DBX161 Hardware And UAD DBX160 Comparisons

05-12-2014 08:00 AM

I recently acquired the hardware version of one of my favourite UAD powered plug-ins the dbx160 compressor.
In fact I found a vintage dbx161, which is the unbalanced version of the dbx160.
A few users asked me to do a comparison between the two, so below are clips of bass, electric and acoustic guitar as clean, then processed through the hardware and then through the plug-in.
One thing that should be noted. If you read the user manual for the original hardware unit dbx themselves say that it is impossible to get a matched pair from the factory;
“While the front panel settings of two “strapped” units may be identical, component tolerances can cause the actual performance to vary from unit to unit by as much as 20%”
Running a nulling test on two of the original hardware units would not work, so the chance of me running any kind of nulling test on my unit with the plug-in is pointless, as it was modelled on another unit.
Secondly trying to match the settings on the hardware unit with the settings on the plug-in is never going to be perfect, so these tests are me trying to get as close as possible.
So enjoy the audio examples - I’m hard pressed to tell the difference between the two and if dbx conceded themselves that two hardware units may be as much as 20% out then I’ll call the plug-in perfect. I own both and I’m happy… even better I get to use more than just the one hardware dbx that I own.