dbx® 160 Compressor / Limiter

dbx® 160 Compressor / Limiter


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Exacting emulation of this legendary, even infamous, VCA compressor.

The dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces is a fully licensed and faithful emulation of the legendary dbx 160 hardware compressor/limiter — still widely considered one of the best “character” compressor ever made.

Famous for its simple control set and firm, often radical compression characteristics, the solid-state dbx 160 plug-in features nonlinearities not found in other VCA compressors, giving it a sonic personality all its own. If you’re looking for a transparent, neutral compressor, this dbx 160 is not for you.

Now You Can:

Beef up signals and add character with the first solid-state VCA compressor ever made

Harness fat compression textures to bass guitar, drum buses, or individual drum tracks

Add a unique voice and flavor to your compressor toolkit

Give snare drums and acoustic guitars in-your-face “thwack”

Versatile VCA Compression

Versatile VCA Compression

Whether you’re using it on synths, bass guitar, or a drum bus, the dbx 160 plug-in emulates the original hardware’s grabby, low-end glue. With old-school character for days, the plug-in version features all of the same unique nonlinearities that make it a must-have for any engineers compressor toolkit.

Simple to Use, Timeless Character

Simple to Use, Timeless Character

With the same simple control set and at-a-glance metering of the original, the dbx 160 plug-in makes it easy to crush a parallel drum bus, or inject subtle fatness. It can also add aggressiveness and impact to everything from guitar power chords to a hip-hop vocal.

5-Minute UAD Tip
5-Minute UAD Tip

5-Minute UAD Tip

In this video, learn how to add parallel compression to drums, even out a bass performance, and bring presence to acoustic guitars with the dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter.

Key Features

Plug-in model of dbx 160; first solid-state VCA compressor
Modeled discrete version with unique nonlinearities
Same simple control set of its analog counterpart
Threshold, Compression and Output controls
LED threshold indicators just like the original
Input/Output/Gain Change VU meter
Modeled from desirable ‘non-monolithic’ original design, adding unique nonlinearities
Requires a UAD DSP Accelerator Card or Apollo Interface available from authorized dealers worldwide

Customer Reviews

dbx® 160 Compressor / Limiter

Overall Rating

s. donat

March 9, 2020

very musical and punchy compressor

very musical and punchy compressor very useful in parallel love it on kick drum and bass maybe my favorite comp

T. Station

March 6, 2020

Easy to use

Results that you want come very quick, handles quick peaks very well

d. lukinov

March 5, 2020


My favorite tool to get explosive drums with some vintage vibe.

I. Roselló

January 8, 2020

Fast and easy!

In your face bass drums and exploding snares in less than 5 minutes.

I. Roselló

January 8, 2020

Fast and easy!

In your face bass drums and exploding snares in less than 5 minutes.

D. Lee

December 25, 2019

Gives You That Snap

Go to for Kick, Bass, and Snare !!! Ooo

A. Bertók

December 16, 2019

Punchy and Forward

The dbx 160 sounds very punchy and forward. Uad version is high quality and smoother than the other versions.

A. Lombardi

December 13, 2019

Dbx 160 essential

Perfect! awesome fast transients.

V. van Tiel

December 6, 2019

The dance kick compressor!!

Wow! Kick control. Thats all I have to say about it. I had a long preset list on my kick. But now with this compressor on it I need much less processing. Finaly the low frequenties totally under control. It's amazing!!

Ł. Seliga

November 12, 2019

My favourite drum glue

I already used it at my friend's studio and I already knew it's a best sounding DBX-160 emulation out there so it was the first plugin I bought when I've finally got my Apollo. Makes it really easy to make big, pumping drums, perfect for paralell compression

l. morrish-thomas

October 6, 2019

Easy to use, sounds just like the real thing

Gives me the sound I want on drums with no fussing about

C. Wilson

July 12, 2019



B. Gfeller

April 2, 2019

like the real 160

we have both in the studio, the original DBX160 and this UA plugin, its no difference

E. Faulcon

March 30, 2019


Try it on the snare

P. Gharapetian

March 29, 2019

an old one but you can't beat a perfect emulation

sounds just like the real deal. hard to improve on perfection.

T. Glosser

March 25, 2019

You Have To Hear This

Theres nothing like it.

W. Bransford

March 22, 2019

Every bit as simple as it is awesome

I'm still relatively new to UAD and am learning the history and applications of all of these plugins; some can be a little intimidating at times with their myriad of knobs and functions. After just a few minutes with the demo of the dbx160 I knew it was a must have. For progressive trance and other hard-hitting electronic music, simply dropping this on almost any sound and giving it a couple tweaks provides an extra oomph with ease that no other plugin I have can achieve. Hooray!

g. paillotin

March 22, 2019

pretty cool !

way better than Waves model, i can really hear a color out of that unit. I am using it for parallel compression on snare and kick.. works just fine.

e. mullano

March 16, 2019

L eccellenza sulle percussioni

Confermo quanto già detto da altri , un “must I have” sulle percussioni , ottimo anche L utilizzo su compressione parallela

A. Andrade

February 15, 2019

Pleasantly fat

I've been using the dbx 160 mostly for drums and bass and love the way it varies depending on the settings. It can make the sounds fat, but also warm. It adds an element of sharpness to the sound, allowing it to cut through. Great compressor/Limiter