AMS Exclusive Interview – Dave Derr from Empirical Labs



Jersey Fresh

Empirical Labs Inc. (ELI), a New Jersey-based company designs and produces professional audio equipment and software for creative professionals. ELI products are made with one simple philosophy that drives the company and continues their success: “We want to make products that work a little easier, a little better, and a lot longer – and make sure they are fun to use.”

tech_insetIn the Beginning

Dave Derr founded Empirical Labs in 1988. It originally functioned as a recording studio and electronics consulting firm.  Additionally, Dave worked as an audio engineer at Eventide. During his time at Eventide, Dave was part of the core design team for the H3000, H3500 and the DSP4000. This was obviously a pivotal and influential point in his life and would later prove to be invaluable to his work with Empirical Labs. Working alongside Ken Bogdanowicz and Bob Belcher, Dave was exposed to the modern world of digital signal processing (DSP). This was really his first taste of state of the art engineering.

A Few Great ProductsEmpirical Labs

The Distressor, designed in 1994, was the first Empirical Labs product. It was then tested and revised for several years and eventually released in 1996. Since its creation, with over twenty thousand units sold, it has unquestionably become a modern classic. Fast forward to 1998, Empirical Labs closed the doors of the recording studio to focus solely on the growing signal processing business. Later that year, the company picked up and moved to a larger facility in order to meet their increased production requirements. Some other notable products from ELI are the Fatso and the Lil FrEQ.


Empirical LabsEmpirical Labs




Future of Empirical Labs

Empirical Labs started as an analog company and has developed quite the name for themselves doing so. They have always held a love for digital though and moving forward they are heavily focused on the digital evolution. Dave is famous for saying “It is the painter, not the paintbrush.” This is in response to all the old school people who are strictly Analog.  The future is digital and Empirical will continue to create digital software and hardware for music production, as they have for years.


Click Here to check out Empirical Labs products at American Musical Supply

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