Empirical Labs

collapse expand iconDescription

Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor Compressor with British Mod and Image Link is a digitally-controlled compressor ideal for any recording or live setup. Building upon the legendary warmth and character of the original EL8 Distressor, the EL8X offers enhanced control and innovative features for crafting your signature sound. With a range of ratios from 1:1 to ∞:1 and attack times from 20μs to 50ms, the EL8X provides subtle leveling or bombastic pumping effects. The one-of-a-kind "British Mode" delivers an aggressive "all buttons in" sound reminiscent of a classic UREI 1176 compressor.

Craft Your Tone With Innovative Features

The EL8X offers a bevy of features for shaping your tone. The proprietary Image Link function maintains a consistent stereo image, even under heavy compression, for a wide and balanced soundstage. Switch between the original phase-based linking and the new Image Link, or combine them for maximum control. An LED display clearly shows gain reduction, input/output levels, and distortion amounts, allowing precise adjustments. With a frequency range of 2Hz to 160kHz, the EL8X capably handles the full spectrum of signals with clarity and musicality.

Harness the Power of "British Mode"

The legendary "all buttons in" sound of a UREI 1176 compressor is faithfully recreated in the EL8X's "British Mode." Engaging British Mode applies an aggressive compression curve with a unique envelope shape to produce pumping, in-your-face results, especially on vocals and drums. While the 1176's extreme settings were originally an accident, the EL8X's British Mode was meticulously engineered to harness their power and attitude.

Built to Last in a Rugged Chassis

As with all Empirical Labs products, the EL8X is built to rigorous standards for years of dependable use. Its all-metal chassis protects the custom-designed gain control circuitry within. With a dynamic range over 110dB, low noise and distortion and high input/output impedance, the EL8X capably handles a wide range of signals with a pristine signal path. DC-coupling translate into a clear, musical tone from input to output.

Discover a Legend Reborn

Experience the next evolution of an analog studio staple. With innovative features, enhanced stereo control, and the iconic "British Mode" sound, the Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor Compressor with British Mode and Image Link delivers vintage vibe and modern versatility. Add warmth, fullness and attitude to your tracks with this fully-featured compressor.

Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor Compressor with British Mod and Image Link

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 - single height 1.75" high, 10" deep, 19" wide.
  • Shipping info: Weight - 12.1 lbs, box dimensions 22.5" x 18.5" x 3 1/4".

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