Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X
Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X

Distressor EL8X, Studio compressor from Empirical Labs.

blackle 11/01/2013

Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X : blackle's user review

"DissSSstressSSiisSuussor ..."

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It is basically a compressor and a limiter .. this is true .. but it is also and above all a distortion generator able to dynamically add and intelligent * odd and even harmonics.
The bike is pro, there's no doubt. Heavy. Well built. The connection is XLR inputs and outputs, and doubled in jack.


This device is a convenience copy job. Everything falls readily to hand. The eight large wheels: "Input", "Attack", "Release" and "Output" which respectively control inputs, time attacks, the release time and the outputs are very pleasant to use. Keys sequentially engaging additional and complementary to the eight knobs functions are indicated by LEDs. What is strictly required on the Distressor.
To report the commissioning of each option, an LED color choice with information on the different colors. It is simple and effective.
For reporting the gain reduction scales are dilated enough to be able to work accurately.

It is also possible, for example, in addition to generating distortion, to insert in the control loops VAC, by suitable "Detector", more or less serious medium key and without the addition of an external bike. The obvious benefit is to make more or less sensitive to a frequency band Distressor, avoiding, for example, triggered by a kick every time the bat pumping ..


Once will not hurt I'll start this chapter with a warning: The Distressor is capable of generating harmonics in large numbers on the higher frequencies. So absolute distrust if you happen to insert the beast in a digital audio chain of second order .. some digital converter input range do not like, but then do not like it at all, and can get literally saturate without warning .. you have been warned ..

To return to the subject, basic compression mode, the Distressor delivers what happens what we used to call "a good big his own." The sound is never packed or crushed, even when the gain reduction is highly solicited. It sounds well and quickly. At this point, on some sources, it makes me think inevitably these illustrious colleagues well appointed dbx 160 L and Amek 9098 CL .. just that .. obviously being understood that however lacks their power settings ..

When different functions disSstorsSsion are started there, the sounds obtained are quite another. One likes or dislikes. The Distressor turns into a compreSsSuSSiSSeur that compresses as well but "distorssionne" (I promise I will not do it again) so the signal that all applications are already found. For example on a simple voice thickens it with uncommon strength signal. As against the side of the coin is that it is often difficult to get the treaty in a mix become difficult by the growth of some sources to manage the complex harmonic content (bowed string or brass for example) signal.

On sources other than voice, it is also capable of transfiguring such a simple battery and "multiply" the drums .. make a simple little tambourine "big and dirty." It is also possible to destroy its simple and effective way by the deliberate addition of the sum of moultes small defects, which are the essence of Distressor, and put together, form the sound characteristics of the compressor. .

I've never had a real opportunity to compare directly and in situ several colors for some compressors highly tubes, but I'm pretty sure the noise footprint is still less colorful and perhaps less recognizable. on the other hand there is no doubt that many will Distressor perennial high rates of compression, since there or tube collapses, the VCA is doing irreparable better anyway ..


Do not expect me to praise excessively machine. After all, other people will no doubt in my place .. the huge fault this bike is making his forte. Namely its extreme versatility and creativity pair off .. and finally, unfortunately, many users are / will be more qu'abusive and mindless use.

* Those who have never heard of too SssSSiflantes highlighted in a mix up their hands. Those who have never heard cymbals sharp as razor blades also raise their hands. Users of this Distressor generally have the tendency to want to put anywhere, but this is the perverse effect of the Distressor. The ear gets used as a palace and force-fed by an oriental pastry, request more candy to finish inevitably sickened and find all other compressors bland or worse irrelevant.

Given this, I really like the Distressor. As stated above it is versatile, easy to use if not always easy to place in a mix. It is also complete and very excellent point of view audio. It can evolve and turn around or transform a discrete signal in seconds. Just know that with him it will be essential to learn to master, otherwise some severe disappointments ..