Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

$299.00

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$299.00

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

      D. Cadoch

      January 14, 2021

      An amazing sound...

      The UAD Distressor lives up to its goal compresses and delivers a balanced and hefty sound without compromising. Very satisfied with vocals and guitar highs midrange and low!!

      A. Mitrofanov

      January 14, 2021

      Удивительный компрессор

      Отличный компрессор, с удивительными свойствами по компрессии. Можно применять на любом материале! Круто заходит на Барабанной шине, на вокале. Если микшируете танцевальную музыку, компрессор, однозначно MUST HAVE!!!!

      b. Nieminen

      January 12, 2021

      Amazing for everything

      I think this sounds amazing for kick and snare, overheads, bass, guitars and vocals, so easy to use and sounds crazy good.

      J. Neves

      January 12, 2021

      A Must Have...

      Pure and simple!

      M. Riecks

      January 11, 2021

      The modern compressor

      There is actually nothing to say, but that in case you want to do modern music this is the compressor to go for. Versatility and options are great and the sound is amazing. I use this on Bass, Drums, even on Guitar. Only for vocals or busses/groups I am using the LA-2A or the Fatso. Thanks UAD for this plugin!

      M. Riecks

      January 11, 2021

      The modern compressor

      There is actually nothing to say, but that in case you want to do modern music this is the compressor to go for. Versatility and options are great and the sound is amazing. I use this on Bass, Drums, even on Guitar. Only for vocals or busses/groups I am using the LA-2A or the Fatso. Thanks UAD for this plugin!

      b. zucchetti

      January 9, 2021

      Excellent as the original hardware and everything of UAudio !

      Must to have !
      A great big portable studio in my Mac !
      By the time and waiting the right promotion i will buy everything of UAudio!

      E. Castro

      January 8, 2021

      UNA BELLEZA

      tienen que tenerlo!!!!

      E. Castro

      January 8, 2021

      UNA BELLEZA

      tienen que tenerlo!!!!

      M. De Maio

      January 7, 2021

      I'm super impressed!

      What a great plugin, almost identical to the hardware version, plus I can add it to every channel I want- I'm so impressed by the instant quality it gives to my drums. Thank you!

      S. Vasiľ

      December 30, 2020

      Best mix and subgroup compressor!

      Best universal modern compressor for an track or subgroup, modern vibe, highs and stereo wide no cut, super tight dynamic BD and Bass ( vs all native soft plugins) super replica HW

      S. Hellings

      December 30, 2020

      Perfect!

      Does the trick every time!

      I. Williams

      December 20, 2020

      Impressive Emulation

      100% Happy...Sounds great just like the hardware :)

      R. Miranda de Freitas

      December 19, 2020

      Perfect!


      odd sound for drums

      R. Miranda de Freitas

      December 19, 2020

      Perfect!


      odd sound for drums

      J. Bru

      December 18, 2020

      Compresor por excelencia

      Este compresor aporta una característica que lo hace muy especial, deja que tu creatividad fluya....

      M. Elliott

      December 17, 2020

      Must have plugin!

      Definitely a "must have" plug in for anyone doing production!

      K. Landri

      December 16, 2020

      Sounds so nice!

      Easy to make it sound good and use!

      A. Petrakov

      December 15, 2020

      Great aggressive compressor

      When I want things upfront or add some bite I use this, great addition to other UAD compressors. And it’s very versatile, controllable and adds strong character to everything.

      T. Allen

      December 15, 2020

      Damn great!

      Did a lot of research and checked a bunch of shootouts before my purchase... This is a beautiful emulation of the hardware. Gives you the grit when you need it, keeps is tight when you don’t.