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Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

Regular Price: $299.00

$119.00

You'll Save 60%

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Regular Price: $299.00

$119.00

You'll Save 60%

You have no items in your shopping cart.

The world’s most popular compressor, exactingly recreated for UAD and Apollo.

Introduced in 1993, the Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor is revered in studios all over the world as the modern, “must-have” compressor. Versatile, super fast, and offering tons of color, the Distressor picks up where the legendary UA 1176 and Teletronix LA-2A compressors leave off — a modern tool that’s equal parts utilitarian and creative, as heard on thousands of hit records.

The only authentic Distressor plug-in endorsed by Empirical Labs’ founder Dave Derr, the UAD Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor is available exclusively for UAD hardware and Apollo interfaces. An exhaustive end-to-end emulation of Derr’s iconic hardware, the UAD EL8 Distressor is the only faithful emulation of this true “desert island” compressor.

Now You Can:

Track and mix with the only authentic emulation of the EL8 Distressor — the world's most popular modern compressor

Radically shape guitars, drums, and vocals with nearly infinite gain reduction variations

Harness plug-in-only features like Dry/Wet parallel processing and Headroom for user‑customizable operating level

Creatively color instruments and vocals with famous “Dist 2” and “Dist 3” modes

Embellish, pump up, or destroy bass, synth, and room mics with custom detector filtering

Mix with presets from Joe Chiccarelli (The Strokes), Vance Powell (Jack White), Jacquire King (Kings of Leon), Jimmy Douglass (The Rolling Stones), and more

This is the fastest and most accurate Distressor emulation out there. -Dave Derr, Founder of Empirical Labs

Take a Listen

Take a Listen
5-Min UAD Tip
5-Min UAD Tip

5-Min UAD Tip

In this video, learn how the EL8 Distressor compressor can transform your mixes into something truly special.

The Only End-to-End Distressor Emulation

The Only End-to-End Distressor Emulation

The Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor plug-in provides all the features and coveted sound of the original Distressor design. UA’s team of DSP experts started with a complete circuit trace and component study of Dave Derr's selected golden unit. Simultaneously, the team analyzed three more Distressors representing the lifetime of the product — ensuring one of UA’s tightest circuit models to date.

When comparing Distressor software emulations, contrast the original hardware’s ultra-fast attack time to quickly hear where most plug-ins fail, and the authentic UAD Distressor succeeds.

The Right Ratio

The Right Ratio

The crux of the Distressor are its staggering variations in compression —
1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 6:1, 10:1, 20:1 and Nuke — each delivering unique tones and curves. Use the 1:1 ratio to gently warm up synths or strings without compression, while adding musical low-order harmonics. At the other extreme, the Nuke limiter setting is famous for adding explosive excitement to room mics, or energizing a entire mix.

Distortion Modes

Distortion Modes

The Distressor's iconic Dist 2 and Dist 3 modes feature a wide palette of compression coloration, letting you shape sources with even or combined even/odd-order harmonic distortion. From delicate thickening to burnished tape to fully saturated, the Distortion Modes, combined with low-frequency filtering, let you focus the Distressor’s textures.

Powerful Sidechain Controls

Powerful Sidechain Controls

The Distressor’s sidechain control lets you easily focus your dynamics. High Pass filter unwanted low frequency pumping and breathing — perfect for drum bus processing. Band Emphasis works to tame strident vocals or can laser in on harsh “power region” instrument midrange peaks, or use both together.

You can also run the Distressor on buses, linked or unlinked, for flexible imaging. Exclusive plug-in features like Dry/Wet Mix offer easy parallel compression on a mix bus or instrument group. Finally, the Headroom control lets you optimize the Distressor’s overall operating level to your playback system.

