Empirical Labs

collapse expand iconDescription

The Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor Compressor Stereo Pair With British Mod and Image Link is a compressor renowned for adding warmth, punch and character to any signal. This innovative, digitally controlled compressor incorporates multiple vintage emulations into one powerful unit with an array of intuitive controls. Now with an all-new "British Mode" and groundbreaking stereo image linking, the EL8X Distressor takes compression into uncharted territory.

Vintage Emulations With Unique "British Mode"

The EL8X Distressor delivers vintage tone reminiscent of coveted compressors of yore, with emulations of the UREI 1176 and DBX 160 compressors built right in. An all-new "British Mode" switch engages an aggressive compression curve inspired by a trick once used to overload the UREI 1176, resulting in a signature sound with fast attack and release times. Select from eight compression ratios from 1:1 to 20:1 for transparent level control or extreme squashing effects.

Stereo Linking Options Galore

With three stereo linking options—phase, image and phase/image—the EL8X Distressor provides unparalleled control over your stereo field. The original phase linking provides phase correction and a widened sound, while the new image linking maintains an absolute left/right balance. Combining the two linking modes yields the benefits of both phase and image linking in one. Stereo linking can be engaged or disengaged at the push of a button for maximum flexibility.

Intuitive Interface and Quality Components

Despite its digital control, the EL8X Distressor delivers an all-analog signal path for the highest quality audio. It features a warm, vintage-style gain control circuit, high-end input and output caps and a low-noise design. With clearly labeled knobs for ratio, input, output, attack and release, using the EL8X Distressor is intuitive and inspiring.

Roadworthy and Studio-Friendly

Housed in a durable metal chassis, the EL8X Distressor is ideal for life on the road or in the studio. With XLR and TRS inputs and outputs, the EL8X Distressor works with any pro audio setup. It can be powered via a standard AC cable or DC power supply for maximum flexibility in any environment.

collapse expand iconFeatures

  • 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.

collapse expand iconSpecs

  • 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

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