Empirical Labs EL-8X Distressor
Empirical Labs EL-8X Distressor

Empirical Labs EL-8X Distressor

SKU# 565025X

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Offer valid until 30/06/2024

Digitally controlled analog knee compression with British Mod & Image Link

  • British Mode
  • Image Link
  • Offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit
$2,699.00
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Empirical Labs EL-8X Distressor

Empirical Labs EL-8X Distressor

$2,699.00
Details

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.

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.

The concept of British Mode came from an unusual setting on the classic UREI LN1176 limiter. The unit was designed to have only four ratios, each ratio being engaged by selecting one of four buttons. However, as early as 1980 (or before), renegade recording engineers, always on the lookout for something a little more “over-the-top”, found that you could make all four buttons stay in if you pressed them just right. What resulted was a very aggressive sound that had some elements of the unit’s 20:1 ratio, but with an unusual knee and new envelope shape. Somewhere along the line, someone called it “British Mode”, and the name stuck.

The original Distressor stereo link function used a summing and phase detection method, which allowed slight stereo image shifting. Although frequently desirable for its phase correction, and its “thickening” on open room mics and other stereo sources, this approach can sometimes be a problem on stereo program material where the producer/engineers want to maintain absolute left/right balance at all times. With the new “Stereo Image Link” option, the EL8-X now has three link options - the original “phase” link, the new Image Link and the combination of the two, phase and image linking - something never before offered on any compressors or limiters. 

Key Features:

  • British Mode
  • Image Link
  • Offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit
  • 8 of the Distressor’s curves are unique and distinctive
  • 3 modes that color the signal, even without compression:
    Basic distortion mode
    Distort 2 - emphasizes tube-like 2nd order harmonics
    Distort 3 - dominated by 3rd harmonics more closely resembling tape
  • 2 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
Specifications
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