The DB-3 is a high accuracy, linear amplifier with two independent channels, each with its own gain (Unity to 27+ dB) and volume controls, as well as an effects loop between the two channels. The DB-3 features high input impedance inputs and low output impedance outputs on both channels, each of which can be separately true bypassed. Bicolor LEDs are included indicate the active/bypass state of each channel.
The two channels of the DB-3 can either be cascaded directly or the effects loop can be utilized to separate the two channels for placing a boost or buffer at two different points in your signal chain. Cascading the two channels yields four different foot-selectable volume levels; both bypassed, Ch1 active/Ch2 bypassed, Ch2 active/Ch1 bypassed, and both active.
The effects loop in the DB-3 is similar to that of the effects loop on an amplifier. With no other pedals in the loop, the output of Channel 1 is fed directly to the input of Channel 2. When running pedals in the loop, the output of Channel 1 is sent to the pedals in the loop, which then feed the input of Channel 2. Regardless of your effects loop configuration, the Send output is always active - perfect for sending a signal to your tuner, or even a second amplifier.
The combination of cascaded gain stages and a Master Volume controls also allows you to use the DB-3 as an overdrive/ distortion at any output volume. In this mode, the DB-3 clips sharply, cleanly, and symmetrically, with no phase inversion or other ugliness.
Yet despite it's rich overdrive and distortion tones, the DB-3 was really developed with the idea that you deserve to hear your instrument. Too many boosts are bandwidth limited or produce too many distortion products to allow you to accurately hear everything your instrument is producing. The primary goal of the DB-3 is to deliver your instrument's signal to its destination, altering it as little as modern technology allows. The DB-3 provides a solution to many situations where you'd ordinarily use a buffer or an overdrive/boost (vintage effects with tone sucking inputs, long cable runs into low impedance loads, etc.), while accurately preserving the full character of your instrument even when the gain is dialed up. Bought snazzy new pickups that are supposed to ‘brighten up' your sound? By the time you get through your high capacitance cable run and into your “tone sucker” effect, most of that brightness is gone forever. Stick a DB-3 in between and hear the difference. Put that same effect in the loop and play with input AND output gain to drive your amp into a frenzy. The DB-3, with its flat frequency response, low noise Burr Brown op amps, and low distortion allows you to hear things that the others filter out or mask with excessive noise and distortion. It's called a boost, right? Why should it alter the signal in any way other than boosting it?
The DB-3 is built around a low noise silk screened and solder-masked 4-layer circuit board, 1% resistors, mica, film, and sealed Tantalum capacitors, as well as a dynamic bias circuit to maximize undistorted headroom at any supply voltage from 6V to 18V. Although we know most people will be using the DB-3 with a 9V power supply, the DB-3 is designed to be as flexible as possible. Higher voltage power supplies (ex. 12V or 18V) will yield even more headroom than a traditional 9V battery or wall wart; and support down to 6V means that even if the unthinkable happens and your battery starts to die in the middle of a gig, your DB-3 will still deliver clean, undistorted sound.
The DB-3 uses low noise, audio grade Burr Brown op-amps to provide extremely low distortion across the entire audio band, insuring that even the furthest-out-there audible harmonics will be preserved and passed on down the signal chain. Of course, when the two channels are wide open and cranked to 11, some amount of noise is introduced. At anything but egad levels, however, the DB-3 is quiet and really allows you to hear what your instrument is producing. High impedance inputs with RFI filtering prevent excessive load on your instrument and provide improved immunity to picking up radio stations. Of course, it's got all the normal Barge Concepts stuff too; true bypass (either/both channels), pop suppression, top quality parts throughout, LED indicators, etc. Give it a try; you'll be surprised at how your instrument really sounds.