In an interview, Wolfgang Gartner talks about his mastering process: "I decided to start mastering my own stuff last month and invested in some nice hardware to help do the job. My main tools now are... a pair of Empirical Labs Distressors with British Mode that occasionally work for mastering, but not always." Original Q&A can be found [here](http://www.soundstosample.com/blog/q-a/wolfgang-gartner).more
"A Distressor compressor is probably my favorite compressor just because it's so versatile. And the amount of sweet distortion that you can get with it. It's one of the most modern pieces of gear that I've picked up and was like 'OK, this is great someone added on to the legacy of gear.'"more
Mentioned by mixing engineer Michael Brauer as being used on "Violet Hill" in this *Sound on Sound* interview about the production of *Viva la Vida & Death and All of His Friends*. It is visible in [this photo](https://dt7v1i9vyp3mf.cloudfront.net/styles/news_large/s3/imagelibrary/I/IT_Brauer_03-JjAhhW6Aa1V1Nd710Uf1hkLaQXwv2lFO.jpg) from the same interview. > Vocals: Waves Renaissance & Digidesign de–essers, AMS reverb, Zoom 1202, Lexicon PCM81, Watkins Copicat, Empirical Labs Distressor, Federal, Gates, Fairchild 666, EAR 660, Neve 1176 & Awa G7201 compressors > > "I used two Renaissance de–essers on Chris's voice that were doing different things, and then a stock Digidesign de-esser. That was it for the plug–ins I added on this session. The Sonnox Oxford and the Eoisis were not out yet at the time. > > "The analogue things I did on the lead vocal are really interesting. As I said, I initially mixed the songs on my own, because the band was in England re–recording some songs, so I knew I might have to recall each song. But on this song I pretty much nailed it, apart from that Chris wanted the vocals to be more exciting and different. In the end the vocal had some AMS non–linear reverb on it, while the main sound came from an old Zoom 1202 reverb and a Watkins Copicat delay, plus a special patch that I created in the PCM81, which is a much bigger reverb. So it's a combination of things, but you don't really notice them, all you notice is that Chris is in a very present, big room. When I had found that combination 'Violet Hill' really became a song, it really came alive, because his voice was able to fight through all the stuff that was going on and make it personable. There's no reverb on the rest of the track, which is another reason why the lead vocal sounds so huge: it's not fighting another bunch of reverbs. If you send everything to reverb, you don't hear it, but if you send only one thing to reverb, it'll be huge. > > "For the main part of the song I had a Distressor on the insert of the lead vocal, and I sent this to another five compressors: the Federal, the Gates, the Fairchild 666, the Neve 1176 and another Distressor in Nuke mode. They're all coming back individually on the board, and it was a matter of blending those compressors. As usual in my way of working, the compressors are there to give attitude and tone, and don't necessarily compress. For the end bit of the song, where it's just Chris and the piano, I used the Awa G7201 limiter/compressor. It's an Australian compressor and it has an incredible air and presence. It's a unique sound that you can clearly hear at the end, as it's the only effect on the vocal on that point. Finally, the church group background vocals are sent to the same combination of reverbs as the main vocals. No other effects, no EQ. It means that all the vocals in the main section blend together."more
Used on Flo Rida's vocals for "Low", as stated by mixer Fabian Marasciullo in this *Sound on Sound* interview. > Vocals: Waves Renaissance Vox, De–esser, Metaflanger, Renaissance Channel and S1 Stereo Imager, Digidesign Revibe, Line 6 Echo Farm, McDSP Analog Channel, Neve 8068 desk EQ, Neve 33609, Empirical Labs Distressor, Dolby 740 > > (...) "The rest was done outside of the box. I used the Neve desk for EQ, and on the hook, ie. on T–Pain, I had a Neve 33609. On Flo I had a matched stereo pair of Distressors. I would have a hundred Distressors if I could. I use them on everything, vocals, drums, bass, guitars. They are just magical. Finally, I sent all the vocals through a Dolby 740. It's an old Dolby unit that was made for film music. It acts like a compressor, but it's an EQ. You can set it so that when the guy sings harder, he sounds a bit brighter. It's a really interesting device, and it gives me a glistening on the voice that no other EQ can give me."more
In this video detailing the production of "One", Axwell mentions that they're in Metropolis Studio in London. According to http://www.thisismetropolis.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Studio-A.pdf, there are two Distressors in Studio A, where this video— and the production of "One"— took place.more
Mentioned by mixing engineer Michael Brauer as being used on "Violet Hill" in this *Sound on Sound* interview about the production of *Viva la Vida & Death and All of His Friends*. It is visible in [this photo](https://dt7v1i9vyp3mf.cloudfront.net/styles/news_large/s3/imagelibrary/I/IT_Brauer_03-JjAhhW6Aa1V1Nd710Uf1hkLaQXwv2lFO.jpg) from the same interview. > Bass: EAR 660, Altec 436B, Dbx 160, Akai S612, Moog MKPE > > "The bass was interesting. I had the same bass track coming back on two channels, and on one of them I had the EAR 660 compressor, going into an Altec 436B compressor, going into my Moog MKPE three–band parametric EQ, all going via the inserts. That channel was for the low end, giving the sound its fullness. On the other channel I had a Dbx 160, crushing heavily, with the bottom end taken out. That gave the bass its punch and mid-range. I also sent the basses to an Akai S612 sampler. A friend of mine turned me on to doing this. I don't use it as a sampler, but as a distortion device. If you put the Akai in microphone mode and you overload it, you get really nice warm distortion that you don't really notice, but it sounds good. If I want something more vicious than the Akai, I'll use the [Thermionic Culture] Culture Vulture instead, which I feel is one of the best pieces of equipment for adding some attitude. It's great for when tracks are recorded too cleanly. Finally the basses, like the drums, went through Bus B in my multi–bus compression setup, which consists of Distressors going into my Avalon E55 EQ."more
