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DBX 160A vs cheaper DBX rackmount - quality????

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by IvanMike, Aug 12, 2004.


  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    From what i hear the DBX 160A, 160X, and 160XT are great units -i've never had the opportunity to use one
    personally i prefer "hard knee" to "over easy" compression, and i understand that these units offer both
    I've used units like the DBX 262 (a stereo unit very similar in control layout to the 160A but with no meter) and i've loved the sound compared to a lot of other compressors

    so, if you know, what's the difference between the 160A and the other units that would explain such a difference in price?? - i'm assuming it's a better circuit, better sound, etc, but i dunno..... :eyebrow:
     
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You ain't gonna like this. I have a 160A, 1066 and 1046. The main difference is the 160 has fewer knobs. You heard it here first.
     
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep. Hats off to Munji. As far as I know, the VCA chips in most of the DBX units are pretty much the same. Except for the really old ones with the analog meters. I have some schematics and manuals, if you're interested drop me an e-mail. The 160XT has a couple of nice features, I've used them extensively in the studio and they do sound great. As far as I know the "A" version is practically identical (electronically speaking) except for the bells and whistles. The 26x series are supposed to be the same, just with the usual cost-saving for production purposes (like cheaper knobs). The ADSR stuff isn't supposed to change the sound on these units, except insofar as one tends to get considerable distortion with short timer settings (but that would be true for "all" compressors). The 160 and 260 series are nice 'cause they're made pretty much for the working musician, there's nothing "extra" there that isn't needed, and there's hardly a setting that doesn't sound good or isn't useful in some way. Those blinkin' lights are cool on a dark stage though...
     
  4. zoran

    zoran

    May 10, 2002
    croatia
    I like mine 160A just because "over easy" compression, especially for slapping. All in all it's very musical compressor, and it doesn't change your original sound like other compressors I tried (higher quality studio compressors not included off course)
     
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    What's interesting is that the 160A has one channel, the 1066 has two, and the 1046 has four, yet they all cost about the same. Also, I could be mistaken, but don't pretty much all of dbx's comps have over-easy?
     
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Nyuk nyuk ... I was setting up for a gig at a bar the other night, and some guy, already drunk, came up and looked at my PA rack and said, "Are you getting ready to launch the space shuttle or something?"
     
  7. zoran

    zoran

    May 10, 2002
    croatia
    yup, I put some PA crossovers in my rack to look like from other planet. Lots of lights there too
     
  8. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    that's my point exacly munji - one would expect that the 160a has some sort of superior components and or sounds better
    i got a 262 on e-bay because i like the "less is more" approach
    the 262 is a 2 channel compressor only unit, the controls are pretty much the same as a 160a
    i don't want or need a limiter, gate, or expander, and i dont want my signal going thru all the extra crap that can't help but degrde the tone
    so now, what does that one channel of the 160a have that the 1066 and 1046 doesnt have, not in terms of features, because obviously the 1066 has more, but what does the 160a have in terms of quality/tone transparency
    anybody know? the dbx site sure isnt any help
     
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    yeah i need more weird stuff like a dtr-2 and compressors and strobes and stuff - kinda bring me back to my dead show days when we would watch all the cool lights on stage - i wonder why we found them so fascinating? :rolleyes:
     
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Coulda been the reefer, eh?
     
  11. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    Well i decided to ask dbx
    so i e-mailed this to their tech guru on the website
    we'll see if they gimme a good answer

    hi, my name is ivan
    i'm a bass player and have been using your discontinued 262 as a compressor for bass (one channel only)
    i'm familiar with your 1066 as well as my guitar player has a home studio
    i prefer "hard knee" compression on bass and i find the preset attack and release on the 262 to be just right
    i've been considering getting a 160A as they seem to be favored by professionals but i wanted to ask some questions that local sales guys have no clue on (what do they teach these guys now-a-days? - oh yeah, how to sell and say "dude");o)
    i noticed that price wise the 160A, 1066, and 1046 are about the same - this leads me to belive that the components or circut in the 160A should be superior to the 1066 and 1046 as the other 2 have more channels and features
    i really dont have a need for a gate or limiter in my signal chain, and i belive that adding extra components can only result in some signal degredation
    what about the 160A makes its 1 channel superior to the channels on the other units?
    likewise how does the 160A compare to my 262?
    finally, i've noticed 160A's for sale now and then with the optional dbx 123 jensen output transformer which the sellers claim "creates a much tighter bass response". How much does the jensen transformer affect the performance of the 160A and is it still available as a factory mod or a mod by an outside tech?
    sorry for all the questions but i figured you would know the answers..........
    thanks a lot for your help
    ivan
     
  13. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well no reply so i called em
    here's the scoop if you're interested
    the 160x and 160xt were predecessors to the 160A - as time went on better components and some mods were done but they're close
    the 262 project compressor like i have is identical to the compressor part of the 166xl and 266xl
    the compressors and input and output stages and the components used in the 1066 and 1046 are better than those in the 262, 166, and 266
    but..............
    the components, input, and output in the 160A are the top of the line for that design of compressor
    so kiss $400 new or $250 used goodbye
    (i got my 262 for $70 on e-bay :p )
    output transformers are now available as an upgrade to the 160A or you can just order a 160AT
    so i guess it sounds better - still i'd love to hear from anyone who's actually A/B'd the 160A against the lower priced compressors, particularly a 262 :D
     
  14. metalbob

    metalbob

    Aug 2, 2004
    so california
    :bassist: :hyper: :help: i cant decide which one to go with for my live bass rig (bbemaxt preamp into korg dt2000 tunner into lexicon rm550 into qsc rmx 1450 power amp into aeden 215xlt cab) any suggestions ?????
     
  15. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    honestly the 166xl and 266xl seem to be too feature laden for the average bassist
    ditto with the 1066
    not that it's a bad thing, you may want to set your own attack and release times, but dbx seems to have good preset attack and release time on the old 262 and the 160A, if they werent good, so many "pros" wouldnt be using the 160A.
    the preset attack and release times they are program dependent so they change along with your signal
    whatever you get, i would go with one where you can switch from "ever easy" compression to the more classsic "hard knee" compression. some dbx units only offer "over easy" and it doesn't always sound better
     
  16. Wayne Train

    Wayne Train

    Jan 15, 2011
    I just bought a 266xl for my bass rig. Can anybody suggest the settings to make it behave like a 160A? If I leave all the knobs at unity and press auto, will that do it?
     
  17. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Sell it and spend just a few more bucks on a used 166. Then I'll be happy to advise you on settings. The 266 is just not worth either of our time.