOW, you read that right! Some times if you get a commercial that is really loud and the Gain LEDS will show that, on this setting I noticed the limit here you can here the gate close sometimes if the break is too loud. It really is smooth here for the most part and makes this my favorite for Galaxy 10R K!


Position 16 is another favorite of mine; it is LEVELER in the All-Round Special Selection.
This has a great floor for gate & compression that is really noticeable. In this position if you use the Expander switched on, your highs and lows are really crisp but it has great mid to middle range also! I have noticed on this position even your TV speakers, Mono or stereo sounds fuller and cleaner!

Position 11 is KEYB PAD in the Keyboard selection of the 16 presets.
This was a great setting for talk shows and such.

Settings for vocals I thought would be great for TV but is more geared to use with microphones. I noticed the gate was light in the vocal area!

Stereo separation is the same when this guy is in line but noticed imaging when switched into Enhance mode. (To be expected since most enhance features merge both left and right channels for effect! The unit still separates left & right stereo in this position and is noticeable! Just adds a touch of imaging to both channels but there still is stereo and not simulated stereo!

The settings for each person would be very much different. I have more so a studio ear being in radio for so many years and now having a home recording studio! With all the presets and true gate and compress settings, you are bound to find a setting that works for your liking! Going through all 16 presets and setting the levels you want then going through them again with the Enhancer turned on is like adding 16 more different sounding presets to the box. You are sure to find one setting or more you like for what channel you’re on! The gate works like a high dollar one!

I have it set now on 12 Hard Limit now and dialed in the way I like and the volume is the same on all birds, any channel! Works like a jewel!

The gain LED’s on the unit are the amount of compression that is applied to your input. This gives you a great visual of audio that is being compressed. The more the LED's go down, the more that the box compress the audio for you! I have been listening to music for hours now! All I can say is :up :up :up

Members that get one please post your favorite settings after playing with it, I am still dialing in new settings for things experimenting with it! Again, I will be adding the MINICOM EQ with it sometime next week!



My summery on the unit,

I give it 9 stars outta 10!
Not a total 10 because of the cheap PLASTIC housing and fixed ¼ in & out jacks!
But $39, try and find a compressor for 39 bucks!!

I may get the MINIFBQ FBQ800 Graphic Equalizer later to stack on it! It too is $39 as of all the other MINICOM units in this series! They also make a MINIMIX MIX800 Karaoke Machine in this series if you want to loose your mind stacking these! There is a BEAT800 - a duel beat counter, a MIC800 - Microphone preamp, AMP800 - Headphone amp, FEX800 - Stereo multi-effects unit processor, MON800- Monitor Matirx Mixer in this line! All the same price!

For the money this is a must have addition to your STB especially if you have it set up with RCA jacks for your sound out! I kicked this idea around in my mind for about a year but never tried adding outboard studio-live sound equipment to my box. I have a couple of the 19 inch rack studio compressors but use them for my live sound and production work in my studio and I don’t want to put another piece of equipment on top of the piles of boxes I have already. I done some looking around and found this little guy from BEHRINGER plus I have a few products from them anyway with my live mobile sound & DJ business. The specs were good, the PRICE was great and it is a gate/compressor so how could I pass this up.

A great audio addition to your STB or HD box! I am going to purchase another one for my bedroom box! This will also work with your Dish Network Box, DirecTV, Cable Box, VCR, DVD Player and you could hook it up to a CD player! Very many applications if it involves sound stereo or mono.

Using it on a higher end box like HD will it will have to be used with the RCA outs instead of HDMI or Components & AC3 optical but after you buy one and use it, you can always work the RCA in somehow to use as alternative way to listen to your STB!

Update:

Got to thinking this morning after writing this review that it can be used even if you don’t want to use your RCA jacks and want to keep your other connections if you don’t want to change! You can use the Minicom COM800 in your home theater inline after you HD, or straight DVB STB if you want! Keep your connections the way they are and just add the 800 between the box and audio of your receiver instead out of your FTA, in the COM800 to audio receiver. Mine is just connected to the Fortec Star right now but hooking it up to the home theater would allow you to use it for all audio the receiver outputs!! I might hook mine up like that later but for now, I am enjoying the crap out of mine the way it is right now! Tickled pink & VERY satisfied!

Using it more today I have found 4 more settings that I love for various channels! I am sure I will find more! Also I can’t say enough about the + - 20 db gain on both input and output settings! Your STB will be louder! Music channels I can say you know this is inline and makes a huge difference! I had it hooked to my Dish receiver today and the Sirius channels were outstanding! I hooked it to my XM Skyfi II also and the difference in sound, WOW! Box is truly versatile! It would be nice (or wishful thinking) for STB manufactures to implement something like this inside the receiver. Like I said I was kicking this idea around for awhile but kick myself for not trying it till now! I am sure it would not be too hard to put extra electronics in for something like this. I know the standard DVB boxes I have got to see inside of so far there are alot of room for more tech inside. I know the HD boxes would be hard though, they are a little crammed inside not to say maybe would cause a heat issue! Overall though on this product & price you can't go wrong, not all!

I will post a MP3 of the box very soon to let you hear the box in action! I will never listen to the Sirius channels now without it! Noticed that Hard Limit works very well with those and Enhancer on. It images the sound a bit but there is still stereo separation that is very noticeable. I am still playing with it! I will be for days to come! I have tried so far, talk channels, TV programs and now music, what is next? I have not run CD's or DVD's through it yet but I am sure that the results will be amazing!

Hope this solution works for you too! I am very pleased!

Links

MY YOUTUBE ACCOUNT WHERE YOU CAN SEE MINE WORK
BEHRINGER MAIN WEBSITE
MINICOM COM800 MANUAL
FRONT PICTURE
REAR PICTURE
ALTERNATIVE VIEW
SPEC SHEET
WARRANTY
FIND A DEALER NEAR YOU
 

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Last edited:
M

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
335
89
Mankato, MN
VERY nice review :)

moved to review area and stickied.

you are right...some of those RTN commercials would wake a dead man for as loud as they can get
 
FTABman0

FTABman0

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
May 13, 2006
818
1
Lat 39.2°N WV Lo 81.5°W
VERY nice review :)

moved to review area and stickied.

you are right...some of those RTN commercials would wake a dead man for as loud as they can get

Not anymore! Fixed that problem, RTN's & Programs are same level, Allways, for any bird you want to watch!

Thanx Ice! Great little box, works great!! :up

Sorry bout that Tony, in my glee in using the box after setting it up I realized that I posted in the wrong area! :(
 
Last edited:
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
Nice work.
Good to know there is an inexpensive box that'll take care of the problem.

This may become as popular as the Dolby-decoding headphones...
... which should probably have a review, too... (hint) - :rolleyes:
 
FTABman0

FTABman0

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
May 13, 2006
818
1
Lat 39.2°N WV Lo 81.5°W
Nice work.
Good to know there is an inexpensive box that'll take care of the problem.

This may become as popular as the Dolby-decoding headphones...
... which should probably have a review, too... (hint) - :rolleyes:

I was thinking that too Anole! The ol Sonic headphones! :up

I need to get a set of those! Need a review of those for sure!

KEVIN
 
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