Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

dbx 1066: This is a two-channel rackmount VCA comp. It is the next "quality tier" up from their 166(A/XL/XS), and costs twice as much. However I spent about two hours directly A/B comparing the 1066 with a 166A, and the sound and functionality of the 1066 may not be that much better, depending on your tastes and needs.
 
The 1066 has attack and release controls (as opposed to the "slow/fast" switch on the 166A), as well as much more LED metering and light-up switches, so it looks both fancier and more intimidating. All of that is good for helping you dial in the exact setting you want--but I actually found myself picking settings that sounded identical to the default attack/release settings of the 166A (in "slow" mode). So for many bassists, the extra controls may not be necessary.
 
As far as the sound quality, they seem identical in the lows and mids, but the 1066 has better (brighter, clearer) highs. However both models have the same behavior as other dbx units, where high frequencies get damped during high-ratio compression. They have identical low noise levels. The "PeakStopPlus" limiter doesn't seem to do anything useful on either of these models--did I just have bad luck and got two units with broken limiters on both channels? The gate function is a bit better with the 1066 because you can select the gating ratio, but it's still more obtrusive than I'd like. They both have the "contour" sidechain function, which you can read about here.
 
So the 1066 is certainly quite good, but for many people (like an on-stage rocker) there would not be much point to spending the extra money, compared to one of the various 166 or 160 models. For the price of a new 1066, there are other comps I'd choose instead. But if you already love the dbx sound and action, and you just want a bit brighter highs, or more control over attack and release times, then a used 1066 is probably a very good choice.
 
The construction quality is pretty decent, and dbx products are generally rugged and reliable. It's powered with a detachable IEC cord. Note that the 1066 runs a bit hot, so you don't want to rack any temperature-sensitive items right on top of it. See this article for an explanation of dbx's product-numbering system.
 
Price in USD: new $430, used $125-$225
 
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