SOR 8 – Stressor

Hello Labfans! Today we will be analyzing the Stressor from SOR 8.

This is not a commercial plugin but rather a freeware plugin, already accepting donations, with almost 150 thousand downloads, as the developer claims.

Let me begin with two parts from the developer description of the plugin:

As a special lab post today, I aspire to use one extra measurement aspect (The second listed below).

  1. We will conduct a generic analogue recreation evaluation, in the all common terms which are used in all posts until today.
  2. In order to be able to go into this aspect the previous generic recreation measurements must be validated as a success. This special aspect will be about evaluating each component to a ratio of similarity to the original EL – 8 Compressor data. We cannot expect a ‘copy’ like behavior since this is a ‘based’ plugin, but we can definitely expect some fundamental similarities, which can justify the ‘based’ upon claim of the developer.

Let’s get to it! 🙂

Measurement settings (image right)

If you are new to the lab post ,read this


1fr Edit Content

Here is the FR in the DIST 0 setting, as we can see there is a slight low shelf filter.

Let’s look at the FR of DIST 1


2fr Edit Content

Here we can observe a gain increase in the previous low shelve plot. Let’s move to the last module DIST 2


3fr Edit Content

Here we can see the same low shelf  plot with quite drastic gain increase.

Q: So is this some sort of analogue FR response?

A: Long version: In order to evaluate this, we need to make a dynamic measurement, observe and create a low shelf trail for all the magnitude points in relation to compression, and then if all measurement points are identical this is just post DSC  digital static boost just like in a digital EQ.

A:Short version: No

Below you can see the results of this dynamic trail measurement that validates this. These characteristics applies in all DIST modes.


Steps Edit Content

Blue = Min input (plugin), Green = Max Input/Comp (plugin)


p1 Edit Content

DIST 0 phase is good

p2 Edit Content

DIST 1 phase also minimal

p3 Edit Content

DIST 2 is also minimal.


http  media 8 19 2013 TkzbAl Edit Content

Here we can observe the DIST 0 mode within a dynamic measurement of input steps.This has been done in order to evaluate if the harmonics that exists are compression Sid effects or actual analogue modeling, from the harmonic behavior we can safely ensure these are indeed compression Sid effects, which are typical for most digital compression/clip/limit  and cannot be associated with analogue modeling what so ever. In this case this is fairly obvious from the Klirr as well, but in order to be accurate we have to measure every aspect.

Interesting Fact 1 + 2 = DIST modes 1 and 2 share this exact same behavior, with the sole difference of having an increased Klirr percentage.

Ps: If you have read the Focusrite midnight compressor post already you should be familiar to this.


dsc Edit Content

Interesting fact 1 +2: A low shelf FR that starts to rise in gain, and especially a static post DSC one as it is with DIST (1, 2), can create a false positive in DSC creating extreme  unnatural”roughness”, If I didn’t know any better I’d fallen for it, thankfully the DIST 0 does not exceed the threshold for this fallacy to occur and will not temper our DSC ,this provides us with the true  linear envelope – Dynamic response of the plugin.





This plugin has nothing to do with analogue modeling in any way, and therefor Distressor® EL-8 Compressor. Nor is or should be considered inspired, associated, or based by it.

Therefore we cannot conduct our second aspect of measurements.


Q: Where can I find a Distressor inspired/based emulation!?

A: For a freeware you can check Antress plugins ‘Deathcore’’! For commercial, the discontinued Focusrite Liquid Mix has its own inspired/based model of the Distressor called ‘Copy Cat’. (I’ve tested both)

For you that Antress isn’t compatible for your os/Daw, you have to work around adapters, it’s worth it 🙂


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