Watch The Reviews

      Key Features

      Painstaking, end-to-end circuit emulation of the iconic hardware designed by Dave Derr, exclusively for Universal Audio

      Provides the entire circuit path and control set of the original Empirical Labs hardware

      Features seven fixed ratios, including Optical and Nuke, Distortion Modes, and Detector Modes

      Plug-in-exclusive features include Dry/Wet parallel processing and Headroom for user-customizable operating level

      Customer Reviews

      Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor

      Overall Rating

      s. simmonds

      December 11, 2019

      Empirical labs

      Good as

      J. Rubio Almanza

      December 10, 2019

      Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor

      Probably one of the best compressors in the worild. I find the sound quality for this pluging simply fantastic. Very useful the posibilities on ratio selection to be very accurate.

      G. Nikolay

      December 9, 2019

      I Love

      My favourite

      J. Steffen

      December 8, 2019

      Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!

      I’ve always heard people rant and rave about these things, but I never had a chance to use one. So I stated the 14 day demo to try it on some vocals for a track I was mixing. I put it on the vocals, set it to “nuke”, adjusted the threshold, attack, and release. Uses the hp filter for the detector section and the hp filter plus setting 2 for the harmonics and wow it simply blew me away on the girls vocals. They really popped out of the mix. And that harmonic setting 2 really helped her consonants come out clearer. After that I tried it on the drum bus and again it was perfect. My go to compressor for vocals and drums has always been the 1176. Not anymore. This thing really is amazing. It is in my opinion the end all be all of compressor for the mix stage. It’s fantastic on EVERYTHING. You simply cannot go wrong purchasing the Distressor. Just buy, you’ll be really happy you did. I’m completely thrilled with it. I think it may be the best purchase I’ve made all year. On a side note the Vertigo VSM-3 on the vocal chain right before the Distressor with some high boost really made her vocals perfectly sit in the mix. Mind completely blown. Those two together are perfect for vocals.

      M. Chang

      December 8, 2019

      As good as advertised.

      Kinda makes me question why I bother owning any other compressor plugins.

      P. Ruddy

      December 7, 2019

      Really awesome

      I've got 2 of them in my studio and get the plug to have more. It's just amazing because I've got more possibilities !!

      P. Carper

      December 4, 2019

      Excellent emulation, the best I’ve seen.

      I’ve used two different distressor replica plugins and this one takes the cake, big time. The sound is clean, thick, and sounds very analog.

      J. Moore

      December 4, 2019

      Great!

      Great on just about everything!!!

      g. paillotin

      December 4, 2019

      Parfait pour les drums

      Ramène un centre bien compacte et estompe les sybilances des frequences tres hautes des cymbales de manière magistrale... Un must-have

      g. paillotin

      December 4, 2019

      Parfait pour les drums

      Ramène un centre bien compacte et estompe les sybilances des frequences tres hautes des cymbales de manière magistrale... Un must-have

      S. Smashnov

      December 2, 2019

      Cool

      The Best comp!!

      a. madalin

      November 23, 2019

      THE BEST


      THE BEST

      R. Thomas

      November 18, 2019

      Distressor

      Nothing like it great piece!

      J. Visser

      November 12, 2019

      Awesomesauce!! Just brilliant!!

      Nothing like a distress or to make things sparkle... but having one for every channel I want... wicked!

      UAD User

      November 3, 2019

      Fantastico!

      Senza questo fantastico plug in non saprei come far lavorare bene i miei drumkit trap!

      N. Freeze

      October 28, 2019

      Awesome!!!

      Real thing in my box!!!!
      Excellent for anything from drums to vocals...

      D. Bourgiotis

      October 28, 2019

      Perfect Compressor

      Use it on bass, drums, vox & as a parallel comp. Super fast & super easy to use.

      C. Padilla

      October 26, 2019

      Must Have Compressor

      Very highly recommended. Love the way it can completely transform the sound of a kick/snare AND add a bit of extra thump to a bass or guitar.

      M. Nwankoti

      October 22, 2019

      great compressor

      loving this plugin I use it on Kick, bass and lead vocals!

      G. Watson

      October 17, 2019

      Producer/Engineer

      GREAT PLUG-IN I FEEL LIKE MY SET IS COMPLETE NOW!