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dbx 166xs Dual Compressor Limiter  

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Adding a dbx 166xs Compressor/Limiter/Gate to your live sound rig or studio gives you more dynamic control to help create a more polished, profession...Read More

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With dbx's Overeasy compression and AutoDynamic attack and release.

Adding a dbx 166xs Compressor/Limiter/Gate to your live sound rig or studio gives you more dynamic control to help create a more polished, professional sound. Having compression in your audio chain gives you the ability to smooth out uneven levels, add sustain to guitars and fatten up your drums. It also makes it easy to bring vocals to the front of your mix - adding greater clarity and making them stand out from the surrounding instruments. To protect your expensive amps and speakers the PeakStop limiter provides an absolute ceiling for peak excursions or large transients that could damage your equipment.

dbx knows compressors...after all they invented them! The 166xs is the latest in a long line of the world's most successful compressors from the inventors of the technology. Its patented Overeasy compression technology provides smooth and musical performance while the AutoDynamic attack and release controls, found only on dbx compressors, puts great sound within easy reach. The 166xs can operate in stereo or dual-mono modes, has true RMS power summing and features quality XLR and 1/4" TRS inputs and outputs. It cuts no corners on visual feedback with gain reduction metering and easy-to-read 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
  • 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

Bring a more professional sound to your mix.


166xs Dual Compressor Limiter

  • Connector: 1/4" TRS, female XLR (pin 2 hot)
  • Type: Electronically balanced/unbalanced, RF filtered
  • Impedance: >50kΩbalanced, >25kΩunbalanced
  • Maximum Level: >+24dBu, Balanced or Unbalanced
  • Connector: 1/4" TRS, female XLR (pin 2 hot)
  • Type: Electronically balanced/unbalanced, RF filtered
  • Impedance: 120Ωbalanced, >60Ωunbalanced
  • Maximum Level:
    >+21dBu balanced/unbalanced into 2kΩor greater
    >+18dBm balanced/unbalanced (into 600Ω)
  • Connector: 1/4" TRS Phone, Normalled: Ring = Output (send); Tip = Input (return)
  • Impedance: Tip = >10kΩ(Input), Ring = 2kΩ(Output)
  • Maximum Level:
    >+20dBu (tip/input)
    >+20dBu (ring/output)
  • Threshold Range: -40dBu to +20dBu
  • Threshold
  • Characteristic: Selectable OverEasy or hard knee
  • Compression Ratio: Variable; 1:1 to Infinity:1; 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
  • Threshold Range: OFF to +15dBu
  • Expansion Ratio: 10:1
  • Maximum Depth: >60dB
  • Attack Time: <500µSec (from Maximum Depth)
  • Release Time: Adjustable, 30ms to 3sec (to 30dB attenuation)
  • Threshold Range 0dBu to +20dBu
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz; +0/-0.5dB, Typical 3dB points are 0.35Hz and 110kHz, unity gain
  • Noise: <-90dBu, 22Hz to 22kHz, no weighting, unity gain
  • THD + N: Typically <0.04%; Any Amount of Compression Up to 40dB@1kHz
  • SMPTE IMD Typically <0.08% @ +10dBu (15dB Gain reduction)
  • Dynamic Range: >115 dB, unweighted
  • Interchannel Crosstalk <-80dB, 20Hz to 20kHz
  • CMRR: >40dB, typically >55dB at 1kHz
  • Stereo Coupling: True RMS Power Summing
  • Power Consumption: 15 Watts Maximum
  • Operating Voltage: 100 VAC 50/60Hz; 120VAC 60Hz; 230 VAC 50/60 Hz
  • Operating Temperature: 0°C to 45°C (32°F to 113°F)
  • Dimensions: 1.75" x 6.75" x 19" (4.45 cm x 17.15 cm x 48.26 cm )
  • Weight: Net weight: 5.05 lb (2.29 kg)
  • Note: 0dBu = 0.775Vrms

Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
dbx166xs Dual Compressor Limiter

(based on 4 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars




of respondents would recommend this to a friend.


