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Empirical Labs
EL8-X Distressor Compressor (BRIT MOD)

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Item: N13-1613

Availability: Out of stock

EL8-X Distressor Compressor (BRIT MOD)


The EL8-X, from Empirical Labs, is a compressor and limiter with two factory mods already installed. Its compression style adds a very musical character to the sound, making it more full and intelligible. Something that sets apart the EL8-X from other compressors is the digital control, which essentially incorporates other products into one, deciding how a few different circuits interact with each other. This digital control has nothing to do with the actual sound, which is as warm as it can get. With the British Mode mod, it attempts to emulate the UREI LN1176 limiter in an abused state, providing a 20:1 compression ratio with an unusual knee and envelope shape. Although, with further advanced technology, this character can be applied to any ratio of compression. For a versatile unit that can work as a classic compressor/limiter, as well as an emulation of the 1176, the EL8-X is the one stop shop.


  • Classic knee sound - With modern noise specs and improved performance. Really grabs
  • Programmable analog distortion/warmth - helpful in the pristine but unforgiving digital world. Three audio modes providing user programmable, warm harmonic distortion. Emphasized tube-like, 2nd harmonic in clean and Distort 2 mode. In Distort 3 mode, the distortion becomes dominated by 3rd harmonic, more similar to tape
  • Distortion indicator lights - A 1% LED and a "Redline" (3%) LED. No hard clipping until a few dB past "Redline"
  • Advanced built-in sidechain EQ - High mid band emphasis prevents harsh, edgy guitars or vocals from hurting innocent ears. Low cut keeps the low "sum & difference" frequencies from pumping the upper frequencies of source material
  • Fool proof operation - Even though there are 384 possible settings (not counting knob settings), it's almost impossible to get a bad sound. Keep all knobs on 5 or 6 (around middle) with ratio at 6:1 and you won't go wrong
  • Eight unique curves - From the 1:1 mode that simply warms up signal with low order harmonics without intentional compression, to the "Nuke" setting - a brick wall limiting curve that shines on live drum room mics. Each curve has its own personality, and release shape. Most exceptional is the 10:1 "Opto" ratio which uses separate circuitry to emulate the oldest (and valued) "light controlled" devices, such as the LA2A etc. See manual to emulate other compressors of old
  • Discrete and integrated combination - the best of speed/linearity with repeatability. Hand tested & selected components
  • Huge knobs with high resolution numbering - For easy readability and repeatable settings. They also go to 10 1/2 
  • Locked, calibrated, output level - Allows speed in setting tape and live mix levels
  • Stereo Strappable
  • Switchable 110/220 volt operation - Extra fuse provided inside unit
  • Over design power supplies - Runs cool, allowing cabinet to be sealed - without heat vents. Long life components
  • Single height and light weight - Classic sound in a small, extremely reliable package
  • True bypass - Know what it's really doing. All contacts doubled up for maximum reliability. No internal audio connectors
  • XLR and 1/4" phone ins and outs - XLR fully balanced, transformerless design, pin 2 hot. Changeable by user to pin 3 hot
  • All metal film and Roederstein resistors in the audio path - top quality components. Many mil spec. parts
  • Interface and features found nowhere else
  • Hand wired, calibrated in USA

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  • Freq. response is 2 Hz to 160 kHz in clean audio mode (+0, -3 dB). Response is shaped in distortion modes (Dist 2, Dist 3)
  • Dynamic range 110 dB from max. output to min. output in 1:1 mode. Greater than 100 dB signal to noise in distort 3 mode
  • Distortion ranges between .02% and 20% depending on distortion mode and release times set on front panel
  • DC coupled output - High quality input caps
  • Input impedance is 20K Ohms, Output impedance is < 75 ohms
  • Time constants - Attack range 50uS - 50mS. Release range .05 sec to 3.5 seconds, normal modes and up to 20 seconds in 10:1 opto mode. Time constants are dependent on ratio
  • Metal Chassis - single height 1.75" high, 10" deep, 19" wide

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