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Older vs Newer Distressor
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Older vs Newer Distressor

Has anyone had experience comparing older versus newer Distressors?

I have two older Distressors (serial numbers below 5000) and two newer Distressors (serial numbers in the 20,000's) and noticed several differences between the two. First of all, the boards inside are similar but noticeably different. In particular, there are appear to be less expensive capacitors in the distortion circuits. I also noticed the workmanship on the older boards is cleaner and tighter. The newer boards have random fingerprints and smudges (and even white out smears) on them, where as the older ones are immaculate.

Soundwise, my newer Distressors seems to have a bit more grit and noise to them, particularly with higher ratios and higher inputs. My older Distressors can get slammed without any extra noise or clipping, and gets rid of any shrill on spikes smoothly like butter.

Last edited by prospect; 1 week ago at 05:56 AM.. Reason: type o
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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RightOnRome's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by prospect View Post
Has anyone had experience comparing older versus newer Distressors?

I have two older Distressors (serial numbers below 5000) and two newer Distressors (serial numbers in the 20,000's) and noticed several differences between the two. First of all, the boards inside are similar but noticeably different. In particular, there are appear to be less expensive capacitors in the distortion circuits. I also noticed the workmanship on the older boards is cleaner and tighter. The newer boards have random fingerprints and smudges (and even white out smears) on them, where as the newer ones are immaculate.

Soundwise, my newer Distressors seems to have a bit more grit and noise to them, particularly with higher ratios and higher inputs. My older Distressors can get slammed without any extra noise or clipping.
interesting ....where is Dave?

oh and welcome to GS

Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prospect View Post
Has anyone had experience comparing older versus newer Distressors?

I have two older Distressors (serial numbers below 5000) and two newer Distressors (serial numbers in the 20,000's) and noticed several differences between the two. First of all, the boards inside are similar but noticeably different. In particular, there are appear to be less expensive capacitors in the distortion circuits. I also noticed the workmanship on the older boards is cleaner and tighter. The newer boards have random fingerprints and smudges (and even white out smears) on them, where as the newer ones are immaculate.

Soundwise, my newer Distressors seems to have a bit more grit and noise to them, particularly with higher ratios and higher inputs. My older Distressors can get slammed without any extra noise or clipping.
If you are right about this issue then it's a total bummer.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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clonewar's Avatar
 

I have a stereo pair of Distressors in the 23xxx range and have to admit that this thread piqued my interest enough to pop the lid off and take a look.

Aaaaaand, it's pretty much what I expected from EL.. Nice clean board and layout, no smudges, fingerprints, or white out that I can see.

I can't comment on the sound as I don't have older ones to compare to, but I generally don't turn to my Distressors for clean high GR, so extra grit wouldn't necessarily be bad IMO, if that's really the case.

Maybe the OP's newer ones are an anomaly, I'd contact EL about them.
Attached Thumbnails
Older vs Newer Distressor-distressor_inside.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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My distressors are all built within the last 3 years.

All PCBs are clean in regard to any flux remains, they are also totally lacking in finger prints.

Also matched pairs running here.

Also don't have older models to compare to but would not be able to describe the units I have as having overly high THD or noise other than that which is intentionally dialled in.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Head
 
matt_l's Avatar
 

I own two brand-new consecutive X variants, in the sn29xxx range. They are perfect in every way - clean builds, quiet, and functioning exactly as expected. Which is to say, they are killing it on drums. I'll never sell 'em!
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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GYang's Avatar
Older are classics already.
Vintage design with warmer sound.
I would pick older before new, but as someone smarter than me said on Gearslutz YMMV.

Does anyone really expect that any manufacturer will ever oppose that newer incarnations are improved in certain aspects for more user's satisfaction ?

<SNIP - NO POLITICS - YOU KNOW THE RULES>

Last edited by psycho_monkey; 1 week ago at 03:22 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Thread Starter
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Thread Starter
The biggest difference appears to be the component selection on the distortion paths. Also note the white-out smudge on the bottom of the new one. The board is also covered in finger prints and random smudges.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Doesn't look too bad on my mobile phone screen. But manufacturers usually change parts in later production runs to cut costs.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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RightOnRome's Avatar
Dave ...........please...chime in ...please...we all love you...
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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researchtriangle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prospect View Post
Also note the white-out smudge on the bottom of the new one.
Yes, I hear this really messes with transients.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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It actually looks to me as though the component selection is of a higher cost/quality
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
It actually looks to me as though the component selection is of a higher cost/quality
Think so? Which parts? I think what threw me off was the different style components on the distortion circuit
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by researchtriangle View Post
Yes, I hear this really messes with transients.
How?
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Is the new one surface mount? I understand a lot of non-surface mount parts are no longer available.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Things like on the upper right of the pics on the left there a square white modern ceramic capacitors and on the right you are the older style orange ceramic caps.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
Things like on the upper right of the pics on the left there a square white modern ceramic capacitors and on the right you are the older style orange ceramic caps.
Yep! That's what stood out to me the most. Is there a difference on how these behave/sound? i should be careful to speculate if one is better than the other, I just don't know and would like to hear from experts that may know if it matters or not.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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emrr's Avatar
Mine are from 1997, have an open frame power transformer rather than the type seen above. Don't think I have a picture.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Parts availability is a huge challenge today for both manufacturers and repair technicians. I strongly suspect Dave listens to the effect every single change makes to be sure each sounds just as good or better than the original. He really can't afford any other approach.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
The Distressor's "daddy"
 
Dave Derr's Avatar
 

New Vs Old

First of all, Hey hey gang! Haven't been spending much time outside our Arousor thread.

