The Distressor gets its name from its feature of incorporating harmonic DISTortion with a classic knee compRESSOR. For instance, the Distortion 2 setting introduces a 2nd order harmonic, which adds tube-like analog warmth to the signal and the Distortion 3 setting introduces a 3rd order harmonic, which simulates tape saturation (great for guitars, bass and drums)!
Digitally Controlled Compression
Unlike most analog compressor/limiters the Distressor is a digitally controlled audio device and actually incorporates several products into one by utilizing digital controls to switch totally different circuits in and out.
Besides offering a wide range of control and unique features, the Distressor offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit. This “warmth” or vintage sound has become an important issue in the last 15 years, as the super clear and linear digital technology does very little (or nothing) to soften “harsh” sounds nor emphasize the bass frequencies in music sources. Older analog tape, vinyl records and tube equipment on the other hand, could not be prevented from coloring the sound, often to the frustration of recording engineers. However, many people have now realized that this coloring can be extremely pleasant and “musical”. The current digital technology is often referred to as “cold” and “brittle” among other terms, although we prefer the term “unforgiving” to describe the negative side of the “linearity”.
Included British Mode Upgrade
The original concept of the “British Mode” came from an unusual setting on the classic UREI LN1176 limiter. The unit was designed to have only four ratios, each ratio being engaged by selecting one of four buttons. However, as early as 1980 (or before), renegade recording engineers, always on the lookout for something a little more “over the top”, found that you could make all four buttons stay “in” if you pressed them just right. What resulted was a very, very aggressive sound that had some elements of the units 20:1 ratio, but with an unusual knee and new envelope shape. Somewhere along the line, someone called it a “British Mode” and the name has stuck. It is also called “all buttons in” and some other intuitive names.
The Distressor has the advantage of being able to apply this “aggressive” nature not only to the new British ratio (1:1) but also to all the ratios since a separate switch is installed, which can be enabled with any ratio. One should keep in mind however, that an attack below 3 or 4 is required to maintain the LN1176 character. If you go above an attack of 3 you will also incur a rise in some grunge (distortion) and see the THD indicator lites come on a lot more.
• “All buttons in” British Mode switch with LED
• Frequency response: 2Hz to 160kHz in clean audio mode (+0, -3 dB). Response is shaped in distortion modes (Dist 2, Dist 3)
• Dynamic range: 110 dB from max. output to min. output in 1:1 mode
• Distortion ranges between .02% and 20% depending on distortion mode and release times set on front panel
• DC coupled output – High quality input caps
• Input impedance: 20K ohms
• Output impedance: < 75 ohms
• Time constants: Attack range 50uS - 50mS
• Release range: .05 sec to 3.5 seconds, normal modes and up to 20 seconds in 10:1 opto mode. Time constants are dependant on ratio
• Metal chassis