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Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor

Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor

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Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor by Universal Audio is a Virtual Effect Audio Plugin for macOS and Windows. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
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Introduced in 1993, the Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor is revered in studios all over the world as the modern, "must-have" compressor. Versatile, super fast, and offering tons of color, the Distressor picks up where the legendary UA 1176 and Teletronix LA-2A compressors leave off — a modern tool that's equal parts utilitarian and creative, as heard on thousands of hit records.

The only authentic Distressor plug-in endorsed by Empirical Labs' founder Dave Derr, the UAD Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor is available exclusively for UAD hardware and Apollo interfaces. An exhaustive end-to-end emulation of Derr's iconic hardware, the UAD EL8 Distressor is the only faithful emulation of this true "desert island" compressor.


  • 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 user‑customizable 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.

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