Just for those fans out there, the EL8 owners manual and suggested usage and descriptions of emulations is here: http://www.empiricallabs.com/manuals...sor_manual.pdf
I came into a pair of EL8s as part of a home studio gear split, and being a bassist, I use the EL8 in my bass rig for overall compression duties.
Note that I am probably the FURTHEST thing from a Marcus Miller type of guy as I like it heavy, grungy, fat and aggressive a lot of the time, so my personal tastes and use of the EL8 probably don't translate well with respect to the OP.
As the owner's manual describes, the EL8 is a great "swiss army knife" of various types of classic compressor emulations and tube/tape distortion generators. If your budget is a concern, then certainly you may find the EL8 is not so much of a "bang for the buck" item. That said, though, it might be just what the doctor ordered, and if you can get your hands on one, try it out and see what you think - hopefully, though, in the hands of someone who understands the different modes and such.
The EL-8 is certainly a desirable and unique piece of gear, and worth every penny IMO - GREAT in the studio for recording retro drum ambient mics!. I do agree with others here, though, that you might be able to find that little extra something you're looking for at a much lower price with stuff you can find at your local big box guitar shop.
Speaking personally, I've spoiled myself rotten over the last couple of years with gear. Between the EL8 and the Fractal Audio AxeFx, I'm not hurting at all for light-weight alternatives that can produce as much tube tone as I could ever need - and I'm an SVT Classic owner (as well as SWR Red Head). My back says "thank you".