A few weeks back, we did a shootout comparing the Urei/Universal Audio 1176 to a reproduction, plug-in emulations and some guitar pedals based on the classic compressor. We're back at it again in our latest VK Shootout, but this time we're using another beloved piece of outboard gear, the dbx 160.
If you're like us and spend a lot of time visiting recording studios, the dbx 160 is a very familiar sight. The wooden cheeked beauty was first introduced in 1971 and features three dials for threshold, compression and outboard gain. Try to find an album from the 70s and 80s that doesn't feature this compressor on the mix... Go on, we'll wait. This thing has glued together more than Elmer's.
With the Vintage King Tech Shop at our disposal, we grabbed a prime vintage dbx 160 to use during our shootout. We put this unit to the test against the Waves Audio and Universal Audio plug-ins, in addition to dbx’s current 560A 500 Series Compressor.
Watch our new dbx 160 shootout below to hear how each compressor performed during our session in the studio. For the video, we used each version of the 160 on performances from Stephanie Lauren (vocals) and Bryan Reilly (acoustic guitar, bass and drums).