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MF MD HG Labor Day Inclusion 8-22-14

Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor Compressor Stereo Pair With British Mod and Image Link  

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#501581000000000
Overview
  • Classic knee sound - With modern noise specs and improved performance. Really grabs.
  • Programmable analog distortion/warmth - helpful in the pristine but unforgiving digital world. Three audio modes providing 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".
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $3,300.00
  • Your Savings:
    - $401.00
  • Your Price:
    $2,89900

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Also Consider
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      Empirical Labs

      Get a great compressor/limiter with two fantastic factory mods already installed!

      The EL8X Distressor from Empirical Labs is an automatic gain (or volume) control device (AGC in engineering terms) designed for pro audio (music) applications. Basically, it electronically controls the volume of just about any source in a very pleasing, and "musical" manner - adding fullness, intelligibility, and especially in the Distressor's case - excitement. This type of device is often called a "limiter" or "compressor" by audio industry people. Its most probable uses will be in recording studios, live sound situations, movie sound production, and radio broadcast production.

      Unlike most analog compressor/limiters the EL8X Distressor is a digitally controlled audio device and actually incorporates several products into one by utilizing digital controls to switch totally different circuits in and out. Years of beta testing and redesign went into the Distressor as is the case with all Empirical Labs products.

      Besides offering a wide range of control and unique features, the Distressor offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit. This "warmth" or vintage sound has become an important issue in the last 15 years, as the super clear and linear digital technology does very little (or nothing) to soften "harsh" sounds nor emphasize the bass frequencies in music sources. Older analog tape, vinyl records and tube equipment on the other hand, could not be prevented from coloring the sound, often to the frustration of recording engineers. However, many people have now realized that this coloring can be extremely pleasant and "musical". The current digital technology is often referred to as "cold" and "brittle" among other terms, although we prefer the term "unforgiving" to describe the negative side of the "linearity". The Distressor compressor offers several modes that color the signal, even without compression (or gain control). These extended modes were designed to allow emulation of some very old and some very expensive vintage gain control units (compressors & limiters) and deliver a classic "knee" sound all its own.

      The EL8X Distressor "British Mode"
      The original concept of the "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, very aggressive sound that had some elements of the units 20:1 ratio, but with an unusual knee and new envelope shape. Somewhere along the line, someone called it a "British Mode" and the name has stuck. It is also called "all buttons in" and some other intuitive names.

      Empirical Labs gives the Distressor the advantage of being able to apply this "aggressive" nature not only to the British ratio (1:1) but also to all the ratios since a separate switch is installed, which can be enabled with any ratio. One should keep in mind however, that an attack below 3 or 4 is required to maintain the LN1176 character. If you go above an attack of 3 you will also incur a rise in some grunge (distortion) and see the THD indicator lights come on a lot more. The Distressor will no longer behave smoothly, nor like an 1176.


      How to use the new British Mode Option for the first time
      Put the unit in the 1:1 ratio and turn on the British Mode Switch (flip it up and the LED should be lit). That enables it. To sound like the 1176 the only constraint is to keep the attack well under 4 on the Distressors - their attack can go much longer than the 1176. Now you will find that the unit has a new attitude! The attack and release will generally be more aggressive and the unit will get in and out of the way very quickly. Interestingly, the unit will be slightly less colored when not compressing.

      Tips
      Use this ratio to "skim" peaks. This means that most of the time it may not be doing anything, but when it does "hit" the signal, it will smoothly push back the signal and then get right out of the way again. If you are hitting the Gain Reduction all the time with the British mode on, you are going to be really "squashing" the signal. On the other hand, the Distressor will sound fairly subtle when compressing all the time in 2:1 mode, especially with a slower attack (>6).

      Tricks
      • Vocals: This is a great final compression during mixdown. When not working it is very transparent, but when a vocal pops out and hits the compression, the British mode will get in and out of there quickly and smoothly. When you are really compressing a lot, breaths and background noises will become very loud (pushed up). There is not much you can do with this except gate before compression maybe or, mute or erase the noises and breaths out that you don't want to hear. Remember that breaths are natural and can add a lot of excitement sometimes, so don't gate or erase them by default. If you can, back up a vocal track before you start trying to punch out breaths and noises etc.

      Stereo Image Linking for the Distressor
      The original Distressor stereo link implementation used a summing and phase detection method which allowed stereo image shifting. "Image shifting" occurs when the inter-channel balance (the relative volume between Left and Right channels) changes during compression. Although known for its phase correction, and its "thickening" on open room mics and other stereo sources, this approach has sometimes been a problem on stereo program material where the producer/engineers want to maintain absolute left/right balance at all times.

      With the new "Stereo Image Link" option, the Distressor user now has three link options - the original "phase" link, the new Image Link and the combination of the two, phase and image linking. This has never before been offered on any compressors or limiters. There can be very slight differences in the metering between the two units. Due to the high resolution of the Distressor's metering, 1/10th dB can make an LED on one unit go on or off earlier than the other unit's. Also, don't readjust knob alignment - the output pots especially. They are often offset around "0" to allow for "dead spots" at the lower extremes.


      About Empirical Labs:
      Empirical Labs was started in 1988 and functioned mainly as a recording studio and electronics consulting firm. The founder, Dave Derr, was also employed at the time by Eventide as an audio engineer and was one of the core designers of their legendary H3000. EL's first product, the EL8 Distressor (#501578) immediately took the recording industry by storm and hardly a record has been made without it since. With a mission "to make products that work a little easier, a little better, a lot longer, and are fun to use," Empirical Labs continues to create unique and innovate products that quickly find homes among the top professionals of the audio industry (and anyone else who wants in on the Empirical Labs sound).


