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DBX 163X

DBX 163X

3.9 3.9 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

An underestimated VCA compressor, great for bass och kick - a small compressor on testosterone.


20th July 2014

DBX 163X by Deleted User

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
DBX 163X

The DBX163X is a half rack VCA compressor that can be pushed very hard and still sound great. It is not a transparent compressor but has its color and personality - a very pleasant such. It smacks kicks and give definition to bases. Compared to a tube compressor it is harder but its not harsh. As there is only one slide for "More" it is of soft knee type. The more it is pushed the harder grade of compression, from grade 1:1 to infinite (limit mode).

It has been discontinued but luckily there are still many of them to pick up for some few $ on second hand market such DBX 163XDBX163X at Ebay etc.

It is popular to mod. There are information at Gearslutz of different mods. But it sounds great even without any mod.

There is a DBX163A as well that according to other users is, if not exactly the same, very close to DBX163X. It's not a sort of the classic DBX160 (VU) - it is another compressor and it's great sounding.

My DBX163X will be used for many mixes and I will definitely buy one more when Mr Opportunity knocks on my door as there is possible no other compressor that gives more bang for the bucks than this compressor.

Conclusion: A small compressor on testosterone .





Controllers: It has only one slider for "More" and one pot for Make Up Gain (labeled "Level Set"). There is no Bypass on the unit.

Connections: At the front is a high impedance input for line instruments and at the rear a trim for the instrument input and one input and one output. The connectors are TS (not balanced). I have mine connected with balanced (TRS) connectors and there is no problem. A stereo link connector to cascade two DBX163X to a linked stereo unit.

Mono/Stereo: The unit is a mono unit but can be cascaded with an additional DBX163X via a jack at the rear and a push button labeled master/slave

Power: There is a switch at the rear for 110V/240V. Power supply is internal

Owners Manual: http://rdn.harmanpro.com/product_doc...l_original.pdf

Schematics: http://www.dbxpro.com/product_downlo...e%20Manual.pdf

  • 1
29th January 2016

DBX 163X by BN1studio

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
DBX 163X

The 163X is a 1/2U single-channel “Over Easy” compressor which can be linked to a second 163X, to make a stereo compressor, or a 463X Noise Gate

When linked to a 463X, the pair can act as a stereo noise gate or stereo compressor, depending which unit is selected as master. With a 163X plus a 463X you have the option of stereo compression or gating, or one of each

The 163X has an additional high-impedance input on the front panel, ideal for use as a DI input, with a level trim on the back panel

dbx describes the 163X as “the Simplest Compressor in the World”. The instructions say to match the output level with the input level using the gain trim, then to push the slider over to whatever level of compression is desired

What the manual doesn’t say is that this is a great-sounding compressor with a big, dirty, squashy sound. The 163X is the polar opposite of a modern, bland VCA compressor. The 163X is what the Americans call a “Color” piece – it certainly colours the sound and is superb for bass guitar, electric guitar or keyboards. The 163X is also ideal for adding character as a parallel compressor

On test, I found the 163X to be quite addictive – it’s as close to a “Universal Improver” box as I’ve ever found. It adds colour that is hard to replicate and is simplicity itself to use. I’d like to try using it in parallel with a clean signal or a second compressor to see what can be achieved – I think it’d be amazing

Stereo linking works very effectively. I don't think a pair of 163Xs would be anyone's first choice as a bus compressor, but I have to say they do it brilliantly - if that's the sound you want

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