Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X
Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X

Distressor EL8X, Studio compressor from Empirical Labs.

JackLudden 08/11/2008

Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X : JackLudden's user review


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This unit is a fantastic analog outboard compressor. It has very editable controls, so you can easily customize your compression to the source material. There are standard 1/4" connections for bringing your dual mono or stereo audio in and out. It is rackable, and takes up two units of rackspace.


The configuration is simple on the surface, but you really kind of have to use this for a while to get a sense of what it's doing. This compressor has a very unique sound to it. Editing the way the compression works is easy, but it is quite versatile so some sessions of careful listening to see how the sound changes is advised. The manual is fair - it will get you up and running but you definitely will want to learn by trial and error the best way to use this piece of equipment.


The compression this unit provides is really good. It does an amazing job at bringing individual tracks or your whole mix to life. It makes them so uniquely fat and punchy, it's like nothing else. You really have to hear it in action to get a sense of the improvement you will get on any source that needs compression - and even on sources that you wouldn't normally think should be compressed. It really is almost a secret weapon for improving sound. That said - this is when it is used properly. If you don't take the time to learn the nuances of it, it can wreck your tracks as well. I've used it on almost anything - from vocals to bass to guitar, to whole mixes, drums, and everything in between. It very rarely disappointed sonically.


I have been using this for about 6 months. The thing I like most about it is the fantastic job it can do of bringing a really unique, great sounding punch and fatness to almost any source. It is a bit hard to get the hang of at first however, so you need to put a little time into getting to work it right. I have used a variety of compressors, and this one is definitely one of my favorites. At the price it's going for now, it's a steal. Definitely a great value. I would absolutely buy it again if something happened to my current one.