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DBX 166 classic hip hop compressor? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 15th August 2008
Gear Maniac
Number 6's Avatar

Originally Posted by Sirocco View Post
Il prigioniero!
Old 16th October 2008
Lives for gear
DamnYankee's Avatar

Originally Posted by Azriel_7 View Post
Like who?
I don't recall ever seeing or hearing that someone was using a 166.
Both the 166 and 266 are better as mentioned for a live compressor where it's basic job is to keep peaks under control.
That old Decilinear sound of the 160vu pretty much defines the classic DBX sound.
The later 19" 160's definitely lack the Decilinear sound but still have a sound of their own that can be very desirable.

The 166 and 266 have that (for lack of better term) average compressor/limiter sound, in fact it's really close to the 3630 without the noisy gate.

If you like the sound of the166 then the 19" 160's would make you do flips and the Decilinear units wouldmake you blackout.

You should get your hands on one and compare them.
I beg to differ. I own all the dbx models and the 166 is a NICE compressor. Tom Scholz/Boston also uses the dbx 166 in his studio - and he is renowned for making great sounding records (see attached; look above his right shoulder, 6th rack from the bottom).

I'll further point out the only de-essers that Scholz uses on his records are dbx 263x's.

So it goes to show it's not the gear but the engineer. I've said this a million times: these pro engineers in here could take a rackful of Behringer gear and Chinese mics and make quality sounding records.

And Tom Scholz, the most successful home rec'er, proved to the world with the first Boston album that you can create one of the best selling debut albums of all time with SM57's, EV RE-20's, dbx 119's, homemade effects and a homemade multi-track tape deck.

So there ya have it.
Old 16th October 2008
Lives for gear
DamnYankee's Avatar

Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Excellent! Thanks for the info. thumbsup

As i mentioned in a previous post, I have used one of these vintage DBX compressors and liked the sound. Have since been considering getting myself one of these units but wasnt sure if the one i used was the 118 or 119. Seems from what your saying though that if i get myself a 118, 119 or 128 im gonna get that same sound.
Correction: the dbx 118 is NOT the same as the 119. The 119 uses a single can VCA while the 118 uses a completely different setup with additional pcb boards. They sound similar, but not the same.

Secondly, the 119 sounds similar to the 160VU but the issue is, as you increase compression on the dbx 119 to get that thwack like the 160VU, output gain is reduced and volume loss is very noticeable. The 160/161/162 has circuitry and an output gain knob to compensate; the 119 does not.

As an FYI, the dbx 117 can be easily modified to the 119 - instructs for the component changes (I recall only being a couple of resistors) are found in the back of some dbx 117 manuals.

So the moral of the story is, if you want the sound of a dbx 160VU, you're gonna have to pay for a dbx 160VU or get a some serious modification done to a 117 or 119.

Best of luck,

Old 16th October 2008
Lives for gear
Rednose's Avatar
I have both, the 166 and the 160 VU (With the wooden sides).
No comparison, the 160 VU is a very smooth compresor, you just have to tap it to make use of it.
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