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DBX 163X mods...
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
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illacov's Avatar
 

Talking DBX 163X mods...

I so far:

Swapped out the 400 uf 35V caps for 1000 uf 35 caps and the noise level is much better now. I was going to try 2200uf but didn't know whether or not it was necessary.

I'm sure that 2200uf, I will try this weekend, will probably improve the noise even more.

So far I like what I'm hearing, the compressor is a bit more transparent.

I am seriously contemplating switching the opamp out BUT, I kind of like the grit that the dbx 163x provides. It definitely sounds very different from other cheap low end comps like my Yamaha GC2020, which although is much more lifeless and kind of vanilla, was much lower noise and transparent.

I am rather curious about the opamps that can be switched out though.

So far this compressor just got clearer but still has that nice forward aggressive character that I like.

I may buy another 163x and do the same mod but change out the opamps.

So far the mod was dead easy!

Peace
Illumination
Old 10th November 2009
  #2
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DamnYankee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
I so far:

Swapped out the 400 uf 35V caps for 1000 uf 35 caps and the noise level is much better now. I was going to try 2200uf but didn't know whether or not it was necessary.

I'm sure that 2200uf, I will try this weekend, will probably improve the noise even more.

So far I like what I'm hearing, the compressor is a bit more transparent.

I am seriously contemplating switching the opamp out BUT, I kind of like the grit that the dbx 163x provides. It definitely sounds very different from other cheap low end comps like my Yamaha GC2020, which although is much more lifeless and kind of vanilla, was much lower noise and transparent.

I am rather curious about the opamps that can be switched out though.

So far this compressor just got clearer but still has that nice forward aggressive character that I like.

I may buy another 163x and do the same mod but change out the opamps.

So far the mod was dead easy!

Peace
Illumination
About 2-1/2 years ago, Jim Williams responded to some posts about the 163x:

"...That's the older marker (C1252H2 as found in the 160X) for the same vca chip (2150 dbx sip vca). Yank it, drop in a that 2180A and remove the 47 ohm resistor (R9) at pin 4 and remove the 100k trim resistor (R10) off the vca trim pot to pin 4."

A repost from Jim earlier this year on the same thread:

"...Those resistors are for the that 2180A replacement only. Leave them if the original VCA is kept. The dual input opamp can be swapped for a National LME49860NA and the output 5534 opamp can be a LME49710NA or a ADA 4898-1 or similar. Replace the small 470 uf mains caps with 1000 uf or 2200 uf if you can fit them."

"For real low noise use a AD8599 or a BB OPA2211 for the dual and a AD8597 or OPA211 for the single, those are very low noise opamps. They are S0-8 only so use a Brown Dog or Aries adaptor into a millimax machined socket."

Or, you could PM Jim and let him do his magic - your dbx 163x will thank you.
Old 10th November 2009
  #3
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
About 2-1/2 years ago, Jim Williams responded to some posts about the 163x:

"...That's the older marker (C1252H2 as found in the 160X) for the same vca chip (2150 dbx sip vca). Yank it, drop in a that 2180A and remove the 47 ohm resistor (R9) at pin 4 and remove the 100k trim resistor (R10) off the vca trim pot to pin 4."

A repost from Jim earlier this year on the same thread:

"...Those resistors are for the that 2180A replacement only. Leave them if the original VCA is kept. The dual input opamp can be swapped for a National LME49860NA and the output 5534 opamp can be a LME49710NA or a ADA 4898-1 or similar. Replace the small 470 uf mains caps with 1000 uf or 2200 uf if you can fit them."

"For real low noise use a AD8599 or a BB OPA2211 for the dual and a AD8597 or OPA211 for the single, those are very low noise opamps. They are S0-8 only so use a Brown Dog or Aries adaptor into a millimax machined socket."

Or, you could PM Jim and let him do his magic - your dbx 163x will thank you.
See thats the thing, somebody said that the 353 opamp, mine is the hong kong version, is the only opamp in the audio path. So thats the one to focus on according to them.

I kind of like it with just the upgraded PSU caps, but I would like to see whats going on there with the audio filter cap. I just have to identify it I suppose.

Peace
Illumination
Old 10th November 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
See thats the thing, somebody said that the 353 opamp, mine is the hong kong version, is the only opamp in the audio path. So thats the one to focus on according to them.

I kind of like it with just the upgraded PSU caps, but I would like to see whats going on there with the audio filter cap. I just have to identify it I suppose.

