The Trak Pak includes 1 EL9 Mike-E mic pre with 1 ELQ Lil FrEQ, effectively creating an Empirical Labs channel strip.
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.
SATURATOR - 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.
COMPRESSOR - 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.
EMPHASIS - 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.
MIX - 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.
The EQ Sections
There are eight sections of processing - what other EQ offers that Even better - in addition to a master bypass, each of the Lil FrEQ's sections features its own dedicated bypass switch, letting you instantly A/B the effect of each section as you adjust and fine-tune them.
HIGH PASS - The High Pass section is a really easy to use sharp filter that cuts all content below one of eight preset frequencies from 30-330 Hz. This filter is very steep and has a special shape that prevents frequencies from thinning out just above the cutoff point. The corner frequency is selected using up/down buttons, and indicated by LEDs that glow softly when the section is bypassed, and brightly when the section is engaged.
HIGH & LOW SHELVING - These two knobs function similarly to the familiar "bass and treble" tone controls found on many consumer audio playback systems; however, these are designed to a much higher performance standard, providing exceptionally smooth and musical boost and cut on the high and low frequencies.
PARAMETRIC EQ - The Lil FrEQ has four sections of fully parametric EQ (LF, Lo Mid, Hi Mid and HF), with each section featuring individual gain, bandwidth (Q) and frequency controls. It may be the cleanest parametric EQ section ever produced, operating below .0007% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) even at extremely high audio levels. Try finding those specs anywhere else!
DS (DYNAMIC EQ) - The DS section provides the highest performance, easiest to use, and possibly most natural sounding "De-esser" ever built. This powerful tool combines tunable filters with a compressor-like circuit that can help contain and control excessive high frequency content such as sibilants or other sharp transients, especially in the absence of other lower frequency content. It can also function as a one of a kind soft knee High Frequency limiter, which is one of the main things responsible for the Lil FrEQ becoming the go-to vocal EQ for engineers everywhere. It has been used on many acclaimed albums and major live performances all over the world, becoming the "go to" EQ for key tracks like lead vocals, snares, and bass. There are now dozens of hit record vocals that were processed thru the Lil FrEQ.
We've packed an awful lot of power and flexibility into the Lil FrEQ. We know you will love it!
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 Noise.at 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.