Empirical Labs Distressor EL-8X British Mod Compressor  From Empirical Labs

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

Empirical Labs

$1,669.00

Retail:  $1,800.00

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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's Description from Empirical Labs


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.

Empirical Labs

About Manufacturer

Empirical Labs Inc. (ELI), designs and produces professional audio equipment and software. This includes equipment used in recording studios, live sound, broadcast studios and other audio production facilities etc. We also make software for digital signal processors. Most of you are here because you have heard about or used our Distressor. This product, which is our first hardware product, was designed in 1994, tested and revised for several years, and released in early 1996. The Distressor is the first in a series of audio products from ELI that will offer original features, ease of use, long product life, and a very musical audio path. Empirical Labs was started in 1988 and functioned mainly as a recording studio and electronics consulting firm. The founder, Dave Derr, was also employed at the time by Eventide as an audio engineer. Dave was part of the core design team for the H3000, H3500, and DSP4000. His experience at Eventide proved valuable for his later work. While working alongside Ken Bogdanowicz and Bob Belcher (both now at Wave Mechanics), Dave was exposed to great engineering and the modern world of digital signal processing (DSP).

Specifications


*Freq. response: 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: 20K Ohms

*Output impedance: < 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.

*Weight: 12.1 lbs mono, 24.2 lbs Stereo pair.

*Mono box dimensions: 22.5" x 18.5" x 3 1/4".

*Stereo Pair box dimensions: 22.5" x 18.5" x 6 1/4