Empirical Labs EL7 Fatso Analog Tape Simulator and Optimizer

  • Item # 1060118
  • Model # EL7

The EL7 FATSO from Empirical Labs is a modern digitally controlled analog device that offers many of the "musical non-linearities" exhibited by the older tube, class A discrete, and magnetic tape medi… Learn More


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Offers analog warmth to your sound with the power of digital control.

The EL7 FATSO from Empirical Labs is a modern digitally controlled analog device that offers many of the "musical non-linearities" exhibited by the older tube, class A discrete, and magnetic tape mediums. This two channel audio processor will musically integrate frequencies and transients and increase the apparent volume without actual increase in peak levels. In addition, two channels of famous Empirical Labs compression are provided. There are several compressor "types" with fixed attacks and releases (if you want a fully controllable compressor, you will need the Empirical Labs Distressor).Users of the EL7 Fatso can enhance & soften the sound of mediums such as modular digital multitracks (MDM's), HD recorders, DAT recorders, Ram Recorders etc. Mixdown engineers will have an option not to use bulky, expensive, (and often flaky) analog tape recorders to get the warmth and sweet high end they've come to rely on for so many decades. Owners of ADATs, MDM's, RAM and modern hard disk recorders can finally put a stop to complaints about the "coldness" and "brittle edge" of their mixes and instruments with the "rounded" and "musically non linear elements" of vintage analog. Finally, audiophiles can bring back the warmth and cuddly sound of LP's and tapes to their CD players, and other digital reproduction mediums.Fatso's Four Types of Processing (Available on both channels)¢Harmonic Generation and Soft Clipper (Distortion generation)¢High Frequency Saturation - WARMTH¢Transformer & Tape Head Emulation¢Classic Knee Compression - Empirical Labs StyleAbout Empirical Labs:Empirical Labs was started in 1988 and functioned mainly as a recording studio and electronics consulting firm. The founder, Dave Derr, was also employed at the time by Eventide as an audio engineer and was one of the core designers of their legendary H3000. EL's first product, the EL8 Distressor (#501578) immediately took the recording industry by storm and hardly a record has been made without it since. With a mission "to make products that work a little easier, a little better, a lot longer, and are fun to use," Empirical Labs continues to create unique and innovate products that quickly find homes among the top professionals of the audio industry (and anyone else who wants in on the Empirical Labs sound).Empirical Labs Users:Aerosmith - Joe Perry (8 Distressors)Al SchmidtAlanis MorrisetteAngela Piva - Mary J Blige, Naughty by Nature, Janet JacksonAshes dIvide Billy HowerdelBilly Sheehan (Mr. Big, Niacin, David Lee Roth)Bob Clearmountain - Journey, Bryan Adams, Stones, Springstein, etc, etc, etc!Bob DylanBob PowersBon JoviBrendan O'Brien -Producer Mixdown EngineerBruce Calder - (Electric Lady Studios, Degeneration)Butch VigCherChimeraChris Lord AlgeChuck AinlayClair BrothersCold PlayCraig Melvin (Gloria Estefan)Creed - Eight Distressors on their 2003 tourD & D Studios NYCDaniel Lanois (U2)Dave Hewitt - Remote Recording ServicesDave Matthews -David KahneDeath Cab for CutieDisturbedDolly PartonDon WasDust Brothers (John King)Ed Cherney -Ed Kowalcyzk - LiveEddie Kramer (JimiHendrix)Effanel Remote recording - Randy Ezratty, 2003 GrammysElton JohnEminemEric Schilling - Gloria Estefan, John SecadaFinn Halle - GermanyFiona AppleFive Towns College (6 Distressors)Fleetwood MacFletcherFull Sail School for the Recording ArtsGeorge MassenburgGoo Goo DollsGreg Calbi - Sterling SoundGungi PattersonHoleJason Slater - Snake River ConspiracyJay Baumgartner - NRG StudiosJay Gordon - Producer, Lead Vocalist of OrgyJerry Harrison - Live, Verve Pipe, (12 Distressors)Jerry Only - The MisfitsJoe BerisiJoe Chicarelli - Hole, Beck, U2, etc!Joe SatrianiJohn Agnello - Producer, Engineer, MixerJohn Kurzweg - CreedJohn McBride at Blackbird Studios - 8 Distressors, 4 Fatsos, 2 Lil FrEQsJohn PaternoJohn Patterson -John SicketJosh Abraham (Orgy, Staind, Korn, Limp Bizkit)Judy SaiyaJulien - KKevin KillenKip WingerKooster McAllister - Record Plant RemoteLinkin ParkMarc Costanzo, LenMark AnthonyMark Plati - David BowieMaroon 5Matt WallaceMegadethMetallicaMichael BienhornMichael Wilton (Queensrych)Micheal Brauer - Sony Studios NYCMick Gazauski - (Mariah Carey, Boyz 2 Men, Toni Braxton, etc.)Mick Hughes - Metallica FOH EngineerMike Keating (Sting, Bush, Springstein live)Mike ShipleyMillbrook SoundMitch GoldfarbMutt LangeN SYNCNatalie MerchantNate KunkelNikki Sixx (Motley Crue)Nine Inch NailsOutsmarting SimonPaul Tennebekk (Norway's Midwest Audio)Peter DenenbergPhil (the Buther) Nicolo (The Stones, Amy Grant, Sting, Aerosmith, Judy Saiya)Phil Ramone/John PattersonRammsteinReal World Studios - (Peter Gabriel's facility in England)Ricky Martin Roey Shamir - Information Society, Al B SureRoss Hogarth - (Jewel, Coal Chamber, Grade 8)Ryan Hewitt - Engineer ExtraordinareScott Anthony - Dessau recording, Beastie BoysSeal - on tourSean Beresford (3rd Eye Blind)Shania TwainSheryl CrowSound KitchenStaindStingStone Temple PilotsSue Shoemaker - Blues TravelerTchad Blake - Sheryl Crow, Richard Thompson, Crowded House, Pearl Jam, Bonnie RaittThe Academy IsThe PoliceThe Voyager Remote Truck in ParisThe WhoTom Lord AlgeTony LevinWheatusWhitney HoustonWoodland Studios - Robert Solomon Warm up your recording today!


