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DBX 160a on Vocals??? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 15th September 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

DBX 160a on Vocals???

Can someone point me in the direction where I can listen to how the DBX160a sound on Vocals?

Everyone keeps describing the
dbx 160a as having a special or unique sound, Im trying to understand what that sounds like???
{No option to demo the real unit unfortunately}
Old 15th September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 

They're likely quite similar so you could open your search up to include 'X and 'XT.
Old 15th September 2011
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
They're likely quite similar so you could open your search up to include 'X and 'XT.
OK thanx for that, If anyone has any vocal samples or clips done with the DBXa X or XT would love to listen to it to get an understanding of what trademark sound they hold?
Old 15th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Jimsi's Avatar
 

I find it a bit full bodied sounding as I recorded a fun country cover song for a friend who's lead vox was compressed with a DBX 160a after the GT Brick preamp into my audio interface, I normaly use a FMR-PBC-6a, anyway, here it is, around 6:1 to 8:1 compression ratio, Hevely compressed on the threshold...we are not pros by any means...

Tulsa Time.mp3 - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage



...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dread View Post
OK thanx for that, If anyone has any vocal samples or clips done with the DBXa X or XT would love to listen to it to get an understanding of what trademark sound they hold?
Old 15th September 2011
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

If I'm correct, the 160A is basicly a single channel 166.

go here DOG OF THE HAIR Studio Demo Page and click on the killer blues band demo. I'm sure the vocals were done with a 166 & a SM58. It should give you an idea.
Old 15th September 2011
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Is there much difference between a 160a and 160x?
I bet it would be cool on vox, but you might need to put a faster compressor first in the chain, because the 160 is slow and will miss the transients/attacks. That's what put me off from buying it just because I'm on a really tight budget right now and need something more versatile.
Old 15th September 2011
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoyot View Post
Is there much difference between a 160a and 160x?
I bet it would be cool on vox, but you might need to put a faster compressor first in the chain, because the 160 is slow and will miss the transients/attacks. That's what put me off from buying it just because I'm on a really tight budget right now and need something more versatile.
It depends on what sound your shooting for but I prefer a slower comperssor. Those transient attacks are what gives music it's punch & life. Setting a slightly longer attack time allows the leading edge of the note to still punch but calms down the occasional note that sticks out (like a sore thumb :-) If you want to suck the life out of a mix, set your attack time to 1ms :-).
Old 15th September 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoyot View Post
Is there much difference between a 160a and 160x?
I bet it would be cool on vox, but you might need to put a faster compressor first in the chain, because the 160 is slow and will miss the transients/attacks. That's what put me off from buying it just because I'm on a really tight budget right now and need something more versatile.
I Thought that the 160a was just the opposite.. very fast on slamming down making it great for percussion and also Rap vocals that are fast.. this si the main reason I am keen on it.. is this not correct?

160a 160x I think are the same unit think just the X is the first ones that came out (word is that they had a more solid build I think)

Jimsi, thanx allot for the song.. sounds good gives me a better picture of what it could sound like. Cheers for that!
Old 15th September 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogoth View Post
It depends on what sound your shooting for...
Agreed. The 160 is fairly fast on attack and release. For voc I like something where you can choose to go quite a bit slower (on either end.

I haven't done it in a while (use them in mix mode.. but my recollection is on the other hand the 160x wouldn't for example erase the front end of a snare hit like an RNC at min attack.
Old 15th September 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dread View Post
160a 160x I think are the same unit think just the X is the first ones that came out (word is that they had a more solid build I think)
This was my impression, that the 160A was the modern re-issue version of the 160X. Never used the 160A but the 160X is probably the best choice for a sub $200 vocal compressor. Very good for rock, metal and rap vocals.
Old 15th September 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Boschen's Avatar
 

I have one of the early 166 comps--the first models.

It's never blown me away on vocals. I like it for kick drum and bass though.
I also have a 166x which is pretty much the same. I haven't been able to discern any different 'mojo' coming from the older model.

These comps do what they do. Not spectacular, but rack worthy.
I prefer more control, attack release, when I can get it.
Old 15th September 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 

The single slider 166? hated it. The 160x and xt have a soft-knee option.

I used the 160 extensively, CBI had a couple of racks of them. I had 8 of my own, I sold them.
Old 15th September 2011
  #13
No, the 160-series is ? to the 166!!

The 166 is genuine low-end.

The 160 is "proper" kit - despite the fact that it's relatively inexpensive I would consider it a "pro" piece whereas the 166 is genuinely aimed at home-amateur-hobbiest-enthusiast use etc.

