Item #: EMP EL8DIST LIST

Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor

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$1,233.00 - $1,450.00

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Product Description

The Distressor is the product that started it all for Empirical Labs. Born of founder Dave Derr’s love of classic compressors like the 1176, LA-2A and Gain Brain (among others), the Distressor incorporates his favorite sonic characteristics of these, along with other unique and interesting features that have made it a staple for audio engineers all over the world. With over 22,000 units in the field, it’s safe to say that the Distressor is one of the best selling high end compressors of all time….if not THE best selling. A prominent recording engineer recently wagered that there probably was not a top 40 record made in the last five years that didn’t have at least one Distressor on it.

Besides providing a wide range of control and a unique feature set, the Distressor offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit. This “warmth” or “vintage sound” has become a major issue in the last few decades, as the super clear and linear digital technology does next to nothing to soften “harsh” sounds, nor emphasize the bass frequencies in music sources. Conversely, older analog tape, vinyl records and tube equipment could not be prevented from coloring the sound, often to the frustration of recording engineers. However, many people now realize that this coloring can be extremely pleasant and musical. Digital technology is often referred to as “cold” and “brittle” among other terms (although we prefer “unforgiving”).

All eight of the Distressor’s curves are unique and distinctive, from the 1:1 mode that simply warms up signal with low order harmonics without intentional compression, to the “Nuke” setting - a brick wall limiting curve that shines on live drum room mics. Each curve has its own personality and several actually use different circuitry, and are effectively different compressors. Most exceptional is the 10:1 “Opto” ratio which uses separate detector circuitry to emulate the oldest (and valued) “light controlled” devices, such as the LA-2A.

Another large part of the Distressor’s personality and power derive from three modes that color the signal, even without compression. These extended audio modes were designed to allow emulation of some very old and expensive vintage compressors & limiters, and let the Distressor deliver a classic “knee” sound all its own by providing user programmable, warm harmonic distortion. In addition to the basic distortion mode, Distort 2 emphasizes tube-like 2nd order harmonics, while in Distort 3 setting the distortion becomes dominated by 3rd harmonics more closely resembling tape. Two HP filters – one in the audio path, one in the detector path - are also available to help with low frequencies that can cause pumping and breathing.

CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING
warning WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

See all items from Empirical Labs
Helpful Info about the Manufacturer
Phone:  973-728-2425 Warranty:  Fatso: 3 Years; Distressor: 1 Year

Product Specifications

Product Specifications
Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor Specifications
  • Frequency response is 2 Hz to 160 kHz in clean audio mode (+0, -3 dB). Response is shaped in distortion modes (Dist 2, Dist 3).
  • Dynamic range 110 dB from max. output to min. output in 1:1 mode. Greater than 100 dB signal to noise in distort 3 mode.
  • Distortion ranges between .02% and 20% depending on distortion mode and release times set on front panel.
  • DC coupled output - High quality input caps.
  • Input impedance is 20K Ohms, Output impedance is < 75 ohms
  • Time constants - Attack range 50uS - 50mS. Release range .05 sec to 3.5 seconds, normal modes and up to 20 seconds in 10:1 opto mode. Time constants are dependant on ratio.
  • Metal Chassis - single height 1.75" high, 10" deep, 19" wide.

Customer Reviews

Damiane Crenshaw Submitted: 7/21/2018
Product Rating
verified
Subject
Excellent compressor
Product Rating
What is your opinion of this product?
Track everything through it for great compression,distortion and color buy two and put them on mix busses and parallel channels for a stress free experience I highly recommend
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Damien HIS502 Williams Submitted: 10/26/2017
Product Rating
verified
Subject
The best I’ve used!!
What is your opinion of this product?
I own a few different compressors and this one is at the top! I have it paired with my Avalon 737 and I love the sound. It has so many different options to choose from in order to obtain your desired sound. I got it to add that professional sound to my vocal chain and I’m not disappointed. Makes mixing vocals so much easier because they tend to sit in the mix way better than using any of my other compressors.
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Cameron from Durham, NC USA Submitted: 5/10/2010
Product Rating

Subject
The Distressor Gives Pro Results
It's made very well...I imagine it will last a long time.
The best feature of this product is the sound coming out. It sounds amazing and gives me ways to help control sibilance and give a nice warmth to the track...very nice
The manual is one of the best made but there are some features that I've only seen on the distressor so read the manual. You will get better results if you do.
As said earlier...the tone coming out is great.
I've only had it for about a month but it seems built to last.
Your general opinion of this product.
I really didn't think a compressor would make this much a difference in tone and I think this is an amazing product.
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Shaun Combs from Orlando, FL, US, anonmyous25333 Submitted: 2/8/2010
Product Rating

Subject
Excellent and Versatile Sound
Very well-made. Would love to have a rack full of them.
The most interesting feature is the distortion settings. They are subtle but sound great on many sources.
Very easy to use. The Gain Reduction meter is clear and the controls are strait forward. The Audio and Indicator functions were well explained in the manual which was very helpful and clear.
Fantastic. It can be subtle and transparent or colored and really slammed (amazing on drums)
Have only owned it for 2 months but haven't had any problems and don't foresee any. It's well constructed.
Your general opinion of this product.
I think this is the most versatile compressor on the market. The price is fantastic considering how well it emulates a wide range of pricier gear. It would be a great 'first' compressor for any studio engineer/producer.
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Trevor Thompson Submitted: 2/5/2008
Product Rating

Subject
CAMELEON COMPRESSOR!
Your general opinion of this product.


QUALITY:
SOLID, SOLID AS A ROCK! (YOU KNOW THE TUNE)

FEATURES:
EAZY TO USE... HARMONIC DISTORTION GENERATOR...SIDE CHAIN... WHATS NOT TO LOVE! FULL OF GREAT FEATURES! WILL EMULATE SIMILAR VARIUS COMPRESSORS.

EASE OF USE:
LIKE I SAID EZ TO USE. AND VERY AFFECTIVE! TURN SOME KNOBS! HAVE FUN!

VALUE:
ACTUALLY NOT CHEAP BUT....... CONSIDERING HOW VERSATILE IT IS, IT'S A GREAT VALUE! I JUST PAID 1100.00 FOR ONE VINTAGE DBX 160VU. THIS THING DOES ALL KINDS OF COMPRESSION..

SOUND:
SOUND IS VERY HI-FI BUT, WITH THE WARMTH (YES WITHOUT A TUBE STRAPPED TO IT!,GET OVER IT!) OF VINTAGE COMPRESSORS.
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