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DBX 166 classic hip hop compressor? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 13th August 2008
  #1
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DBX 166 classic hip hop compressor?

I own an original DBX 166 compressor (not the 166A, 166XL etc) which i have often found usefull in the studio, especially for adding character and giving drums a dirty and punchy sound. From what I have read it seems to be quite a popular compressor of choice for many respected hip-hop producers yet the 166 seems to get very little attention/credit. Any thoughts?
Old 13th August 2008
  #2
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the classic one is the dbx 160 preferably the VU but the XT/X r also good on drums.
Old 13th August 2008
  #3
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Yeah, seems the 160 is considered a standard across the board for many styles of music. Nice compressors, especially the early VU type .
Old 13th August 2008
  #4
The 160X/T is a no-brainer for getting smacky snares and adding some slappy attack to kicks. I've always thought of them as the poor man's Distressor; they do a similarly aggressive thing, but they don't have nearly as much flexibility.

They're also pretty cool on bass. Usable, but not my first choice.

The 160VU is awesome, too. Don't let the similar model number fool you; they sound and behave nothing alike
Old 13th August 2008
  #5
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I think its fair to say that the DBX 160's (Both the VU and X/XT) have well and truely established themselves as classic compressors, commonly used on bass and drums in many styles of music. There are many, many posts from people singing the praises of the 160 (and rightly so) but very little is said about the 166. Just wondered if there were any opinions on these compressors as they do seems to be a favourite within the Hip-Hop fraternity.
Old 13th August 2008
  #6
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Electronique's Avatar
 

What ever happened to DBX??

Do they only make products for the "live" seen now??

I never hear of anyone using thier studio products.. Mic pres/Compressors etc..
Old 13th August 2008
  #7
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Sirocco's Avatar
 

i just scored a 160x for 130 bux
Old 13th August 2008
  #8
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terrytee's Avatar
 

I own a pair of 160A's.

As i don't have any other 160's I.E VU, X/XT to compare them to i can't tell how much they fall short. But still there are real easy to get snap and punch on drums. As far as i can tell one of the main difference between the x/xt & A are the opamps which could be changed quite easy.

Anyone here ever upgraded there dbx160a's ?

Also anyone compared the A to the X/XT, not by word of mouth but actually took time out to A/B the units? If so how would you describe the sonic differences?.
Old 13th August 2008
  #9
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Hey guys, everyone loves a 160 but what about the 166!
Old 13th August 2008
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronique View Post
What ever happened to DBX??

Do they only make products for the "live" seen now??

I never hear of anyone using thier studio products.. Mic pres/Compressors etc..
That last web site of scott storch's Studio, just after he bought the duality, had two 160A's in em. Am sure he's not the only one using the 160's. I heard some ppl swear by the on rap vocals.
Old 13th August 2008
  #11
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Whats everyone having for dinner?
Old 13th August 2008
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Whats everyone having for dinner?
Had - Pork chops!
Old 13th August 2008
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronique View Post
Had - Pork chops!
Did you cook them at 160 or 166?
Old 13th August 2008
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Did you cook them at 160 or 166?
160VU
Ive got an old school oven..
Old 13th August 2008
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronique View Post
160VU
Ive got an old school oven..
Did you serve em up with some DB Eggs?

Seriously though...166.
Old 13th August 2008
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
I own an original DBX 166 compressor (not the 166A, 166XL etc) which i have often found usefull in the studio, especially for adding character and giving drums a dirty and punchy sound. From what I have read it seems to be quite a popular compressor of choice for many respected hip-hop producers yet the 166 seems to get very little attention/credit. Any thoughts?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Did you serve em up with some DB Eggs?

Seriously though...166.
What exactly are you looking for? Confirmation that your toy doesn't suck? I don't get it...

For what it's worth, in the studio my experience has been that the 166 is pretty cool; nothin' spectacular, but usable. But the 160VUs and 160X/Ts are cooler.

I'd rather use the 166 for live stuff.
Old 13th August 2008
  #17
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Quote:
What exactly are you looking for? Confirmation that your toy doesn't suck? I don't get it...
Not at all. I personally find the 166 ideal for certain applications in the studio and would use it regardless of what any patronising self righteous gear snob may have to say.
I was merely pointing out that since using the 166 I have noticed that many well respected hip hop producers use them too and I was just curious as to why the 166 is seldom mentioned in threads relating to hip hop production/outboard/processing etc. Just thought that it may have been of interest to those involved in producing hip-hop tracks and that my opinion may have been of some value...thats all.
Old 14th August 2008
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azriel_7 View Post
Like who?
Dj Premier got a 166

The Realist
Old 14th August 2008
  #19
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peeder's Avatar
 

I like the original blackface 166 for "Owe Gee Style" vibey bass tones.

I could imagine the damage it would do on phony drums might be popular with hiphop peepuls.

Old 14th August 2008
  #20
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I got a 166 and UREI LA-10 around the same time. I think they both have a cleaner sound than my LA-4, but the LA-10 has more depth going for it... mainly because of the transformers. I like the LA-10 so much, I grabbed an LA-12 (2 ch Ver) when I could.

I had a DBX 162 at one time and thought I wanted to get one again until I had my LA-4 mod'ed. I have had other compressors (lower end) in the past and none of them floated my boat.

The original blackface 166 is nothing to write home about, but it is a good utility comp.
Old 14th August 2008
  #21
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I copped a 166 for $80 off ebay and its been good to me so far...
Old 14th August 2008
  #22
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Quote:
Like who?
I don't recall ever seeing or hearing that someone was using a 166.
DJ Premier
Beatminerz
Beastie Boys

Just a few that i remember off the top off my head. I believe that D&D studio had a couple too along with their 160's.
Old 14th August 2008
  #23
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I've yet to hear anyone describe the 166 as 'classic'. They're usually seen in live rigs... kind of seen and not heard, if that makes any sense. Good workhorses, reliable, but nothing about them screams 'classic', not in the GearSlutz sense anyway.

If you wanted to try one of their 1970s Decilinear compressors, search out a 118. They're no 160, but they can sure sound nice on kicks, snares, basses and electronic sounds... in more of a 'classic' way, for cheap.
Old 14th August 2008
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azriel_7 View Post
Both the 166 and 266 are better as mentioned for a live compressor where it's basic job is to keep peaks under control.
I don't know anything about the 266, but the orginal 166 is just a limiter, so its job would be to keep peaks under control.
Old 14th August 2008
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number 6 View Post
I've yet to hear anyone describe the 166 as 'classic'. They're usually seen in live rigs... kind of seen and not heard, if that makes any sense. Good workhorses, reliable, but nothing about them screams 'classic', not in the GearSlutz sense anyway.

If you wanted to try one of their 1970s Decilinear compressors, search out a 118. They're no 160, but they can sure sound nice on kicks, snares, basses and electronic sounds... in more of a 'classic' way, for cheap.
I have tried one of those compressors and found in gave good results on the drums, not sure if it was the 118 or the 119. I understand that the 117 only offers a low compression ratio unlike the 118 and 119 that give 5:1 but do you know what the differences are between the 118 and the 119?
Old 14th August 2008
  #26
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Quote:
Going back to 166 ownership it got more use when I was using the SP and then the 60, switching to the ASR was when I stopped using them and sold them.
Thats an interesting point as i use mine mostly for compressing drums from SP's MPC 60's and 950's too.
In addition to this, I believe that those artists/producers that i mentioned also use the SP and/or the MPC 60 for their sound so maybe there is something in the chemistry between those bits of kit and the 166?

Food for thought, but remember to take with a pinch of salt?
Old 14th August 2008
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
do you know what the differences are between the 118 and the 119?
You're definitely right about the 117 - it's low ratio only. I don't want to give false information about the 119, as I've not used one (I have a lot of experience with the 118) - it looks very similar to the 118, from the front panel. Same controls. I would expect it to act in a similar way, that kind of sound.
Old 15th August 2008
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azriel_7 View Post
The 118 has 2 LED's the 119 has the single LED.
The 117 and 119 are the same with the 119 having the larger ratios.
The 118 is the same as the 119 but has the above and below LED's.
The 128 is the same as the 118 with the added noise reduction section and a output gain control.

Unfortunately the 117 is pretty much a waste because of it's ratios, the other 3 units are good but all have unbalanced I/O.
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.
Old 15th August 2008
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number 6 View Post
You're definitely right about the 117 - it's low ratio only. I don't want to give false information about the 119, as I've not used one (I have a lot of experience with the 118) - it looks very similar to the 118, from the front panel. Same controls. I would expect it to act in a similar way, that kind of sound.
Il prigioniero!
Old 15th August 2008
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azriel_7 View Post
If you are brave enough you can mod them with Jensens to give them balanced I/O.
...and even if you're not brave, you can still mod them to accept standard TRS jacks, rather than the stock phono sockets.
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