The classic dbx 160 VU
is an extremely versatile unit that many engineers feel to be one of the best bass, kick-drum and snare compressors on the planet. Just the right attack/release. Tap the kick or snare before going to ProTools to get that tape compression feel.
The dbx 160 is a Voltage Controlled Amplifier compressor that uses a transformer-less, solid-state design that has endured for decades. The program-dependent compression, combined with multiple gain stage components, creates a sound that is uniquely its own.
The controls are simple: Threshold (with lights indicating above and below threshold value); Compression ratio from 1:1 to Infinity:1; Output Gain from -20 to +20 db attenuation; and three meter settings for input, output, and gain change.
Premium VK serviced-recapped, with 1 year warranty. Servicing of the dbx 160 VU
The dbx 160 VU compressor is a perennial favorite among recording engineers for its classic soft knee/smooth compression sound and ease of operation. First introduced in 1976, many of these units are still around, but due to their age they usually need some work done to make them sound their best. At Vintage King, our technicians are expert at the repair and restoration of these compressors. Unlike a unit that you might be tempted to buy from an auction site, our 160 VU’s have been thoroughly cleaned, repaired and tested by a professional technician. A typical dbx 160 VU goes through the following stages before it is shipped to our customers:
If required, the following procedures are also performed on the dbx 160:
- Pre-test, to check for any obvious problems
- Cleaning and tightening of all switches and Molex pins
- Cleaning of all potentiometers
- Cleaning all exterior panels
- Replacing all electrolytic and tantalum capacitors (“re-capping”)
- Repairing any broken solder joints
- Ultrasonic cleaning of all removable knobs and switches
- All VU meter bulbs replaced
- Troubleshooting with an initial post-testing
- Aligning and testing the unit according to dbx-specified procedures
- Calibrating all gain reduction, output levels, and metering
- Final testing for harmonic distortion, noise floor and frequency response
- Replacing the original brown lamp cord with a new power cord
- Re-painting the black metal sides and rack ears
- Removing faceplate for cleaning, stripping and re-applying a clear coat
- Replacing the metallic knob and switch covers
- Repairing or replacing any faulty parts or connections
Each dbx 160 requires approximately four hours of tech work, at a minimum, in order for it to be restored and repaired to the Vintage King standard. Occasionally some pieces require even more extensive restoration work. Rest assured that when you purchase one of these compressors from VK, you will receive a piece of gear that has been thoroughly serviced to look and sound its best. And each piece of used gear we service comes with our worry-free warranty, which covers most microphones and digital gear for six months, and most analog gear for 1 year. Click the warranty link above for more details.