Mentioned by mixing engineer Michael Brauer as being used on "Violet Hill" in this *Sound on Sound* interview about the production of *Viva la Vida & Death and All of His Friends*. It is visible in [this photo](https://dt7v1i9vyp3mf.cloudfront.net/styles/news_large/s3/imagelibrary/I/IT_Brauer_03-JjAhhW6Aa1V1Nd710Uf1hkLaQXwv2lFO.jpg) from the same interview. > Drums: Neve 1083, Urei 1176, ADR Compex, Pye & Chandler EMI compressors > > "I put some samples behind the kick and snare. I have built up a collection of a few hundred kicks and snares, so I can try many different types. This is where I spend a lot of time searching for the right sound. I may spend two hours trying to get the drum sound right. This is not to say that the original drum sounds in this track were bad, in fact they were great. So I'm building on top of them, I'm not replacing them. I can't remember the last time I actually replaced a drum sound. I just added a little bit to the kick and snare to enhance them. The snare sound is very important for a song and sometimes I vary it throughout the song, maybe downplaying one of the chorus snares in the verse, but in this particular case the snare sound doesn't change. > > "The main drum sound is coming from their snare, which I had up really loud. They had a nice overhead snare sound that already had reverb and stuff on it that was also very important to the sound. The kick and snare both went through my Neve 1083 EQs. I put the room sounds through my great, very vicious, old British Compex compressors. I also put the cymbal room sound through the Compex. The Compex compression makes the sound grainier and more aggressive. The toms, which were really well recorded, went through my stereo Pye compressors to make them more explosive, and were also sent to my stereo 1176 compressors and my Chandler EMI compressors. The 1176 and the Chandler are also explosive, so basically the tom sound was f[***]ing explosive. I maybe added a bit of compression on the hi–hats, and did very little with the mono overheads." > > (...) Finally the basses, like the drums, went through Bus B in my multi–bus compression setup, which consists of Distressors going into my Avalon E55 EQ."more
[This article](http://www.emusician.com/artists/1333/recording-bob-dylan/40613) says, "Shaw then compensates by adding some additional low end and a little airy EQ around 12kHz, then heavily compressing the signal through an Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor. 'I drive it untill the red lights don’t blink anymore,' he says. 'You can hear all the bleed from the band into the vocal microphone pumping under the compression and it adds a cool thickness to the sound.'"more
"Tim Holmes (of Death In Vegas) was with us, encouraging me to use more professional methods, like running the mic through [Neve](http://equipboard.com/items/ams-neve-1081-mic-preamp-equalizer) preamps and running the bass and vocals through an (Empirical Labs) Distressor." - Kevin Parker from this *Tape Op* article.more
In Tape Op interview with Larry Crane, he mentions buying an Empirical Labs Distressor during recording Portastatic's "Summer of the Shark" album at home: > If I'm working on a Portastatic record and I'm at an impasse or I just finished a song and I don't really know where to go next, I just sit down at the piano or start using something that I'm not necessarily as comfortable with and it leads to something. I recorded Summer of the Shark at home and I needed some gear. I borrowed some stuff and I bought an [Empirical Labs] Distressor. That changed my life. That alone gives you ideas.more
The Empirical Labs Distressor. Geez, another compressor. But I'm a sucker for colored lights and this unit has a blue LED next to the Nuke button. I can't say anything but YES to that. I began using the Distressor in my King Crimson touring rig. Since the attack of my tapped instrument is so intense on the bass strings, I would put this compressor right at the front. I would set it to 20:1 and sort of soft limit the highest energy notes. If I didn't do this, then I would have to turn down the input on the pre-amps far lower than they liked. Then I would split the signal into a clean line and distorted line. This two would come back together with the Raven Labs 2 channel (yes, I am selling that one) and into a final compressor: the DBX 160. The last compressor turned all the disparities of the two lines back into one big sound. Now I just use the Distressor in my studio for recording bass and guitar and vocals and percussion and harmonium and violins and bagpiges and.....more
A FOH stage hand sent out a couple pictures of Chris Stapleton's live rig on May 27, 2016 in Simpsonville, SC at the Charter Spectrum Amphitheatre. The stage setup clearly matches the setup seen in various videos around the web from early-2016 shows. The Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor can be seen in Chris' rack setup.more
Very good bit of kit, very crisp sound, very good on heavy bass sounds! I have two side by side for stereo processing. I got mine second hand, but they aint the cheapest of signal processors out there
Don't read about these-go use them if you can or find examples online somewhere-preferably a place with high fidelity. Your ears will tell ya all you need to know.
"This compressor works great on drums and enhances transients in a way that no other compressor does. It's also okay on vocals in opto mode with the attack around 6-7 and the release around 3-4. Not my frist choice for vocal compression though. It tends to shrink the size of the singal and add a bit of a gitty texture. Sometimes that what you want. Expecially in rock music"