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Plugin Profiles: API Vision Channel Strip + dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter

API Vision Channel Strip + dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter
API Vision Channel Strip + dbx 160 Compressor/Limiter
Greetings! My name is Ian Vargo, and I am with The Pro Audio Files.

Today’s video is a plug-in profile in which I offer a brief, yet thorough overview of, today, two plug-ins.

I am using the API Vision Channel Strip, and the dbx compressor/limiter, both from Universal Audio.

If you’d like to skip forward and see them in action, feel free to do so. Additionally, make sure to check out for additional audio content.

First up is the dbx 160. This is an emulation of a unit that was released in 1976 which is beloved not only for its excellent sound, but ease of use. As you can see on the plug-in, we’ve got power, some metering options, input, output, and gain reduction, and then three easy to use and intuitive knobs.

We’ve got threshold, compression, which you can also see as ratio, and output gain, which you can essentially think of as makeup gain.

Let’s hear it in action on the snare drum. I’m going to solo the snare and bypass the plug-in.

[snare, with and without dbx 160]

As you can hear, it adds some instant snap and intensity to the snare drum.

Let’s listen to it in context.



Definitely brings the snare forward in the mix and I find that this ends up on a lot of snare tracks of mine when I’m mixing.

Let’s move forward to it also being used on the bass. This plug-in does have a habit of reducing low frequencies, so you have to be careful with it, but I find that it almost works as an EQ if you use it properly and it filters out some low frequency content that you might not want.

Let’s take a listen.

[bass, with and without dbx 160]

[mix, with and without dbx 160]

definitely reduces some low frequencies, but helps the bass sit in its proper place.

Next up is the API Vision Channel Strip. This is an emulation of API’s flagship console. What we’ve got within it is a mic pre, which I find to be excellent at adding harmonic content and grit to your material.

We’ve got a low pass and a high pass filter, a gate/expander, compressor/limiter, and four band EQ. Then we’ve got output control right here.

Let’s take a listen to it on drums.

[mix, with and without API Vision Channel Strip]


What I’m doing is I’m pushing the gain a little bit on the mic preamp to add some grit to it. I’m removing super low and super high frequencies with the filters. I’m not using the gate/expander, but it does an excellent job of — you know, you can use it on kick and snare to remove hi-hat or other bleed. Very expressive.

We’ve got the compressor/limiter, which I’m using to add a little bit of snap to the material. Let’s take a listen to that.


Then I’ve got this EQ filter here, I’m boosting 2dB at 2.5kHz to bring out a little bit of the snare. 2dB at 240, which I normally don’t boost at, but I found it did a nice thing to the kick drum, and then 2dB at 50, which added some heft and weight to the kick.

Again, I’m pushing the preamp and turning down the output to match the level. Let’s check it out one more time.



It does a great job of, you know, making it sound a little bit more clear. I find it helps with the stereo image and it just overall makes it more hi-fi sounding in my opinion. I’ve used it on a drum buss, you can use it on individual tracks, works great on vocals, I also have it here on the instrument buss.

So again, this has been Ian Vargo with The Pro Audio Files. Make sure to check out the website for additional audio content. If you have any questions, let me know! Thanks!


Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo is a Producer, Mixer and Audio Professor based in Los Angeles. He has worked on numerous major label and independent records. Get in touch and learn more on his website.