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is the DBX 166a utter ****e?
Old 26th July 2005
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
is the DBX 166a utter ****e?

I have been offered a 166A for $75, this would be my first compressor. Should I buy it, use if for now, and save for an RNC, or should i wait, not have a compressor for awhile (expect for software compressors) and buy the RNC? Thanks for you help.

justin
Old 26th July 2005
  #2
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


Go ahead and get it. It's not that great fro vocals, but it does well on drums and is decent on things like bass, sax, and horns.

You can always get your $75 back latter - you won't wear it out and live sound guys use them a lot.



-tINY

Old 26th July 2005 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
yeah, i'm thinking that is what i will do...i mean, compressor's are always good for something........right???

justin
Old 26th July 2005 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Micgiver's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by justinhedrick
yeah, i'm thinking that is what i will do...i mean, compressor's are always good for something........right???

justin
You should get it, I still use mine for Snare and I have plenty of others to choose from. good luck
Old 26th July 2005 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
i'm just wondering if i could get an ok vocal sound out of it?
Old 26th July 2005 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
shangoe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
its a peace of junk. a few years ago i made the mistake and paid the full price in a musicstore. just sold it 2 weeks ago for 150 euritos. every plugin will outperform this poor thing. better get a dbx 160x or 160a
Old 26th July 2005 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
shangoe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
75 is not much. but for what? better safe your money for a RNC...
Old 26th July 2005 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
ok.....i really better re-think this through
Old 27th July 2005 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Beezoboy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah I got a couple of these because I wanted a comp with built in gate. Well to make a long story short, the compression was lame and so was the gate. I have tried a number of budget compressors, like the RNC, Ashly SC-50, Art Pro VLA, and DBX 163x, and I have to say they all smoked the 166a.

If I were you I would look for a single DBX 163X or an Art Levelar. Both will give you better and usable compression for $75

Beez
Old 27th July 2005 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Micgiver's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shangoe
75 is not much. but for what? better safe your money for a RNC...
Shangoe- this guy doesn't have a great buget plus for 75 bucks its decent. If you want to get something for the Vox try a ART tube pac. I had to do tests for some clients with some cheaper channel strip s and I bought one for the hell of it, turns out this little box kicks ass and you can get it at Sweetwater for about $115. you should still buy the 166 for $75. and upgrade it with a few new parts check the web you can jack up on of those to replicate a 160 for less than 10-$15. Good luck
Old 27th July 2005 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Hi
I have used them for live stuff and don't really care for them much. I find channel 2 to be noisier.....(closer to the power supply....just a guess). After about 4 db of gain reduction the high end folds.
That's my opinion.
I have been buying Aphex 651s for about 150 US a channel (ebay)and find them to be much better.
Hope this helps.
cheers
Roly
Old 27th July 2005 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
is the DBX 166a utter ****e? No. as with most dbx stuff its is cheeper live gear, not so much for studio use. for $75 i would get it, you can always find a use for dbx gear and it holds its resale value. bottom line with any gear purchase is you need to decide what you need, not just if its a good price
Old 28th July 2005 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
thanks everyone. i think i might get it. but i am getting a chance to try it out this weekend.....

justin
Old 29th July 2005 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Bones's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY


You can always get your $75 back latter - you won't wear it out and live sound guys use them a lot.

-tINY

Have to say that although there may be other "options", I second the above.
Old 30th July 2005 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
jeronimo's Avatar
Where can we find info on mods for the 166?
Old 30th July 2005 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
De chromium cob's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeronimo
Where can we find info on mods for the 166?
http://www.audioupgrades.com/pl1.html
Old 30th July 2005 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
jeronimo's Avatar
Well, $200 bucks on this upgrade is kinda expensive... if I can find schematics for the 166 I think, I can try to do some mods myself... I THINK
Old 31st July 2005 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
what do you guys mean when you reffer to the "RNC"
Old 31st July 2005 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
The RNC

The RNC is an acronym for the "Really Nice Compressor" made by FMR audio

http://www.fmraudio.com

-Mojo
Old 2nd August 2005 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Addict
 
trident fan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojoman
The RNC is an acronym for the "Really Nice Compressor" made by FMR audio

http://www.fmraudio.com

-Mojo
does anyone use the rnc? i checked the website and it has a wall wart and trs jacks tutt . i seems like when you abandon the xlr's the quality goes away.
Old 4th August 2005 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by trident fan
does anyone use the rnc? i checked the website and it has a wall wart and trs jacks tutt . i seems like when you abandon the xlr's the quality goes away.
its a great little compressor
wall wart is annoying but keeps it cheep
all unbalanced i/o :( TRS input jacks for running inserts from a single cable, TS output jacks
the conectors its self has little to nothing to do with quality, the fact that its unbalanced is a drawback but a) most inserts are unbalanced anyway b) in a studio with short cables unbalanced is fine
Old 5th August 2005 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
cfjis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie
its a great little compressor
wall wart is annoying but keeps it cheep
all unbalanced i/o :( TRS input jacks for running inserts from a single cable, TS output jacks
the conectors its self has little to nothing to do with quality, the fact that its unbalanced is a drawback but a) most inserts are unbalanced anyway b) in a studio with short cables unbalanced is fine

Actually, the output on an RNC is TRS balanced. The input is also TRS, but it is wired to act as an insert... meaning that the input is unbalanced. So, you'll probably want to wire up some balanced-unbalanced cables (connect pins 1&3).
Great compressor for the $$... just grabbed it and the RNLA today.

