dbx 166XS

2-channel Compressor/Limiter/Gate
dbx 166XS image 1
dbx 166XS image 1
Sweetwater Savings: $100.00 MSRP: $339.95
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Available This Monday (November 20)
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dbx 166XS
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Must-have Live Sound Compressor

Keep your live sound under control! When you add a dbx 166XS compressor/limiter/gate to your live sound rig, maintaining a polished and professional edge to your dynamics is incredibly easy. The 166XS's transparent sound lends itself perfectly to guitars, drums, vocals, and virtually any other sound sources. Classic dbx auto mode makes smoothing out levels nearly 100% foolproof. Bright and easy-to-read LED indicators let you easily keep an eye on levels and gain reduction. The 166XS also features a program-adaptive expander/gate on either channel, allowing you to achieve maximum clarity, and PeakStop limiters keep out-of-control peaks in line. Put the 166XS on your stereo mix to protect your amps and speakers, or set it in dual mono mode to manage two independent sound sources. No matter how you use it, you're going to be glad you picked up one of these excellent 2-channel dynamics processors.

dbx 166XS 2-channel Compressor/Limiter/Gate Features at a Glance:
  • Great sounding dynamics control for any program material
  • New gate timing algorithms ensure the smoothest release
  • Program-adaptive expander/gates
  • LEDs for gain reduction, compression and gate threshold
  • PeakStop limiters protect your amps and speakers
  • Stereo or dual-mono operation
  • Balanced inputs and outputs on 1/4" TRS and XLR connectors
  • Sidechain insert
  • Classic dbx Auto mode for nearly error-proof operation
No live sound rig is complete, without a dbx 166XS 2-channel compressor/limiter/gate or two!

Additional Media

166xs Spec Sheet
166xs User Manual
Signal Processing Buying Guide
dbx Rebates

Tech Specs

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
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Exceptional Performance

I own and operate a home studio, where I record, mix and master...and occasionally produce. I have a tube compressor for tracking vocals (and sometimes other instruments when needed), but I wanted something else to provide a different feel and flavor. I am a HUGE fan of Dbx and mix with 160 and 165 emulations (in the box) frequently. I purchased this unit and hooked it up for a vocal session immediately. The results were amazing! I used the Contour setting, set the Auto mode and pushed record. The comp is super transparent and amazingly useful on vox tracks. Dbx never disappoints and makes gear that is just as useful in the studio as it is in live applications. (I used this comp while mixing a band about two years ago, and it was just as amazing!) I am a big proponent of "expensive gear isn't synonymous with great gear." DBX makes affordable compressors, and if you know how to use compression, then this little box is incredible for the price!

Best compressor in it's price range

I bought 2 of these for a live show i had coming up. I didn't expect much for the price(they were on sale) I inserted them into the kick and snare channels and bang they started to really pop! The contour button is really cool use it. if you use the limiter a little on drums it really sounds good. It gives them that crunchy limited in your face drum sound you have been looking for. The gates are smooth and predictable. The other 2 went to the bass and lead vocal. These really shine on those (used auto button perfect! classic DBX compression sound). They sound way different than the 266XS. They retain all the character of the instrument even at 10-15 db of gain reduction! I pushed them really hard and didn't love the sound (started to distort and lose tone) but overall a real solid mid-line live compressor. Bet they would sound great on the left right buss. There still is nothing like the DBX 106A if you have the$$. I liked them so much, I moved them to my studio as backups...
Music background: Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer 20+years

Great microphone control with amateur speakers

Very high quality; cannot hear any distortion, even when it's attenuating by 20 dB or so on louder sounds. Works excellent as an automatic volume control, even with amateur speakers, (children, etc) speaking. Using a condenser mic (Shure Beta 87), anything within 2 feet of the microphone, it "locks on". They may talk softly, back away from the mic, etc...it all comes through crystal clear. We don't even need to change the settings of the knobs, once set up.
Music background: Hobbyist, helping with church sound system

Very good. Has multiple uses

It works quite well in the recording input for a CD recorder, to keep unexpected overloads out of the recorder. I also discovered it is very well suited for Amateur Radio receivers -- keeps the QRM and other static crashes out of the audio. Because most ham radio receivers don't have headphone safety limiters, the 166XS fills that need, too.
Music background: Two-way radio and audio repair tech, Ham radio.

dbx 166XS: Great for streaming audio

I am using this unit to normalize the levels of a live Praise and Worship band with single people speaking on a microphone at church. I have the unit set for a medium attack, long release, and 4:1 compression and it works great. No additional noise or distortion. Now the band doesn't overdrives the recording equipment and the Pastor's sermon is boosted out of the background noise. I am using this unit to send compressed audio to the nursery, streamed over the internet, recorded to DVD, and transmitted over an assisted hearing system. What an incredible improvement to sending uncompressed audio!
Music background: The Sound Guy
See also: Compressors, dbx, dbx Compressors / Limiters, dbx Expanders / Gates