Empirical Labs Arousor Plugin

Curious to see if any of you have tried this yet…


I never needed to plug anything in , to get aroused!


I had 2 distressors. I liked them but much preferred an actual 1176. I have a pile of 1176 type hardware compressors and software ones some I haven’t been feeling compelled to grab this plugin.

Oddly enough, I’ve used an 1176, but not the distressor. Was the distressor supposed to be similar?

You can supposedly do the All buttons in thing with the distressor. When you hear the “real all buttons in thing” it just kills. There is a lot you can do with a distressor and I am not saying it isn’t useful. It does have a sound and that sound isn’t my thing. Its tough to put my finger on it.

The distressor is a radically different circuit from top to bottom. I particularly like the way the saturation interacts with the compressor. Not really an either or with the 1176’s imo. Both are must have’s (which is totally hypocritical of me because I don’t have a working 1176 at the moment)…I have 3 (a blue stripe Rev A, a blackface C, and a silverface F…or H…I can’t even remember), and none of them are working. You have a hell of a lot more control with the distressor, but they all give totally different vibes. The differences are more noticeable on some sources than others. And the 1176’s have to be hit pretty hard before you really hear them speak. The distressor, you start to hear it doing what it does at much lower settings.

I think this plugin is overpriced. I’m sorry, but it’d better be damn good for $350. Unless its as good as the UAD clones I’m gonna pass. I have soooooo many plugins I barely even use.

I used the demo big time for the 14 days after the plug was first released. It’s amazing… not a clone or faithful emulation of a real Distressor, but also not meant to be. At the end of the day, I couldn’t justify $350 for it. I’m sure plenty of people did justify it though and I haven’t seen any decent sales on it since release, which is unfortunate… but also why they charge $350, because they know people will happily pay it.

yeah, that’s pretty steep for purchasing it. So what did you feel like it added on the tracks that you tested?

This was some time back so I’m trying to remember why I liked it so much… the points that stick out for me are the saturation and the “attack modification” control that allow you to do some really interesting stuff with transients. Otherwise, it just sounded good on everything I tried it on. Used it extensively on snare and toyed with it on the drum bus. Vocals as well. It’s entirely possible that I got caught up in the whole “omg it’s a plugin distressor!” hype but EL compression does have its own kinda vibe to it, which is probably why many folks have tried to emulate it.

All that being said… I have two “distressor-ish” plugs that I use a lot, SKNote Disto and Sly-Fy Deflector. Again, they don’t sound like a distressor, but they pick up a lot of characteristics from it… and cost significantly less :smiley:

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BTW…Steven Slate was working on a distressor of the virtual mix rack, but the it appears he has COMPLETELY pulled the plug. Its not even advertised on the site anymore as ‘coming soon’.

None of his stuff sounds like the hardware imo. Its super super useful, but more of an exaggerated over-the-top take on his 1176’s, that also lack the all-buttons in mode.

I thought the Fatso that UAD modeled was spot on…or as close as I’ve heard to the actual circuit from a plugin. I’m disappointed that UAD hasn’t picked up the licensing rights to do the distressor…perhaps it was already ‘under contract’ to another developer? Don’t know.

For $350, I really really want it to sound and act like the hardware.

Ah yes, the FG-Stress or whatever he was going to call it. I’d be surprised if he cans it completely but Steven really needs to work on his hype machine. He has a tendency to start gushing about things and promising “soon” WAY before he gets around to actually releasing them, much to the dismay of his less-rabid fan base. Love the Slate stuff but when he announces something I tend to try and forget about it because who the hell knows when it’ll actually become reality.

Interesting point about UAD, my understanding is Slate actually licensed the FG-Stress with EL and is being “endorsed” by EL, so unless there’s some sort of exclusivity clause I’m pretty surprised they haven’t pushed something out. I may finally drink the UAD cool-aid sometime this year, my bank account is worried.

I agree on the $350. I thought the Arousor was great, but not $350 plugin great… even if it was a perfect replica, I’d still have to think long and hard about it.

lol…isn’t that the truth!

I’ll give you some pointers. Pick the plugins you think you’ll want ahead of time. Buy the biggest package you can find that has most of them, and buy it used. The licenses transfer easily, and the software devalues significantly after you buy it.

PS…you get up to 5 user seats (simultaneous installs on different computers) with every uad plugin license. That was a bonus for me.

Thank you! I’ve never bought “used” plugs before… getting a break on the cost would certainly help, there’s a lot of goodies they offer that I’d love to use n’ abuse. Cheers!

I bought just about every plugin they make for $3500, then upgraded them the current versions for about $1000. @ptalbot and @ColdRoomStudio said they were quite happy with the legacy versions of the LA2A, 1176’s, LA3As, Fairchilds, Neves and Pultecs…they opted out of the $1000 upgrade (if I remember correctly). So you probably could get away with the legacy versions.

…have you ever used a VoxBox, Vari-Mu, or Massive Passive? Those are 3 plugins I would absolutely insist on having. That Vari-Mu will change the way you mix. Also, the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is worth every penny. I don’t ever use it for mastering…I throw it on vocals, violins, pianos, harps, and everything else that needs a soft delicate transparent compressor that doesn’t dig and grind, but adds a wonderfully smooth sheen and warmth without every being too bright. Absolutely stellar plugin. Also works on the 2 bus!

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