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Lets Talk "Distressors!" (How you like?)

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Mad John, Dec 13, 2001.

  1. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Hello,

    I have 2 Empirical Lab Distressors that I have owned since the spring.

    Since Zythum Studios has been "under construction"
    (alomost the entire year!) , I have really not had the oppertunity to really tweak them thru the testing grill.

    I would love to hear from you all on what your expierences have been with The Distressor.

    Those that have the "British link" , I would be interested to know what you think of this mod and when and how you use it.

    Speaking of the British mod, does anybody know why the leds do not work when this is engaged?

    How do you like the "Opto mode/10:1 ?
    Do you think it capture the LA 2A thing?

    What are some of your favorite ratios and for what?

    When do you find yourself useing the "Distortion modes?

    I have noticed the Brit mod to really give the signal a brite and low mid (it seems) boost.
    It seems great for more powerful programs.

    I personally love these boxes! Just have not had the time.

    I will enjoy your responces!

    Cheers!

    Mad John
    Zythum Studios

    "The present day Composer refuses to die!"
    Edgar Varese - 1921
     
  2. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    well, i think the reason you won't see the meters working in brit mode is that sometimes it is acting so friggin fast it dosen't show up. you can, however, usualy see it's working via the distortion lights.

    the distort modes are GREAT for making things sound ^#$%ed up. yesterday i was killing my self trying to get "the" vocal sound for a client. eq wasn't really helping. distort 3, with brit mode on, [1:1 ratio button, though you can use the others], attack 6, release 5: bingo. lil mid band emphasis thrown in, and the very smooth low cut and i was rocking in moments. the distortion [despite being heaped on] wasn't really sounding crappy, just full. the client FLIPPED. he was just like: that is what i was hearing [that i loved] in the cans. i followed it up w/a focusrite channel's eq, and desser [low threshold and ratio, about 7db gain reduction, smooth release] and all was well in munchkin land. just goes to show outboard analog kicks digital plug in butt anyday.

    anyway, i always seem to like the faster attack and release settings w/lower ratios [3:1 is a fav]. i track hot, so i have to peal back the input and crank the out. it's quiet though, so it's all good.

    also: cool trick for distorted gtr: since really crunched gtr has lil attack, all you gotta do is roll the attack to around 8+ and a quick release, and crank it. instant attacks on the notes, way more definition.

    however: i have had trouble finding anything smooth and clean that i really like using it.
    --o
     
  3. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Hey Owen,

    Thanks for the great tips! I just love the fact that unlike most analog equipment that these Distressors are all exactly the same, so you can get similar results with your mentioned settings.

    Interesting. You seem to be indicating that the Distressor works better for the more agressive programs.

    Does anyone feel that The Distressors can emulate the classic tube compressos?

    I have a very serious project before me now , which consists of a very loud and powerful teenaged group from the early 1980s.

    Trouble being the masters are casette 2 track.

    They were recorded on "boom boxes" as well as a stereo tape deck with 2 mics going into the recorder.

    The music is really there, but needs much sonic attention. No problem with tape hiss (I have a Manley Massive Passive), for that is pretty much in control.

    I have used both the Manley MU (now sending back for MOD.) and the Distressors on these programs and I have to day I like them both.

    This group (although quite young:Guitar player/Composer/singer was 17 , Bass Player was 16 , and the drummer was 13!)

    I know I know , but this group was style wise similer to RUSH , but not as stiff and rigid (also alot more melodic!) and they were definatly "ART Rock" not so far away from a King Crimson vain!

    What are your thought on useing both the MU for its warmth and punch and the Distressor for its britness and edgy kick?

    I have heard so far the differences of each and I am pleased with both results. Just have'nt tried them together....seems like a good idea , no?

    Mad John
    Zythum Studios

    "The present day Composer refuses to die!"
    Edgar Varese - 1921
     
  4. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    So you have a "serious" project and youre working with cassette recordings done on boomboxes? Weird.
     
  5. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Hey Planet,

    Yes I know sounds extremly qestionable!

    However this band had authentic Magic going on and some how the cassette masters could be mistaken for much higher fidelity. (so I think you would be surprized!)

    I'll give you a sample when they are done, hows that?

    Mad John
    Zythum Studios

    "The present day Composer refuses to die!"
    Edgar Vareses - 1921
     
  6. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    The new Kiss box set features some demos of both unreleased material and songs that went on to become big hits. Some of those were taken from cassette tape. When asked about the quality of said recordings in a radio interview, Gene Simmons responded, "I love tape hiss!"

