The Empirical Labs EL8 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 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. 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 unforgiving. The Distressor 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 and limiters) and deliver a classic knee sound all on its own.
Empirical Labs EL8
- A modern classic, the Distressor is the absolute first compressor you should buy for your rack
- Great for Guitar, Bass and Drums
- 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 percent and 20 percent 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 dependant on ratio
- Metal Chassis - single height 1.75 high, 10 deep, 19 inches wide
- Shipping info - 12.1 lbs mono. Mono box dimensions 22.5 x 18.5 x 3 1/4 inches