Empirical Labs

collapse expand iconDescription

The Empirical Labs FATSO (Full Analog Tape Simulator and Optimizer) is a digitally controlled analog device that gives musicians and engineers easy access to many of the desirable characteristics exhibited by older tube and Class-A electronics and magnetic tape mediums. This two-channel audio processor musically integrates frequencies and transients, increasing the apparent volume while keeping tight control over peak levels.

With the FATSO, recording studios and audio production facilities can enhance and soften the sound of Hardware Digital Recorders (HDRs) and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). Mix engineers will have the option not to have to use bulky, expensive analog tape recorders to get the warmth and sweet high end they’ve come to rely on for so many decades. Owners of DAWs and HDRs can finally put a stop to complaints about the coldness and brittle edge of their mixes and instruments. Even audiophiles can benefit from the FATSO, bringing back the warmth and ambience of LP’s and tapes to their CD players and other digital reproduction mediums.

ELEVEN is a new compressor for the FATSO, replacing the old GP Ratio, and emulates the famous UREI 1176LN in 20:1, with the slowest attack and fastest release. This 1176 setting has been used on countless hit records through the decades. With the slower “1176” attack, the transients keep the dynamics present, while the high ratio, can radically limit the dynamic range of any source, making it present and sitting in a nice little place in your mix. One can slam it, or just touch it with a few dB of compression.

Unlike the older units, the FATSO is uniform and predictable from one unit to the next. Precise factory calibration assures that if you go from one FATSO to the next, these settings will all sound the same. The only big variable is the input and output pots, which is why we use high resolution knobs, for recall.

The FATSO Jr was redesigned to lower power consumption and heat, as well as make the interface operate more like it was originally envisioned. The controls can now step backwards one setting by holding the associated button for less than a second. This enables the Bypass to be accessed with one button press from any state, as well as compare compressor and WARMTH settings more easily.
Empirical Labs FATSO EL7X Full Analog Tape Simulator and Optimizer
Empirical Labs FATSO EL7X Full Analog Tape Simulator and Optimizer

collapse expand iconFeatures

  • Digitally controlled analog allows unique features and control to be packed into a single-height unit
  • The new EL7x has improved logic, with “Button Hold” function to compare settings
  • Soft clip features modeled after broadband tape saturation—without the noise
  • Smooth clipping up to 20% THD
  • “Organic” analog saturation extending above 100KHz
  • User-programmable high frequency saturation, simulating the “softening” for which analog tape and phonographs are known—this is the “Warmth” control on FATSO
  • Switchable transformer circuits, which can add the musical artifacts generated by classic devices like NEVE, API, etc.
  • Artifacts include frequency “rounding,” low-order clipping and intermodular distortion, transient clipping and some other very musical non-linearities
  • Four compression modes: one for tracking, one 1176 emulation, one BUSS compressor and SPANK—all linkable
  • SPANK is an additional limiter that musically smashes the dynamic range and can be used to stop clipping before digital recorders
  • Huge Distressor knobs with high resolution numbering for easy readability and repeatable settings
  • Distortion indicator lights, including a 0 VU LED and a “Pinned” (3%) LED—no hard clipping until a few dB past “Pinned”
  • Sidechain jacks allow for EQing or processing compressor control signals
  • Calibrated output level allows speed in setting tape and live mix levels
  • Two channels of classic sound in a small, extremely reliable package
  • Stereo or dual mono operation
  • The best of speed/linearity with repeatability
  • Hand-tested and selected components, including all-metal film and Roederstein resistors in the audio path, top quality components—most being high-temperature parts
  • Switchable 115/230V operation, with an extra fuse provided inside the unit
  • True bypass—all contacts doubled up for maximum reliability, with 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
  • High-reliability parts and military-grade switches and relays
  • Hand-wired and calibrated in USA
  • Four types of processing
  • Harmonic Generation and Soft Clipper (distortion generation)—this Class-A circuit gently rounds the peaks like saturated tubes or tape
  • High Frequency Saturation (warmth)—a one-of-a-kind dynamic low pass filter which softens high frequencies when they “pile up” on a source
  • Transformer and Tape Head Emulation—a simulation of the effect of input and output transformers of older devices, which adds the low frequency harmonics that characterize them, as well as analog tape
  • Classic knee compression—your typical automatic leveling device found on just about every instrument and vocal track as well as on the overall buss, done Empirical Labs compression—smooth and sweet, but in your face

collapse expand iconSpecs

Audio and Power
  • Frequency response: 2Hz–60kHz in clean audio mode (+0, -3dB)
  • Dynamic range: 110dB from maximum output (20% THD soft clipping) to minimum output; greater than 100dB signal to noise
  • Distortion: Ranges between .06% and 20% depending on mode and settings
  • I/O: DC-coupled input and outputs
  • Power consumption: 15W max
Compressor Time Constants (Fixed by the Compression Type Selected)
  • Attack range: 1ms–200ms
  • Release range: .05s–3.5s
  • Metal chassis dimensions (HxDxW): 1.75" x 10" x 19"

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