  • Soft clip features - modeled after broadband tape saturation. WITHOUT THE NOISE! Smooth clipping up to 20% THD.
  • User programmable high frequency saturation, simulating the "softening" for which analog tape and phonographs are known. This is the "Warmth" control on FATSO.
  • Switchable transformer circuits, which can add the musical artifacts generated by classic devices like NEVE, API, etc. These artifacts include frequency "rounding", low order clipping & intermodular distortion, transient clipping... and some other very musical non-linearities.
  • Four compression modes One for tracking, one general purpose, one "bus" compressor, and SPANK (see below). All LINKABLE! Classic knee compressor sound that really grabs.
  • SPANK! - An additional limiter that musically smashes the dynamic range, and can be used to stop clipping before digital recorders. There is a subtle knee followed by hard limiting.
  • Huge "DISTRESSOR" knobs with high resolution numbering - For easy readability and repeatable settings. They also go to 10 1/2 .
  • Distortion indicator lights - A 0 VU LED and a "Pinned" (5%) LED. No hard clipping until a few dB past "Pinned".
  • Sidechain output and input for eq-ing control signals.
  • Locked, calibrated, output level - Allows speed in setting tape and live mix levels.
  • Foolproof operation - it's almost impossible to get a bad sound.
  • Single height and light weight - Two channels of classic sound in a small, extremely reliable package.
  • Discrete and integrated combination - the best of speed/linearity with repeatability. Hand tested & selected components. All metal film and Roederstein resistors in the audio path - top quality components, most being high temperature military spec parts.
  • Switchable 110/220 volt operation - Extra fuse provided inside unit.
  • True bypass - Know what it's really doing. All contacts doubled up for maximum reliability. No internal audio connectors.
  • XLR and 1/4" phone ins and outs - XLR fully balanced, transformerless design, pin 2 hot. Changeable by user to pin 3 hot!
  • No internal connectors, high reliability parts and military grade switches and relays.
  • Three year unlimited warranty.
  • Interface and features found nowhere else.
  • Allows processing not readily available in our current digital domain. New life for analog processing!
  • Hand wired, calibrated in USA. Shipping weight 13.25Lbs.

Technical Specification

Empirical Labs EL7 Fatso Analog Tape Simulator and Optimizer

  • Freq. Response
  • is 2 Hz to 60 kHz in clean audio mode (+0, -3 dB).
  • Dynamic Range
  • 110 dB from maximum output (20%THDsoft clipping) to minimum output. Greater than 100 dB signal to noise.
  • Distortion Ranges between .06% and 20% depending on mode and settings.
  • DC coupled Input and Outputs
  • High quality audio caps used internally. Compressor Time Constants - Attack range 1mS - 200mS. Release range .05 sec to 3.5 seconds. Attack and Releases are fixed by the compression type selected