1) Due to RoHs Lead-Free regulations and parts going obsolete, I doubt there is one original component in the Distressor from our first one! Initially sounds scary right? But the Euro regulations required every single IC, cap, and resistor to be changed to lead free, with many parts getting discontinued. Any manufacturer who ships "legally" to Europe basically had to do the same.

2) We NEVER use inferior components on re-designs. Capacitors? First we DC couple almost all of the Audio Path, except 1 or 2 places, so most caps you see inside have no audio going through them, and those that do have often been upgraded to higher tolerance, and higher voltage. The lead free IC's have cost us dearly at this point, with failures and discontinued parts. Texas Instrument has gone from our reference manufacturer, to a forbidden manufacturer. They REALLY failed at going lead free inside their IC's and transistors. And the idiots denied it even after we sent them dozens of failed ICs back with internal flaws. Now we specify other manufacturers and have often designed out parts in the logic that were prone to failures,

3) Attention to detail in manufacturing. I am surprised you see anything ugly inside the newer units, as we have raised our QC standards, and neatness requirement. That being said, there were phases where we had to change a few components on newly wave soldered boards, so it was more likely someone had to touch the board to hold it or pull out a component etc.d

4) Pots have been changed since early units, and again, to better quality Clarostat/Honeywell parts. BUT... the pot curves are slightly different and this can cause an audible level difference with the same settings. It will throw off comparisons from widely different serial numbers. We originally used old carbon film 20% Allen Bradley potentiometers. Now we use 10% conductive plastic ones from Honeywell that have yet to get scratchy or fail.

5) Performance was improved with a better PS and Logic design, usually being about a dB or two quieter, and the latest ones have lowered the power draw from the logic, quieting them even further. The newer ones should be quieter.

If there is more noise or shrillness in a newer unit compared to older, there may be something wrong with the unit. The performance goals have remained the same since 1996, while improving overall QC specs.

We are always looking to improve performance and reliability of our products, hence the many revisions. The Euro Regulations pretty much jammed everyone up as every single old component used to have lead in it, which had to be removed. We hated it. The Military and Medical refuse to use Lead-free parts to this day. Reliability. But we have worked ourselves around RoHS, and found reliable, better tolerance and higher temperature components where ever we had the choice. We even eliminated the memory caps which would eventually go bad, and the LM339s bargraph drivers to further improve reliability and current draw.

Thanks for the questions. I hope we answered a lot of them.

Happy Distressing, gang!



Quote:
Originally Posted by prospect View Post
Has anyone had experience comparing older versus newer Distressors?

I have two older Distressors (serial numbers below 5000) and two newer Distressors (serial numbers in the 20,000's) and noticed several differences between the two. First of all, the boards inside are similar but noticeably different. In particular, there are appear to be less expensive capacitors in the distortion circuits. I also noticed the workmanship on the older boards is cleaner and tighter. The newer boards have random fingerprints and smudges (and even white out smears) on them, where as the older ones are immaculate.

Soundwise, my newer Distressors seems to have a bit more grit and noise to them, particularly with higher ratios and higher inputs. My older Distressors can get slammed without any extra noise or clipping, and gets rid of any shrill on spikes smoothly like butter.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
That response was AWESOME!

I have two older Distressors and two newer ones. I'll have to keep them all
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by prospect View Post
That response was AWESOME!

I have two older Distressors and two newer ones. I'll have to keep them all
Sounds like each one is special


Thanks for chiming in Dave. That was an interesting read regarding the parts differences throughout the distressor's life span. The attention to detail on each unit is impeccable!
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
WKWizard's Avatar
My pair 27xxx are immaculate as well. I'm still finding new things to love about these!
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Someone sent me a newer pair from the EU and I found each had oscillations in the first input opamp stage. I've not seen that before on these. They are easily seen on a scope if you want to check your own.

A different opamp and an added feedback cap fixed it. I don't know what the original part was, the numbers were scratched off.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Someone sent me a newer pair from the EU and I found each had oscillations in the first input opamp stage. I've not seen that before on these. They are easily seen on a scope if you want to check your own.

A different opamp and an added feedback cap fixed it. I don't know what the original part was, the numbers were scratched off.
How does this affect the input signal besides oscillation and how damaging is oscillation to audio? Going to do some research ...
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