Compressor: Empirical Labs EL-8 Distressor


The Distressor is more or less responsible for defining what we would consider a "modern" compressor. You can thank its flexibility for that. Whichever kind of compressor you want to emulate, whether that's a DBX 160 or 1176, LA-2A or -3A, a Distressor can get it done, with even more features at your control. Either you love it, or you haven't figured out how it works yet.

This compressor's operational theory is most like an 1176, with a fixed threshold and input/output volume controls to dial in compression. Ratio is digitally controlled from a single button, cycling through the numerous options including a dedicated 10:1 opto-electrical sense circuit and a wild, trashy "all-buttons-in" setting called Nuke.