I use my Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor on every type of sound source. It's not just one of the most versatile compressors I've used, it has a unique tone. While the Distressor can be clean, when I drive it, I get some of the most musical sounding distortion possible. Even when I run it at 1:1, it adds a nice fatness to my sound, which also makes it excellent for DI applications.
Makes me want to buy another one
Let's see. I'm a home recorder with big dreams and/or more likely a perfectionist. I do believe gear really can inspire though. Anyway, I've tried a lot of different stuff over the years including an 1176LN, Retro Powerstrip, Retro Sta-Level, FMR PCB, and others. I always wanted to try a Distressor, and finally got the opportunity to get one.
It's one of those rare things that actually live up to the hype. It's so flexible/hard to get "wrong". I wish I'd gotten two, one for my 1176 ish sound, and another for the opto sound to follow it, or stereo when the time calls. I love my Sta-Level, but it's kind've a 1-trick poney. The beauty of the Distressor is that it will do whatever you need and sound how your ears imagine it should, in the process.
Wish I Bought 2
As the title states I can't wait to buy the 2nd unit for the studio.. I already have the rack space dedicated. One of the most versatile compressors out there. Must have for snares, great on bass, & if you're doing EDM or any Electronica you need this!!
I currently only own one of these but I can say that it's my main vocal compressor. The brit mode adds that perfect "IT" factor to vocals. I love the efficiency of this unit and the ratio button on the front of the box. It makes it easy to dial in a basic range when you're in a hurry and more interested in capturing the magic than over engineering. Instant tone in a box and brings everything that you run through it to the next level. Get one for sure and get two if you have the money. You won't regret it.
Buy one, two or maybe three!
This is not a one trick pony! Great piece!
The Studio I Go To Just Recorded a engineered a Platinum Hit, and used this.
I'm an intern and client at a studio in Hartford, CT . I always sit in live on sessions and see the engineer turn these knobs and just make the signal a amazing in a matter seconds ... If you know how to use these they can be a valuable asset to any professional / home studio..
The Secret Weapon!
I am a fan of the Distressor, it's extremely versatile and has a great personality.
Must have for any producer
I had been "borrowing" one of these from a fellow studio owner for over a year, both as a front end compressor, and for mixing... then my friend took it back! I felt like I had lost my left leg. So, I bought one for myself. This compressor is very versatile, and has become one of my studios "must have" pieces of gear. Works superb on all sound sources. I would highly recommend reading up on some typical settings for this compressor. (Some are given in the manual). You're ears will thank you for using the Empirical Labs Distressor
Maybe I'm just getting stuck in my ways and crochety, but I refuse to record distorted or rock guitars without a distressor in the chain - the edge and ***** the brit mode adds is a game-changer. Everyone should have one of these in the rack. Not a bad choice if you could only have 1 hardware compressor!