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Classic compressor/limiter featuring advanced built-in side chain EQ - matched pair
Besides providing a wide range of control and a unique feature set, the Empirical Labs Distressor EL8-S Compressor/Limiter Pair 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.
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.
For many Distressor owners, one is never enough – in fact, one extremely successful engineer has twelve of them! For those who want (at least) a stereo pair, ELI offers the EL8-S, a pair of Distressors that are matched at the factory, and come with the cables you need to lock them together. If you want the Brit Mod and Image Link options, an EL8X-S package is also available.
|Tube or Solid State||Solid State|
What can I say except wow, these legendary and iconic units are incredibly musical sounding. They are serving as multi-purpose sound processing, as the design intended. For tracking, I've been using ‘nuke mode’ on the drum room mic (brilliant), and I’ve been linking them across the master mixdown buss, with some 2nd harmonic to emulate tape wramth. Also, the manual is extremely well-written, with all kinds of ‘start-off’ settings, for all of the various main instruments we use.
~ Ray Montford, composer/producer
If you are having a hard time picking a specific compresor; Fet vs. Opto vs. VCA.. grab a Distressor - this is the Swiss Army knife of compressors, a literal Chamelean that can give you all of the above. From Gentle to Agressive this compressor gives you it all and that is why it has become a staple in studios today. (Don't for get the harmonics and the NUKE button - fun for days!!!!)
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