If you spend the extra $100 for the RNC, you won't regret it.

Good luck,
CJ
Old 5th August 2005 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfjis
the output on an RNC is TRS balanced.
no only the new RNLA has non-differentially balanced outputs
the RNC is all unbalanced, praps you better read the specs

how are you finding the RNLA?
Old 6th August 2005 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
cfjis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie
no only the new RNLA has non-differentially balanced outputs
the RNC is all unbalanced, praps you better read the specs

how are you finding the RNLA?
Oops... my bad... I was reading the RNLA stuff, and assumed it was the same.

I'm digging the RNLA. Very useable on vocals (all I've really tried it on thus far). Definitely hard to beat for the $$.

Cheers,
CJ
Old 7th August 2005 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
mdbeh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by trident fan
does anyone use the rnc? i checked the website and it has a wall wart and trs jacks tutt . i seems like when you abandon the xlr's the quality goes away.
That's not at all the case with the RNC. From the FMR FAQ:

Quote:
Why is the RNC unbalanced instead of balanced?
You'd think the answer to this one would be a simple "to keep costs down". Although that's one of the reasons, there's another reason that's less obvious and the primary one: we designed the RNC to be used in home studios (like ours) made up primarily of unbalanced pieces. So, we designed it to easily interface to equipment usually found in the intended environment. For example, many home studios use mixing boards that have single Tip-Ring-Sleeve insert points on their input channels. We thought that it'd be neat, convenient and show unambiguous support for this studio type by allowing the RNC to be hooked directly to these inserts with single TRS cables. If the I/Os were balanced, we wouldn't be able to do that.
(I assume that's what you meant by the 'XLR' comment. The connector type in itself doesn't affect the sound, though it's nice how XLR's are less likely to pull out accidently than a 1/4" TRS jack.)

An unbalanced line might pick up more noise, particularly if it's a long run, but there's no reason it should inherently sound worse.

In my case, the fact that it's unbalanced is a bit of a hassle, so I tend to put it on the insert point of my Great River pre. You can use FMR's RNP for that, as well.

At any rate... it really is a nice compressor. I've got some much more expensive options, and I'm still a fan--just added a pair to my setup today.
Old 3rd May 2020
  #26
Here for the gear
Hello! I recently purchased a 166a. I'm new to outboard gear. I have a 18i20 3rd gen which I use with great pleasure, but how do I connect my 166a to my interface? This is my first outboard gear so I'm feeling a bit lost haha Really looking forward to using it and getting to know how to use compression!
Old 5th December 2020
  #27
Gear Maniac
I have one of these, so I'll resurrect this old thread, I really LOVE this thing, it was super cheap, and I'm definitely hearing that old smashy-smashy DBX magic in there on drums. I'd not use it for mastering or anything like that but for some "lofi" smashy thing its very good

BTW connecting it is very straightforward, just interface outs to inputs, then dbx outs to interface inputs in a basic setup, you cannot really do it wrong.
Old 12th January 2021 | Show parent
  #28
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by breakline ➑️
I have one of these, so I'll resurrect this old thread, I really LOVE this thing, it was super cheap, and I'm definitely hearing that old smashy-smashy DBX magic in there on drums. I'd not use it for mastering or anything like that but for some "lofi" smashy thing its very good

BTW connecting it is very straightforward, just interface outs to inputs, then dbx outs to interface inputs in a basic setup, you cannot really do it wrong.
Are the ins and outs +4 on the original 166?
They are balanced trs but doesn't say +4 or -10.
Old 12th January 2021 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DANNY JAZZ ➑️
Are the ins and outs +4 on the original 166?
They are balanced trs but doesn't say +4 or -10.
I don't know for sure, but I've seen them in pro studios with no associated level-matching boxes, and I've never run into a gain structure issue. So my edjumacated guess is that they're +4.
Old 12th January 2021 | Show parent
  #30
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
I don't know for sure, but I've seen them in pro studios with no associated level-matching boxes, and I've never run into a gain structure issue. So my edjumacated guess is that they're +4.
Thanks for the quick response! Trs would have to be +4 I'm now thinking...
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