Hello friends,

Thank you for checking out our Weekly blog.

In this blog, I will be discussing Universal Audio’s Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Plug-in

Here's an illustration of what the plug‑in looks like.


Universal Audio


A little history

The Distressor, created by founder Dave Derr, was the first   product at Empirical Labs. Over 28,000 units have been sold, making it one of the best selling high end compressors of all time.  

Aside from its unique feature set, it also creates a vintage sound using the gain control circuit making this one warmth a major issue in the last few decades.

All eight curves are amazingly unique and distinctive,  

  • 1:1 setting mode: warms up signal with low order harmonics
  • “Nuke” setting mode: A brick wall limiter

“The unit is really awesome! I’ve used  it on guitars, bass, room mics, vocals  it works great on everything. I’ve used  it on records I’ve made with Beck, U2, Etta James, Hole and lots of others.      I’m about to buy a second one.”

                                                         Joe Chicarelli, Producer/Engineer

  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            

Universal Audio 

Universal Audio does it again

Jacquire’s Shoot Out:

Vintage Hardware vs. Apollo & Unison / UAD Plug-Ins

The Universal Audio team along with multi Grammy-winning producer/engineer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones) headed on over to Blackbird Studios to simultaneously track all inputs of the artist Jamie Lidell and an all star cast at Blackbird Studios in Nashville while they played live. Jacquire tracked all sources through transformer isolated split for the integrity of the mic signals going out to both the hardware units and the comparison UAD plug-ins of the hardware versions.

Again ,as with the other UAD plug-ins compared in this session, the results were the same! Both sources sounded the same! It was an amazing session, seeing the comparison between hardware versus software legacy icons in the recording industry!


They tracked lead vocals, drums, bass, guitars, and background vocals. This is truly eye-opening news and proof of what Universal Audio is providing the recording industry with nowadays.

Along with the distress, they also tested the “DBX160 U”, the “‘Neve 1073”and the “LA2A”! all of which I have both reviewed in my past blogs.


  • 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 usercustomizable 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

                                                  Universal Audio


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 an entire mix.

 Universal Audio

Feel free to email us with your questions and we will be more than happy to try and answer them. And please do not forget to subscribe to our blog so that you can receive updates and reviews, you will also receive discount coupons for our (scitscat)internet store. https://www.scitscat.com

Truly yours

Diego L.

 Links of interest





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