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DBX 118

Linear Dynamic Range Enhancer (1981)

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DBX 118


The DBX 118 is the most versatile dynamic enhancer available today. It is a single band linear expander, a linear compressor, a limiter and a peak unlimiter. Yet, its price is modest.

Notice the expansion/compression control. You can use it to set just the amount of dynamic range expansion you want. Where large level variations are undesirable, you can instead compress the entire dynamic range, bringing the quiet and loud portions of your music closer together.

Just to the left is a threshold control. When expanding, this can be used to set the point in your music's dynamic range below which music becomes quieter, and above which it becomes louder. If you place the button on the far left in the out position, the 118 becomes an above-threshold expander, or peak unlimiter. This means only loud portions of the dynamic range which exceed your pre-set threshold will be expanded, (made louder).

Above threshold expansion is most useful for programs which were compressed only at high levels. If your 118 is in compression mode, the reverse is true - it becomes an above threshold compressor or limiter. That means signals rising above your threshold will be made more quiet.

The amber and red LEDs tell you when the signal is above or below threshold. They are your guide in setting threshold levels.

The DBX 118 can be used with Dolby B tape noise reduction, and will provide additional noise reduction. Two DBX 118's can be coupled to track accurately in four channel applications.


Compression ratio: continuously variable to infinity

Expansion ratio: continuously variable to 2.0

Dynamic range (peak signal to weighted background noise): 110dB

Input level (nominal): 300mV

Output level: 7V rms

Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.1% typical

Dimensions: 95.25 x 185.7 x 260.35mm

Weight: 2.26kg


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Reviewed May 15th, 2015 by jcipale

I have owned my 118 for nearly 20 yrs (bought brand new). It has worked flawlessly all this time! The only 'fix' was to replace an LED that went dead. Other then that, it has worked flawlessly. It does a great job of enhancing the quality of all recordings regardless of source.



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