    :D
     
  7. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Hey, Bob, have you tried the Trakker? Curious as to your impressions of it, considering your opinion of the Distressor.

    (And for Cranesong fans, I don't get why the STC-8 is often prefered to linked Trakkers. Is something lost from the STC-8 to get more versatility? Owning a pair of the former is a dream of mine, because they can do different jobs for tracking, or link well for two bus. Do I need to lust after the STC-8 also?)

    Bear
     
  8. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    No it doesn't emulate "so called tube compressors", it does though give you nice emulations of 1176's and DBX's. I think if you use it in its own right, you'll have a better time with it. I use mine strictly for mixing drums(once in a while on guitars). On a vocal maybe(more for effected stuff), than a standard "mix" type of vocal compressor.
     
  9. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    No it doesn't emulate "so called tube compressors", it does though give you nice emulations of 1176's and DBX's. I think if you use it in its own right, you'll have a better time with it. I use mine strictly for mixing drums(once in a while on guitars). On a vocal maybe(more for effected stuff), than a standard "mix" type of vocal compressor.
     
  10. Kevin F. Rose

    Kevin F. Rose Active Member

    I love my Distressors for all kinds of stuff and with a touch of eq up top can get close to the LA2A sound but not without it. My one complaint other than the stereo tracking problem is that the front end can get a little messy on guitars and some other middle transient instruments.
    I've found that running a Trakker in front of the Distressors I can get the Distressor kicking without as much $*^t happening in the mids. I'm pretty sure the weakness of the input stage is part of the sound of the Distressor so I'm not sure it should be fixed.
    Is anyone else out there noticing this?
     
  11. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Fibes,

    Is that with or with out Brit mode on the 10:1?

    Do you use the Brit on most programs?

    I am considering useing it for stereo mixes as a briteness/mid enhancer , with a warm tube compressor to help melt things in place.

    Nice to know you are happy with yours!

    Mad John
    Zythum Studios

    "The present day Composer refuses to die!"
    Edgar Varese - 1921
     
  12. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    I've tried Distressors on the 2-mix in the past and I gotta say I'm not a fan of them for that. Maybe they're better with the linking option but I didn't like the tone of them.
     
  13. Kevin F. Rose

    Kevin F. Rose Active Member

    Yeah, I'm not a fan of Distressors in stereo with or without the mod. The Trakkers normally get the nod for stereo stuff. I don't have the brit mod on my Distressors but... I'm pretty sure the opto setting and the brit mod occupy different worlds. Opto=La2aish and the brit mod gets the aggressive "Fast Eddie" antics of an 1176.
     
  14. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I have 3 but only one at the studio full time. My drum room is too small to use the nuke setting, but I use 2 when out in 'the field' (ie a large drum room session) (hmmmmm transient designer, that reminds me.....)

    Want the Brit Mod, too lazy to sent to Paris for it.. Will do it in the new year..!!!

    Dig em. They ARE often a 2nd choice with me.... but then I have 6 other comps, some classics to mess with.

    If I only had one comp and was working analog it would be a Distressor

    If I only had one comp and was working on a DAW it would be a Fatso.

    It is, IMHO, THE wonder outboard product of the last decade, it outlasted the Finalizer in it's usfullness and like the Duracell Bunny, keeps going on & on.

    And more power to it!

    The designer is a swell guy, so deserves the sucess.

    :)
     
  15. MichaelHammar

    MichaelHammar Active Member

    Originally posted by Julian Standen:


    If I only had one comp and was working on a DAW it would be a Fatso.


    :)



    Same here. The Fatso's just great. I've got a PT-based studio (MixPlus++/ProControl) and I cannot work without the Fatso. Also another good item I've been using is the Electrix Filter Factory. I've been using it to fatten up the kick and bass and it really works wonders...
     
  16. simonsez

    simonsez Guest

    I have two distressors, um, just like everyone.
    And they do EXACTLY what I hoped they would do when I bought them.
    1-Tame the Peaks and Levels tracking to digital.
    Which allows for a fuller signal to be recorded.
    2-Add a little analog color or warmth.

    As far as settings it is really hard for me to make them sound bad, I just reach out and start tweaking the knobs until it sounds right. Which is pretty easy to do. I do use the 10 to 1 ratio and the distortion settings on almost everything.

    There are newer units that do the same thing as far as an anolog front end and I'd like to check them out. But I have to say I am really happy with my Distressors, and rarely ever record anything without them in the chain.
    simonsez
     

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