All the dbx 163 vs 166
skiroy
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#1
12th March 2009
Old 12th March 2009
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All the dbx 163 vs 166

What the difference between the 163x,166a,166xl and all the other madness. Which is the one I want?
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12th March 2009
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i'd say none of the above but the dbx 166 is most usable.

in the less than $150 range i like the symetrix cl-150. Mine has a green valley people fet in it that distorts really nicely. They may all have that? i dunno... it's a good comp.

but the original dbx 166 is probably the best out of that dbx line.

the 163's have a slider for compression and some people like what it does. 163 is single channel / half rack.

the 166 is dual channel, full rack.

honestly, do a search on here...this subject has been brought up like a kajillion times talking about all the different dbx comps.
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12th March 2009
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if u can find an original 160 (not 160A) they r killer on drums (ssl like). Some even use them on vocals.
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12th March 2009
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163X rocks and is moddable. I've used on on a Big Star and his band got a deal on the mix I used it on, on lead Vox. 163X rocks. It does what it does and it does it very well.
BTW, just because of temporality, the SSL would be sounding DBX like, the original.
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12th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memphisindie View Post
163X rocks and is moddable. I've used on on a Big Star and his band got a deal on the mix I used it on, on lead Vox. 163X rocks. It does what it does and it does it very well.
how'd you mod it and what star?
#6
13th March 2009
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i used to own 2 of the 163X's and used them on many label mixes. they are VERY aggressive and will make kick drums that dont have attack hit hard, but will take away some bottom end in the process. Also does really cool things to acoustic guitars. I used it on snare sometimes as well, and on rare occasion would use it on a rap lead vocal. when it works well it gives some aggression to a vocal. will really make snares pop too.

I've never used the 166
-Ken
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13th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XHipHop View Post
how'd you mod it and what star?
As far as "who is the star?" I can't name names, but, think prototype of original over the top "rock star".

As far as mods to the 163x:

Lots of them, Jim williams and others do them, this from TapeOp:

They get the VCA replaced with a that 2180, the opamps are National's, the power supply is rebuilt with large caps and a polyprop film bypass. The input impedance is lowered to 100k ohms. The hf roll-offs are removed. Phase compensation and power supply bypass caps are added. Ferrite beads are installed. All electrolytic caps are replaced. The audio cap gets polyprop film bypasses. Bandwidth is raised one octave on top, 3 octaves on the lows.
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Jim Williams
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i replaced the 4558's with bb opa2134's in my dbx 163x's with good luck. you may need to add 0.1uf's to the power rails and a small (pf) cap for bandwidth limiting, depending on the circuit
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13th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memphisindie View Post
As far as "who is the star?" I can't name names, but, think prototype of original over the top "rock star".

As far as mods to the 163x:

Lots of them, Jim williams and others do them, this from TapeOp:

They get the VCA replaced with a that 2180, the opamps are National's, the power supply is rebuilt with large caps and a polyprop film bypass. The input impedance is lowered to 100k ohms. The hf roll-offs are removed. Phase compensation and power supply bypass caps are added. Ferrite beads are installed. All electrolytic caps are replaced. The audio cap gets polyprop film bypasses. Bandwidth is raised one octave on top, 3 octaves on the lows.
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i replaced the 4558's with bb opa2134's in my dbx 163x's with good luck. you may need to add 0.1uf's to the power rails and a small (pf) cap for bandwidth limiting, depending on the circuit
TY!
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13th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by computa View Post
if u can find an original 160 (not 160A) they r killer on drums (ssl like).
I've never noticed any similarity to the SSL stuff. The 160s are much less aggressive, and of course, way less flexible. (IMO, of course)

Great comps though. One of my favorite tracking compressors...cuz it's tough to **** up with them.
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13th March 2009
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True story

I remember a guy I knew had the same mic as me (Rode NT1A) and a dbx 163x. His pre was good too but he was using the dbx the way you would use a vst compressor. Really conservative like 1 to 2db of gain reduction. Boring as hell vox.

I only had the dbx at the time as a hardware comp. So I told him I would use up to 10db of gain reduction on the way in. Aggressive vox and then some lol.

He was shocked. But even stock the 163x can be just what the doctor ordered. They sound nothing like SSLs mind you.

Another sleeper compressor is the DOD R825 rackmount. It has the dbx Vcas in it but with adjustable attack release and ratio. Also has sidechain in and de esser. Little less aggressive but nice. I used it on vox and it favored the 163x in sound. Drum hits were sick with it. I used to d ess my snares and warm them up withh compression. Little noisy but nothing major. I bought two in 2006 for 29 dollars each.

Peace
Illumination
skiroy
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13th March 2009
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So where does the dbx 1066 fit in? It is in the same price range?

Also a engineer told me that the dbxs are to fast and aggresive for vocals, but the 1176 is alos known to be fast and aggresive but its a legendary comp for vocals. What gives?
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13th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiroy View Post
So where does the dbx 1066 fit in? It is in the same price range?

Also a engineer told me that the dbxs are to fast and aggresive for vocals, but the 1176 is alos known to be fast and aggresive but its a legendary comp for vocals. What gives?
Take out that grain of salt and use it.

I'm still selling my records where the NT1A and dbx 163X were used. I've since moved onto different sluttier mics but kept the dbx 163X.

I'll post a fake radio spot I did with it later.

Check my myspace out. Vox were Rode NT1A to Rane MS1B to dbx 163x to dbx 263x to ART PRO VLA. Colortone Pro and EQ were used.

Peace
Illumination
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13th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiroy View Post
So where does the dbx 1066 fit in? It is in the same price range?

