dbx 160A Compressor Limiter

No longer available at zZounds
The classic dbx 160 compressor meets modern circuitry in the 160A. Get easy metering and tight control of threshold, ratio, and output, with selectable knee.

Since its introduction in the mid-1970s, the dbx 160 series has been the world's most popular line of audio compressors. After the classic 160 (which is still used daily in many world class studios), came the 165, the 160X and the 160XT. The 160X/XT were the models that truly became the industry standard. Solid construction, fool proof operation, great sound, at-a-glance metering and a bulletproof output stage all contributed to its popularity with musicians, recording studios, consultants and installers, and broadcast media production people alike.

The dbx 160A is part of the legendary dbx 160 family of compressor/limiters. The same classic sound, easy set-up and no-compromise metering is now married to an improved signal path and stronger chassis design. The result is an industry-standard compressor/limiter which is digital-ready and road tough.

Featuring switch-selectable OverEasy and Hard Knee compression curves along with extremely wide-ranging threshold, ratio and output controls, the dbx 160A is up to any task. True RMS level detection provides the most natural-sounding dynamics processing available, from subtle compression to "brick wall" peak limiting. Choose low ratios and OverEasy compression to transparently smooth out fluctuating vocal and instrumental levels. Or use the 160A's Hard Knee compression and high ratios (up to and beyond :1 and over 60dB gain reduction) for bombproof protection against overload distortion in digital recording, P.A. systems and broadcast read more signals. The 160A is fully compatible with +4/-10dB and balanced/ unbalanced systems, and its electronically balanced output stage is an outstanding line driver for long cable runs (an output transformer is optional). The 19-segment, switchable input/ output LED metering can be easily calibrated to any operating level. 12-segment gain reduction LEDs provide precise analysis at a glance.

The dbx 160A's unique "INFINITY +" inverse-compression mode actually decreases the audio output level below unity gain when the input exceeds threshold, a real lifesaver for correcting overbearing vocal choruses and controlling runaway house mix levels. A detector input can be used with an equalizer for de-essing sibilant vocals and selectively smoothing out boomy notes on acoustic guitar and bass. And two 160As can be stereo-coupled to process an entire mix or instruments mic'd in stereo, without shifting the left/right image. Its musical sound, easy operation and unequaled versatility made the original dbx 160 a world standard. The 160A follows that tradition, while meeting the challenges of a digital world.


- OverEasy or classic hard knee compression with dbx's ultra-musical program dependent attack and release times
- Compression ratio variable from 1:1 through infinity :1 to negative compression
- Precision dual RMS LED display monitors input or putput and gain reduction over a wide range and calibrates for different operating levels
- Over 60dB of gain reduction available
- Exclusive Infinity+ compression allows negative compression
- Independent balanced and unbalanced outputs can drive 600 loads to +24dBm simultaneously. Its floating balanced output stage drives any load.
- Optional output transformer capable
- Strappable with another 160A for true RMS stereo summing operation
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- Connector: 1/4 in. TRS and XLR, Floating Balanced; XLR: Pin 2 hot Phone: Tip Hot
- Impedance: 40k
- Maximum Level: +24dBu, Balanced or Unabalanced (Absolute)
- CMRR: >45dB (any Frequency)
- Detector Input: Connector: 1/4 in. TRS phone, Floating Balanced
- Impedance: >200k
- Maximum Level: +28dBu, Balanced or Unbalanced
- Output: Connector: XLR, floating balanced; pin 2 hot
- Impedance: 30
- Maximum Level: (Balanced): +24dBm; <0.3% THD
- Maximum Level: (Unbalanced): +20dBm; <0.3% THD
- Noise: <-90dBu, Unweighted (20Hz - 20kHz).
- Frequency Response: 20Hz -20kHz, +0, -0.5dB; +0, -3dB 0.5Hz and 90kHz.
- THD: <0.2%, Typical, any amount of compression up to 40dB @ 1kHz.

- Connector: 1/4 in. TRS phone, Unbalanced
- Impedance: 20 ohm
- Maximum Level: +24dBm

- Threshold Range: -40dBu to +20dBu
- Threshold Characteristic: OverEasy or hard knee
- Compression Ratio: Variable 1:1 to :1 thru to -1:1; >60dB maximum compression
- Attack Time: Program dependent; typically 15ms for 10dB, 5ms for 20dB, 3ms for 30dB
- Release Time: Program Dependent; Typically 8ms for 1dB, 80ms for 10dB, 400ms for 50dB; 125dB/sec rate.

System Performance
- Dynamic Range: >113dB
- Gain Adjustment Range: Variable from -20dB to +20dB
- Stereo Coupling: True RMS Power summing
- Summing: 1/4 in. TRS phone jack

- Power Cord: IEC-type connector
- Operating Voltage: DO: 90-130VAC, 50/60Hz; EU: 200-250VAC, 50/60Hz
- Operating Temperature: 0 degrees C to 45 degrees C (32 degrees F to 113 degrees F).

- Dimensions: 1.75 x 19 x 6.5 in. (4.45cm x 48.2cm x 16.51cm).
- Weight Net/Shipping: 4.452 lbs/6.62 lbs (1.99 kg/2.99 kg)

For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 844-776-4899

Reviewers gave this product an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars. (14 ratings)
Submitted August 7, 2006 by a customer from aloha.net
"DBX: Da Best!"
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
I'm sure there are other compressors that are good but I'm very satisfied with the DBX. It's the only one I want to use for mains and individual channels.
I used it for the mains and wow, it does a super job at compressing peaks. I can't desrcibe the sound to as you have to listen to it because it sounded so good. People never knew I was using a compressor and thought I was a very good sound man. But give DBX credit too; what a super compressor.
Soft and hard knee compression worked the best for me. This is a top quality product you must have if you're a sound man. Unquestionably the best compressor I've used.
Ease of Use
At first I used recommended settings and it worked just fine. As I used it more, I had my own settings. Not hard to use at all.
You gotta hear the sound; just remarkable the way it makes my mix sound. It saves my equipment too from zealous vocalist and musicians who think they sound good by singing and playing music too loud. The DBX just makes the mix sound better. Super top quality product.
The best if your on a budget or not.
Manufacturer Support
I wouldn't know. This product worked so well I never needed support.
The Wow Factor
It's ok; but I'm more concerned with how a product works and the DBX 160A works well.
Musical Background:
Active sound man
Musical Style:
Easy listening, rock, country, jazz, and reggae
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No longer available at zZounds

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