Empirical Labs Distressor EL8
Empirical Labs Distressor EL8

Distressor EL8, Studio compressor from Empirical Labs.

All user reviews for the Empirical Labs Distressor EL8

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Average Score:5.0( 5/5 based on 4 reviews )
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JimboSpins's review"Great on electric guitars"

Empirical Labs Distressor EL8
The Empirical Labs EL8 is a single channel analog compressor that can give you that classic sound of the tube compressors from many years ago. The Empirical Labs EL8 has turned out to be one of the best purchases that I have made in the last 12 months. The price tag seems high at first but if you want that classed tube sound then this is the way to get it. All of the distortion that you can get with the Empirical Labs EL8 is great. There Empirical Labs EL8 has 1 XLR input and 1 ¼ input, and 1 XLR output with 1 ¼ stereo output. The unit can be racked and it only takes up one rack space. All of the controls like input, output, release and attack are great.


If you are an engineer I highly suggest getting the Empirical Labs EL8, it can take your sound to new heights. Any time you are working with the recording of a band and you want to surprise them with some new distortion all you have to do is start messing with the Empirical Labs EL8 and you can probably accidently come up with a sound that you fall in love with. That is how easy it is to work with.


I love hearing electric guitars ran through this compressor, I have heard vocals and acoustic guitars run through the Empirical Labs EL8 but none of them sound as good as electric guitars when used with it. I have used plenty of similar units that are “old school” tube compressors and distortion plug ins and a ton VST plug ins that are suppose to give you that 70’s compression sound but the Empirical Labs EL8 is the only unit that has gave me that sound that I have been happy with. It is a true tube compression/distortion sound and it comes with no effort.


The Empirical Labs EL8 cost just less than 1400 USD now and that is about 100 dollars cheaper than what it was when it first came out. It could be the best 1400 dollars that you will ever spend.

moosers's review

Empirical Labs Distressor EL8
The Empirical Labs Distressor EL8 is a single channel compressor that's designed for use in the recording studio. This is the original model of the Distressor as there's also an EL8-X that has a few added features and also a stereo model. For those who haven't heard of it, the Distressor is probably the best modern made compressor, at least in my opinion. It has both XLR and 1/4" jacks for connecting to it, as well as 1/4" connections for stereo linking. It is a rack mountable piece of gear and will take up just a single space.


It shouldn't take too much time to get used to using the Empirical Labs Distressor EL8, as while it's got a lot of controls to offer, it's still pretty easy to use. The main parameters found on the EL8 are knobs for input, attack, release, and output and a button for setting the ratio (from 1:1 to NUKE), but it also has a few other tone shaping options that you won't find on any other compressors that I'm aware of. A manual shouldn't be needed...


The sound of the Empirical Labs Distressor EL8 is nothing short of awesome. It's one of my favorite compressors overall and one of the best for getting that full, modern compression sound. I love using it to track vocals, but it's also great for drums and a variety of other purposes. While maybe not as warm sounding as some vintage compressors, that's what you have those for and you have the Distressor for a cleaner, more modern sort of tone. Overall, without a doubt one of the compressors I use the most.


You really can't go wrong by picking up an Empirical Labs Distressor EL8. It's one of the best modern compressors out there and virtually every professional studio has one. It's not overpriced and can be incredibly versatile. It's great to have a set of these on hand, which we do in most of our rooms, for stereo mixing. If you're after a modern compressor, the Distressor EL8 is what you want.

boogie-raf's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Huge."

Empirical Labs Distressor EL8
Compressor rack unit, transistor technology.


Yes, jump to the choice of detections, we still have to go read the manual, even if you do not like it.

The Big knobs are very comfortable and the recall is accurate.

pity he should go through the maximum rate then decreased.


Great sound compression, very innovative, in a market where everyone speaks of Vintage ...
Best of all, when you want to vote very, very close and slightly saturated, it works to hell.

different types of ratios do not change the tau compression but go through completely different channels that provide a varied sonic palette.

Procured analog distortions have nothing to do with guitar amps, they are softer saturation, goes very well with voices, guitars or snares. clean.


I use it for 3 years.

Best of all, for the Rock'n Roll. is worse for the soul.

Like all well-built machines that work well and it is not cheap, but good.

for any info, appointments on the site http://www.lestudio5.com

vinc13's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Empirical Labs Distressor EL8
Digitally controlled analog compressor:

Frequency Response: 2 Hz to 160 kHz in clean audio mode (+0, -3 dB). Response IS shaped in distortion modes (Dist 2, Dist 3).
Dynamic Range 110 dB from maximum output to minimum output in 1:1 mode. Greater than 100 dB signal to noise in distort 3 mode.
Distortion Range: .02% to 20% DEPENDING ON distortion mode and release times set on front panel.
DC Coupled Output High quality input caps.
Input Impedance: 20K Ohms
Output Impedance: <75 ohms
Time Constants:
- Attack Range: 50US - 50mS.
- Release Range: .05 sec to 3.5 seconds, normal modes and up to 20 seconds in 10:1 opto mode.
Time constant ratio are dependent on.
Dimensions (W x H x D): 1.75 x 19 x 10 in.
Shipping Weight: 11.25 lbs.


- The general configuration is it simple?

A simple and a complex. Because a single knob for input, attack, release and output ratios and a button is sufficient to send the boulard! More complex when it comes to choosing the appropriate distortion, and good detector. But all this opens up endless!

- Publishing of sound effects or is it easy?

Totally! You branch, it works!

- The manual is clear and sufficient? ...

Available on the net, the manual is complete, even with presets for neophytes to simulate several types of compressors such as the dbx 160, Urei 1176, Vari-mu & co.


- Effects are they effective, responsive and realistic enough?

Simply monstrous. As already read somewhere, a compressor when you finally hear the color. And what color! We chose it at will, or Cristalin Carrrie distorted, limiting or compression transparent ... from 1.1 to color mode nuke or nothing happens ... A bulldozer ...

- Which instruments do you use?

It is used all over at will. I use it on voice, notement live where he located his place. On an acoustic guitar is also very interesting, the distortion notement 2. Otherwise, snare, overhead, low kick ... In fact it is built for all types of signals ...


- How long have you use it?

Not enough time, this thing is forever with me! : D

- What is so special that you like most and least?

Its color, its effectiveness is the best I've used by far!

- Have you tried many other models before buying it?

I loved the Dbx 160 before, over-easy with this compressor is nice. A package of any type compressor live, plug in tirlarigo ...

- How would you rate the quality / price?

At Euro 1200, is an investment certain, but it's worth ...

- With experience, you do again this choice? ...

With experience (and money), I would have a rack 20 that I carry on each time xD