dbx 903 Compressor, pair in dbx FS900 rack


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The 903 is a vintage dbx compressor module designed for the dbx 900-Series rack. The 900-Series predates the popular 500-Series format by a few years but is similar is concept. As well as a big 19” rack for multiple modules, dbx produced the FS900 to hold two modules in a 1U format

This auction is for one FS900 rack with two 903 compressor modules

The 903 is similar to the contemporary 160X / XT compressors and follows the same simple control layout. There are 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 knee shape is the usual dbx “Over Easy” style. Metering is via a horizontal LED bargraph and meter dynamics are excellent

Like the 160X & XT, the 903 excels as a drum compressor, adding punch & attitude to kicks & snares. It’s a great tool for squashing overhead and ambience mics. It’s also just right for bass guitar & bass synths – it sits the bass just where you want it without killing dynamics

The 903 has the characteristic dbx sound. I’d say it was a tad more transparent than a 160X or XT but it still delivers the “giant hand” effect as it grabs the signal to bend & twist it. It’s a “color compressor” which adds aggression & bite to any signal passing through it

The 903 is a compact alternative to a 160X or XT. The FS900 rack can be used with their EQ and de-esser cards and with modules from Aphex and a couple of other manufacturers. The rack is not 500-Series compatible and 903 modules won’t fit in 500-Series racks

“The 903 compressor is a well-kept secret (and original 160X in subrack format)”

“The 903 is the little upright module that goes in a 900 rack yeah? If so then yes go to town on your kicks and snares especially, they love that isht!t”

“I have a 903 dbx in my rack…its a very good squasher of all things …it has a nice quality sonically”

“The 903’s are nice. Better than a dbx 166, but not as good as a dbx 160 VU. They are GREAT on bass guitar!”

The 903 has balanced input & output via XLR connectors on the back panel of the FS900 rack. The two compressors are wired without a stereo link - stereo linking is available as an option. Power input is switchable 110 / 220 Volts AC. Power input is via a short captive cable with a new UK power plug

Deep 1U rackmount device

Product Page https://dbxpro.com/en-US/products/903

Owners Manual https://3e7777c294b9bcaa5486-bc95634e606bab3d0a267a5a7901c44d.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/product_documents/documents/500_1323992470/903%20Owners%20Manual_original.pdf

Preservation Sound blog post http://www.preservationsound.com/?p=1558

BGilbert Sound blog post https://bgilbertsound.com/tag/dbx-903/1


In good used used condition with some rack rash, case marks & paint chips to the edges of the front panel. Tested and working 100%. Photos show an FS900 / 903 sold previously

Vintage gear All vintage gear will have case scratches and marks. It may also have, or develop, noisy pots and switches. I make my descriptions as accurate as possible and note any existing defects. I test each item before shipping but please understand that vintage gear will not be perfect and adjust your expectations accordingly