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dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate

B&H # DB166XS MFR # 166XS
dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate

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Product Highlights

  • Dual Channel
  • Stereo or Dual-Mono
  • PeakStop Limiter
  • Classic dbx "Auto" Mode
  • Side Chain Insert
  • Separate LED Displays
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You Pay: $239.95

Questions? Ask our experts:

The 166xs from dbx is a dual channel compressor/gate/limiter that when added to a live sound rig or studio, will deliver more polished, professional sound. The unit can function either as a stereo processor or in dual mono mode and features all the usual controls required for this kind of processor.

The unit provides the ability to smooth out uneven levels, add sustain to guitars and fatten up drums. It also makes it easy to bring vocals to the front of a mix. The PeakStop limiter helps protect expensive amplifiers and speakers by providing an absolute ceiling for peak excursions or large transients that could damage the equipment.

For simplified operation the 166xs features Overeasy compression technology for smooth and musical performance, while the exclusive AutoDynamic attack and release controls puts great sound within easy reach. The processor has true RMS power summing and features quality input and output connectors. Comprehensive visual feedback is provided by gain reduction metering and backlit switches.

Error proof operation to smooth uneven levels, add sustain to guitars, fatten drums or tighten up mixes
New gate timing algorithms ensure the smoothest release characteristics
Program-adaptive expander/gates
PeakStop limiter provides an absolute ceiling for peak excursions or large transients for protecting downstream equipment
Great sounding dynamics control for any type of program material
Separate precision LED displays for gain reduction, compression threshold and gate threshold allow quick, accurate setup
Stereo or dual-mono operation
Balanced inputs and outputs on 1/4" TRS and XLR connectors
Side Chain insert
Classic dbx "Auto" mode
UPC: 691991401268
Function Compressor/limiter/gate
Number of Channels 2
Inputs 2 x XLR (pin 2 hot)
2 x 1/4" TRS phone 1
Please Note:

Electronically balanced/unbalanced, RF filtered

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Input Impedance >50kΩ balanced, >25kΩ unbalanced
Maximum Input Level >+24dBu, balanced or unbalanced
Outputs 2 x XLR(pin 2 hot)
2 x 1/4" TRS phone 2
Please Note:

Electronically balanced/unbalanced, RF filtered

close
Output Impedance 120Ω balanced, 60Ω unbalanced
Maximum Output Level >+21dBu balanced/unbalanced into 2kΩ or greater
>+18dBm balanced/unbalanced into 600Ω
Other Connectors Side Chain
Type: 1/4" TRS phone, Normalled: Ring = Output (send); Tip = Input (return)
Impedance: Tip = >10kΩ (input), Ring = 2kΩ (output)
Maximum Levels: >+20dBu (tip/input and ring/output)
Compression Threshold -40dBu to +20dBu
Compression Ratio 1:1 to infinity:1, variable (60dB maximum compression)
Attack Time Variable program-dependent; 3mS to 340mS for 15dB gain reduction
Release Time Variable program-dependent; 200dB/Sec to 3dB/Sec
Slope OverEasy or hard knee, selectable
Gate Threshold OFF to +15dBu
Ratio 10:1 expansion
Maximum Depth >60dB
Gate Rate Attack: <500µSec (from maximum depth)
Release: 30mS to 3Sec adjustable, (to 30dB attenuation)
Limiter Threshold Range 0dBu to +20dBu
Make-up Gain -20dB to +20dB
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz, +0/-0.5dB (typical 3dB points are 0.35Hz and 110kHz, unity gain)
Dynamic Range >115 dB, unweighted
Noise <-90dBu, 22Hz to 22kHz, no weighting, unity gain
THD + N <0.04% typical on any amount of compression up to 40dB @ 1kHz
Crosstalk <-80dB, 20Hz to 20kHz
CMRR >40dB, typical, >55dB @ 1kHz
Operating Temperature 32°F to 113°F (0°C to 45°C)
Power Requirements 100~120VAC 50/60Hz
15W maximum power consumption
Dimensions (WxDxH) 19 x 6.75 x 1.75" (483 x 172 x 45mm)
Weight 5.05 lb (2.29kg)
Specialties SMPTE IMD: <0.08% typical @ +10dBu (15dB gain reduction)
Packaging Info
Package Weight 7.05 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 21.8 x 11.3 x 2.5"
dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate
  • AC Power Cable
  • Two (2) Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    dbx166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate
     
    4.9

    (based on 7 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (6)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Good audio (7)
    • Versatile (7)
    • Easy to use (6)
    • Durable (5)

    Cons

    No Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home studio (6)
    • Performances (5)
    • Professional recording (5)
    • Amateur recording (4)
    • Outdoor events / games (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Experienced (6)

    Reviewed by 7 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-7

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    5.0

    High quality but strong compression

    By Frank H

    from Novato, CA

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Events
      • Home Studio
      • Mobile DJ
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate:

      My previous compressors were an Alesis 3630, a DIY compressor, and software compressors.

