DBX 166 XS

Compressor / Gate / Limiter

  • Variable attack and release times
  • Excellent dynamic control
  • Inputs and outputs: XLR and 6.3 mm
  • Side chain insert (6.3 mm jack)
  • Stereo or dual mono operation possible
  • Built size: 19 " / 1U
No JavaScript? No Audio Samples! :-(

Audio Examples

  • Bd
  • Bd - Sn
  • Sn
  • Vox Compression

Further Information

Compressor Yes
Gate Yes
Peak Limiter Yes
2-Channel Unit Yes
Attack/Release Adjustable Yes
151 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.5 / 5.0
  • handling
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
70 written ratings Read all reviews
A working solution for basic compression needs
Archyx, 22.12.2019
I got this compressor for general purpose applications. It's been used as two gate/compressors plugged into mixer channel inserts, as two parallel ("New York") compressors fed from post-fader aux buses to provide compression for multiple microphone channels, and as a stereo compressor/limiter after main mixer output to keep output levels under control. This last mode of operation is the most common application I use this in to reduce need of continuous adjusting of volume in daily listening.

The controls aren't too fancy to make the unit easy to use and they're grouped appropriately, except for the sidechain enable button which is confusingly grouped with the gate adjustments. All the buttons light up when they're pressed. The gate and compressor indicators double as power indicators.

dbx's OverEasy soft knee compression makes this a great volume levelling compressor for live applications. When appropriately adjusted it's as if the compressor doesn't even exist in the signal chain while keeping the volume peaks in control.

I don't use the sidechain insert much but it's good to have it to plug an EQ in it for increased de-essing when compressing speech. There are other uses for the sidechain insert as well but I haven't experimented with them, yet.

The only drawback I can think of when using this in a small setup is the lack of a power switch as this unit is clearly intended to be installed in a rack with switched power distribution.
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Great all round compressor
Patrick M, 24.02.2015
Pretty nifty product right here. For those that want a compressor, this is the best you'll get without heading into a price range several times this. On a hardware level it's sturdy and secure; everything adjusts as it should and it doesn't look bad either.

Sound wise...if you aren't familiar with compressors you WILL need to spend some time working your way around it. But it does the job nicely. I use it for live applications so my bass amp isn't too 'flabby'; just a little bit of control and some boost, and while not a dramatic difference that difference is pretty useful;. Less uncontrolled oomph, more kick-in-the-face output. My only concern is that attempts to control things even a little too much can make the sound quite flat very quickly (yes I know how compressors work before anyone goes there-some of the higher models can control the sound further without draining the soul of the bass). That said I use a pretty heavy sound, even for a bass, so more standard applications probably won't suffer the same issue so quickly.
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$129 €116.81
Plus $33 shipping

The price in USD is a guideline price only!

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DBX 166 XS: Kompressor/Gate/Limiter
DBX 166 XS: Kom­pressor/​Gate/​Lim­iter
Rank #5 in Compressors, Gates and De-essers
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