UAD Plug-Ins Manual .. Each functional area has a separate manual file. The Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor plug-in provides all the features . This entry was posted in. Bookmark the permalink. Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor. About. Sonic Circus knows vintage and contemporary audio equipment. That manual is also a great resource on compression in general. I bet I’ve read Y’all got a manual with your Distressors? Empirical Labs.

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Basic wiring, Stereo operation, Distressor “pet” tricks – Empirical Labs EL-8 User Manual

Write a user review Ask for a user review. View other reviews for this product: The Distressor EL-8X is a digitally controlled analog compressor. The stereo Distressor maual ships as two matched Distressor units along with a short pair of good quality stereo link cables intended to connected between the two units’ Stereo Link TRS connections on the rear panel.

The power cord connection is a detachable IEC socket and of course standard power cords are included.

A masterpiece – Reviews Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X – Audiofanzine

The Distressors also come with a short yet helpful manual which, in addition to covering utilization basics, also has suggested settings and “pet tricks. Of note, the “X” and stereo designations in the model number indicate the presence of the Brit Mode and Stereo Link features which are optional on the basic, mono versions of the Distressor. The Distressor also has a very nice color coded segment LED bargraph for gain reduction, diztressor does not have any input or output level metering.

You also get true Bypass selectable with a empiirical switch on the front panel. If you’ve used other Disteessor gear, the Distressor’s front panel layout should be familiar if you haven’t, you’ll want to spend some time getting the hang of how they do things.

Scrolling through the compression ratios 1: There is also a special “Nuke” ratio which creates laba extremely aggressive, heavy, radical compression characteristic that works especially well for super-compressed room mics. Likewise, the attack and ratio knobs do not have the usual markings in seconds and milliseconds, but instead arbitrary numbering from 0 to I distfessor that the knobs are large and easy to read, with hash marks that make it easy to recall settings as tight as half a tenth of a point.

You use the input knob to drive the compressor. The more you crank the input knob, the harder you’re compressing and the more gain reduction you’re going to get.

One catch when operating a pair of Stereo Linked Distressors is that it’s the compression that gets linked–one unit’s compression settings will slave to the other, but you must still take care to set the ins and outs just the same to avoid shifting the stereo image. Let’s manuql honest, if you’re stereo linking compressors, you probably want to retain a stable stereo image along with the compression characteristics!

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In addition to the excellent compression distrexsor, the Distressors have two great filter banks: Empiriczl Detector filters are an adaptive high pass filter which really cleverly follows the signal characteristics and works brilliantly with heavy compression where you don’t want the signal’s low freqs to get too weird or pumpy; also in this bank is a band emphasis setting that can manhal smooth over the upper mids so they don’t get too shrill as you compress more aggressively, and finally, there is a “Link” mode which, along with the Stereo Link toggle switch, links two Distressors together.

The other filter bank, Audio, features empirrical different high pass filter which functions like any other HPF like you’d find on a mic or preamp, with a rollof frequency of 80hz. Then you have two Distortion filters: Dist2, which adds second order harmonics to the signal, which can help digital signal sources sound a bit more like they’re passing through analog tape or classic transformer gear and is more or less a very distdessor, general purpose filter; Dist3 takes things a bit further with more aggressive third order harmonics which can add a little “hair” to your signal.

It’s diatressor handy for rock bass sounds. Common to both filter banks is the ability to select between one filter, or to stack multiple filters on each other, msnual for example you could have the Detector HPF and band emphasis working together to keep weird modulations out of a heavily compressed signal, of you could have the Audio HPF and Distortion modes working together so that you’re not adding too much THD under 80hz.

The last feature to discuss on the EL-8X model is the special “Brit Mode,” selectable by a toggle switch on the front panel. This setting is intended to evoke and extremely fast, aggressive compression characteristic similar to the classic “all buttons in” trick.

The Brit mode is, in my opinion, of limited use. I’ve used it a couple of times on rock bass for a certain, super-quick “clamp down and let go” type of characteristic, but this is the one feature on the Distressor that I could take or leave. I really like having it as an option on the pallet, but I try it a lot more than I end up using it.

This feature can be used along with any ratio you want, but even in 1: That said, you can get a clearer sound and less aggressive clamp-down by keeping the attack higher than that and not hitting the compressor so hard with the input. Once you get the hang of how the compressor and filters handle, you really can’t go wrong with this dietressor in terms of sonics.


While a given setting may be the dustressor one for a given source, hence all the ratios and filter options, it’s almost impossible to make a signal completely unlistenable with the Distressor.


This is what makes these units truly general purpose, and indeed, I have yet to encounter any signal source that the Distressor simply couldn’t flatter! It’s really that good. If all your source needs is a tender little kiss in 2: If you want a classic DBX-ish sounding comp characteristic, try 6: If you want a good, lqbs characteristic that can still push things forward a little, 4: My favorite setting bar none, and my most common go-to setting for just about anything from vocals to bass to guitars to percussion to kicks or snares or even drum overheads would have to be What you do is set the ratio to Keep the input lower and you can a really nice, clear sound that clamps down late to just keep the signal in check, but if you want, you can crank the input just about as far as you want and the characteristic gets more aggressive, more in your face, more muscular–you can take the gain reduction meter into the yellow or red, and doggoneit if the thing doesn’t just stay so completely musical sounding.

Empirical Labs Distressor User Manual

I’m sorry to gush here, if you’ve read my other reviews then you know I like to stay pretty balanced and critical even on gear that I really like because, as I say, you can suss out the pro’s and con’s empircal anything no matter how good, but the Distressor sonic abilities really are a 10 out of 10 in my book. Hey, there’s a first time ekpirical everything! Everything else about the Distressors is just as Lans like it and I never go wanting otherwise. My Distressors get used literally on just about every session I do.

If there’s only one thing I’m compressing, it’s probably through a Laabs. If I had a rack full of Distressor and nothing else, I’d a be a happy camper and b not be wanting for rmpirical characteristics, thanks to the huge variety of sounds that can be attained by all the compression options and filters available. This is my desert island compressor without question, bar none my favorite compressor for tracking with comp on the way in, and hugely versatile come mix time in fact, I routinely serial compress a given signal with Distressor on the way in, then a little more on the mix perhaps in a difference setting, say 2: It’s a jack of all trades, master of many compressor, certainly worth every penny, and comes with my highest recommendation.

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