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I'm currently in need of a budget hardware compressor. I already have a dbx 160A and find it to be useful. But now I'm in need of another channel of hardware compression. I'm not sure if I should get another 160 or try something else. The only other quality comp I see for a good price is the RNC 1773.

Are there any other good comps out there in the same price range as these units?

Which do you guys think is a better the 160 or the 1773?

Whatever compressor I do get will be used for tracking to tape (by tape I mean hardrive). I'll only be using light compression, just to level off some peaks. It will be used on Guitars, drums, vocals, etc. So I need a good all around compressor.

Also, what's up with all the different versions of the 160? What's the difference between the 160A, 160X, and 160xt?


anonymous Wed, 03/23/2005 - 02:12

for this application - only light compression - i really like my old symetrix 525. it's smooth, glues everything together nicely and, depending on the threshold, can tame some light peaks quite well... you should get it used for round 80$. also a nice 2-bus comp for no money. the rnc is something completely different, i'd never use it like this.

anonymous Wed, 03/23/2005 - 06:36

As far as I know the only difference between the 160x and 160xt is that the xt has XLR jacks. Otherwise they are identical. The 160a is similar but uses a different VCA, so it sounds slightly different, and it seems most people prefer the x and xt over the 160a...I've never compared them though.

I think in your situation, you might want to consider the rnc. The dbx's are nice, especially for drums, but not quite as transparent as the rnc compressor is. I use mine extensively for tracking just for taming the peaks, and it's barely noticeable. It doesn't perform well on bass, but for vocals, acoustic, etc, it's great.

jonyoung Wed, 03/23/2005 - 06:50

I have an X, an A, and 1773. The biggest difference for me is that the 160's have no attack or release controls, the RNC does. I usually mix with Sonar, but occasionally do a quick mix through the board. I use the RNC as a mainmix compressor at 2:1 or less, medium attack and fast makes for a very punchy mix :) The insert jacks on it are wired in reverse, so you can just run a pair of TRS cables to the L/R inserts on your board and voila!
I also use the 1773 occasionally when tracking a really dynamic vocalist, it's very easy to dial in and get transparent results.