Well they do have a little significance. There are "8" ratios on the Distressor and "7" "Warmth" settings on the Fatso. AND Yes, Fletcher has had a lot of say on our boxes, bless his wicked, fun loving soul. He did indeed say use "EL8" so we can be EL8-ed (elated). As some of you prolly know, Fletcharama forced us to show our Distressor at his booth, back in 96 at the NYC AES, before it was really even finished. I was like "Im not really ready" and he said "YES YOU ARE". We got our first sales from that show, and from one of my Favorite Engineers of all time, George Massenburg. (BTW Dave Hill from Crane Song showed his first product there right next to me! As you know, Dave is one of the amazing innovators in the audio field too. He'll attack anything fearlessly. I dont know how he turns out so many great products so quickly. Whats your damned secret, Dave? A clone?)
George Massenburg started carrying around a Distressor along with Nate Kunkel back around that time too, as I said. Folks saw them with it and started calling us. Because I used Georges incredible gear for years, I sent that Distressor to him with great trepidation and fear. lol. Even tho I knew he had an uncanny ear and sense of musicality, in my mind, at that time he had spent much of his life trying to achieve a noiseless and accurate signal path. So here I was sending him something that could be decidedly non-linear, and no where near as clean as his amazing designs. To my great delight, he called a month or two later, and told me he was using it on lots of his records, and that he liked the wild character of it. Honestly, i think I was kind of speechless and had to go out for a massive drink after that. (Jack Daniels I think). George is one of those people with strong opinions - not a gray area type guy lol - so partially on that phone call, I went out and spent the money I had made from IOMEGA Stocks (my one lucky stock purchase!) and bought parts for like 50 Distressors.
I have to thank George again here for not only his great designs, and recordings, but also for encouraging me to go ahead with both the Fatso and Distressor. I always try to get him prototypes or early versions of things, even the stuff Empirical Labs never puts into production. Hes always told me what he does and doesnt like, even back in my Eventide days.