This is a good topic. Let's say you have a good mic and a good preamp and you are recording to a DAW or any digital medium (and you got a RNC compressor). Which would you get first, a Distressor or Fatso? And why?
Only you can really answer that... Are you satisfied in the compression department? Do you feel you can dial the tones you want with your actual setup but want to go an extra step in tonal/dynamics control?
If **I** had your setup, I would probably grab a distressor first because I like to use different types of compressors to sculpt and color sounds and the distressor is arguably the most versatile, useful and cost-effective tool on the market for that. It also includes a nice selectable distortion circuit.
The fatso is more a next step in sound control unit for me. Whereas you paint with broad brush strokes with the distressor, you do finer touch-ups with the fatso. It's for squeezing that little extra 10% for me. The distressor is a phenomenal compressor with nice goodies added. The fatso is a finely tuned stereo distortion generator/soft clipper and refined ultra-hi frequency limiter with a preset compressor thrown in (still a useable one though).
Personally I use both and I consider the fatso a mandatory piece for someone recording to digital without having a way to hit tape on the way in. But you have to consider that I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who can choose from most of the "must have" compressors to help shape his tones.
If you can, try to get a hold of both (maybe thru a pro-shop or a rental house) for your next project and see how you like both and how they would change the way you work...
Been there, done that.
I got 2 EL-8's late last year (both with the brit mod and the stereo link) and this month have a Fatso Jr. on loan. I agree with gorundcontrol, they do different things. I've found the Distressors to be my first choice for compression because they are so versital. So far I've used the Fatso Jr. more for 2 mix stuff often in conjunction with the Manley Massive Passive and a tube compressors. My mixes are finaly sounding warm and with great spacial imaging and seperation. I want to do a shoot out between the Fatso Jr. and the CraneSong Hedd 192 before I buy, but right now I'm leaning toward buying the Fatso Jr.
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