Also a engineer told me that the dbxs are to fast and aggresive for vocals, but the 1176 is alos known to be fast and aggresive but its a legendary comp for vocals. What gives?
He doesn't like how slow you have to dial it?
I have a parametric like that, nobody likes it but I think it's deadly accurate and can be aggressive if you are with it. I like aggressive compressors but I hardly use them that way.
dbx 1049, I want two, and another 163x
skiroy
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13th March 2009
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Is the dbx 1066 the same as 166x as far as sound goes?
#15
17th March 2009
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I love using the 163X for bass but can be good on other sources too. Great compressor for very little cash.

The original 166 is harsh and aggressive but has loads of character. I use it alot on drums if im going for that raw, dirty kinda sound.

I find both of these units usefull and they can be picked up fairly cheaply.

Hope this helps.
#16
11th April 2009
Old 11th April 2009
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illacov myspace page

I really dig that s**t!, and I have completely ended my relationship with hip-hop all together at this point. They need to start calling it Urban Pop, which would still be a misnomer since so much of it now comes from the suburbs or even the country. You really got some songs there and I'm lovin some of those sounds. I would even say it was "tight" but I am so sick of hip-hop I don't even wanna expressssss myself in that veracular. Speaking of esses what's the deal with the dbx 263? How much ess did u have pre 263?

I'm real sorry to break away from this thread. This is the sort of thing that really irritates me when someone else does it, especially on something like a versus thread. Well, at least I am not introducing any other piecs of gear, I really f'n hate that.

I am also really insterested in these same dbx peices. I can never decide which one to get. I have a photo diagram of some mods for the 166 around here.
But the user I got them from told me he couldn't here much difference. These were are a bit different from the Jim Williams mods that I have seen. So don't let that discourage you from modding.
#17
11th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoundrel1 View Post
I really dig that s**t!, and I have completely ended my relationship with hip-hop all together at this point. They need to start calling it Urban Pop, which would still be a misnomer since so much of it now comes from the suburbs or even the country. You really got some songs there and I'm lovin some of those sounds. I would even say it was "tight" but I am so sick of hip-hop I don't even wanna expressssss myself in that veracular. Speaking of esses what's the deal with the dbx 263? How much ess did u have pre 263?

I'm real sorry to break away from this thread. This is the sort of thing that really irritates me when someone else does it, especially on something like a versus thread. Well, at least I am not introducing any other piecs of gear, I really f'n hate that.

I am also really insterested in these same dbx peices. I can never decide which one to get. I have a photo diagram of some mods for the 166 around here.
But the user I got them from told me he couldn't here much difference. These were are a bit different from the Jim Williams mods that I have seen. So don't let that discourage you from modding.
The Rode NT1A with its hyped capsule is essy in the worst way possible. Perhaps if you NEVER compressed it, then you might have a somewhat dialed in sounding mic, but I personally grew to hate it during the mix of the album that you can preview on myspace. The mic just starts to ess way too early and the dbx 163x/Pro Vla combo helped to tame it a touch, however the 263x was the ticket for getting them under control.

What you hear on myspace is WITH the 263x inserted into the vocal chain but usually post tracking so after the dbx 163x, then ITB a Cubase hipass eq and before a hardware send to the Pro Vla doing light compression at like 2:1 or 4:1, each song had different attack release settings btw. Also some of the essiness was treated in mastering but not with a de esser. My ME has some cool ass tricks up his sleeve to help essy vox, fortunately he shouldn't have much use for them for our new project.

Our new mics are galaxies better than the Rode NT1A. The de esser barely if at all lights up when we record now. I much more prefer the Peluso Pk67 capsule, the ADK Hamburg and Vienna capsules and hopefully my reskinned Neumann capsule will make me cream my pants.

The 263x is an affordable de esser for those seeking to de ess before compression in the tracking phase. Some track with compression and some don't. I personally like the sound the dbx 263x imparts, all de essers have a tone. The exception is when you use a transparent compressor that has a sidechain input and you de ess with that using an EQ. ReaComp is AWESOME for this.

Between the 263x and ReaComp I'm very satisfied in the de essing department. I barely if at all even demo Spitfish anymore. Its very colored.

The 163x while looked down upon is still to me a very good compressor. If you go light on the compression its still very nice sounding, I like going aggressive with it for hip hop vox and sometimes an R and B vocal. Its cool at low GR like I said though. Sometimes you can mess around with how you flip it. Maybe you have light compression on the dbx 163x and heavy compression on the Pro Vla (I use 2 channels of it). Usually I'm going aggro on the 163x and lighter on the Pro Vla. Trust me though, I HATE tracking naked vocals and then trying to process them with VST compressors. Harsh grainy cruddy VST compression Bleh.

Worst case scenario, I'd advise you to track with some light compression on the way in with a dbx 163x maybe 5db to 10db (or more e) of gain reduction. Then do some compressing with Stillwell Rocket VST. I used it to process a vocal cut with a Peluso 2247 into a Avalon 737 that had the compressor engaged doing light compression. Sounded pretty damn good.

That being said thanks for the shout out. I appreciate it.

Peace
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#18
9th March 2013
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thread resurrection with what might be a very stupid question...

I know that the dbx 163x (compressor) and 463x (gate) can be linked for a stereo version of either (ie the 463 can slave as a pretend 163 or vice versa).... soooo...

Can anyone say whether the 263x (de-esser) (in broadband mode) might also work slaved to a 163x? or are the audio path internals too different (obviously the sidechains are)? I seem to remember from tapeop that illacov's been inside both of his modding away and said they seemed pretty similar..

Now it might seem a leeetle handicap that the 263x doesn't have a link facility......

but how hard could it be to break out early in the 263x's sidechain, to send to the 163x master for summing, and bring the 163's control voltage back in to the 263's vca? am I mad? Hopefully it's clear I don't really know what I'm talking about.....

just might be cool to have a 263x that can do double-duty...
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