Empirical Labs EL9 Mike-E Digitally Controlled Mic Pre And Compresser

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Product Description

When the engineering team at Empirical Labs sets out to build a microphone preamp, you can be sure it’ll deliver spectacular sound, be effortless to work, and will provide features unlike any other device in its class. To that end, we proudly present Mike-E, a high performance transformer-coupled mic preamp with a noise floor far below any microphone’s self noise, combined with a one-of-a-kind compressor/saturator circuit that delivers classic knee compression as well as versatile tonal ‘coloring’ that can replicate many of the best characteristics of vintage analog recording equipment.

In today’s modern age of digital recorders, DAWs and software plug-ins, Mike-E is the ultimate solution for getting a clean and strong, yet warm and musical signal into the box…and it couldn’t be easier to work – its front panel layout is so straight ahead that even inexperienced engineers will have no problem moving around on it right away.

This is a super low noise transformer input amplifier section with the gain under precise digital control. The signal to noise far exceeds any microphone in existence. Having used many mic preamps over the years, we’ve implemented a unique stepped gain control that should be impervious to the normal flakiness that age causes to pots and detented switches. A ‘Bad!’ LED indicates when the input signal is overloading the circuit.

The CompSat's unique circuitry sets the Mike-E apart from all other mic preamps.

A multi stage soft-clipping circuit. At lower levels, a triode-type saturation affects the signal. As the level increases, a second unique clip circuit starts to more severely flatten out the peaks.

Based on ELI’s world famous Distressor, but with other characteristics (including a much longer attack time). Preset ratios include: 2:1, 4:1, 8:1…and, of course, Nuke.

A two-stage circuit that boosts and soft clips high frequencies before the CompSat circuit, and then cuts the frequencies after it. Emphasis has the added perk of improving signal to noise, and is the reason analog tape decks used emphasis to begin with.

Provides ‘parallel compression’ technique achieved by mixing between the compressed and the dry (or uncompressed) signal. This can often help maintain transients and a sense of dynamic range while enhancing the low level nuances.

Other features include a front panel instrument input that allows the unit to function as an ultra-clean Direct Box and stereo-linking capabilities. Mike-E can also be combined with an EQ (such as the ELI Lil FrEQ), transforming it into one of the most powerful, flexible and complete channel strips on the market.

warning WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm -

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Helpful Info about the Manufacturer
Phone:  973-728-2425 Warranty:  Fatso: 3 Years; Distressor: 1 Year

Product Specifications

Product Specifications
Empirical Labs EL9 Mike-E Digitally Controlled Mic Pre And Compresser Specifications
  • Freq. Response is 3 Hz to 200 kHz on (No CompSat). CompSat is 3Hz – 150Khz. Optional Transformer output is 6Hz–80kHz.
  • Signal to Noise - 130 dB signal to 40dB gain. Maximum output is +28dBu.
  • Distortion Ranges between .0006% and 15% depending on mode and settings.
  • Transformer coupled Input, Active and Transformer Outputs available. High quality audio caps used internally.
  • Input Impedance is above 600 Ohms at all frequencies, transformer coupled. Output impedance is less than 38 ohms.  Instrument In Impedance is 332K Ohms.
  • Attack/Decay Ranges - .9 – 70mS attack. .15 – 1 Sec.
  • Power Consumption – 15 Watts Max.

Customer Reviews

Review: Michael Griffith Submitted: 9/26/2018

Product Rating5 out of 5 stars.



Its awsome!! I need another one to make a stereo pair.
Product Rating

Product Review

The pre is ultra quiet. The sat/comp section is amazing!

Review: Matthew Cosek Submitted: 6/11/2017

Product Rating5 out of 5 stars.



Looking at an Avalon 737?

Product Review

Well stop looking at the Avalon, and get this instead. This thing is miles ahead of the Avalon. You want BIG and clear? You got it. You want to dirty it up and make it sit nice in the mix? You got it. You want what is essentially a distressor comp section in your strip? Yep. It's there. This is easily the most versatile channel strip I've ever seen, and I've yet to find a source it doesn't make sound great. Fart into your mic if you wish, it will come out of the other end sounding like a million bucks. All joking aside, this thing really is that good. I was hesitant at first because I had no experience with Empirical Labs stuff, but knew the reputation of the EL-8 which is in pretty much every major studio in the country/world, so I took a shot. Hands down best decision I've made concerning my home studio, and honestly as soon as this one is paid off, I'm ordering another so I can run the 2 buss through them. This thing just WON'T sound bad no matter what you try. A+


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