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dbx 166XL Compressor/Limiter/Expander/Gate

Sep 26, 1998


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The dbx 166XL Compressor/Limiter/Expander Gate, a recent upgrade of the industry-standard 166A, features a number of important new additions, including compressor Attack and Release controls, and switches for Auto mode, sidechain enable and -10dBV/+4dBu operating level.

When using the 166XL's new Attack and Release controls, artists and engineers will find that the center settings deliver classic dbx compression, while the full control range produces voicings that extend from slow "leveling" to aggressive "peak" limiting.

The 166XL's advanced gating circuitry uses a completely new, program-dependent timing algorithm to produce ultra-smooth release characteristics, even with complex signals such as voice or reverb decays. dbx engineers went on to take advantage of the wide dynamic range and high precision of the dbx V2TM VCA to design in an extra-wide threshold range and ensure top gating performance for each application.

Separate precision LED displays for gain reduction, compression threshold and gate threshold allow quick, accurate setup, while the 166XL's intuitive operation lets users easily smooth uneven levels, add sustain to guitars, squash drums or tighten up mixes. In Stereo couple mode, the Channel I controls become Master controls, and Channel 2 follows precisely to ensure a rock solid stereo image, even with high amounts of compression, through True RMS Power SummingTM. Professionals and newcomers alike will find that the 166XL sets up rapidly and musically the first time it is used, especially with the Auto attack and release function. Advanced applications are now easy, with the 166XL's full sidechain functionality, and the ability to use either hard knee or OverEasy(R) compression algorithms. Furthermore, dbx's venerable PeakStop limiter rounds out the processor's impressive list of features.

Most compressor/gates provide less than musical compression, coupled with gating that swallows transients, or closes early, cutting off decay and reverb tails. The superb engineering in the 166XL ensures that both its compression and gating provide versatility and excellent sonic performance in situations where other compressor/gates typically produce undesirable processing artifacts.

Despite the improvements made to the dbx 166XL, the processor still features a suggested U.S. retail price of $329.95.

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