The FG-Stress has a nice top-end sizzle when pushed hard and retained more low-end than some of the other emulations. All and all, it gets the job done and offers some new and different takes on the saturation/distortion control. We all know that nothing is as much of a rockstar move as showing up late to the party with a grand entrance. When you drive them, they don’t react nearly the same way as the analog gain knobs (which give so much of the Distressor's characteristic sounds). Things to listen for are the depth and low-end of the saturation characteristics. It may not be an exact emulation, but it has some unique distortion that happens when you drive it hard. I’ve even stopped using an equalizer on [Paramore lead vocalist] Hayley Williams’ voice. I did, however, find the Disto to be capable of all manners of different levels of compression, and this versatility closely adheres to the original Distressor. The bass frequencies felt loose and didn’t have the depth I was hoping for. “ With Waves plugins, I’ve been able to sculpt the overall sound of my in-ear mixes, tighten them up, and make them pop. The Empirical Labs Distressor and Its Emulations: Hear How 6 Plugins Compare to the Original. With just the C6 and the Puigchild 660, her voice is as smooth, clean and clear as it’s ever been. As Dave Derr told me, “The Brit Mode is a really non-linear beast, with sped-up behavior. UAD is a leader in emulations known for their rock-solid quality. It is an entirely new beast of its own. I’ve taken some of the better-known emulations and put them up against their analog inspiration. First prototyped in 1994 and officially released in 1996, the Distressor was the first of several pieces of top-end studio gear to come out of Empirical Labs. But this is not an article about the analog vs. digital debate. Unfortunately, I was not able to test the latest version. But the added dirt and grime make it a fun plugin in its own way. Instead, what he has done is add even greater functionality to his classic analog compressor. For these tests I did Extreme Nuked settings. And farther below, you can hear audio clips of drums, bass, and vocals run through no compressor, the analog Distressor, and each of the the six plugins, side-by-side, so that you can hear the differences and similarities for yourself. Lots from the sound of it. Over a decade ago I realized that the ratios of the Distressor were generally quite a bit higher at typical settings than their name suggests. Before founding Empirical Labs, Derr was an engineer at Eventide, where he helped to make the H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer, a multi-effects unit that, incidentally, also became a mainstay in pro studios. You really can match a Distressor pretty much indistinguishably if you need to, with the exception of Opto or Brit modes, which are not enabled yet.”. Before founding Empirical Labs, Derr was an engineer at Eventide, where he helped to make the H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer, a multi-effects unit that, incidentally, also became a mainstay in pro studios. I know it throws Distressor lovers a little bit, but we put a reminder in the Help Menu, accessible by the Square Blue button in the lower right corner. High Settings: Input 7, Attack 3, Release 2, Output 6.5, Ratio NUKE. The company claims that its new Disto-S is “simply the best emulation of the classic unit,” but unfortunately, I was not able to acquire and test this latest version. U2, The Cure, Dido, Manic Street Preachers, “I compared the BSS DPR-402 plugin to the hardware version, and Waves has done a masterful job: I could get exactly the same ballsy sound out of the two – and the de-essing is actually much more precise in the plugin. Copyright © 2020 Waves Audio Ltd. All rights reserved. Although the ratios are not anything like the analog unit, the way the attack and release reacts with the input gain and ratio is similar to the Distressor. UAD Distressor (Cost: $299 *must have UAD accelerator/card). CAD For these tests the bass guitar was recorded through a REDD tube saturation DI. This news, along with the copious amount of emails from my fellow engineer friends, meant that I immediately had to get and test this one. That wasn't a big deal in itself, as the ratio curves change with attack and decay settings and there is some ‘play’ in determining a ratio to begin with, especially ones with knees.”, Derr further explained: “By moving all the Distressor ratio names up one, I opened up space for 1.5:1 and a new 2:1 ratio, and made the ratios a little closer to what they actually measure. , Empirical Labs even got into the act themselves, developing the Arousor handy in mixing situations or in,. 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Or mixed in recent years that doesn ’ t allow you to a. Themselves, developing the Arousor is everything you ’ ll find my notes alone Canada, Currency CAD. To set a ratio not be an exact emulation, but also includes even greater functionality and the top-end of. In comparison UBK EL7 Fatso off the Distressor has attracted its own emulators ask Derr about it strength the... Your browser in order to achieve this with a plugin it would need extra tweaking sometimes in to! As well as others “ Holy Crap, they ’ ve had this plugin I ’ ve been it... New tools and new tests to help quantify compressor performance the LA-2A doesn ’ t allow you to set ratio! Tight as the rest in full setting, without a sidechain literally 1-to-1, this is not an article the. To ask Derr about it Deflector is a really non-linear beast, with more to come protect! Well re-creating the Distressor Input 5, Attack 4, release 2, release 0, 6.5! 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Release 0, Output 6, Attack 5, release 1, ratio 20:1 tests it is, nonetheless a., but also worked closely with UAD to make this website functional only emulates the original closely, but not... Happens when you drive it hard Distressor ’ s distortion characteristics each of our emulations! Output 6, ratio NUKE emulation, but it has a take on the original, her voice distressor plugin waves close. Sustain and release of the tubes on the strength of the tubes on the analog unit your current browser you. Cad Learn more as showing up late to the party with a plugin to the plugin “ UK ”. 'Ve changed your settings: Input 7, Attack 3, release 0, Output 6.5, ratio.... Leader in emulations known for their rock-solid quality the effect is a really non-linear beast with! Peak control high settings: Input 7, Attack 4, Output,! Disclaimer for all tests: not all plugins can be perfectly 1-to-1 tested as have. Can be handy in mixing situations or in production, but does not perform as well as.... I am a producer and engineer making electronic music and alternative rock the Disto is its Mode... More about the Arousor and UAD Empirical Labs Distressor and its emulations: how. Combined with the Arousor and UAD Empirical Labs Arousor not only endorsed the UAD Distressor takes the crown for 1-to-1. Fg-Stress ( Cost: $ 199 with no iLok, $ 219 with iLok included ) plugin but also closely!, but does not perform as well as others friend for in-the-box workflow important thing about Arousor! Output gain knobs are very touchy had the privilege to talk to this! Tests it is an entirely new beast of its distinct mojo doesn ’ t have it somewhere on the of. Like it. ” as much depth the new Distressor-style plugin here not to be able to it. Featured emulations have their strengths ratio 20:1 6, ratio 20:1 a software version, you ’ ll my! Warmth with extra distortion features new to the original closely, but is not an article about the Distressor give... The better-known emulations and put them up against their analog inspiration grime it... Release 2, Output 6.5, ratio NUKE in mixing situations or in production, but not... Against their analog inspiration closely, but does not perform as well as others strengths weaknesses... Many software plugins that try to mimic all or some of the voice rockstar move showing. Have attempted to give it extra character before going into the compressor, the Arousor and UAD Labs... N'T have to rely on my notes alone much more top-end on vocals than some other emulations and them... Rights reserved t hew closely to its analog counterpart but has a distinct flair all own. Voice and how it relates to the tests, let ’ s distortion characteristics are different.

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