Compressor / Limiter / Gate

Bring a more professional sound to your mix

Adding a dbx® 166xs Compressor/Limiter/Gate to your live sound rig or studio gives you more dynamic control to help create a more polished, professional sound. Having compression in your audio chain gives you the ability to smooth out uneven levels, add sustain to guitars and fatten up your drums. It also makes it easy to bring vocals to the front of your mix - adding greater clarity and making them stand out from the surrounding instruments. To protect your expensive amps and speakers the PeakStop® limiter provides an absolute ceiling for peak excursions or large transients that could damage your equipment.

dbx knows compressors...after all we invented them! The 166xs is the latest in a long line of the world's most successful compressors from the inventors of the technology. Its patented Overeasy® compression technology provides smooth and musical performance while the AutoDynamic™ attack and release controls, found only on dbx compressors, puts great sound within easy reach. The 166xs can operate in stereo or dual-mono modes, has true RMS power summing and features quality XLR and 1/4" TRS inputs and outputs. It cuts no corners on visual feedback with gain reduction metering and easy-to-read backlit switches.


·       Error proof operation to smooth uneven levels, add sustain to guitars, fatten drums or tighten up mixes

·       New gate timing algorithms ensure the smoothest release characteristics

·       Program-adaptive expander/gates

·       Great sounding dynamics control for any type of program material

·       Separate precision LED displays for gain reduction, compression threshold and gate threshold allow quick, accurate setup

·       Stereo or dual-mono operation

·       Balanced inputs and outputs on 1/4" TRS and XLR connectors

·       Side Chain insert

·       Classic dbx® "Auto" mode


Input Connectors

1/4" TRS, female XLR (pin 2 hot)

Input Impedance

>50kΩ balanced, >25kΩ unbalanced

Max Input

>+24dBu, Balanced or Unbalanced

Input Type

Electronically balanced/unbalanced, RF filtered


1/4" TRS Phone, Normalled: Ring = Output (send); tip = Input (return)

Sidechain Impedance

Tip = >10kΩ (Input), Ring = 2kΩ (Output)

Sidechain Max Input Level

>+20dBu (tip/input); >+20dBu (ring/output)

Output Connectors

1/4" TRS, female XLR (pin 2 hot)

Output Impedance

120Ω balanced, >60Ω unbalanced

Max Output

+21dBu balanced/unbalanced into 2kΩ or greater; >+18 dBm balanced/unbalanced (into 600Ω)

Frequency Response

20Hz - 20kHz; +0, -0.5dB, Typical 3dB points are 0.35Hz and 110kHz, unity gain


<-90dBu, 22Hz to 22kHz, no weighting, unity gain


Typically <0.04%; Any Amount of Compression Up to 40dB@1kHz


Typically <0.08% SMPTE @ +10dBu (15dB Gain reduction)

Compressor Threshold Range

-40dBu to +20dBu

Compressor Threshold Characteristic

Selectable OverEasy® or hard knee

Compressor Ratio

Variable; 1:1 to Infinity:1; 60dB Maximum Compression

Compressor Attack Time

Variable program-dependent; 3ms to 340ms for 15dB gain reduction

Compressor Release Time

Variable program-dependent; 200dB/Sec to 3dB/Sec

Expander/Gate Threshold Range

OFF to +15dBu

Expander/Gate Ratio


Expander/Gate Max Depth


Expander/Gate Attack Time

<500µs (from Maximum Depth)

Expander/Gate Release Time

Adjustable, 30ms to 3sec (to 30dB attenuation)

Limiter Threshold Range

0dBu to +20dBu


>40dB, typically >55dB at 1kHz

Interchannel Crosstalk

<-80dB, 20Hz to 20kHz

Dynamic Range

>115 dB, unweighted

Stereo Coupling

True RMS Power Summing™

Power Consumption

15 Watts Maximum

Operating Temperature

0°C to 45°C (32°F to 113°F)


1.75" x 19" x 6.75" (4.45 cm x 48.2 cm x 17.15 cm)

Unit Weight

5.05 lb (2.29 kg)

Shipping Weight

7.20 lb (3.27 kg)


0dBu = 0.775Vrms

Operating Voltage

100 VAC 50/60Hz; 120VAC 60Hz; 230 VAC 50/60 Hz 

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