Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

Regular Price: $299.00

$149.00

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Regular Price: $299.00

$149.00

You'll Save 50%

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

      T. Musto

      October 2, 2020

      Great job

      Works flawlessly. Never had the hardware and am very happy w the plug in

      D. Cottee

      October 2, 2020

      Exactly What I Expected

      Practically identical to the real deal. Versatile & essential

      D. Rouge

      October 1, 2020

      Very similar

      A must have in your arsenal. Sounds amazing. Very near to the hardware unit.

      L. Wall

      October 1, 2020

      REALLY RAD.

      I love the control with this thing. It's also really hard to make it sound bad.

      L. Wall

      October 1, 2020

      REALLY RAD.

      I love the control with this thing. It's also really hard to make it sound bad.

      UAD User

      September 30, 2020

      Hardware...

      ...as it seems! Really love the incredible match with the hardware version. The UAD features, such as the wet/dry knob, make it a even more amazing tool.

      H. Nakanishi

      September 29, 2020

      Great!!

      It's really great as the hardware. I hope it's the X version.

      E. Grebeznieks

      September 17, 2020

      Perfect!

      I've been dreaming about this plugin for a long time, and it didn't disappoint me. Excellent emulation of the legendary device

      P. Maier

      September 17, 2020

      New Favorite on Vocals and Drums!

      The Distressor seems to become my new favorite Compression on vocals and drums - versatile, great sound and easy to handle in a mix with the dry-wet option.

      G. Scelza

      September 15, 2020

      Great Compressor!

      I've never owned or used the real hardware but I love what this does to my drums/bass stem. Looking forward to trying it on vocals and other sources. Great job UAD!

      p. huitema

      September 7, 2020

      Good coompressor (only in a sale)

      I really enjoy the wide application of the compressor. The DSP impact is 28% which makes very expensive on my UAD2 quad. It's nice on parallel usage on the individual drum track. Due to a failing uad2 OCT PCI card, I'm currently limited to really small setups. The biggest drawback is the default UAD price.

      r. aitken

      September 7, 2020

      Distressor

      As with all the ua plugins I have this is a winner
      Just need more processing ah well expansion it is

      M. Malinski

      August 23, 2020

      Best emulation on the market

      Hi
      I own the real thing, and UAD version is really close.
      Is sound so good, so sometimes I not using the real thing.
      Great on vocals, drums.
      Thank you

      D. Coger

      July 24, 2020

      Great plugin

      Everybody wanted a distressor plug-in and we got one. Thank you UA for giving us this plug-in. I purchased the 99 plug-in deal when I bought my Apollo and this is one of my go to plugins in just about every session.

      E. Lefebvre

      July 20, 2020

      Perfect!

      Squash machine and a lot of more... Definitely like it!

      K. Ramsey

      July 19, 2020

      Amazing

      Perfect for use on vocals!!!

      N. Auterac

      July 15, 2020

      Pretty great

      Pretty great, I have 2 of the hardware and haven’t A/B’d them yet but sounds very good

      T. Ruiz

      July 14, 2020

      It is as close as it can be...

      I've own a couple Distressors units for over 12 years or more, I've used them on a ton of recordings and mixes, since I went ITB for mixing I haven't found anything like it in the digital world till I bought the EL8 plugin from UAudio and I can tell you, I just feel like I'm using my hardware units with a digital interface, amazing, well well done UA I

      B. Meijer

      July 14, 2020

      So nice!

      Can’t go wrong with this one! So nice on synth leads and plucks.

      A. Szmer

      July 14, 2020

      Power of software

      Amazing for electric guitars, my solo sounds powerfull