Vox are not the 160A/X/XT's strongest suit, but I've found at higher compression settings it can actually sound good on some voices (I've actually had luck with female vox through it). What it doesn't do that well (for me, anyway) is "mild" compression. It definitely becomes a 'character' piece on voice, and it won't work for everyone.

Super awesome on bass guitars though!
Old 6th July 2013
  #14
Gear Head
 

Hi,

Does the 160A add color to vocals?

Many thanks

M
Old 6th July 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
 

The dbx 160a is supposed to be a very non musical/transparent compressor.

You can't really hear it but it does its job.

Cheers
Old 6th July 2013
  #16
Gear Head
 

Thx. Would you recommend it for voice
Old 6th July 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Choose low ratios and OverEasy® compression to transparently smooth out fluctuating vocal and instrumental levels.
You can also link 2 units for stereo by strapping them together.
429 each from Sweetwater.
Roughly 900 from the company that invented compression. Good value but not high end.

Most high end compressors tend to add coloration IMO.

Also have a look at the Chameleon Labs 7720. Apparently also very transparent ala SSL style. great reviews.

Cheers
Old 6th July 2013
  #18
Gear Head
 

Thx
Old 6th July 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
What it doesn't do that well (for me, anyway) is "mild" compression. It definitely becomes a 'character' piece on voice, and it won't work for everyone.

Super awesome on bass guitars though!
Agreed 100% on that stuff. When I was younger, in my 4&8 track days, I scored a pair of them and used to use (or MISuse) them on everything. They can get really strong on some sources, and using them on too many tracks like that left me with a big puffy, fuzzy mess. Wish I had invested in something with a little less "character" back then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickknack View Post
The dbx 160a is supposed to be a very non musical/transparent compressor.

You can't really hear it but it does its job.
I read an article about popular compressors a while back which described it like that, but I never really got that from it. Maybe they were just barely hitting it or something.

@Dread- I did a side by side a while back with the UAD plug. It's in a thread here. It's drums, but it was so damn close that I'd imagine the plug could at least give you an idea of what sort of vocals might come out of a real hardware one if you're looking to try one. Don't know the other emus, but the way people raved about that new SKNote version of the 165A, that might be worth checking out, and would give you better control. In the case of my 160X's, I'd have no problem passing things through the UAD plug rather than chaining up a hardware box, but I'm not needing to run anything live either.

Take Care

George
Old 7th July 2013
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Kamurah's Avatar
 

Re: DBX-160A on vox. To me, the 'sound' of the 160 is mostly transparent. I had one for a couple of years, and my use was mostly for vocals, but occasionally it was also used on bass, guitar, etc. It was very much a 'set it and forget it' piece for me. Once I had gotten a sound I liked I rarely pushed the 160 to more than 6-8db of reduction during tracking....especially if the vox were getting treated with plugins during mix.

I eventually sold it and bought the Purple 1176 clone. Now that had a 'sound' to it. FWIW I wouldn't necessarily rate it a 'better' compressor than the 160...just a different kind of sound.

DBX-160 (A,X, etc) is a good basic tool that does a fine job of dynamics control. I don't think I have ever heard anyone say they hated them.

I would have no hesitation to buy one again.

Per your request, enclosed is a song where all vocals, background vocal stacks, guitar, and bass were tracked through a DBX-160A. (Drums were a sampled loop) This recording is almost 10 years old and done in my home studio so the quality is nowhere near what you would have found in a top-end studio at the time. Preamps were Amek 9098's, Mic was a SM-7B, and conversion was a MOTU box.

Cheers
Attached Files

TWS Whispers no wide.mp3 (4.50 MB, 9395 views)

Old 7th July 2013
  #21
Deftones

I think I read an article about the Deftones recording a lot of Chino's vocals through a dbx 160. His vocals have a lot of other effects on them, so it'd be hard to tell what the compressor is doing exactly, but if you're looking for examples...

Chino Moreno style Vocal Delay
Old 8th July 2013
  #22
Gear Head
 

Thx for the posts
Old 2nd January 2017
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimsi View Post
I find it a bit full bodied sounding as I recorded a fun country cover song for a friend who's lead vox was compressed with a DBX 160a after the GT Brick preamp into my audio interface, I normaly use a FMR-PBC-6a, anyway, here it is, around 6:1 to 8:1 compression ratio, Hevely compressed on the threshold...we are not pros by any means...

Tulsa Time.mp3 - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage



...
Cool song...I downloaded it to listen to again and again. Thanks.
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