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dbx160a vs. Distressor

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by jazzy655, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. jazzy655

    jazzy655 Guest

    Hi guys,
    Alright, I do mainly hiphop, r&b music.
    Lots of rap vocals. So its widely known the with hiphop, if the drums don't thump, the songs not happening all the way.

    I'm looking to invest in my first outboard compressor. I have lots of
    experiece with the uad stuff as well as waves. But I think the plugs are missing what I need for that true thump.

    Looking at either a DBX160a, or something nicer like a distressor. If
    you guys could give me some pros and cons of each, I'd let you sleep with my girlfriend. If I had one ;)

    Help a brotha out....
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    The Distressor offers much more flexability, tone and control. 100% better than the dbx 160A.
  3. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    if you deicide on the 160 go with the 160x a bit older but about half the price on ebay. its a good first outboard comp imo
  4. jazzy655

    jazzy655 Guest

    is the dbx even in the same class soundwise as the distressor though??
  5. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

    The DBX and Distressor are radically different. The DBX 160A IMHO offers fairly smooth VCA style compression. However, the Distressor offers several various compression styles. It is extremely more versatile. You will probably get a lot more mileage from the Distressor because it can be adapted to a lot more situations than the DBX 160A. I hope this helps.
  6. jamiey

    jamiey Guest

    Are you sure you need a better compressor? Some other area of the production may have much much more effect on the 'thump'!
  7. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I had a DBX, it really wasn't anything other than a paperweight after a while. It sat in my closet for so long, I almost forgot I had it. I just sold it on ebay about a month or so ago. I would have just gave it to you jazzy655 for your girlfriend. :lol: (Oh yeah...I forgot)
    The DBX stuff is.....mmmmmm
    O.K. :?
    But I just didn't hear too much about it that was "wow" or "awesome".
    But rather more like, hmmmmm, and well :?
    All I can say with truth is that they make an affordable compressor. But would I buy another one?
    Most likely not. It really was only so good IMO.
  8. jazzy655

    jazzy655 Guest

    I hear you about the dbx. Thats what i was wondering. "Good for the money" is not what i'm looking for. I need good period.

    Hey jamiey,
    As far as another solution did you mean gear wise?
    Here's what i'm working with:

    Roland Fantom S Synth => ISA 428 => RME ADI-2 ad/da => Cubase SX. All mogami cabling.

    Lets not even talk about monitors, cause i'm truly ashamed of what i'm working with. I believe this is a pretty solid and usable setup.
    Could it be the way i'm tracking. Do i need a DI, or is it ok to just track straight into the ISA 428?

    Any help fellas??
  9. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    Now that's what I'm talking about! How else are you gonna bring this world to their knees!
    Jazzy655 the distressor "does it all". It does like 3 or 4 types of "big name" compression.
    I want a Distressor REAL bad :!: Mainly because of it's versatility. But also because I read that it can make a certain sound on vocals (I won't go into that -it's not relevant)
    Now what I don't know is for sure jazzy, is if it's what you want for the type of music you are doing.
    Maybe someone else knows if it's any good on rap, and r&b, and hiphop
  10. itchy

    itchy Guest

    What exactly is your monitoring situation? What do you use? What are your mixing conditions (room)? I would bet that this will make an impact on your overall mix more than a compressor....even the distressor!
  11. axel

    axel Guest

    if you need something that is really evil on drums, then check the focusrite compounder... for dance music stuff, it's really doing the thumbdy, dumbdy :D

    i don't know any compressor i've used wich is doing a really good job on every material... if you want 'really good period', then keep the purpose / material in mind you wan't to compress... i wouldn't use the compounder on vox or any "transparent" material, at all, but for dance music drums... WOW.. thumbing & Pumping... it will pull the pants from the punters on the floor :twisted:

    jamiey wrote:

    i agree, keep that in mind as well, even the "best" compressor wan't do it all...

    ahh... and i forgot, i got always pretty good results out of the 160a and also the cheap 166xl for DRUMS... like 'em for that...
  12. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    ive found my 160x to work on anything, is it the best on every thing no, but it will work for everything well if its all you got.
  13. jazzy655

    jazzy655 Guest

    good point guys. what i'm really trying to combat here is my drums sounding too distant. my soft comps just aren't doing it, and besides that, I dont have a hardware compressor anywhere in my studio. So i'm thinking it would also be good for tracking. These are my main reasons for querying about a good hardware comp.

    I've found that stacking my snares and kicks helps a lot though.
    Still a little too distant though. Really it's the same issue with my

    You guys can hear some of the stuff i'm trying to mix at http://www.somobe.com/dj
    it'll give you a better idea of what i'm trying to fix.
  14. axel

    axel Guest

    i haven't listened to the mix, yet
    but what kind of plugs do you use, that they don't "do the job" ??
  15. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    The problem with the dbx for your needs is that you can't adjust attack or release, which are critical to getting punchy sounding drum tracks (very short release specifically). FWIW, I've been using BLOCKFISH by digitalfishphones (freeware) as a drum mix bus compressor, it's really good and has a nice saturation feature. I bought a RNC as a mainmix bus comp for doing quick mixes through the board, "real nice" for the money, but not the quality of the Distressor.
  16. axel

    axel Guest

    uhhh... yeah blockfish, i second that one, my fave plug comp.
  17. jazzy655

    jazzy655 Guest

    i mainly use the rcomps for drums. sometimes i'll use the UAD-1 stuff on drums. But i'll check out the blockfish
  18. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    I'm going to echo what most of the other replies have said. If I've got to choose my first outboard comp, I'm going with the distressor. You are getting not only a good sounding comp, but a very versatile one also. It's a great piece to play on and really learn what compression does.

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