OPTIONS / UPGRADES
· A new ratio “Eleven”, which emulates a favorite classic compressor setting.
· New Two Color Front Panel
· Improved Logic
· Separate TRACKING LED, more intuitive display.
· Backwards stepping when a front panel button is held.
· New extended stereo link functions. More choices of how to lock compressors.
· Cooler running Logic Circuitry, resulting in overall cooler operating temperature.
· Improved overall noise floor, due to lower logic power consumption.
ELEVEN is a new compressor for the Fatso, replacing the old GP Ratio, and emulates the famous UREI 1176LN in 20:1, with the slowest attack, and fastest release. This 1176 setting has been used on countless hit records through the decades. With the slower “1176” attack, the transients keep the dynamics present, while the high ratio, can radically limit the dynamic range of any source, making it present and sitting in a nice little place in your mix. One can slam it, or just touch it with a few dB of compression. You will find it great on Vocals, Bass, acoustic guitars, drum room mikes, pianos etc.
The ELEVEN ratio took several months of experimentation, and required a rather radical attack mod to get close. It was one of those projects that Dave Derr, the designer, thought would only take a few days, but upon initial research and listening tests, subtleties emerged which required starting over several times. “I got in one of these design loops, where you would get one thing right, then change another parameter or component, and find that it changed the first thing you thought you had right. It was actually a long frustrating series of changes, that slowly spiraled towards the desired result. Any kind of math calculations or scaling seemed useless. In addition, while testing 1176’s, I discovered issues that I’m quite sure were not intended by the original designers, and probably things of which they were not even aware. But using modern digital oscilloscopes and analyzers, along with digital workstations, and our good old ears, we could see artifacts that the original designers couldn’t.” “Heck, they may have even tried to fix the little imperfections that gave the 1176 its unique character, had they the tools to see them. Thank gosh they didn’t, right?
Anyway, the design loop was frustrating, but like anything that takes you to unexpected places, hopefully you come out a little bit wiser, and with a great product. I hope our customers find the new ELEVEN ratio fun to use, and discover it can add some more magic to your music.”
NOTE: ALL existing older “Fatso Jr’s” can be modified to change the GP ratio to the new ELEVEN ratio. In addition, all Fatsos shipped from Empirical Labs since June 2013 have had the ELEVEN ratio already installed in the circuit, under the GP ratio, so if you bought a Fatso recently, you probably already have the equivalent EL7-X circuitry.
Click to Enlarge
“In a word, the FATSO is a very good answer to what a lot of people loathe about digital recording. It smooths out the sharp, brittle edges to exactly the extent you choose, and fills in the hairline cracks just right. I use one on almost every mix I do. I could easily use one and quite possibly two more.”
- George Massenburg
“The winner of the highly -coveted, “I’m going to write you a check right after the show award was picked up by Empirical Labs for its FATSO processor”
- Craig Anderton, Pro Sound News
Best new Signal Processor-EQ AES Awards
“Empirical Labs Fatso took this category, despite the introduction of a variety of cool new processors. Who can resist the best aspects of analog tape combined with great compression” - EQ Magazine
“The kick drum chain was pretty complex, and on the bass and keys, I used a variety of the old compressors, as well as six Fatso compressors chained together for the surround mix and the SSL console compressor for the 2-channel mix. They sound great; they are clean and variable and dynamic.”
- Kevin Shirley (on using the FATSO for Led Zeppelin’s 5.1 Live DVD)
All I know for certain is that I mixed a record through one recently, and ever since I’ve been at a loss to figure out what I’ m going to do without one.”
- Electronic Musician Magazine
“People used to have to hunt for old, expensive gear to get the kind of sounds that the FATSO gives me.” - Ed Cherney (Lenny Kravitz, Dave Mathews, Eric Clapton, The Wallflowers, Goo Goo Dolls, Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Stones, etc.)
“For over a decade the FATSO Jr. has had a proven track record of adding a warm fuzzy feeling to every buss and instrument it has ridden, and I will tell you the buss compressor alone is worth the price of admission.” - Recording Magazine
The original Fatso Jr could operate quite warm. Since heat is the enemy of reliability, we decided to do what we could to cool the unit down in this re-design. By replacing discrete logic with a microprocessor, and eliminating warm running and often unreliable display circuitry, the current draw was dropped over 20%, allowing the power supply and analog circuitry to benefit from a cooler running product.
The new FATSO also has greatly improved interface operation. Holding any button in for a second will make the control step backwards, so the user doesn’t have to cycle around to go back one step in setting one parameter. In addition, the Stereo Link is improved and offers a second link method by holding in both COMP buttons. It locks the compressors and Bypass logic together, and allows either channels’ buttons to control the settings. Much more foolproof.
There is now a separate LED for the TRACK (Tracking) compressor, so that two LEDs do not have to be used, and interpreted by the user. SPANK is now a Blue LED delineated from the other compressors off to the side, to indicate that it is different and can be used in conjunction with the other ratios. Customers will find compressor selection more obvious and FUN.
• Harmonic Generation and Soft Clipper (Distortion Generation) - this class A circuit gently rounds the peaks like saturated tubes or tape.
• High Frequency Saturation (Warmth) - a one-of-a-kind dynamic low pass filter which softens high frequencies when they “pile up” on a source.
• Transformer & Tape Head Emulation - a simulation of the effect of input and output transformers of older devices, which adds the low frequency harmonics that characterize them, as well as analog tape..
