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    Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor

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    Same Day Music is an authorized dealer of Empirical Labs products.

    SKU: EMP EL8DIST


    Item Condition: Learn More
    Product Condition

    New Top-Brand Gear From An Authorized US Dealer

    You get top-brand gear, new from the factory, from an authorized US dealer. Our products are shipped from the vendor to our warehouse, and then from the warehouse to you. There is no detour through a retail store, where the boxes are opened, the products put on display, and then sold as leftovers. When you shop online, make sure you are comparing new gear from authorized US dealers. 

    Special Opportunities: When It's Not New, We Tell You

    We occasionally have opportunities to buy B-stock merchandise to offer at special discounts. We also sometimes get returns in less than perfect condition. Sometimes we will offer these products to you - but we always identify it clearly as such using the classifications below. So unless it says otherwise, it's new from the factory.

    Important Guarantee: Your 100% Satisfaction

    Regardless of the condition described on our site, what you should remember is that if you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase you may return it (though exceptions apply for some products). Of course, if you know you will only be happy if a product is 100% cosmetically perfect, then you shouldn't order B-Stock or Blemished merchandise - it's just not a good gamble. And if you will only be happy if a product has never been touched by another human, well then the Resealed products aren't a good choice for you. But if you are looking for even more impressive values than our already-low prices, then these options will be very attractive when available.

    These are our best descriptions of the quality and condition of this merchandise. Because of the highly efficient, automated nature of our warehouse, and the high volume of products we stock and ship, there is no way for us to provide any additional detail on the condition of any individual item. Just remember our 100% satisfaction guarantee!

    Warehouse Resealed

    A warehouse resealed product is usually a customer return. These products are not in absolutely new condition, but will ship with everything the brand new product would ship with including manuals* and the full factory warranty*. These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    Blemished

    This is typically a customer return with minor cosmetic imperfections, such as superficial scratches or scuffs on the finish. This inventory includes all parts, components, manuals (hard copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. It has been tested to manufacturer's specifications and is guaranteed to work perfectly. It may be less attractive than Warehouse Resealed inventory, but it's priced even lower! These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    Scratch and Dent

    This is typically a customer return that shows general wear and tear, along with dents and scratches. This inventory includes all parts, components, manuals (hard copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. It has been tested to manufacturer's specifications and is guaranteed to work perfectly, but will show signs of use. It may be less attractive than Blemished inventory, but it's priced even lower! These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    Factory Resealed

    A factory resealed product is purchased directly from its manufacturer, who may have refurbished the product or used it for training and demonstration purposes. These products are not in absolutely new condition, but will ship with everything the brand new product would ship with including manuals (physical copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    B-Stock

    A B-stock product is purchased directly from its manufacturer, who may have refurbished the product or used it for training and demonstration purposes. These products may be cosmetically blemished, but will ship with everything the brand new product would ship with including manuals (physical copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 


    *Warranty coverage for non-new gear varies by manufacturer. To see if the non-new product you’re interested in has warranty coverage, click the "What is Blemished/Warehouse Resealed/etc." text link near the price on the product page.

    Item Condition: Learn More
    Product Condition

    New Top-Brand Gear From An Authorized US Dealer

    You get top-brand gear, new from the factory, from an authorized US dealer. Our products are shipped from the vendor to our warehouse, and then from the warehouse to you. There is no detour through a retail store, where the boxes are opened, the products put on display, and then sold as leftovers. When you shop online, make sure you are comparing new gear from authorized US dealers. 

    Special Opportunities: When It's Not New, We Tell You

    We occasionally have opportunities to buy B-stock merchandise to offer at special discounts. We also sometimes get returns in less than perfect condition. Sometimes we will offer these products to you - but we always identify it clearly as such using the classifications below. So unless it says otherwise, it's new from the factory.

    Important Guarantee: Your 100% Satisfaction

    Regardless of the condition described on our site, what you should remember is that if you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase you may return it (though exceptions apply for some products). Of course, if you know you will only be happy if a product is 100% cosmetically perfect, then you shouldn't order B-Stock or Blemished merchandise - it's just not a good gamble. And if you will only be happy if a product has never been touched by another human, well then the Resealed products aren't a good choice for you. But if you are looking for even more impressive values than our already-low prices, then these options will be very attractive when available.

    These are our best descriptions of the quality and condition of this merchandise. Because of the highly efficient, automated nature of our warehouse, and the high volume of products we stock and ship, there is no way for us to provide any additional detail on the condition of any individual item. Just remember our 100% satisfaction guarantee!

    Warehouse Resealed

    A warehouse resealed product is usually a customer return. These products are not in absolutely new condition, but will ship with everything the brand new product would ship with including manuals* and the full factory warranty*. These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    Blemished

    This is typically a customer return with minor cosmetic imperfections, such as superficial scratches or scuffs on the finish. This inventory includes all parts, components, manuals (hard copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. It has been tested to manufacturer's specifications and is guaranteed to work perfectly. It may be less attractive than Warehouse Resealed inventory, but it's priced even lower! These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    Scratch and Dent

    This is typically a customer return that shows general wear and tear, along with dents and scratches. This inventory includes all parts, components, manuals (hard copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. It has been tested to manufacturer's specifications and is guaranteed to work perfectly, but will show signs of use. It may be less attractive than Blemished inventory, but it's priced even lower! These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    Factory Resealed

    A factory resealed product is purchased directly from its manufacturer, who may have refurbished the product or used it for training and demonstration purposes. These products are not in absolutely new condition, but will ship with everything the brand new product would ship with including manuals (physical copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 

    B-Stock

    A B-stock product is purchased directly from its manufacturer, who may have refurbished the product or used it for training and demonstration purposes. These products may be cosmetically blemished, but will ship with everything the brand new product would ship with including manuals (physical copy or downloadable) and the full factory warranty*. These products are still covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so they're a great deal! 


