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 dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter by Universal Audio is a Virtual Effect Audio Plugin for Windows and Mac OS X. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, an RTAS Plugin and an AAX Plugin. UAD Hardware is required.
VCA VU Compressor/Limiter
Product dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter
Developer Universal Audio
Price (MSRP) $149
Type / Tags
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Hardware Powered  
Operating System Availability
Download Released
 8.4  Downloads Released
 8.4  Downloads Released
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionUAD Hardware Specific

The VCA VU Compressor/Limiter is a faithful emulation of the first commercially available VCA compressor, the dbx 160. Originally designed and sold by David Blackmer in 1971, this solid-state design set the standard for performance and affordability.

"VU" is the common nickname for this widely regarded studio staple, famous for its simple control set and firm compression characteristics. The original unit is still considered the very best VCA compressor ever made by many people. Unlike later monolithic IC units, the "VU" uses a series of discrete components for gain reduction, and therefore has unique non-linearities not found in other VCA compressors.

The VCA VU captures all the sonic nuances from Universal Audio's "golden" modeling unit and the simple control set of the hardware, including Threshold, Compression (Ratio) and Output Gain. Like with the hardware, LED threshold indicators are provided, as well as the Input/Output/Gain Change VU meter for which the unit is famous.


  • Plug-in emulation of the dbx 160, the very first solid-state VCA compressor.
  • Faithfully modeled, same simple control set of its analog counterpart.
  • Threshold, Compression and Output controls with VU meter mode selection.
  • Modeled from desirable 'non-monolithic' original design, adding unique non-linearities

A Note about UAD Powered Plug-ins
UAD-2 and UAD-1 Powered Plug-Ins run exclusively on Universal Audio's UAD DSP Accelerator Cards. All available Powered Plug-Ins are included in the UAD Software Installer/Updater Package; and every Plug-In title has a separately activated 14-day trial -- so users can try before they buy, at their own pace. Once a user decides to purchase a Plug-In, they can click on the Plug-In toolbar "Buy" button, which automatically takes them to the www.uaudio.com website and carts the plug in; or this can be done manually via browsing our webstore. Once the purchase is complete, a downloadable Authorization File is made available. Users simply drag and drop this Auth. File into the UAD meter, and the Plug-In is authorized. UAD-1 users can transfer Plug-In licenses to UAD-2 format for free (one time only). Via Customer Support, Universal Audio also allows registered UAD owners to sell their UAD card(s) with Plug-In licenses, transferring the licenses to the new card owner (subject to Universal Audio approval).

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