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Hey all. Quick question: what's the difference between the dbx 160a, 160x and 160xt compressors? I don't own any of them, but I'd like to and it seems the 160x's are the cheapest, followed by the xt's then the a's (on ebay and at used gear shops). I've looked all over the Internet and even on dbx's website, but I can't find any glaring difference. I think I'm just missing something, that's why I'm asking. Thanks, everyone.



AudioGaff Sat, 09/20/2003 - 23:30

The are all about the same and some were made in USA and some made in China. The 160X has the old barrier strip and 1/4" I/O, the 160XT came after and has 1/4" and XLR I/O with ground lift switch, The 160A being the newest has an updated VCA to replace an obsolete one and this changes the sound somewhat.

Alécio Costa Sun, 09/21/2003 - 19:59

I have 3 dbx166A´s. They are stereo/dual mono. Very nice for capturing drums. They are marked as being made in the USA.

I have an older one I bought in 1995 whose back panel and xlr connectors are painted in different collors from those I bought in 1996.

The dbx 166Xl is a project version I guess. A few years later, they released the 1066.

AudioGaff Sun, 09/21/2003 - 20:08

The XLR and ground lift switch on the 160XT are pro features not offered on the 160X would be why I think they are more expensive. Besides the Ashley SC-50 and SC-55 which are also very good and more flexable, the dbx 160x and 160XT were pretty much the only good affordable compressors in the 1980's. They have that classic dbx sound but today I don't think they rate so high in the pro arena but still are of good value. I had six of them at one time and sold them several years ago. I replaced them with with a dbx 160S and a 160SL and am so much happier with what I get out of them.

anonymous Sun, 09/21/2003 - 21:30

Originally posted by AudioGaff:
I replaced them with with a dbx 160S and a 160SL and am so much happier with what I get out of them.

Whoa...can you tell me a little about these units? I've considered them but I've heard some negative reactions over on gearslutz. I think i heard that they lack the "magic" of the old DBX 160 VU units. But i love the 160 sound and would definitely consider the more flexible units.

AudioGaff Mon, 09/22/2003 - 00:10

Ya, I hang at gealslutz as well. I don't remember any real bashing on the 160S or 160SL other than expensive and not being the same as the old. Well, the 160S which was replaced with the 160SL were not meant to be a direct replacement for the 160. They were designed to be an upgraded and updated version of the 160. The 160 was great but had it's faults as well. I don't know if I'd agree that the 160 had magic. What it has is a hard brute force thing that often thickens and often works well on bass or drums. The 160SL has the capability of the same hard thing and can go from smack to almost puffy and has all the features of both the 160 and the 165 as well as the newer peakstop plus limiter design. It sounds different than the 160 because it is faster, cleaner, has less noise, has more gain, is more flexable and has wider bandwidth. Those are all the things that many including me didn't like about the 160VU. I thought the 160S and 160SL did the 160 sound good enough that I sold the ones I had. I owned over a dozen dbx units at one time. The felxability the 160S and 160SL offer me are of much higher value to me then having that exact same 160VU sound. YMMV.