Empirical Labs Distressor EL8 by barforama
Having heard all the rave about these beasts I bought a couple of units with both british and stereo mods.
The idea is that you get a lot of emulations in a single 1U box. Optocomps (LA2/3/4-style), VCA(dbx-style), FET(1176-style) and then some.
Both compression-curves and distortion characteristics can be adjusted to taste
The unit is great sounding overall, but the idea of emulating the originals didn't really do it for me. Whether it's lack of skills or just the love of one trick ponies that does it, I just feel better using the right thing for the right job instead of trying to get the same results with an emulating unit. I'd eventually have to have a bunch of Distressors to do the jobs anyways. One of the jobs I think the Distressor does very well is emulating a dbx 160VU. It has great grab and plenty aggressiveness to add punch and smack to snares and kicks. Also for ambience tracks it has something interesting to offer. The british mode is a VERY cool feature and can really crush anything thrown at it! I strongly recommend that you order the units with the british mod. It is a great, and very useable, toy! Just don't expect to get all the vintage comps in a box - expect a very versatile compression unit that, with the cooooool addition of great distortion circuit, will handle a lot of different compression-jobs.