Distressor... Too good for home recording?

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dino
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Distressor... Too good for home recording?

Post by dino » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:53 am

Always loved the idea behind the Distressor in that it can emulate the sound of many compressors. I have gassed to own one since they first came out. If just for the learning experience of experimenting with different compression techniques. I do like to track with a bit of compression, especially for vocals. On a one to ten scale, the rest of my equipment would be somewhere around the 4-6 range. Not top tier, but probably more than the average home recordist would have. I was just wondering if picking up a used EL8 would be a good idea or just too esoteric for a non-commercial, personal use home recording setup.
I'd gladly trade everything I have now for a nice sounding room and a bucket of 57's

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Post by rhythm ranch » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:27 am

There's nothing more satisfying than working with good tools, no matter what you're doing. If you've wanted a Distressor for that long, get it. It's a great tool and will make you very happy. :^:

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Post by dino » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:47 am

Thanks RR, I always try to acquire equipment that is at least a little better than what I already own. I'd rather grow into something than out of it. I've learned the hard way that much of the "entry level gear" I've purchased ended up being a disappointment and a waste of money.
Better stuff motivates me to become a better recordist....dino
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Post by cale w » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:25 am

I imagine a Distressor holds it's resale value pretty well, not that it would be easy to part with once you've owned it! That's what I'm usually thinking about when I splurge on a big ticket music item. I found that piece to be really easy to work with, and instantly awesome sounding. I wouldn't pass up a chance to get a hold of one.

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Post by agershon » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:58 am

Let's play devil's advocate: For that price you could get 5 Pro VLA's, or 3-4 dbx 160a's, or 6 RNC's .... the list goes on. These are all prosumer- to pro- level boxes that many, many fellow "home-recordists" enjoy.

Now, do you only need one channel? You mention recording vocals. If so and you have the $1k budget, then go for it. But say you're looking to do occasional OTB mixing or summing, you would get lots more mileage out of units like I've mentioned.

The way I look at it, good "prosumer" units will get you 95% of the way there (wherever "there" is). So you must decide how important that last (very expensive) 5% is.

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Post by dino » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:15 pm

You are so right about the other things that could be purchased for the same price.
I already have the 160's, rnc's, 166's and such, and frankly, I'm considering the FMR PB6A as an alternative to the Distressor. I guess I'm intrigued by the idea of the versatility of the EL8. Paired with the M610 I have now, it would be a sort of 6176?? with more options. Or maybe I'm totally wrong. This all got started when I noticed a used one locally that seemed to be a good deal. Especially for the full Brit mod version. I'm still trying to hash it out in my own mind. Besides, it'll probably be gone before I make up my mind. olduncledino
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Post by agershon » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:37 pm

Well, since it sounds like you've covered your bases compressor-wise ... and you still have the hunger for this specific box ... you should jump on it. As mentioned, the Distressor will hold value so you likely won't lose anything by trying it out.

If it inspires you to learn and continue get better, it's totally worth it.

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Post by kslight » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:16 pm

If you've got the itch and the scratch for it, then definitely pick one up... If it isn't as magical as you hoped then sell it, but if you buy something else like the FMR you suggested, you're still going to sit there wondering if the FMR is as good as the EL8...so you might as well beat that cycle.

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Post by jgimbel » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:53 pm

^ +1. While there are a lot of bang-for-buck cheaper pieces, I've found if there's one thing that's been standing out to me, then getting something else that's cheaper might do a good job but will still leave me wondering about the thing I actually had my eye on. Eventually I'll get that thing down the road, and wish I had gotten it years ago. I'd say that this is just letting curiosity take over and rule decision-making, but as it's turned out, generally the one I originally wanted and eventually has ended up to be exactly what I was hoping for, and a favorite piece. My vintage U87 was that way, a year or so of trying to find something else cheaper but essentially still the same. Eventually I sucked it up, found a good deal on a U87, and bought it. I love it, wouldn't trade it.

Also, while I'm recording clients every week, I actually am working out of a home studio. I don't know where you draw the line for what's too good for exactly what situation. For me a lot of things are overkill if they're just for me, but if it's something I'm using for clients it's worth it. I have a home studio with a Lynx Aurora, a BAE 1073MPF, a Vintech 473, and like I mentioned, a vintage U87, as well as two old KM84s. I'd say all of these things are, in a way, overkill for a home studio, but I've also improved my ear over the years and eventually bought each one of these tools as the solution to an issue. Once I stopped thinking about the price for one second and evaluated the tools for what they are, my feelings of if things are worth it, or overkill, went away. Again, there are many bang-for-buck pieces, but personally I've found it hard to deny the increase in quality when working with really nice tools. To me, everything becomes easier, I don't have to work as hard to get the sounds in my head, and the whole process becomes much more enjoyable, satisfying, and fruitful.

