dbx 160XT Compressor, Unmarked Pair, Sequential Serial Numbers


Out of stock

Email me when in stock


Pair of dbx 160XT compressors with sequential serial numbers, date code 114, serials 911607714 and 911607715. These are in lovely condition, almost unmarked. Set to 220 Volts and fitted with new UK power plugs. Tested & working 100%. Sold as a pair

Contact me if you need the compressors recapped before sale, or want output transformers fitted

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

I tested the 160XT on Fender bass and a lead vocal and got superb results. Using quite large amounts of compression I found it sat the singer in a good space and brought up the vocal character & inflection. It also worked well with a lower ratio (between 2:1 and 4:1) with gain reduction just on the peaks. It’d be interesting to chain the 160XT with a softer compressor to use the best of both approaches

The dbx 160XT sits at #3 in my All Time Top Five Compressor list:

1. UREI 1176


3. dbx 160XT

4. SSL 4000E Bus Compressor

5. Valley People Dynamite


The 160XT keeps the jack socket ins & outs of the 160X model and adds balanced input & output connections via XLRs.  Both jack & XLR outputs are active simultaneously and are driven by different circuitry. The line driver is different and is capable of delivering a higher output level than before The XT can be retrofitted with an output transformer made by Jensen Transformers. Stereo strapping and sidechain inputs are on jacks and there's a ground lift switch for the input. Mains input is switchable 110 / 220 Volts and has a fixed 2-core cable with a UK mains plug
Standard 1U 19" rackmount unit
Ovnilab Review http://www.ovnilab.com/reviews/dbx160xt.shtml Audio Fanzine ★★★★★ Review http://en.audiofanzine.com/dynamic-processor/dbx/160X/user_reviews/ Harmony Central ★★★★★ Review http://www.harmonycentral.com/reviews/product/dbx-160x George Shilling Review http://www.recordproduction.com/dbx%20160S.htm Top 20 Compressors of all time #12 http://www.attackmagazine.com/features/top-20-best-hardware-compressors-ever-made/9/ Sound on Sound "Classic Compressors" https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep09/articles/classiccompressors.htm 3D Audio Inc Forum Discussion http://www.3daudioinc.com/3db/showthread.php?5435-dbx-160X-compressor
In excellent, used condition. Has some case scratches but the front panel and rack ears are particularly good for a vintage unit. Photos are of a unit sold previously