Empirical Labs is an audio signal processing equipment manufacturer based in the USA. Founded my Dave Derr, ELI began life in 1988 as a recording studio and electronic consulting firm. At the time, Derr was a part of the design team at Eventide and worked on the legendary H3000, H3500 and DSP4000. In 1994, Derr brought all of his experiences as a recording engineer and electronics designer together and created the Distressor, an iconic classic knee compressor that still enjoys huge popularity today and is the cornerstone of the Empirical Labs range.
Empirical Labs prides itself on its ability to manufacture and hand-test all of its products and as a result creates equipment that will work as well in years to come as it does when first used. The company ethos is "We want to make products that work a little easier, a little better, and a lot longer - and make sure they’re fun to use." And the current product range from Empirical Labs does exactly that.
Joining the Distressor on the ELI frontline is the equally well received Fatso, a full analogue tape simulator with the same classic knee compression found in the Distressor. The Fatso was the second unit produced by Empirical Labs and was met with rave reviews. In addition to the Distressor and the Fatso, there is also the Lil Freq, an ELI style EQ, the Mike-E, a digitally controlled microphone preamp, and two 500 series modules; the Derresser, a dynamic high frequency filter for de-essing, and the DocDerr, a multi-purpose tone module.