Peace
Illumination
I haven't modded mine yet - seems like I get sidetracked to something else. Mine will get bigger caps, updated VCA and a better opamp (ultra low noise/distortion, better slew rate); it'll help get rid of the audio clutter and allow the 163x to do its thing better.
Old 10th November 2009
  #5
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
I haven't modded mine yet - seems like I get sidetracked to something else. Mine will get bigger caps, updated VCA and a better opamp (ultra low noise/distortion, better slew rate); it'll help get rid of the audio clutter and allow the 163x to do its thing better.
seriously the noise level dropped just upgrading the 470uf to 1000 uf. i may go larger this weekend and see if it gets any better.

So far its freakin awesome with a couple of caps that cost some cents.

Peace
Illumination
Old 10th November 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
seriously the noise level dropped just upgrading the 470uf to 1000 uf. i may go larger this weekend and see if it gets any better.

So far its freakin awesome with a couple of caps that cost some cents.

Peace
Illumination
I'm going with Jim's recommendation of 2200 uf...just got to get a few things off my plate first. I know the updated VCA and opamp will really open it up.

Good luck!
Old 10th November 2009
  #7
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
I'm going with Jim's recommendation of 2200 uf...just got to get a few things off my plate first. I know the updated VCA and opamp will really open it up.

Good luck!
Yeah I'm going to do 2200uf this weekend!

I want to find out about that audio filter cap business.

Should be interesting!

Peace
Illumination
Old 22nd November 2009
  #8
Gear Head
 
phillis's Avatar
 

Kinda digging up an old thread, but did you replace EVERY 470uf with a 1000/2200uf? how many were there?

Also, im a kinda n00b when it comes to op-amps and ive no idea what a VCA and PSU cap is, are they easy to upgrade or should i just stick to upgrading the capacitors?
Old 22nd November 2009
  #9
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

You need to do a search on this forum or TapeOp, there is a newer thread with everything you want in it.
Old 15th November 2012
  #10
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REVIVAL! Im about to mod my 163x so i would like an update please.

Did any of you try the 2200uF and was it better than the 1000uF?

Did you guys change the dual input opamp 353(oa1) to the recommendation?

Did you guys change the output opamp 5534(oa2) to the recommendation?

Thats all I'm gonna do for now with this comp, and it sounds like it will be a great improvement.

Also, I'm going out of town for work the week after thanksgiving and would like to try and order these parts tomorrow so i can hopefully get them before i go so I can mod this...Thanks guys!

Last edited by mikeyrad; 17th November 2012 at 05:02 AM.. Reason: 163x not 163 typo
Old 15th November 2012
  #11
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The power mod is good, the opamp mod is good, but, the removal of the HPF caps helped a ton right off the bat on mine. Opened up the top and the other changes beefed up the bottom and punch. It’s been a while since I did mine, but If I had another one I’d mod it too.
Old 16th November 2012
  #12
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Thanks for the reply, I'm gonna add that to the mod for sure!
Old 17th November 2012
  #13
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@memphisindie so ive been trying to find these HPF caps and have no clue which ones they are from the schematic, do you happen to remember which ones those are? Thanks a lot!
Old 17th November 2012
  #14
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Little disc shaped ceramics .01 value near all the opamp chips.
Also, if you trace the signal wire from the line input on the rear, the first cap that comes in contact with the signal should be changed to the same value polypropelene cap.
Old 18th November 2012
  #15
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Once you said those caps it all made better sense now, thank you!

I seem to have written down to also remove IC2's hf caps but can't find where I saw that at? Did u happen to remove those or leave them in?

I did today remove all the hpf caps on input, output, and sidechain opamps and there is a def difference in sound. I might remove them to see how it sound because I can always put them back in.
Old 18th November 2012
  #16
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Yeah, you can put better ones back in too. If you change the chips, you may need to if they oscillate. Maybe you can put in smaller value of a better cap and get better results.
Old 12th March 2013
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Do these same mods apply for 163a's as well
Old 17th December 2014
  #18
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audiopete's Avatar
 

These are the best 2200uF/35V caps that will fit imo - Nichicon VZ - UVZ1V222MHD Nichicon | Mouser

I did all the mods to my own 163x, but atm I have OA1 and OA2 burning up, so I put back the original 2 opamps and all is well. Not sure if they are shorted or oscillating, as I had to put it on the shelf to move on to clients' gear. When I can squeeze it in (or when I need it) I will look further and calibrate it. They are all Analog Devices and the bad two are on Brown Dog boards and the two that are good are on generic adapter boards. Maybe a coincidence, but I will look into it.

I attached my mouser order, but there are a couple parts missing from the list because I had them already and I can't remember which atm. Also, I can't vouch for the opamps yet and the unit has not been verified as functional yet. That may or may not be because of part selection, so just a heads up. Also, the ceramic caps may be obsolete, but easy enough to find the latest version, and some I ordered in quantity because of price breaks to restock my stash. Hope this helps!
Attached Files
File Type: xls dbx163xPARTS.xls (34.5 KB, 280 views)
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