      This compressor has excellent sound quality overall. The peak-stop limiter is really a soft clipper -- you can use it for distortion (sounds great), but I am not sure it is good for anything else.

      I use this compressor for recording only. You have to be careful with the settings, or you wind up with compression side effects. It is a strong compressor. Each LED on the gain reduction meter represents 2 dB; I did not notice this at first, as I was used to 1 dB resolution, so I applied too much compression.

      The attack control, as well as release, if set too fast, will make the compression more obvious. For smooth compression, both the attack and release must be set fairly slow, or use the auto button. For electric guitar, I am using the attack at 8 o'clock and release at 3 o'clock. I prefer the over-easy mode, which is soft-knee. The contour button is a high pass filter on the compression control signal only (not on the output), to prevent excessive compression when your signal contains a lot of low frequencies. I always have contour enabled.

      When adjusted correctly, it is a smooth, nearly transparent compressor, perfect for reducing dynamic range by a few dB when recording. It has many other uses, but that is all I use it for.

      The expander (similar to a gate) works, but it is more twitchy than I expected. You must adjust it for each signal. If you have it set slightly off, it will jump back and forth between open a closed. I only use it for noisy distorted guitars. It works well, as long as I remember to tweak it every time. I keep the release slow on this.

      There are many settings. As long as you take your time to learn how to use compression in general, you can probably find the compression sound you are looking for, unless you are looking for the sound of a non-VCA type compressor. Compression does take time to learn. You should start with smaller amounts of compression. The amount of compression you can apply is quite amazing. You can squash the signal completely flat if you want.

      The main thing I don't like is the lack of an on-off button. Other than that, it is perfect for me.

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      5.0

      Does exactly as advertised and as needed

      By Brad

      from Richmond, VA

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Clear Sound
      • Durable
      • Easy To Use
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate:

        I use the compressor/limiter/gate for a couple of purposes. Voice over work for clean recordings and live singer/guitar performances. The gate gives me perfect response for the voice recording, and for live performances, allows good ring out for guitar when needed.

        Compressor/limiter features includes pre-sets work well for several situations. Responsive LEDs, dials that feel good, and looks great in the rack.

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        4.0

        Classic Affordable Compressor

        By tekbench

        from Seattle

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Clear Sound
        • Durable
        • Easy To Use
        • Versatile

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Broadcast

          Comments about dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate:

          A solid, link-able two channel analog compressor. Works great as a clean, pre-processor in broadcasting to protect the front end of an STL.
          Also useful to make on-air talent headphones sound good. Either in-ear or amplified.

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Great Compressor!!

          By Mike

          from Norristown, PA

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Clear Sound
          • Easy To Use
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Home Studio
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate:

            I bought this compressor off B&H because it was $100 cheaper on here than going through the DBX website. So not only did I get a great product, I got it at a great price. DBX really know's how to make a good product. I'm using this compressor for a small home studio where I wanted to have vocals and guitar go into the mix already compressed. This is going to sound funny, but the thing that I like the most about it is that the knobs click when you turn them, so if you accidentally brush by the knobs, they won't turn without you knowing. It sounds so minimal but its an awesome feature.

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            5.0

            Good Product

            By BWE

            from Arkansas

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Clear Sound
            • Compact
            • Durable
            • Easy To Use
            • Lightweight
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Amateur Recording
              • Events
              • Home Studio
              • Mobile DJ
              • Performances
              • Professional Recording

              Comments about dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate:

              Love the flexibility of this compressor.

              Share this review

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              i would buy this again!

              By chris

              from wpb, fl

              About Me Professional Musician

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Clear Sound
              • Durable
              • Easy To Use
              • Versatile

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Events
                • Home Studio
                • Mobile DJ
                • Performances
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate:

                super product for the price! no problems!

                Share this review

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Good piece of equipment.

                By Dylan Eggs

                from Carbondale, Il

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Clear Sound
                • Compact
                • Durable
                • Easy To Use
                • Lightweight
                • Versatile

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Amateur Recording
                  • Events
                  • Home Studio
                  • Mobile DJ
                  • Performances

                  Comments about dbx 166xs - Compressor/Limiter/Gate:

                  I got it out of the box, plugged it, and started using it right away. It wasn't hard to figure out and it did its job perfectly. The noise gate was actually pretty nice. I was expecting this feature to lack in quality but it does a well enough job that I don't plan to buy an actual gate for my rack. This website had the cheapest price for this item and I would definitely recommend buying the dbx166xs if you're looking for a compressor.

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