Vintage Digital

Empirical Labs

Classic Recording Studio Equipment

Empirical Labs founded in 1992 by Dave Derr, designs and manufactures professional audio signal processing equipment used in recording studios, live sound, broadcast studios and other audio production facilities all over the world. They more recently started to produce plug ins for digital audio workstations (DAWS) and software for digital signal processors. Empirical Labs are responsible for the most recent innovation in compressors and signal processing in general. The Empirical Labs Distressor was upon it’s release, the most innovative compressor ever released and a real labour of love for designer Dave Derr. It is most likely the greatest selling com-0ressor of all time and deservedly so. Perhaps their most misunderstood product is the Empirical Labs FATSO. Combining compression with simulated tape saturation does nothing to describe the effect the FATSO can have a drum buss for example.

Every studio should have at least on FATSO in their rack, sitting right next to their collection of Distressors. In more recent times, Empirical Labs have after much industry pressure headed down the path of software plugins. Their first effort was the Arouser plugin, which is akin to a Distressor on steroids and is without a doubt one of the very best compressor plugins ever made. At some stage soon, I am sure we will see Dave Derr’s picture in the dictionary next to the word, Genius! The only other person who is held in such high esteem is George Massenburg, and Dave Derr should be right up there with George.

The Empirical Labs Distressor is the product that started it all for Empirical Labs and has become a studio standard the world over. Born of founder Dave Derr’s love of classic compressors like the 1176, LA-2A and Gain Brain, the Empirical Labs Distressor incorporates his favourite sonic characteristics of these, along with other and interesting features.
The Empirical Labs FATSO is one of those effects that until you use one, you really do not fully understand just how useful it truly is, and it is one truly useful box of tricks it has to be said!
The Empirical Labs Lil FreQ like most Empirical Labs products offers something unique among its peers, in this case 8 processor sections. As with ELI’s other signal processors, the Empirical Labs Big FreQ Equaliser takes a somewhat unique approach to its job.