Ex Hire – DBX 160 XT

Ex hire unit. Good working condition with hire markings on unit and some cosmetic damage.


Availability: 2 In Stock

2 in stock


The 160XT is probably the best-known of the classic dbx 160 compressors. The original 160 was a half-width 2U box and the 160X was the first of the familiar 1U dbx rack compressors. The 160XT is similar to the 160X but adds XLR connectors and some updates to the circuitry

The 160XT is deceptively simple with just three controls: threshold, compression ratio and output gain. Threshold and output level are self-explanatory. Compression ratio is infinitely variable from 1:1 through 4:1, 8:1 all the way to ∞:1 and beyond, to negative ratios, where output decreases with input. This allows for some pretty extreme compression effects

The front panel has an Over Easy switch, to change the shape of the threshold knee, meter input / output switch, bypass switch and a slave switch for stereo linking. Metering is via two horizontal LED bargraphs, one for input or output level and one for gain reduction. Dynamics of the LED displays are excellent and it’s easy to see what the compressor is doing, even from a distance and under poor lighting conditions

“The 160X/xt is fantastic. Don’t be fooled by the price. You should buy one whatever happens”

160X’s have that unique ability to be aggressive with grit that few compressors have”

The 160XT is famous as a drum compressor. It adds punch & attitude to kicks & snares and is excellent for squashing overheads and ambience mics. Use a pair for drum bus parallel compression and you’ll have instant punch to beef up the drum mix. The 160XT is also superb for bass guitars and synths – it’s one of my favourites for bass guitar as it sits the bass just where you want it without killing the dynamics

The 160XT is definitely a compressor with its own sound. It’s not a transparent, invisible compressor, but more like a giant hand that grabs hold of the signal to bend & twist it. The Americans call the 160XT a “color compressor”. I can’t argue with that description as it adds colour and aggression to any signal that passes through it. It doesn’t suit every situation but it’s a hard compressor to live without once you’ve used one

Typical uses for the 160XT would be Fender bass or vocals. Using quite large amounts of compression you can sit a vocal in a good space and bring up vocal character & inflection. It’s easy to overdo it, though, particularly as attack & release are not adjustable. It will work with some singers and tempos, but not others

The 160XT also works well on vocals at lower ratios (between 2:1 and 4:1) with gain reduction just on peaks. It’d be interesting to chain it with a more subtle compressor for the best of both approaches, or use the 160XT for parallel compression

For bass, the 160XT is usually perfect. It responds best to EQing the signal before the compressor to pull out the woolliness and make it growl. You might end up using an EQ after the compressor as well – or you can eq the sidechain separately by using the detector input

Stereo linking works very well and takes just one jack lead

(Text from Gearsluts)