And if you're getting something that does half decent on the used market then it's often work the risk of losing a few bucks on resale to potentially get a great new tool that changes your process for the better.
My first new personal album in four years - pay what you want - http://jessegimbel.bandcamp.com

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Post by Waltz Mastering » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:51 pm

dino wrote:You are so right about the other things that could be purchased for the same price.
I already have the 160's, rnc's, 166's and such, and frankly, I'm considering the FMR PB6A as an alternative to the Distressor. I guess I'm intrigued by the idea of the versatility of the EL8. Paired with the M610 I have now, it would be a sort of 6176?? with more options. Or maybe I'm totally wrong. This all got started when I noticed a used one locally that seemed to be a good deal. Especially for the full Brit mod version. I'm still trying to hash it out in my own mind. Besides, it'll probably be gone before I make up my mind. olduncledino
If that one doesn't come through let me know. I have an original el8 mint that I don't care if I sell, but would want 1K.
Brit mode is just the 1176 all button in mode which I've never used once when I had 1176's. Good comp for the price. gl

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Post by Jim Williams » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:18 am

The distressor has very high THD for solid state, about .4%. It has a bunch of diode strings to add more "aural excitment". It's about the closest thing to a guitar fuzz box you can buy in a rack.

If you need a comp/limiter with calibrated time constraints, the widest attack/release range on the market, 50/1 ratios, .002% THD and 200k hz bandwidth, check out a used Aphex 651 for about $200. Just don't expect to hear it working.
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dino
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Post by dino » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:53 pm

[quote="Jim Williams"]The distressor has very high THD for solid state, about .4%. It has a bunch of diode strings to add more "aural excitment". It's about the closest thing to a guitar fuzz box you can buy in a rack.

If you need a comp/limiter with calibrated time constraints, the widest attack/release range on the market, 50/1 ratios, .002% THD and 200k hz bandwidth, check out a used Aphex 651 for about $200. Just don't expect to hear it working.[/quote]


I was under the impression that that was the whole point of the Distressor. Too put back some of the flaws found in older equipment that people found pleasing, and to somewhat undo the pristine nature of digital. And to do it with a new device that didn't have the upkeep issues that might be experienced with older equipment. As a videographer by trade, much of my efforts in the past few years has been to intentionally bugger up the ultra clear images created by todays cameras. The stock HD cameras made today look horrible if not "de-tuned" from the factory specs. I guess I'm trying to find the audio equivalent to this practice.
For a couple hundred the aphex sounds interesting. I'll keep a lookout for one.
Thanks for the heads up on the Aphex Jim.
I'd gladly trade everything I have now for a nice sounding room and a bucket of 57's

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oh my, oh my

Post by Mixwell » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:02 am

Jim loves beating up the EL8's "spec's". I guess it's because he hasn't found any applications to use one. I gather from his specification analyzation that he thinks it sounds bad. I think it's pretty rad. I mean, I can make it work just fine as a clean compressor for tracking and for mixing. You just listen to how they work the signal with your chain. Dial em in. They work really well and do a lot of things. You can sweep em around and find sweet spots. Of course it has a sound to it. Wonder if that's why so many people fill their racks with them??
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dino
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Post by dino » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:52 am

Hello guys,
As it turns out I sadly decided to forego the Distressor, at least for a little while. I'm sure it would have been great, but didn't feel completely comfortable with the purchase right now. I try to be frugal in how I spend money and it has worked well for me so far, as I haven't paid a penny in credit card interest in over five years. With so many wonderful things available it's always a test of will power to resist the urge to splurge. For now I'm just going to continue trying to get better with the stuff I already have and to add needed stuff as opposed to wanted stuff. As for acquiring a compressor with a little personality, I'm seriously considering checking out something like the PB6A. (Attn: A.B., I'll probably be giving you guys a call. I hope you have time to talk, as I have many questions about many things) At some point down the road I would also like to look into the realm of 500 series equipment. The versatility of the format is amazing and it seems like there's more to choose from every day.

I want to thank everyone who responded to this thread and let you know how much I appreciate each of you in the sharing of your vast experience with this most humble recording hack.
Be well all, olduncledino
I'd gladly trade everything I have now for a nice sounding room and a bucket of 57's

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Post by Mixwell » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:39 am

dino wrote:(Attn: A.B., I'll probably be giving you guys a call. I hope you have time to talk, as I have many questions about many things)
Hey Dino, sure thing!

All of us here at the Doc's office are "alpha" gear geeks, and honestly we love questions, and evaluating problems that need solving...cause we think we have some good answers to provide...but who doesn't right?

Anyway, that kinda stuff is embedded into the core of our shop! We aim to please and help find "match made in heaven" gear that suits the user, entirely!

my email is adam@dspdoctor.com, or if I happen to blow up our server again, my personal email is abproaudio@yahoo.com

cheers!
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