Waves dbx 160 Compressor / Limiter Plug-in

2-channel Compressor/Limiter Plug-in with MS Matrix, Mix and Noise Controls, and Stereo Component - Mac/PC AAX Native, RTAS, AudioSuite, VST, AU, SoundGrid
Waves dbx 160 Compressor / Limiter Plug-in image 1
Waves dbx 160 Compressor / Limiter Plug-in image 1
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Software Compatibility

Most software is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, but check to make sure.

If you're using Pro Tools, AAX plug-ins (or RTAS for older versions) are what you need. Most other Mac DAWs support AU plug-ins. VST is compatible with a number of Mac and Windows programs. Be sure you choose plug-ins that work with your DAW!

To learn more about software compatibility, check out our buying guide.

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Waves dbx 160 Compressor / Limiter Plug-in
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Classic Comp Plug-in

For many recording engineers back in the day, the original dbx 160 - with its punchy, clean sound with vanishingly low distortion - was the ultimate drum compressor. Sporting an ultra-fast onset, the 160 could handle anything you threw at it, making it a fixture in most major recording studios from the late 1970s through the '80s. So much so that it and its descendants became industry standards. Developed in collaboration with dbx, the Waves dbx 160 compressor/limiter plug-in is a genuine-sounding software version of this classic hardware device. Take it from Sweetwater - the Waves dbx 160 plug-in is essential kit.

Meticulous modeling, plus new useful features

Working in collaboration with dbx, Waves meticulous modeled the vintage compressor, then went on to incorporate uniquely useful features that the original mono unit never had - like its handy MS matrix, mix and noise controls, and stereo component. The result - the Waves dbx 160 plug-in - is a must-have compressor/limiter that's as indispensable in live situations as it is in the studio.

dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter Plug-in Features at a Glance:
  • Developed in collaboration with dbx
  • Meticulous modeling of the original dbx 160 compressor
  • Optimized for both studio and live use
  • MS matrix
  • Mix and Noise controls
  • Stereo component
  • SoundGrid operation requires Waves SoundGrid Server hardware
  • iLok not required
The Waves dbx 160 plug-in is essential kit!

Tech Specs

Software Type Compressor/Limiter
Platform Mac, PC
Upgrade/Full Full
Download/Boxed Download
Bit Depth 64-bit
Format AAX Native, RTAS, AudioSuite, VST, AU, SoundGrid
Hardware Requirements - Mac Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 / Xeon or higher, 4 GB RAM minimum
Hardware Requirements - PC Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 / Xeon or higher, 4 GB RAM minimum
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.9.5 or later
OS Requirements - PC Windows 7 SP1 or later
Manufacturer Part Number DBX160SG

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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A Real Gem

Since purchasing this plugin a little over a year ago, I have increasingly found myself using this compressor for anything that requires punch and attitude. As I would assume most do, I use this primarily on drums and bass, but I have found this unit to do miraculous things to a lead vocal in the right scenario. I use it on every session and literally have it as one of my go-to compressors. It's impossible to go wrong with this plugin.
Music background: Mixing/Recording Engineer, Musician

Gorgeous, unique sound

I can't compare to the hardware since I've never used it but just judging the plugin on its own merits, it's a new essential compressor for me. It's that color I was missing that my fet and opto compressors could never do, I just throw it on a drum bus and I'm instantly happier. Fantastic plugin, I feel like they did something special with this one. Thanks waves.

Wow - awesome plugin!

Waves has made a very awesome plugin - a very big classic on it's own and i'm sure this plugin will be a classic in it's own time! Use it on drums, guitars, bass, etc. and it gives a very very punchy sound if adjusted correctly. Very useful on many things! Worth every dollar spent and will be used for many songs to come! A++++
Music background: Musician/Recordist

It's All About Punch

A FULL five stars is described as "Wow! Blown Away!" on Sweetwater's site, and I honestly am with this one - stonkingly powerful sound and punch from this thing.I have no idea what the original hardware sounded like, apart from being aware that I must have heard it thousands of times on some of my favourite albums.But I like, a lot, what this plug-in version sounds like.I have tried it on drums and percussion, real and virtual, because I knew that was one of its strengths, and it is everything they said it would be.However, the dbx160 also really blazes on bass, guitar, piano, vocals, acoustic guitar, and is fantastic on virtual synths and drum machines, and orchestral stuff. Really rocking-the-speakers power from this one, and now my go-to for the belters, and to give a bit of kick-*** to the quieter numbers, too.It has that uncanny thing of boosting but retaining the musicality and cleanness, not distorting unless you want it to. I'll say it again - there are some real smart cookies working at Waves.Absolute five-star plug!
Music background: Playing live in pubs and clubs, and doing home recording, for 38 years

Fantastic Modeling o

Absolutely Love this Plugin! Sounds amazing and it's got so much flexibility over it's big brother " The Original Gear". It would never sound 100% like it because, let's face it! you're never running an active electric current thru a digital processor! plus AD/DA converters/ a massive SSL console and all of that contributes to it sounding so warm and so ALIVE! but this thing will get you closer than ever within the digital domain! I'd say this and the UAD emulation are the best out there! Plus, both are approved and worked in collaboration with DBX But don't take my word for it. Go Demo it first!
Music background: Musician, Mixing Engineer Apprentice
See also: Compression Software, Waves, Waves Plug-ins: Dynamics