Having & using both distressor + 1176 (new one).
Both are great tools.
I love the 1176 on vocals with a very fast attack.
I have the feeling it gives things a bit more "pound" than the distressor due to its transformer.
On the other hand the distressor is more versatile.
None of both gives you LOTS of colour, what they do is subtle.
I found out that what REALLY makes a difference in tone is which pre I´m using before my compressor.
A neve pre followed by a 1176 radically changes the sound of your signal especially in the transients.
I guess its two transformers in the signal path doing their magic...