• Classic Knee Compression - your typical automatic leveling device found on just about every instrument and vocal track as well as on the overall buss, done Empirical Labs compression – smooth and sweet, but in your face!
• 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 - 60mS. Release range .05 sec to 3.5 seconds. Attack and Releases are fixed by the compression type selected.
Arguably the coolest and most unique device in the Empirical Labs arsenal, the FATSO (Full Analog Tape Simulator and Optimizer) is a digitally controlled analog device that gives musicians and engineers easy access to many of the desirable characteristics exhibited by older tube and Class A electronics and magnetic tape mediums. This two channel audio processor musically integrates frequencies and transients, increasing the apparent volume while keeping tight control over peak levels.
With the FATSO, recording studios and audio production facilities can enhance and soften the sound of Hardware Digital Recorders (HDRs) and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). Mix engineers will have the option not to have to use bulky, expensive analog tape recorders to get the warmth and sweet high end they’ve come to rely on for so many decades. Owners of DAWs and HDRs can finally put a stop to complaints about the coldness and brittle edge of their mixes and instruments. Even audiophiles can benefit from the FATSO, bringing back the warmth and ambience of LP’s and tapes to their CD players and other digital reproduction mediums.
As with most Empirical Labs products, the unit is incredibly easy and fun to use. Large Distressor-style knobs control the input and output levels. Four meticulously tweaked compression modes - including the extremely popular “Buss” setting and the legendary “Spank”, a subtle knee followed by hard limiting resembling the SSL talkback compressor - can be selected (and combined!) with the push of a button. Seven different high frequency saturation “Warmth” settings are accessed just as easily. The FATSO also features switchable transformer circuits, which can add the musical artifacts generated by classic devices like NEVE, API, etc such as low order clipping and inter-modular distortion, transient clipping... and some other very musical non-linearities. True to its name, the FATSO is rather sturdily constructed - you’ll be impressed with how well built it feels when you first lift it out of the box.
The FATSO has been the “secret weapon” of studio and live engineers for many years, allowing them to add the elusive magic of vintage gear to their sound.
Once you start using it, you’ll never want to be without it!
Endorsed and scrutinized for accuracy by designer Dave Derr of Empirical Labs, Universal Audio has painstakingly recreated the FATSO Jr. in this highly anticipated UAD Powered Plugin, capturing the sonic nuances of the original hardware. As part of the FATSO Powered Plugin, UA has also worked closely with Dave Derr to model the original concept of the FATSO, the FATSO Sr., with attack, release, and threshold compressor controls, among other features not available elsewhere.
For more information visit: www.uaudio.com
As promised, owners can now add the new ELEVEN ratio, and if desired, upgrade the front panel and display circuitry to look like the new EL7x. Two upgrade versions are available and can be scheduled through email or phone, from this page. Below, you will find pricing and information on the two options.
Note: Due to their complexity, these mods will only be available to persons who can return their FATSO Jr’s to the factory in America. We apologize to our overseas customers. Check here from time to time to see if this status changes.
Also, If you have a FATSO with serial number above 3400, you already have the latest ELEVEN ratio in the GP position.
Add the new ELEVEN ratio, and renew your old workhorse with a tune up. Turn around time is less than a week, often only a few days.
What you get:
• The New ELEVEN ratio, including four new Compressor Headers installed and tested.
• Power Transformer tested and replaced if necessary.
• Burned In for 24 hours.
• QC’d and tested for latest specifications.
• Free Shipping back within Continental US.
Potentiometers will be tested, and if they need replacement, we will notify you of the cost before replacing.
What you get:
• The New ELEVEN Ratio, including four new Compressor Headers installed and tested.
• Two new front panel PCBs – Replace old ones with improved X Versions to lower power.
• I/O Potentiometers Tested and Replaced if necessary.
• Power Transformer Tested/Replaced.
• New Metal Front Panel for FATSO EL7X installed.
• Burned In for 24 hours.
• QC’d and tested for latest specifications.
• Free Shipping back within Continental US.
Email EmpiricalLabs@Gmail or call (973) 541-9447 for scheduling and other information. Let us know what FATSO mods you want. We will reply with more detailed instructions.
Payment: Check is preferred but we do have the ability to accept credit cards. Please include check and a note with your address, phone number, email, and specify your desired modification with your unit.
Empirical Labs (Attn Mods)
41 N Beverwyck Rd
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034, USA
This is because potentiometers never match perfectly. We test them at the factory and try to make them all match within two small tics of each other. Pots will change with use over the years. Also, in 2002, Clarostat discontinued pots that had been made for 50 years, forcing us to change to conductive plastic pots that have a different curve also. We can match pots on older units for a very small fee. New units are covered under warranty.
ABSOLUTELY! You have not bought a "dead end" product. There are provisions for all kinds of modifications and neat upgrades for owners of Fatsos. Keep coming to look at this website for announcements about them. We're not telling you the cool stuff you will be able to do, though!
You really need several of each! Actually there is only a little in common between the two units. If you need a fully controllable compressor, that sounds like it has tubes and can emulate some famous older compressors, get the Distressor. If you do a lot of work in the digital domain and miss some of the smooth round bottom and softened high end of analog tape recordings, get the Fatso Jr. The Fatso does have some kick butt compressors in it but they are not fully adjustable. The Fatso was really intended to help get a good analog tape sound without analog tape… we just happened to have enough room to put in some really good compressors too.
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