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Most compressor/gates provide less than musical compression, coupled with gating that swallows transients—or closes early, cutting off decay and reverb tails. The superb engineering in the 166XL ensures that both its compression and gating provide versatility and excellent sonic performance in situations where other compressor/gates typically produce undesirable processing artifacts.

When using the 166XL’s Attack and Release controls, artists and engineers will find that the center settings deliver classic dbx compression, while the full control range produces voicings that extend from slow “leveling” to aggressive “peak” limiting.The 166XL’s advanced gate circuitry uses a completely new, program-dependent timing algorithm to produce ultra-smooth release characteristics—even with complex signals, such as voice or reverb decays. dbx engineers went on to take advantage of the wide dynamic range and high precision of the dbx V1 VCA to design in an extra-wide threshold range and ensure top gating performance for each application.

Separate precision LED displays for gain reduction, compression threshold and gate threshold allow quick, accurate setup, while the 166XL’s intuitive operation lets users easily smooth uneven levels, add sustain to guitars, squash drums or tighten up mixes. In Stereo couple mode, the Channel 1 controls become Master controls, and Channel 2 follows precisely to ensure a rock solid stereo image—even with high amounts of compression, through True RMS Power Summing™. Professionals and newcomers alike will find that the 166XL sets up rapidly and musically the first time it is used, especially with the Auto attack and release function. Advanced applications are now easy, with the 166XL’s full sidechain functionality, and the ability to use either hard knee or OverEasy® compression algorithms. Add to this already impressive list of features the venerable PeakStop™ limiter, and you’ve got a strong finisher, every time.


Is purchasing a hardware compressor really worth it?

I'd recommend to start with a versatile, but not too expensive hardware compressor like the dbx 166XL. I haven't used the RNC, so I cannot tell if it's any good. Then use it and compare it to plugins by... - tweaking the attack and release knobs and listening to what's happening to the transients and the...

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dbx 166xs compressor discontinued? is there a new model?

I would suggest that you find an original black 166 in good condition. They are out there. Best of the "66" bunch. The 166XL and XS and the 266 are kind of unusable, IMO.

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dbx 166xs compressor discontinued? is there a new model?

The original 166 is definitely better than the XL and not at least the 266 which is indeed a POS. I don't find the XL THAT terrible though... I was able to use it for kick untill better compressors came my way and it's still neat to have around for its sidechain and gate which is...

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