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Empirical LabsTrak Pak Mike-E Microphone Preamp & Lil Freq EQ


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Empirical Labs Trak Pak Mike-E Microphone Preamp & Lil Freq EQ

This bundle includes the Empirical Labs EL9 Mike-E Mic Pre and their ELQ Lil FrEQ Strip. The Empirical Labs EL9 Mike-E is a digitally-controlled preamplifier with a slew of unique features that allow it to both warm and soften external audio signals. If that’s not enough, the unit also contains a compressor/limiter. 

The preamp section features a low-noise transformer input amp with digitally controlled gain.

Additionally, the unit includes a unique stepped-gain control that reduces the chances of flakiness that normally occurs with pots and detented switches. 

The EL9 is comprised of four separate sections. The first is the Saturator, which consists of a multi-stage soft clipping circuit. When at lower levels, the signal is privy to a triode-style saturation; however, a second clip circuit joins the mix as the level increases—only this one includes germanium semiconductors! 

Next up is the Compressor section, which consists of a compressor/limiter circuit with detented control over AR parameters. A dedicated drive knob lets users effortlessly adjust the compression amount. The EL9 provides four different compression ratios. 

The Emphasis section consists of two circuits encompassing the compressor and saturator. The pre-emphasis ups the high frequencies before they hit the compressor and saturator, causing preemptive soft clipping. On the other hand, the de-emphasis parameter cuts complementary frequencies after the compressor and saturator. Additionally, the emphasis section is capable of improving the signal-to-noise ratio in the spirit of a classic analog tape deck. 

The final portion of the EL9 is the Mix Control section. This section allows for mixing between dry and compressed signals in order to maintain transients, enhance dynamic range, and add low-level clarity.

The Empirical Labs ELQ Lil FrEQ is an analog EQ under full digital control, for greater control over performance and equalization parameters. The unit features seven frequency shaping controls oriented around a dynamics section. 

The ELQ Lil FrEQ’s High-Pass section axes all frequencies between whatever parameter the user preselects. This type of filter is often referred to as a “colored filter”, as it is extremely steep and boasts a unique shape that prevents frequencies positioned just above the cutoff from thinning out. 

The next section is a High and Low Shelving section, which are essentially high-performance tone controls for adding boost and cut to treble and bass frequencies. This is followed by an exceptionally clean parametric EQ section. 

Finally, the Dynamic EQ section is essentially the combination of filters and a compressor-style circuit for controlling and taming high frequencies, like sibilants. This section features two modes of operation, each with dedicated threshold and frequency select controls.

Trak Pak Mike-E Preamp & Lil Freq EQ Features

  • 2 units included: Mike-E & Lil Freq
  • The Mike-E consists of a high-end microphone preamp and a compressor/limiter
  • The Lil Freq is a high-end EQ with multiple sections, including a compressor-like "Dynamic EQ"

Mike-E 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 600 Ohms. Output impedance is less than 38 ohms
  • Attack/Decay Ranges - .9 – 100mS attack. .15 – 1 Sec
  • Power Consumption – 15 Watts Max

Lil FrEQ Specifications

  • Freq. Response: 5 Hz to 140 kHz on transformerless inputs and outputs
  • Transformer Output response is 10 Hz to 110 kHz 
  • Dynamic Range 120 dB from maximum output (.1% clipping) to minimum output. Dynamic Range Greater than 110 dB signal to noise
  • Distortion Ranges between .00056% and .005% depending on mode and settings. DS section has THD < .005%
  • DC coupled Input and Outputs and one transformer coupled Output
  • High quality audio caps used internally
  • Dynamic Time Constants: Attack is approximately .5 mS. Release .04 sec, fixed internally
Empirical Labs Trak Pak Mike-E Microphone Preamp & Lil Freq EQ Reviews