The controls for this compressor are rather particular. Eventually, the sound becomes really easy to manage, but it certainly takes a lot of time to get comfortable with it. As most compressors operate a little differently from one another, this one is certainly no exception. That being said, once you've worked out the kinks and don't push it too hard, it gets easier and easier to use, and usually yields great results. The manual should only need to be read once to really figure it out, practice and trial is more important than anything in getting a feel for it.
I've seen this effect save recordings from sounding weak and thin, and I've also seen it suck the life out of them entirely. It's a difficult beast to tame, but when used properly it can really work well. It makes drums, bass, guitars, keys and piano sound really thick and fat, usually better than other compressors will. Whenever this is the effect you are going for, the Distressor is a good choice. Sometimes the compression will need to be a little bit more subtle. While the distressor can go for a really subdued effect with decent results, I tend to use other compressors for a variety of reasons. That being said, you can't go wrong with this for most situations if you really know how to use it.
I've used this for over a year. I really like the clarity and depth that it can help provide to a track or even an entire mix. I've used many different kinds of compressors, but as many engineers will tell you, there is only one Distressor. While not always the best choice, sometimes it's the only choice. It's too versatile a piece of gear for any engineer to not own! Definitely highly recommended by most professionals and amateurs alike.