While all versions of the EL8 “Distressor” have the same sound and basic abilities, the EL8X has a couple of added features that bring it to the next level of “Distressing”!
The original 1176LN had 4 buttons with which you could select the compression ratio. There was 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and 20:1. Boredom (and probably some elements of substance abuse) led some engineers of the time to push all 4 buttons in at the same time the unit would produce an exceptionally cool (and until now) unparalleled aggressive texture to the audio. What was actually happening was that the 20:1 and 4:1 compression circuits were both engaged at the same time (it was just easier to get all 4 buttons to stay in than the top and bottom button, and frankly it wasn’t until the “recreation clones” started to come out that anyone bothered to examine the science of the “multi-button” trick.
The Distressor EL8-XS (with the S at end) is simply a pair of tested and matched units for use as Stereo compressors. They can, of course still be used as two separate mono units