      Empirical Labs Users:
      Aerosmith - Joe Perry (8 Distressors)
      Al Schmidt
      Alanis Morrisette
      Angela Piva - (Mary J Blige, Naughty by Nature, Janet Jackson
      Billy Howerdel- Ashes DIvide
      Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Niacin, David Lee Roth)
      Bob Clearmountain - Journey, Bryan Adams, Stones, Springstein, etc, etc, etc!)
      Bob Dylan
      Bob Powers
      Bon Jovi
      Brendan O'Brien -Producer Mixdown Engineer

      Bruce Calder - (Electric Lady Studios, Degeneration)
      Butch Vig
      Cher
      Chimera
      Chris Lord Alge

      Chuck Ainlay
      Clair Brothers
      Cold Play
      Craig Melvin (Gloria Estefan)
      Creed - (8 Distressors on their 2003 tour)
      D & D Studios NYC
      Daniel Lanois (U2)
      Dave Hewitt - Remote Recording Services
      Dave Matthews
      David Kahne
      Death Cab for Cutie
      Disturbed
      Dolly Parton
      Don Was
      Dust Brothers (John King)
      Ed Cherney

      Ed Kowalcyzk - Live
      Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix)
      Effanel Remote recording - Randy Ezratty, 2003
      Grammys
      Elton John
      Eminem
      Eric Schilling (Gloria Estefan, John Secada)
      Finn Halle - Germany
      Fiona Apple
      Five Towns College (6 Distressors)
      Fleetwood Mac
      Fletcher
      Full Sail School for the Recording Arts
      George Massenburg

      Goo Goo Dolls
      Greg Calbi - Sterling Sound
      Gungi Patterson
      Hole
      Jason Slater - Snake River Conspiracy
      Jay Baumgartner - NRG Studios
      Jay Gordon - Producer, Lead Vocalist of Orgy
      Jerry Harrison - Live, Verve Pipe, (12 Distressors)
      Jerry Only - The Misfits
      Joe Berisi
      Joe Chicarelli (Hole, Beck, U2, etc!)
      Joe Satriani
      John Agnello - (producer, engineer, mixer)
      John Kurzweg (Creed)
      John McBride at Blackbird Studios - 8 Distressors, 4 Fatsos, 2 Lil FrEQs

      John Paterno

      John Patterson

      John Sicket
      Josh Abraham (Orgy, Staind, Korn, Limp Bizkit)
      Judy Saiya
      Julien - K
      Kevin Killen
      Kip Winger
      Kooster McAllister - Record Plant Remote
      Linkin Park Marc Costanzo, Len
      Mark Anthony
      Mark Plati (David Bowie)
      Maroon 5

      Matt Wallace
      Megadeth
      Metallica
      Michael Bienhorn
      Michael Wilton (Queensrych)
      Micheal Brauer - Sony Studios NYC
      Michael Wagener (Ozzy, King's X, Skid Rowe)

      Mick Gazauski (Mariah Carey, Boyz 2 Men, Toni Braxton, etc.)
      Mick Hughes - Metallica FOH Engineer

      Mike Keating (Sting, Bush, Springstein live)
      Mike Shipley
      Millbrook Sound
      Mitch Goldfarb
      Mutt Lange
      N SYNC

      Natalie Merchant
      Nate Kunkel

      Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue)
      Nine Inch Nails
      Outsmarting Simon

      Paul Tennebekk (Norway's Midwest Audio)
      Peter Denenberg
      Phil (the Buther) Nicolo (The Stones, Amy Grant, Sting, Aerosmith, Judy Saiya)
      Phil Ramone/John Patterson
      Rammstein
      Real World Studios - (Peter Gabriel's facility in England)
      Ricky Martin

      Roey Shamir (Information Society, Al B Sure)
      Ross Hogarth (Jewel, Coal Chamber, Grade 8)
      Ryan Hewitt - Engineer Extraordinare
      Scott Anthony - Dessau recording, Beastie Boys

      Seal - on tour
      Sean Beresford (3rd Eye Blind)
      Shania Twain
      Sheryl Crow

      Sound Kitchen
      Staind
      Sting
      Stone Temple Pilots

      Sue Shoemaker - Blues Traveler
      Tchad Blake (Sheryl Crow, Richard Thompson, Crowded House, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt)
      The Academy Is
      The Police
      The Voyager Remote Truck in Paris

      The Who
      Tom Lord Alge

      Tony Levin
      Wheatus
      Whitney Houston

      Woodland Studios - Robert Solomon




      Features
      • Classic knee sound - With modern noise specs and improved performance. Really grabs.
      • Programmable analog distortion/warmth - helpful in the pristine but unforgiving digital world. Three audio modes providing 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.
      • Fool proof 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 brick wall 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 LA2A 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 1/2 .
      • Locked, calibrated, output level - Allows speed in setting tape and live mix levels.
      • Stereo Strappable
      • Switchable 110/220 volt operation - Extra fuse provided inside unit.
      • Over design 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 mil spec. parts.
      • Interface and features found nowhere else.
      • Hand wired, calibrated in USA. Shipping weight 11.25Lbs.

      If you could only buy one pro-quality compressor, make it a Distressor.

       

      EL8X Distressor Compressor Stereo Pair With British Mod and Image Link 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 dependent on ratio.
      • Metal Chassis - 3.50" high, 10" deep, 19" wide.
      • Shipping info: Weight - 24.2 lbs, Box dimensions 22.5" x 18.5" x 6 1/4
      Customer Reviews
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