Empirical Labs
EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair

Be the first to review this product

Item: N13-1770

Availability: In stock

EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair
EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair

Empirical Labs EL8X-S

The Distressor is Empirical Labs flagship product, and an absolutely incredible one at that. The wide range of unique features and controls allows the Distressor to offer a warm, smooth, vintage sound by running through custom control circuits.

No matter what you run through the EL8X-S Distressor, it can handle it. It's such a dynamic processing unit that you can put vocals in it with the 1:1 mode to simply warm the signal with low order harmonics without intentional compression, or run your drums room microphones through the 'Nuke' setting (brick wall limiting) to make the room shine. The 10:1 ratio uses different detector circuitry to emulate the classic processing devices, such as the LA-2A. In addition to the amazing compression ability of the Distressor, there are three modes that color the signal even without the compression. Distort, Distort 2, and Distort 3 offer basic distortion, tube style 2nd order harmonics, and tape style 3rd order harmonics. Two High Pass filters are provided as well at different points in the signal flow (one in the audio path, one in the detector path) to assist in preventing overbearing low end.

The EL8X-S is a customized version of the distressor that offers some additional unique features - British Mode, and Image Link. British Mode came from a setting on the classes 1176 limiter where if you hit all four ratio buttons just right, it resulted in a highly aggressive sound with an unusual knee and a new envelope shape. Image Link allows for three different stereo link options; Phase link, Image Link, and the combination of those two, the Phase & Image Link, something that has never been offered on compressors or limiters before.

EL8X-S Features

  • 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


Questions on EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair

No questions asked yet

Ask Your Own Question


  • Stereo Pair
  • 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 - Each unit is: 1.75" high, 10" deep, 19" wide

Customer Reviews

Write Your Own Review

You're reviewing: EL8X-S Distressor Stereo Pair

How do you rate this product? *

  1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars