Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor

$299.00

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$299.00
4.8/5
(86 reviews)

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
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

      4.8/5
      (86 reviews)

      F. Taglioli

      May 23, 2018

      essential

      once you try it is impossible to do without it !!

      R. Esposito

      May 21, 2018

      The best compressor ever

      I love using this on everything. Particularly Vocals, Guitar & Bass. Before this I was fixated on the 1176 which is fantastic. But now that I started using this plug it’s added a sweetness that didn’t exist from teletronix or the 1176. I’ve never used one until recently so I look forward to seeing what else can be done with it.

      J. Weaver

      May 21, 2018

      Hands down the best Distressor emulation

      I've used all of the Distressor emulations relentlessly trying to find the character of the hardware. This does it. The others don't come close.

      L. Zavala

      April 30, 2018

      Changes everything about how I produce...

      Simply put, this thing has completely changed my sound forever. In the best possible way ever!

      P. Moshay

      April 18, 2018

      The rumors are true

      The rumors that you need a Distressor are very true and now that i have the UA plug in version, i can use them all over my sessions instead of only being able to use my pair. Its a MUST HAVE plug in, they nailed it

      R. Gagl

      April 17, 2018

      Dangerous!

      Whatever you throw on this beast rocks. Its not an emulation - its the original!

      W. Rich

      April 14, 2018

      One Word...Impressive

      I have only had the opportunity to work with this compressor on a few sessions and I have never used the real hardware but, what I can tell you is, it is flexible, it is extremely versatile and it sounds great on everything I've used it on, from drum bus to vocals to parallel compression on the 2 buss. I was able to dial in exactly what was needed. Awesome doesn't cover it. Impressive!

      D. Gonçalves

      April 11, 2018

      Fantastic compressor

      This compressor is very versatile and sounds amazing!

      D. Gonçalves

      April 11, 2018

      Fantastic compressor

      This compressor is very versatile and sounds amazing!

      M. Covelli-Roubaud

      April 11, 2018

      The best audio weapon you can have !

      Distressor hardware is already a must have but the Distressor emulation of UAD with the dry/wet functions it's even better !!! So many possibility to soft from hard compression, coloration, filtering etc...

      M. Soares

      April 10, 2018

      Just Whouahh

      Even the default setting is perfect on a drums bus !!!

      K. Gorski

      April 10, 2018

      Killer Comp

      This, apart from the fact that it is based on one of the most famous compressors, together with those made by Univers Audio, is a killer plug-in that fins its use on many of my sessions. I find it easy to use and it helps me nail the sound quickly. I love it!

      K. Gorski

      April 10, 2018

      Killer Comp

      This, apart from the fact that it is based on one of the most famous compressors, together with those made by Univers Audio, is a killer plug-in that fins its use on many of my sessions. I find it easy to use and it helps me nail the sound quickly. I love it!

      K. Gorski

      April 10, 2018

      Killer Comp

      This, apart from the fact that it is based on one of the most famous compressors, together with those made by Univers Audio, is a killer plug-in that fins its use on many of my sessions. I find it easy to use and it helps me nail the sound quickly. I love it!

      D. Perini

      April 10, 2018

      Distressor is wow!

      Distressor is wow! :)

      D. Perini

      April 10, 2018

      Distressor is wow!

      Distressor is wow! :)

      O. Ranheim

      April 9, 2018

      Outstanding

      The Distressor is awesome and adds warmth and punch to your mix!

      J. McEachern

      April 8, 2018

      Perfection

      Simply mind blowing

      F. Ott

      April 5, 2018

      Damn!

      I tested this masterpiece of emulation on our pre-production. After 3 Days of the demo I was sure, the distressor is a must have!
      Used it for scream- and shoutvocals and to thicken up the bass in parallel compression.

      Cheers

      J. Welsh

      April 2, 2018

      All of these are starting to sound the same to me...

      This is a great plugin, but not all that different, sonically, then every other compressor plugin UA has.

      It's good, but not my "go-to" compressor.