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What's the difference between a dbx 160, 160xt and 160a? Dynamics Plugins
Old 13th December 2002
  #1
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What's the difference between a dbx 160, 160xt and 160a?

Right now I have a single 160xt that I love on drums and percussion. I want to add a few more. If I should go to the store and get the 160a (well a few ACTUALLY) Would I be taking a step down in quality? Is it simply the newer replacement for the old 160 or is it different

What's the difference?
Old 13th December 2002
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
cram's Avatar
 

The differences are quite minimal. They use the same input circuit and same VCA . The 160a was redesigned from the 160x/xt to allow for auto insertion manufacture. Even though it is the same exact circuit, the law requires a new revision name. In fact excluding older "tin can" VCA's, this is why there are so many different 160 family members.

I see many posts from people describing the "radical" differences in sound between units that are, unbeknownst to them, essentially the same unit. What they are most likely describing are differences in age and calibration.
Old 13th December 2002
  #3
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Thanks Tom, I figured you'd be around somewhere

Now I just need about 3 160a's

Damn I can't get drums to snap the same with plugins
Old 13th December 2002
  #4
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Any chance of me getting a pro user discount and buying direct???/

(or do I have to go work at guitar center again till i buy all my gear)
Old 13th December 2002
  #5
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cram's Avatar
 

Quote:
Damn I can't get drums to snap the same with plugins
It's possible but very labor intensive. That is one area where hardware will always kick-ass over plugs. Way, way easier/quicker getting good sounds.

Quote:
Any chance of me getting a pro user discount and buying direct???
I wish, I can't even get a pro-user discount

Quote:
or do I have to go work at guitar center again till i buy all my gear
That's about the only reason I can think of to work at GC heh
Old 13th December 2002
  #6
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As I understood it, the 160XT has a transfomer and the 160 doesn't. I have noticed the XT sounds a lot more hi fi that the regular 160. I prefer the XT everytime, esspecially on kicks and snares.
Old 13th December 2002
  #7
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Quote:
As I understood it, the 160XT has a transfomer and the 160 doesn't. I have noticed the XT sounds a lot more hi fi that the regular 160. I prefer the XT everytime, esspecially on kicks and snares
Not quite, neither the VU, X, XT, or A have a transformer. The X and XT are identical. Not "nearly" identical, but IDENTICAL. The differences between those two units is that one was made in Boston and one was made in California. In fact the only unit of this group that has a transformer option is the X.

e-cue, if you prefer the sound of an XT over an X, it is probably because of calibration issues. My supposition would be that since the XT came out later than the X, it has had to hold calibration for less time and has therefore possibly held calibration better.

If you are referring to the older VU sounding different than the XT, I would definitely agree with that. The input circuit and VCA on the VU is completely different from the X or XT. The 160VU has the old style "tin can" VCA, while all of the newer stuff has sip pack style VCA's.
Old 13th December 2002
  #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by cram
... In fact the only unit of this group that has a transformer option is the X.
All X's or just some of them? If it's only some, are they marked in some way or do you have to open them up to see.

Quote:
e-cue, if you prefer the sound of an XT over an X, it is probably because of calibration issues...
e-cue, did you mean the XT compared with the 160 VU? I didn't see a suffix on there so that's what I thought you meant. I haven't sat down and compared the X units with the XT's but I have A/B'ed the X with the A's. Aging electronics, drifting callibration, I don't know but the X's allways seem deeper and richer than the A's to me... at least that's what I hear.
Old 13th December 2002
  #9
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Quote:
All X's or just some of them? If it's only some, are they marked in some way or do you have to open them up to see.
Only the X's have the tranformer option (not XT's). This does not mean that they actually have transformers in them. So you would have to open them up.

Quote:
e-cue, did you mean the XT compared with the 160 VU? I didn't see a suffix on there so that's what I thought you meant. I haven't sat down and compared the X units with the XT's but I have A/B'ed the X with the A's. Aging electronics, drifting callibration, I don't know but the X's allways seem deeper and richer than the A's to me... at least that's what I hear.
Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that there are not differences sonically. I'm saying that if there are, it is not due to any perceived differences in the VCA, circuit, or rev designation. It is most likely calibration, or as you suggest, aging electronics.

I have three "tin can" VCA 165's (modified from ThatCorp. sip pack VCA's) and all of them sound different from each other because of calibration issues. I keep meaning to get them all back to factory cal, but, well...you know. yuktyy
Old 13th December 2002
  #10
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Tom, we may have discussed this before but I never got this problem resolved.

Got two 160XTs. They both sound great. On one of them, when a signal is passed through and the l.e.d.s light, they take about 10 minutes to slowly turn off.

Got any ideas what is going on?

Gracias.
Old 13th December 2002
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
cram's Avatar
 

Quote:
On one of them, when a signal is passed through and the l.e.d.s light, they take about 10 minutes to slowly turn off.
My guess would be that the meter detection circuit has a faulty part. If this weirdness in the meter does not affect the audio, then that is the most likely culprit. If you are hearing correlated artifacts in the audio, then it is probably something more serious.

