Empirical Labs Inc.

Empirical Labs Inc. ...

picture of product Empirical Labs Inc. (ELI), is a New Jersey-based company that designs and produces pro audio equipment and software for creative professionals.
Our first product, the Distressor, was introduced in 1995 and over time has become a 'modern classic'. Designer Dave Derr develops ELI products with one simple philosophy that drives our company and continues our success:
"We want to make products that work a little easier, a little better, and a lot longer - and make sure they are fun to use in your recording studio."

Empirical Labs is proud to announce its first Microphone Pre-amplifier, the Mike-E: Dave Derr introduced the Mike-E personally at this years NAMM show in Anaheim, California, and showed off the DerrEsser 500 series module as well.

DISTRESSOR Product Description
The Distressor is an automatic gain (or volume) control device (AGC in engineering terms) designed for pro audio (music) applications. Basically, it electronically controls the volume of just about any source in a very pleasing, and "musical" manner - adding fullness, intelligibility, and especially in the Distressor's case - excitement. This type of device is often called a "limiter" or "compressor" by audio industry people. Its most probable uses will be in recording studios, live sound situations, movie sound production, and radio broadcast production. Unlike most analog compressor/limiters the Distressor is a digitally controlled audio device and actually incorporates several products into one by utilizing digital controls to switch totally different circuits in and out. Years of beta testing and redesign went into the Distressor as will be the case with all Empirical Labs products.

Besides offering a wide range of control and unique features, the Distressor offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit. This "warmth" or vintage sound has become an important issue in the last 15 years, as the super clear and linear digital technology does very little (or nothing) to soften "harsh" sounds nor emphasize the bass frequencies in music sources. Older analog tape, vinyl records and tube equipment on the other hand, could not be prevented from coloring the sound, often to the frustration of recording engineers. However, many people have now realized that this coloring can be extremely pleasant and "musical".The current digital technology is often referred to as "cold" and "brittle" among other terms, although we prefer the term "unforgiving" to describe the negative side of the "linearity". The Distressor offers several modes that color the signal, even without compression (or gain control). These extended modes were designed to allow emulation of some very old and some very expensive vintage gain control units (compressors & limiters) and deliver a classic "knee" sound all its own.