Empirical Labs Distressor EL-8X British Mod Compressor


One of the most versatile and capable Compressor/Limiters on the market today, from tracking to bus work, this compressor can tackle it! This is the stereo ready version

What we think:

This is the improved version of the original Distressor that also allows for the famous british-mod sound, as well as the ability to pair one of these up for stereo operation. Since pretty much everyone who buys one of the distressors eventually ends up purchasing a second one for the purposes of stereo functionality, we tend to sell a lot more of the brit-mod version. Included with the brit mod version is a stereo cable that will allow you to connect two of these together. You can obviously use two regular EL-8 distressors at the same time, but not in true stereo linked compression-- if you want to link your compressors for proper stereo operation, this is the distressor version that you need to buy.

Manufacturer Description:

The Distressor is an automatic gain (or volume) control device (AGC in engineering terms) designed for pro audio (music) applications. Basically, it electronically controls the volume of just about any source in a very pleasing, and "musical" manner - adding fullness, intelligibility, and especially in the Distressor's case - excitement. This type of device is often called a "limiter" or "compressor" by audio industry people. Its most probable uses will be in recording studios, live sound situations, movie sound production, and radio broadcast production.

Unlike most analog compressor/limiters the Distressor is a digitally controlled audio device and actually incorporates several products into one by utilizing digital controls to switch totally different circuits in and out. Years of beta testing and redesign went into the Distressor as will be the case with all Empirical Labs products.

Besides offering a wide range of control and unique features, the Distressor offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit. This "warmth" or vintage sound has become an important issue in the last 15 years, as the super clear and linear digital technology does very little (or nothing) to soften "harsh" sounds nor emphasize the bass frequencies in music sources. Older analog tape, vinyl records and tube equipment on the other hand, could not be prevented from coloring the sound, often to the frustration of recording engineers. However, many people have now realized that this coloring can be extremely pleasant and "musical".The current digital technology is often referred to as "cold" and "brittle" among other terms, although we prefer the term "unforgiving" to describe the negative side of the "linearity". The Distressor offers several modes that color the signal, even without compression (or gain control). These extended modes were designed to allow emulation of some very old and some very expensive vintage gain control units (compressors & limiters) and deliver a classic "knee" sound all its own.

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