Either way, I would contact Musicians Service Center (408 297 7532), or a service center you trust and have them take a look at it. Unfortunately, due to age, it is not possible for us here at the factory to get parts for this unit, so you have to go elsewhere.

Good luck!
Old 13th December 2002
  #12
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So Tom I know you've already answered this in a way but I have to back you into a corner.

The 160a's that are on the shelf are the SAME as my 160xt right? With the exception of calibration?

I just want to know that If I can't get used 160xt's the 160a's will fit the bill

Just curious Tom

What compressor plug and for that matter which plugs period do you reccomend???? (even though they'll take more time)
Old 13th December 2002
  #13
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Eh Errrr Tomm!

I just checked the manual for my 160xt The XT has an optional Transformer
Old 16th December 2002
  #14
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cram's Avatar
 

Quote:
The 160a's that are on the shelf are the SAME as my 160xt right? With the exception of calibration?
The circuit is the same, and the VCA is the same. The differences would be that the XT was a hand stuffed PCB and the 160a is machine stuffed surface mount.

Quote:
What compressor plug and for that matter which plugs period do you reccomend???? (even though they'll take more time)
I actually haven't found any 3rd party compressor plugs that I like. I have been able to tweak the compressor in PARIS to semi-closely emulate some of my fave compressors. The problem you run into is there aren't many (any?) compressor plugs that allow you to adjust the attack envelope or the release envelope. This is where the "character" of compressors really live.

Quote:
Eh Errrr Tomm!

I just checked the manual for my 160xt The XT has an optional Transformer
There may be a rev of 160XT that I am unaware of. I'll research further. I know that the rev I have here on my desk did not allow for the x-former option. I would check your unit itself, I would bet that the info in the manual is erroneous.
Old 16th December 2002
  #15
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THANKS ALOT TOM

With regard to plugins I'm using ptools and the only comps I really like are strangely enough the Digi stuff and the Compressorbank. With an ocassional Waves Ren comp thrown in.

It just takes a bitch of a long time to do what's easy on an outboard piece. (These Daw's give more options, but also make you spend more time consumed with bull**** decisios)
Old 6th April 2004
  #16
Gear Nut
 

How about the 160sl? Any comparison there to the 160a?
Old 6th April 2004
  #17
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djui5's Avatar
 

It's really nice to see someone like Tom on here that knows what he's talking about. I've seen a lot of people who work for companies but don't know as much as they should about their products.

Nice work Tom.
Old 6th April 2004
  #18
Gear Maniac
So does anyone know if the XT units are voltage switchable internally? I want 2x XT's but i need them in 240V for Australia (no stepping transformers thanks). Obviously the unit has no external voltage selection but often gear has internal switching.

ez
Old 4th November 2006
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drayon View Post
So does anyone know if the XT units are voltage switchable internally? I want 2x XT's but i need them in 240V for Australia (no stepping transformers thanks). Obviously the unit has no external voltage selection but often gear has internal switching.

ez

Anyone?
Old 4th November 2006
  #20
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absrec's Avatar
 

Hasn't this all been covered in one or two other threads? Did anyone search? I feel like I see a new "dBX 160" thread every other week.



-Aaron
Old 4th November 2006
  #21
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davenutz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by absrec View Post
Hasn't this all been covered in one or two other threads? Did anyone search? I feel like I see a new "dBX 160" thread every other week.



-Aaron

check the dates, this thread is ancient.
Old 4th November 2006
  #22
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

This 4 year old thread was bumped by the poster "tho dk" to reiterate Drayon's unanswered question from 2004 about the 160XT's compatibilty with different international voltages. I don't think we can necessarily assume that that particular question has been answered anywhere on the forum before, so I reckon "tho dk" was perfectly justified in bumping the thread. Now if someone could answer his and Drayon's question...
Old 4th November 2006
  #23
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Here is a link to the manual for the 160XT, but it's unclear whether the unit is internally switchable or not. What it does say about the input voltage, amongst other things is:

Quote:
Be sure to verify both your actual line voltage and the voltage for which your Model 160XT was wired, as indicated on the rear panel of your unit.
That might suggest that it can be rewired for an alternative line voltage, as opposed to requiring a different transformer for the PSU, but I could just be taking the bit, "the voltage for which your Model 160XT is wired", too literatally.
Old 4th November 2006
  #24
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While we're on the subject, does anyone know if the dbx 160/161 and the 165/165A can all be internally rewired for different international voltages?
Old 4th November 2006
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steamy Williams View Post
While we're on the subject, does anyone know if the dbx 160/161 and the 165/165A can all be internally rewired for different international voltages?
Isn't it much easier to just use a stepdown transformer? That's what I do for a lot of my gear, including a pair of 160VUs.
Old 4th November 2006
  #26
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Isn't it much easier to just use a stepdown transformer? That's what I do for a lot of my gear, including a pair of 160VUs.
Yeah, I do that too for some of the stuff in my studio, but sometimes it would be more convenient if I didn't have to.
Old 7th November 2006
  #27
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Get a small phillips screwdriver. Remove 2 screws holding a small black plate on the rear. Slide the switch to the 240 v position, replace the plate with the 2 screws.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
How about the various vintage dbx VU compressors, is it that easy on those too?
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