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Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor Compressor with British Mod

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EMP EL8XDISTMOD

Product Details

The "British Mod" version of ELI's Distressor compressor, the Empirical Labs EL8-X features the Stereo Image Link and British Mode options. The 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. With over 28,000 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.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").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.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.

British Mode

The concept of British Mode came from an unusual setting on the classic UREI LN1176 limiter. The unit was designed to have only four ratios, each ratio being engaged by selecting one of four buttons. However, as early as 1980 (or before), renegade recording engineers, always on the lookout for something a little more "over-the-top," found that you could make all four buttons stay in if you pressed them just right. What resulted was a very aggressive sound that had some elements of the unit's 20:1 ratio, but with unusual knee and envelope shapes. Somewhere along the line, someone called it "British Mode," and the name stuck. The EL8-X has the advantage of being able to selectively apply this aggressive characteristic -
- not just to the "British" ratio (1:1) -
- to any of the ratios, simply by engaging the dedicated "British Mode" switch.

Image Link

The original Distressor stereo link function used a summing and phase detection method, which allowed slight stereo image shifting. Although frequently desirable for its phase correction, and its "thickening" on open room mics and other stereo sources, this approach can sometimes be a problem on stereo program material where the producer/engineers want to maintain absolute left/right balance at all times. With the "Stereo Image Link" option, the EL8-X now has three link options
- the original "phase" link, the Image Link and the combination of the two, phase and image linking
- something never before offered on any compressors or limiters.
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We ship on business days (Saturday, Sunday, and holidays are not business days). Packages ship from Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, or Ohio -- we cannot guarantee that any product will ship from a specific warehouse. Expedited Shipping (1-Day Air and 2-Day Air) is the only way to guarantee that you will receive an item within a certain time frame. Delivery estimates for expedited shipping options are listed on the product page for the item in question. All expedited shipments are delivered Monday-Friday.

Ground Shipping typically takes 1-4 business days from the date of shipment (for orders within the 48 contiguous United States). Residential ground and Free 2-Day shipments are delivered Tuesday-Saturday. Commercial ground and Free 2-Day shipments are delivered Monday-Friday. Make sure to select the proper address type for your address in checkout, as delays may occur if your selection is incorrect.

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For most products shipping to the continental United States, customers may choose Ground, 2-Day Air, or 1-Day Air delivery. We also ship to Alaska and Hawaii; however, due to carrier restrictions, we cannot ground-ship to those states.

In addition, we ships to the following destinations, though some restrictions apply:

  • Canada
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  • APO/FPO
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See instructions below for how to search the site by our eligible shipping destinations.

Note: We cannot change a shipping address on an order after it has shipped. If an order is returned because it couldn't be received at the listed shipping address, we will accept the return but will not refund the shipping charges.

Canada

We ship a lot of our most popular gear to Canada! To determine if item(s) ship to Canada, add the item(s) to your cart and enter your shipping postal code. Items that ship to Canada are sent via International Air, and delivery is typically 2-5 business days from the date of shipment.

Canadian orders are charged in U.S. dollars. Actual charges are dependent on your bank's conversion rate. Your bank may assess additional fees for international orders.

Although items shipped to Canada receive their full factory warranty, they must be returned to a United States service center for repairs. We're not responsible for any shipping or customs fees incurred in such a case.

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We ship many items to Puerto Rico. To determine if item(s) ship to Puerto Rico, add the item(s) to your cart and enter your shipping zip code. Eligible items ship via International Air, and typically arrive 2-5 business days from the date of shipment.

APO/FPO

We ship to APO/FPO addresses for free, though over-sized items may be ineligible. To determine if item(s) ship to your APO/FPO address, add the item(s) to your cart and enter your shipping zip code.

U.S. Territories

We ship eligible products to American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and the Virgin Islands. Eligible items typically arrive 2-7 business days from the date of shipment.

What about customs fees?

Please be aware of customs fees such as taxes and duties, which are not included in our shipping charges. Customs fees vary from location to location. Please check with your local customs office for more information on the fees in your area. If you refuse to pay these fees, your order will not be delivered. We cannot refund shipping charges if an item is returned due to refusal to pay fees, and a restocking fee may be applied to cover the cost of return shipping. Customs fees are non-refundable.

Which items ship immediately?

Most orders ship the same business day your order is placed when you place a valid order before the shipping deadline.

Immediate shipment is available Monday-Friday. A valid order placed before 5 p.m. EST will ship the same day when using Ground or Free 2-Day shipping. Ground and Free 2-Day shipping orders placed after 5 p.m. EST will ship the next business day. Many orders using an expedited shipping method (2 Day Air or Next Day Air), and placed before 10 p.m. EST, will ship the same day.

Shipment and availability information updates from our warehouse to our website almost in real time. We are highly confident of the status of each item when you view a page. However, we do not reserve inventory being viewed or even placed in shopping carts, so we cannot guarantee an item's availability until you have placed your order. In particular, if you have been in the checkout area for more than about 10 minutes, we do recommend that you refresh the page to get the most current inventory prior to checking out.

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Exceptions are very unusual, but here are some examples of reasons that might prevent us from shipping immediately:

  • Warehouse, call center, or web operations lose power or telecom connectivity.
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