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Dbx 160a....
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Dbx 160a....

Hey guys,

So everything I’ve read of the DBX 160a is that it’s sort of a Swiss Army knife.....as long as your GR is small, you will end up with some light, transparent leveling on most sources....of course dependent on user ability and source material. What type of compressor is the 160a, most are labeled as optical based or FET based, and based on those characteristics, a sound can be somewhat expected? Just trying to decided if with a limited budget, and the mindset to fill a 6u 500 rack as a vocal, and utility chain, with preamp and eq already selected, what to go with, not sure if the 160a I already have is usable enough to consider a ssl style stero comp in the 500 box, or if I should go after an LA-2A style comp.

Any thoughts or considerations are much appreciated
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Head
 
Ajavalon's Avatar
Hey Stew,since you already have a 160A,IMO the Jensen transformer mod really takes this Swiss Army knife to another level.Very easy to do yourself if you can use a soldering iron,mine lives on the snare & as you said you're on a limited budget,definitely worth it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Hey, i've got 4x dbx 160a and i like them alot.

Do you have more info on the mod?

Would be interesting to check out!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewarjm192 View Post
What type of compressor is the 160a, most are labeled as optical based or FET based, and based on those characteristics, a sound can be somewhat expected?
It's VCA based, Voltage Control Amplifier.

160A is very usable, can certainly keep using it for now while you build out other stuff. For tracking vocals just keep it on relatively light settings. I think in another thread it was said that it is mostly clean/transparent, so not going to add "color," but it does have a bit of a "character" to the compression, especially since there's no attack/release controls. I like it on drums the most, but have used it for vocals plenty.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Head
 
Ajavalon's Avatar
Glad to help,the unit is from the nice people at Jensen Transformers.Part # JT-123-DBX.I got 2 of them 2 years ago they were around
$58.00 each,with shipping the whole deal was $122 & change.Easy modification,when you disassemble the 160 you'll see a place on the PC board for the transformer.Solder it in place,reassemble the 160 & your ready to rock,enjoy !
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajavalon View Post
Glad to help,the unit is from the nice people at Jensen Transformers.Part # JT-123-DBX.I got 2 of them 2 years ago they were around
$58.00 each,with shipping the whole deal was $122 & change.Easy modification,when you disassemble the 160 you'll see a place on the PC board for the transformer.Solder it in place,reassemble the 160 & your ready to rock,enjoy !
Could you describe what the Jensen transformer adds tone wise?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
i had my 160A modded by Jim Williams .. yes, the same one that lurks about here at GS ... never sell it !!! or maube for 1000.00 !!! haha .. sorry jim, just kidding, it is mine to the grave !!!

his modded opened it up to be something it would never have been without the mod !!

cheers john
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Head
 
Ajavalon's Avatar
Stew,I think John really nailed it when he said it "opened it up" or gave more detail to whatever you put through it after the mod.I can't say that it's a tonal thing really but on the Snare what was just some transparent compression became much more defined & assertive if that makes sense.Like anything else it's all subjective but IMO makes for a much better sounding 160.I guess the only reason DBX didn't include them in the first place was $$.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
bowzin's Avatar
I got the Jim Williams/Audio Upgrades mods on my pair of XT's and I asked Jim if he would put in the Jensen transformers as well. His mod is great, makes it more clean and clear, as is his MO. The mod doesn't necessarily make "economic" sense, since the mods are about the cost of a new one, but if you really like these comps already then it helps improve upon them that last little bit.

I could be wrong and don't want to speak for him, but I don't think he necessarily considers the transformers as part of his mod, he's more of the era that was trying to pull transformers OUT of everything, vs. today where we seem to want to put them back in. The transformers are very subtle, as they're good quality Jensen transformers which have always been very, very subtle to me.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Jensen makes the special pcb pined output transformer, call Dave Hill at Jensen to order them. The 160A is a knock-off of the 160TX. It is a cheaper design. It used very thin 12 mm pcb "auto-routed" traces. It also used 5532 opamps instead of LF353/351's.

One audible difference is the use of 20k passive filters on each input and output. I remove those and use ferrite beads to expand the bandwidth.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Just wanted to chime in with a thumbs up for Jim Williams. He did a 160XT for me a few years ago and he did a great job.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
I have two DBX 166’s and went through one the other day. I’m not capable of going all Jim Williams on my own stuff, I send gear to him for that, but I was surprised at how well they turned out, so much so I’ve put 160xt’s back on the table. I recapped it, dropped in the THAT 2180a VCA, and swapped in opa2134’s and 134’s (Jim hates these) but I love them. Decoupled the op amps in the sidechain and added some feedback caps that were missing. Simple mods really compared to what Jim does but still produced excellent results. When I get a 160 I’ll send it to Jim for sure.

As far as economics and resale value go, this is of no concern to me when I send gear to Jim, I’ve already made up my mind I’m keeping the gear FOREVER. He picks the best gear for mods that produce the best bang for the buck. I always find out what mods are available for any piece of gear I buy before I spring for it. Because of accountants and price points gear can almost always be improved. And Jim has an Audio Precision to test his mods on. Your getting so much more than a $200 mod from him.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
And one more plug since we have some Jim Williams fans following this thread, I have 2 Aphex 651’s done by Jim that are absolutely stellar compressors now. The amount of compression you can apply is stupid. They have a HPF in the sidechain and an HFX compensation circuit that are great. I just bought 2 more at $90 a piece sent to my front door. If you need transparent crushing compression in soft or hard knee format these are no brainers. I use mine on vocals and the next two will be on the mix buss. Pick one up while prices on the used market are still this low. These were high end compressors in their day.
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