    *Warranty coverage for non-new gear varies by manufacturer. To see if the non-new product you’re interested in has warranty coverage, click the "What is Blemished/Warehouse Resealed/etc." text link near the price on the product page.



    Product Description


    The Empirical Labs Distressor is the product that started it all for Empirical Labs. Born of founder Dave Derr's love of classic compressors like the 1176, LA-2A and Gain Brain (among others), the Distressor incorporates his favorite sonic characteristics of these, along with other unique and interesting features that have made it a staple for audio engineers all over the world.

    Distressors Everywhere

    With over 22,000 units in the field, it's safe to say that the Distressor is one of the best selling high end compressors of all time -
    - if not THE best selling. A prominent recording engineer recently wagered that there probably was not a top 40 record made in the last five years that didn't have at least one Distressor on it.

    Add Analog Color

    Besides providing a wide range of control and a unique feature set, the Distressor offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit. This "warmth" or "vintage sound" has become a major issue in the last few decades, as the super clear and linear digital technology does next to nothing to soften "harsh" sounds, nor emphasize the bass frequencies in music sources. Conversely, older analog tape, vinyl records and tube equipment could not be prevented from coloring the sound, often to the frustration of recording engineers. However, many people now realize that this coloring can be extremely pleasant and musical. Digital technology is often referred to as "cold" and "brittle" among other terms (although we prefer "unforgiving").

    From Zero to Brickwall

    All eight of the Distressor's curves are unique and distinctive, from the 1:1 mode that simply warms up signal with low order harmonics without intentional compression, to the "Nuke" setting -
    - a brick wall limiting curve that shines on live drum room mics. Each curve has its own personality and several actually use different circuitry, and are effectively different compressors. Most exceptional is the 10:1 "Opto" ratio which uses separate detector circuitry to emulate the oldest (and valued) "light controlled" devices, such as the LA-2A.

    It's Not Just a Compressor -
    - It's a Distortion Generator

    Another large part of the Distressor's personality and power derive from three modes that color the signal, even without compression. These extended audio modes were designed to allow emulation of some very old and expensive vintage compressors & limiters, and let the Distressor deliver a classic "knee" sound all its own by providing user programmable, warm harmonic distortion. In addition to the basic distortion mode, Distort 2 emphasizes tube-like 2nd order harmonics, while in Distort 3 setting the distortion becomes dominated by 3rd harmonics more closely resembling tape. Two HP filters
    - one in the audio path, one in the detector path
    - are also available to help with low frequencies that can cause pumping and breathing.

    Features:


    - Classic knee sound
    -
    - with modern noise specs and improved performance. The Distressor really grabs.
    - Programmable analog distortion/warmth
    -
    - helpful in the pristine but unforgiving digital world. Three audio modes provide user-programmable, warm harmonic distortion. Emphasized tube-like, 2nd harmonic in clean and Distort 2 mode. In Distort 3 mode, the distortion becomes dominated by 3rd harmonic, more similar to tape.
    - Distortion indicator lights
    -
    - A 1% LED and a "Redline" (3%) LED. No hard clipping until a few dB past "Redline."
    - Advanced built-in sidechain EQ
    -
    - High mid band emphasis prevents harsh, edgy guitars or vocals from hurting innocent ears. Low cut keeps the low "sum & difference" frequencies from pumping the upper frequencies of source material.
    - Foolproof operation
    -
    - Even though there are 384 possible settings (not counting knob settings), it's almost impossible to get a bad sound. Keep all knobs on 5 or 6 (around middle) with ratio at 6:1 and you won't go wrong.
    - Eight unique curves
    -
    - from the 1:1 mode that simply warms up signal with low order harmonics without intentional compression, to the "Nuke" setting -
    - a brickwall limiting curve that shines on live drum room mics. Each curve has its own personality, and release shape. Most exceptional is the 10:1 "Opto" ratio which uses separate circuitry to emulate the oldest (and valued) "light controlled" devices, such as the LA-2A etc. See manual to emulate other compressors of old.
    - Discrete and integrated combination
    -
    - the best of speed/linearity with repeatability. Hand tested & selected components.
    - Huge knobs with high resolution numbering
    -
    - for easy readability and repeatable settings. They also go to 10 and a half.
    - Locked, calibrated, output level
    -
    - Allows speed in setting tape and live mix levels.
    - Stereo Strappable

    - Switchable 115/230 volt operation
    -
    - Extra fuse provided inside unit.
    - Over-designed power supplies
    -
    - Runs cool, allowing cabinet to be sealed -
    - without heat vents. Long life components.
    - Single height and light weight
    -
    - classic sound in a small, extremely reliable package.
    - True bypass
    -
    - Know what it's really doing. All contacts doubled up for maximum reliability. No internal audio connectors.
    - XLR and 1/4" phone ins and outs
    -
    - XLR fully balanced, transformerless design, pin 2 hot. Changeable by user to pin 3 hot!
    - All metal film and Roederstein resistors in the audio path
    -
    - top quality components. Many military spec. parts.
    - Interface and features found nowhere else.

    - Hand wired, calibrated in USA.

    Specifications


    - Freq. response is 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 max. output to min. output in 1:1 mode. Greater than 100 dB signal to noise in distort 3 mode.
    - Distortion ranges between .02% and 20% depending on distortion mode and release times set on front panel.
    - DC coupled output - High quality input caps.
    - Input impedance is 20K Ohms, Output impedance is <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 constants are dependant on ratio.
    - Metal Chassis - single height 1.75" high, 10" deep, 19" wide.
    - Weight: 12.1 lbs

    WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.p65Warnings.ca.gov.