  • Good audio (3)
  • Professional functions (3)


    Best Uses

    • Amateur recording (3)
    • Home studio (3)

    Reviewed by 4 customers

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    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


    I Love This Compressor

    By old rocker dude

    from WNC

    About Me Professional Musician

    Ask me a question


    • Clear Sound
    • Easy To Use
    • Powerful
    • Professional Functions
    • Versatile


      Best Uses

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

      Comments about dbx 166xs Dual Compressor Limiter:

      The dbx 166XS is super easy to use and very transparent. Absolutely NO coloration or weird artifacts. I use it in a channel insert with my mixer for vocals and set the attack and release on Auto, and use Soft Knee. Super smooth and quiet operation. I also own a Behringer MDX2600 and 4600 and they are very good compressors but not as good as the dbx. If you want pro sound at a decent price, get this!

      Comment on this review

      (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


      Really good!

      By Justaguy

      from Granbury, Texas

      About Me Novice

      Verified Buyer


      • Clear Sound
      • Easy To Use
      • Powerful
      • Professional Functions
      • Versatile


        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio

        Comments about dbx 166xs Dual Compressor Limiter:

        Once I figured out how to hook it up to my mixer, it was great. I put it on auto mode since I really don't know what I'm doing and it just works. I have only had it a couple of days but I'm sure I'm going to really like it. It's very solidly built and the knobs have a nice feel. So far I have just tried it on my voice but plan on using it for my acoustic and electric guitar as well. Plus the price with the rebate...I couldn't pass it up. Musicians Friend, great as usual.

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


        Fantastic Compressor/Limiter/Gate!

        By CJ

        from Indianapolis, IN

        About Me Experienced


        • Clear Sound
        • Excellent Quality
        • Professional Functions


        • Gating A Little Abrupt

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Performances

        Comments about dbx 166xs Dual Compressor Limiter:

        I typically don't review equipment for several weeks after installing, to ensure my review is based on usage experience and not just first impressions. However, with the DBX 166XS I'm already in love!

        The thing was easy to install, and with experience, easy to setup. Why "with experience"? Because compressors require some experience, otherwise, they can make things sound terrible. However, the DBX 166xs was fantastically simple for me to setup. I did a quick review of the manual to ensure terminology was the same as other similar gear I've used, and then I went to work. Less than an hour later I had installed the unit in my portable rack, patched it in, and had it fully tweaked for my use. That's an hour from unpacking to using without needing to touch it!

        My use: I'm getting older (40's) and my low-end vocals don't have the power they used to (range suffers as we age...it sucks). So I needed something to bring up the low end, while keeping my mids and highs in a reasonable dynamic range. The DBX 166xs made this easy. Again, the instructions were pretty simple, and having used other compressors, I found it a quick and simple setup.

        Gating was a little abrupt; but only when catching at the threshold. Overall, this thing is going to help save my voice (less strain), and provide a more consistent feel to the people attending my events. Oh...and it doesn't hurt that there are two channels; so now I'm doing just a little compression on my guitar too; gating and limiting as well for more consistency between effects.

        Couldn't be happier!

        Comment on this review

        (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)


        Easy to Use

        Comments about dbx 166xs Dual Compressor Limiter:

        I've gotten a lot of use out of this unit and would recommend it to anyone looking for a clean, transparent, and easy to use compressor that works flawlessly in a multitude of situations and environments. It just works...every time.
        The Overeasy and Autodynamic features make this unit easy to set up and use right out of the box. I had no previous experience with compression on anything other than guitar. My first project was to fatten and level a mix on a live recording. I did a little light reading and set the unit up and dialed it in with only minor tweaking to the ratio and threshold.
        The unit is bullet-proof as far as I can tell. No quality issues whatsover and very quiet. I've never heard a warbling or any sort of artifact derived by the process. It just sounds great and is transparent in operation.
        There are a lot of compressors out there. I could have spent less but I've heard some of those budget units in action and they pale in comparison. For my money the 166xs was the best value.

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