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Iconic VCA compressor with all the punch and quirk of the vintage hardware.

The dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter for Apollo interfaces and UAD hardware is a fully licensed, faithful emulation of the legendary dbx 160 hardware — the most sonically distinct iteration of dbx’s cherished line of audio compressors.

Capturing the signature quickness and quirky circuit-level nuances of a sourced “golden unit,” now with added controls for modern workflows, the UAD dbx 160 plug‑in boasts sonic authenticity all its own, bringing classic solid‑state VCA compression into a new age.

Add a unique voice and flavor to your compressor toolkit with the first solid-state VCA compressor ever made

Harness fat compression textures on bass guitar, drum buses, synths, and more

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

Create with Dry/Wet mix control for quick parallel compression and Sidechain Filter for reduced low-frequency pumping

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 engineer’s 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.

Leveled Up for Modern Workflows

Leveled Up for Modern Workflows

Along with graphic enhancements and improved VU metering, the dbx 160 plug‑in’s Dry/Wet Mix control lets you easily punch up a drum bus with parallel compression, while the added Sidechain Filter lets you keep the low end tight, enhancing the compressor's impact.

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

C. Leonard

March 29, 2023

Great Value

Good compressor to have in your arsenal. Simple to use; easy to determine gain loss and for subsequent corrective adjustment. Has a nice tonal character contribution. Cannot adjust attack/release specially but for how you will likely use this particular compressor plug-in, that’s ok. Definitely worth the money and a good product.

V. Ruzicic

March 20, 2023

Crushing competition

As always UAD wins all the time

N. Singappulige

January 6, 2023


Absolutely amazing on the bass and electric guitars!

A. Gorobets

December 11, 2022

Nice punch!

Finally I got it!

M. Uuttu

December 9, 2022

Throughly enjoying this

Using this on bass and guitars. While I’m not a mixing wizard, I’m find it easy to to get convincing sounds using this.

M. Galavan

October 12, 2022

dbx® 160 Compressor / Limiter

Definitely adds analog punch to bass sounds. I really like it!

P. Maiz

July 24, 2022

SImplicity, at it's finest

Long ago, I noticed that a handful of some of my favorite bassists had the dbx 160 mounted to their instrument rack during live performances. I thought this was so strange.... why not just use a pedal? Empress makes a killer compressor pedal, and it's specifically for bass guitar.

I now understand now. The dbx is truly something special. Like most who have bought this plugin, I use this for recording/mixing in a studio environment. It is hard to believe that such a simple tool can outshine so many of these modern and more complex compressors. That's part of the beauty of the dbx: I can dial in just what I need in less than a minute, instead of fumbling around and getting caught up with another compressor for half an hour and still being unsatisfied with the results.

r. sharma

July 18, 2022

Must have!

An excellent emulation, especially for parallel processing.

J. Robert

July 15, 2022

Hardware Nicely Captured!

I had other companies’ version for a long time so waited for awesome sale to try UA’s. It is better in every way, sonically, graphically and ergonomically. Best for drum bus!

h. kim

July 15, 2022

punch sound

very good i'm happy

S. Dana

June 30, 2022

Universal comes through solid as usual

I'd been looking for a compression plugin that was appropriate for kick and bass and their symbiotic relationship. This compressor is just that tool. I've used it for both louder and softer dynamics and transitions between them and it sounds fantastic!

Š. Kominko

May 26, 2022


Excellent VCA compressor. Perfect for drums, basses and acoustic guitars and more. My first choice for kick and snare. I recommend. As always, the UA did an excellent job. Well thank you.

G. Castle

April 13, 2022

Sounds Good on Everything

Universal Audio Plug-Ins are my personal choice. To my ear they sound a little better than my other plug-ins. The dbx 160 sounds particularly good on my bass tracks.

s. mcaulay

April 5, 2022

How many more stars

Can I give UA for this love love

H. Maack

April 5, 2022

As Advertised !!!

I read a lot about the dbx 160 Compressor / Limiter and never found a single review that gave it any disrespect !! And when I finally got it into my studio a brand new dynamic world opened right upon my ears !! It is has and IS every Great thing I read about it !!

Hans. M

K. Kearney

March 28, 2022

dbx 160

Just like the one I own!


January 4, 2022

One of my favorites

This one is a wow. I put this on my kicks and man! You can really feel this body of the kick and the sound is amazing

R. Nicholas Jr

December 12, 2021

Such an awesome recreation.

After working for a studio that owned 2 of these vintage units I was searching high and low for something that would come close. Once I demo’d this plugin I swiftly made this purchase! Don’t sleep!

R. Stoddard

December 9, 2021


It boost my kicks just how I need them!

R. Matthews

November 29, 2021

Mind Blowing!!!

Unreal!! This is amazing!! Great sound!!! UAD ROCKS!!