The Empirical Labs Distressor is a modern hardware compressor (and voted one of Attack Magazine’s Best Compressors Of All Time. With digital control and analogue circuitry, it offers the best of both worlds and, with its variety of unique compression ratio circuits, can sound like any number of different, famous compressors.
Slate Digital have worked with Empirical Labs to create the FG-Stress, a software version of the Distressor. At first glance, it appears deceptively simple. With just four main knobs, controlling input and output gain and attack and release, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
FG-Stress is more than just a compressor with a number of different dynamics styles. Below the ratio buttons are two saturation buttons, which can impart second-order and third-order harmonics, respectively. The saturation can even be used without any compression at all. There are two high pass curves to remove compression from bass and a dry/wet knob for in-machine parallel compression as well.
FG-Stress (which is also available as part of Slate Digital’s subscription service) is a gorgeous-sounding compressor that goes surprisingly deep.